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It’s easy to overlook socks – let’s be honest, they’re hardly the most glamorous item in a man’s wardrobe.
But if you don’t think socks are important, try wearing an old pair with holes in for a day, and you’ll see how much a sock can affect your mood.
See, the best socks do far more than just keep your feet healthy – they make you look and feel a whole lot better too.
The only problem is most men don’t know how to buy them properly, so we’ve put together this review to guide you through the best socks for various needs.In a hurry? Here are our top picks:
Our top choice is Dickies Men’s Dri-tech Moisture Control Crew Socks – the best overall socks we’ve come across, they combine moisture-controlling fiber with a ventilation channel that helps circulate air throughout the sock, making for an extraordinarily comfortable experience throughout the day.
And there’s plenty more options for other specific needs.
Plus we’re going to explore some important sock-care concepts, as well as discussing whether wearing socks is even necessary.
First, let’s look at 4 key factors you need to consider when buying socks.
|Dickie’s Men’s Dri-Tech Work Crew Socks||Check on Amazon|
|Almi All-Day Performance Dress Sock (Black)||Check Best Price|
|Merino Wool Over-the-Calf Men’s Dress Socks by Boardroom Socks||Check Best Price|
|Heshi Fashion Crew Sock (Black/Grey/Navy/Brown)||Check Best Price|
|Polo Ralph Lauren Men's 3 Pair Socks||Check on Amazon|
|Saucony Men’s Comfort Fit No-Show Socks||Check on Amazon|
|Arvin Goods Recycled Cotton Crew Socks||Check on Amazon|
|Merino Premium Wool Socks||Check on Amazon|
|Champion Men’s No Show Socks||Check on Amazon|
|Alpine Swiss Cotton Dress Socks||Check on Amazon|
|Hanes Active Cool Ankle Socks||Check on Amazon|
Before you buy: 4 Things to consider when purchasing socks
In the grand scheme of life, buying socks certainly isn’t among the most exciting and glamorous of things. Unless you love buying socks, that is.
Then again, all good things require some effort and finding the right pair of socks for you is no different. So, instead of grabbing the first multi-sock pack you see, consider the following tips:
The material of your sock has a significant impact on its comfortability and performance. There’s no shortage of materials used to make socks, including cotton, wool, nylon, polyester, silk, cashmere, and so on.
- Cotton is comfortable and absorbent, which makes it great for soaking up the sweat from the skin. However, cotton doesn’t allow wetness to evaporate quickly. Cotton socks are excellent for short bouts of intense activity, such as a gym workout.
- Wool breathes easily (than cotton, that is) and allows wetness to evaporate. It also offers plenty of warmth in cold conditions. Wool is bulky, however, and like cotton, it doesn’t wick moisture away from the body quickly.
- Synthetic materials such as polyester and acrylic – and others – are thinner than cotton and wool and often blended with other fibers to encourage wicking.
- Silk socks will serve you well at a black tie and more formal outings, but are more expensive than other types of socks and won’t last as long as cotton or wool socks.
Socks come in a wide variety of types and these days you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a sock that fits your need. Some of the types include:
Athletic performance socks
Athletic performance socks include the simple cotton tube sock to low-cut running socks with sweat-wicking properties. You’ll even find a skiing sock that wicks moisture and traps in heat.
The bottom line is that athletic-performance socks provide comfort while increasing performance during athletic activities.
No-show socks are socks that “hide” in the soles of your shoes while leaving your ankle bare. The bare-ankle look is fairly popular these days, and many sock experts believe that no-show socks are the most acceptable option when wearing shorts.
However, don’t wear them with sandals, high-tops, or boots.
Dress socks come in a wide variety of materials and meant worn with a suit or nice casual clothes. They also come in just about every color you can think of, although it’s best to stick with darker colors when wearing more formal clothes.
Note: Never, ever wear dress socks with shorts – unless you want to look like that weird uncle who shows up at every family reunion.
Mid-calf (crew) socks
Ah, mid-calf socks. You should have a drawer full of them because they’re considered the “workhorse” socks for modern men. They look good with sneakers, loafers, dress shoes, and just about everything else.
Moreover, they come in a thousand (well, maybe not a thousand) colors and materials.
Next up is over-the-calf socks. Also known as the “knee sock”, as the name suggests, they cover the entire calf and go all the way up to the knee. These little beauties have both aesthetic and health benefits that often get overlooked.
Firstly as they fully cover the lower leg, they are less likely to dropdown. When worn with pants, should any movements cause the pants to rise up, the socks prevent any skin from showing.
If that’s not enough, they have compression qualities that can enhance your body’s circulation. Nowadays, over-the-calf socks are not easy to find but when you do, snap them up!
Not to be confused with no-show socks, ankle socks sit just below the ankle and protect your heels and ankles from chafing.
3. Size & fit
Like with any footwear, finding the right fit is essential when choosing socks. Keep in mind that most socks aren’t sized like shoes – although you may find more expensive socks that are – a “Medium” sock typically fits up to a size 12 in American shoe sizes.
Anything above that requires a “Large,” while “Big and Tall” is appropriate for men with long or wide feet.
Also, make sure you consider the thickness of the sock and the type of shoe with which it’s worn. For example, a wool sock is very comfortable in shoes that are a touch too big, and provide an extra bit of padding, but not so good with a show that’s already a bit tight.
Traditionally, the more formal sock, the slimmer it should be, although that’s not quite as crucial today.
Even the most well-crafted sock looks out of place if its color doesn’t fit with your clothes. Your primary goal is to blend your sock neatly and unobtrusively into your outfit and dress like a man. If the situation calls for something a bit louder, so be it.
If you want to play it safe, the color of your socks should match the color of your pants. If you prefer brighter, bolder colors, make sure that the sock has some color that matches a part of your wardrobe.
A good fall-back option for business attire is to match the color of your socks with the color of your shoes.
The 11 best socks for men in 2020
Dickie’s is in the business of producing quality workwear and their Men’s Dri-Tech Work Crew Socks certainly reflect the company’s commitment to excellence.
Made from 78% cotton and 19% polyester (there’s a bit of spandex and nylon mixed in, as well), the Dri-Tech Work Crew Socks provide comfort, dryness, and the durability to stand up to whatever you and your feet have planned for the day.
Because of their softness, we think you’ll appreciate the comfortable feeling you’ll get with every step. You’re free to tackle the hard work of each day without worrying whether your feet are up to the task.
Further comfort comes from a ventilated breathing channel that improves air circulation inside the sock. It also helps to take away moisture while causing it to evaporate. It’s like a breath of fresh air in your shoe, so to speak.
Durability is a must for any workwear sock and Dickie’s has you covered there, as well. Many users report wearing the socks for over a year without developing holes in the upper sides and bottoms.
Meanwhile, extra compression around the arch gives you the right amount of support without feeling tight or overly restrictive.
Type: Crew sock
- Moisture-controlling fiber
- Ventilation channels circulate air within the sock
- Socks don’t slip on your feet
- The arch takes some time to get used to
Comfort is king when you spend most of your workday on your feet and that’s why Dickie’s is a favorite of working men everywhere. They’re comfortable, durable, and won’t overheat your feet.
The team at sock brand Almi doesn’t think you have to change socks for every activity. That’s why they design socks that they say you can wear in the office, in the gym, to play basketball – you name it.
In other words, say the folks at Almi, not all hope is lost when you show up for your cross-fit class and realize that you forgot to pack your gym socks. Their All-Day Performance Dress sock have you covered whether you’re finishing up a report at the office or working out.
The All-Day Dress Sock is versatile, but also has many features that make it among the best socks for men overall:
- It provides extra cushioning, including that it offers omni-directional arch support that has just the right amount of grab.
- Each sock also has a reinforced padded heel and toe that provide excellent all-day comfort.
- Vented mesh zones offer active cooling and increase airflow when you’re on the run, literally and figuratively.
- Almi makes it socks with a high-end machine with 200 needles that help create a fine knit that’s of superior quality than most dress socks.
- Optimized compression keeps the socks from slipping and your feet healthy and comfortable.
- The Pro-Formance socks also keep odor at bay thanks top of the line swiss silver lining.
While Almi is a relative newcomer on the scene, it has made a strong impression thanks to its craftsmanship and its quest to develop the ideal hybrid sock. Their attention to detail deserves a mention.
The socks are hand wrapped in tissue paper and come in recycled packaging, also making them a solid gift choice.
- Versatile design – works great as a dress sock and a sports sock.
- Ideal for men who lead active lives.
- They keep your feet cool, comfortable, and odor-free.
- Superior packaging, ideal for presents.
- Few, if any, although they have limited designs and colors.
It’s hard not to like a sock that’s good for a variety of uses while looking good and keeping your feet comfortable. Almi is a brand worth keeping an eye on.
Whether you’re in the boardroom or at your desk, a good pair of dress socks are a staple of your business wardrobe.
But they need to check a lot of boxes to earn the label of high-quality and Boardroom Socks’ Merino Wool Over-the-Calf Dress Socks do just that:
- They consist of soft merino wool that keeps your feet cozy while managing moisture and odor.
- They include the right amount of spandex to keep them from slipping or sagging.
- They include a reinforced heel and toe that ensure long-lasting quality without premature wear-and-tear.
- Their classic ribbed finish offers a timeless look that’s appropriate for any occasion.
- They’re made in the USA using the world’s finest yarns.
There’s plenty else to like about Boardroom Socks’ merino wool over-the-calf dress socks, including that they provide all-day comfort in warm and cool weather.
Their over-the-calf length helps wearers avoid the embarrassment of having the skin of their leg show when they cross their legs.
There’s also the not-so-small matter of comfort, and Boardroom answers the bell with socks that sacrifice nothing in that department. They’re very breathable, and comfortable enough to wear all day.
- The soft merino wool provides all-day comfort
- A reinforced heel and toe ensure durability.
- They won’t slip down your leg thanks to spandex lining at the top
- Free US shipping, free returns and free exchanges
- Sizing may run a bit small
Comfort, durability, style – all combine to make Boardroom’s over-the-calf dress socks among the best around.
In Chinese, Heshi means “suitable” or “to have a good fit.” That’s only fitting, no pun intended, when discussing the company’s superior crew sock.
But the latter not only fits and feels good, but it also offers the style and comfort of a classy dress sock while providing excellent protection.
Indeed, protection comes from a cushioned heel, footbed, and toe area that’s very comfortable while protecting your feet unlike few other dress socks. They help you to make it through your day without worrying about foot fatigue or soreness.
Heshi’s socks consist of 75% Pima cotton, 22% polyester, and 3% rubber. Pima cotton is a higher-end material with a longer fiber than conventional cotton from which a smoother fabric is made.
It’s soft and very durable (many manufacturers say it lasts 50% longer than products made with other types of cotton).
The Heshi crew sock also features a Y-Stitch heel that prevents bunching while adding additional comfort. There’s also a “Stay Up” cuff that helps keep your sock from falling while forcing you to pull it back up time and again.
It also includes antimicrobial technology that helps reduce foot odor and sweating.
Another plus is that Heshi’s socks come in a variety of vibrant, eye-catching colors. They’re sharp enough to wear with dress shoes, but also for wearing with your favorite sneakers.
Type: Crew sock
- Provide excellent all-around foot support
- Antimicrobial technology
- They don’t bunch up or fall
- Few, but the flashy colors may not be for everyone’s tastes
Heshi’s socks offer a break from tired, traditional designs while offering superior comfort, including for people who spend a lot of time on their feet.
Certain occasions – black-tie events, job interviews – require you to look your very smartest, and it’s important that you have a pair of socks that reflects that.
Ralph Laurent’s socks are the best dress socks we’ve come across – they don’t scream about themselves in the way other dress socks do, but they do the job in an understated, elegant and hugely comfortable way.
For one thing, the quality of their material is – as you’d expect – terrific. A beautiful cotton blend, these things really do just hug your feet, which is great if you’re going to be wearing smart dress shoes that can often be less than ideal, comfort wise.
They’re also highly durable: while many will see the price as high for socks, you’ve got to realize that most socks fall apart pretty quickly, whereas these socks really are a long-term investment.
One top of that, they come in a variety of colors and styles – nothing outrageous, but enough so that you can really effectively match them to your shoes and suit, creating a perfect style combo.
- High quality
- Great for smart occasions
- Some find the fit a little tight
The best dress socks you’ll find. If you’re wanting to look professional and sophisticated, these are the ideal socks for you.
Another product you’ll find among the most comfortable men’s socks is Saucony’s Men’s Comfort Fit. They’re also the best no-show socks for men and certainly worthy of your attention when choosing the best socks for you.
That said, let’s take a look at what makes them so good:
- They come with Saucony’s Run Dry Moisture Management that includes ultra-wicking fibers. Moisture is wicked away and your feet stay dry and fresh whether you’re at the gym or on the road.
- The socks include mesh ventilation that creates maximum airflow to keep your feet cool and dry.
- Their arches are engineered to provide the right amount of compression to keep your arch secure and stable. They’re also designed to keep your sock from slipping and bunching up, which is never comfortable.
- The sole is lightly cushioned, but cushioned enough to provide impact protection without taking up too much space in your shoes.
- They’re no-cut and no-show, but high enough to protect your heel from rubbing and blistering. They’re comfortable enough that they’re even suitable for more formal footwear.
Saucony’s Men’s Comfort Fit No-Show Socks consists of 95% polyester, 3% rubber, and 2% spandex. The blend is lightweight, moisture-wicking, and quick-drying. They’re also machine-washable.
Type: No-show sock
- Moisture-wicking fabric
- Won’t cause blisters
- Can be a bit tight in the arches
If you’re looking for no-show socks, then you need to take a long look at Saucony’s Performance Comfort Socks. They’re comfortable, good for multiple uses, and affordable.
Made from recycled plastic, the Arvin Goods Cotton Crews Socks are eco-friendly, and the company stands behind its high environmental standards.
Their socks are also of high quality and well worth your investment. There are many features we like, including:
- Superior underfoot cushioning. There’s a heel to toe terry loop padding that adds comfort while reducing fatigue in high impact areas of the foot. You won’t have to worry about blisters.
- An elastic rib cuff keeps the socks from drooping down your calf, no matter how active you are. And a full-length ribbed design follows the curves of your legs for a flexible, yet secure fit.
- A mid-foot compression band offers excellent arch support and hugs the foot to provide stability.
- They have a structured fit that prevents bunching.
- They’re very breathable and feature moisture control fibers that wick away sweat and other moisture quickly to help keep your feet cool, dry, and comfortable.
Another plus is that you can use these socks for a variety of occasions, whether it’s to the office, or for activities such as hiking – and even to the gym. Finally, you can buy them as a single pair or as part of a three-pack.
Type: Crew sock
- They provide excellent padding and cushioning.
- They don’t bunch up on your feet.
- The ribbed cuff keeps them from slipping down your calves.
- Some men say the color is a bit too bright.
Arvin Goods is an environmentally-conscious company that makes great socks. You’ll enjoy the comfort and performance of these top-notch crew socks.
Wool socks are unlike any other type of socks for keeping your feet warm during those cold winter days and nights. They’re also comfortable, especially if they’re not too thick or too thin like Merino’s Premium Wool Socks.
Merino’s socks consist of a blend of 71% wool, 21% nylon, 7% polyester, and 1% spandex. It makes for a plush, comfortable sock that’s breathable and well-ventilated but without sacrificing warmth.
But it’s not just about keeping your feet warm when it comes to Merino’s socks because they’re comfortable enough to wear even if you’re on your feet all day. They come with a reinforced heel and toe that provide plenty of cushioning as well as plenty of protection.
Here’s another thing: because of their blend of wool and synthetic materials, Merino’s socks wick away moisture effectively, while wool naturally reduces the risk of bacterial and fungal infections.
You’ll also like that they provide more elasticity than many other wool sock brands.
While it would be a stretch to call these socks “stylish” in a pure fashion sense, their function is everything. After all, they’ll keep your feet warm even in the dead of winter while keeping your foot dry and comfortable.
We think that they’re the best wool socks money can buy.
Type: Wool mid-calf sock
- Keep your feet nice and warm
- Very soft
- Delicate to wash
Enduring each year’s coldest months is a matter of practicality and comfort. You need socks that keep your feet warm and comfortable – which Merino’s Wool Socks accomplish, and more.
Champion has an excellent reputation for designing and creating activewear for men and women. Their Men’s No Show Socks uphold that reputation.
Made of 74% cotton, these socks are super soft and comfortable and also have built-in moisture management thanks to its additional blend of polyester and spandex.
They’ll wick away sweat, control moisture buildup, all while keeping your foot cool and dry even if you’re in the midst of an intense workout.
The Champion Men’s No Show Socks come with special arch support and inbuilt padding that provides additional comfort and flexibility. They’re also resistant to outer damage and very durable, and sweat and odor resistant.
Champion’s socks also feature “zoned” cushioning to help limit impact shock and soreness that may result.
Type: No-show socks
- Wick away moisture
- Sweat and odor resistant
- Excellent cushioning
- Sizing may run a bit small
Champion’s Men’s No Show Socks garner a lot of excellent reviews – from customers and through peer reviews. There’s too much about this sock to like to not give them a try.
The style is supreme when it comes to Alpine Swiss’s ribbed argyle dress socks. After all, you have plenty of colors and patterns to choose from and you’ll stand out from the rest of your office mates who’re wearing plain-colored socks.
That’s not to say that Alpine Swiss dress socks are more of a novelty than anything else. Far from it. These socks are comfortable and lightweight and hold up well to the rigors of everyday life, including the kind of life in which you’re on your feet a lot.
In many ways, they rank among the best everyday socks you’ll find – especially when compared to other dress socks that feature bright colors and patterns.
The Alpine Swiss socks come in come in six bold, colorful patterns that will stand out no matter what type of trouser you’re wearing. Whether you’re at work, home, or at a casual evening social event, these socks will fit the occasion.
You’ll also like how they feel. The socks consist of 73% cotton, 26% polyester, and 1% elastane (a polyurethane material often used in close-fitting clothing), all of which helps make them breathable, comfortable, and lightweight.
The elastane provides just enough elasticity to make them comfortable for all-day wear, while the elastic at the top of the sock keeps the sock secure without feeling like a tourniquet on your calf.
Another plus is that these socks come at a very affordable price. It’s a price well worth it for socks that represent a fashion statement in many ways.
Type: Dress socks
- Bold colors and patterns
- Material is a bit thin
Some men prefer to add a bit of splash and dash to their wardrobe and the Alpine Swiss men’s dress socks will help them achieve their desired look. Not only do these socks stand out in a crowd, but they’re also comfortable enough for everyday use.
Hanes has its act together when it comes to innerwear. Underwear, t-shirts, you name it, and its Hanes’ mission to make you “feel good all under.”
The Hanes reputation gets a further boost from its Active Cool Ankle Socks, which are certainly among the best men’s ankle’s socks you’ll find.
The Active Cool Ankle socks consist of 53% polyester, 44% cotton, as well as a small blend of rubber and spandex. They also include X-temp cooling technology that’s designed to respond to your body’s temperatures and cool things down, if necessary.
Meanwhile, Fresh IQ advanced odor protection technology protects against odor-causing bacteria to help you stay fresh all day.
The blend of cotton and polyester provides further comfort, as does a half-cushion foot bottom that takes the stress off of your feet even if you’re on them all day.
You’ll also love the comfort toe seam that’s smooth and not at all restrictive. These socks are also machine washable, another plus.
Type: Ankle socks
- As-expected Hanes comfort
- X-temp cooling technology
- Cushioned foot bottom
- Fit may be small
Comfort is king and Hanes is all about comfort. The Active Cool Ankle Socks keep your feet cool and comfortable whether you’re on your feet a lot or not.
Choosing the best socks for men
It’s safe to say that your buying choices aren’t limited when it comes to socks. Socks abound and you can find them for sale in many, many places.
For our purposes, so many choices mean doing a lot of research in selecting products that we think stand above the rest.
Choosing the best socks among a mountain of socks available in every style imaginable, came down to a few important things for us: comfort, how well they handle moisture, what type of clothing they best go with, and durability.
As always, we took into account the reviews, of others, particularly the reviews of those who’ve worn the socks on a daily basis. Price is always a consideration, as well, although not an overriding concern in our reviews of the best socks.
The basics of sock care (A simple, illustrated guide)
If you don’t give a lot of thought to sock care, no worries. After all, you’re not alone. But if you want to get the most life from your socks, and help keep them cozy and comfortable on your feet, there is a right way and wrong way of sock care. Here’s a quick look:
1. The best way to wash socks is to machine wash them
For ideal results, wash them in cold water with a mild detergent. Also, set your machine to a gentle cycle.
2. Keep sharp objects away from your socks
Sounds obvious, but sharp objects include long toenails – so keep your nails trimmed and tidy. Otherwise, you run the risk of causing irreparable damage to your favorite pair of socks.
3. Don’t scald your socks
A tip which goes hand-in-hand with the first tip about washing them in cold water.
4. Don’t tumble dry your socks
The average dryer kicks out a ton of hot air and the spinning motion combined with hot air pulls out small fibers in your socks. If you do tumble dry your socks, do so at the lowest heat setting.
Excess dryer heat also causes the elastic in the top band of socks to break down, which stretches them out and shortens their lifespan.
5. If you don’t tumble dry your socks, you can hang them on a clothesline until they’re dry
6. Don’t bleach
Never bleach your socks or use other chemicals that may cause them damage.
7. Wash your socks inside-out
Washing your socks inside-out will keep excess lint from accumulating on them. Trying to get the white lint out of your darks socks is never fun. That said, you want the inside of your sock accumulating lint, the outside of it.
If you want to avoid lint, you can wash your socks separately from other items – but not every man is willing to go to those lengths.
8. Never iron your socks
The great debate: Socks or no socks?
With summer fast approaching, the debate among men – and fashion experts up – about whether to wear socks or no socks is sure to heat up like the weather. If you live in a warm-weather climate, the debate probably is heated enough.
Going sockless is a look favored by many men today, albeit a look that lends itself to a variety of opinions worldwide. While Americans like to think they invented the look, the fact is that men in Europe have worn shoes without socks for ages.
It is, however, a look that’s gained momentum in the U.S. in recent years.
So, what gives? Is there a right and wrong in this debate?
The answer, in large part, depends on the circumstances, what you wear, etc.
Pros of wearing socks:
- If nothing else, you have to admire socks for their versatility. They’re a great accessory for pulling an outfit together, but also have multiple uses depending on the type of sock.
- They keep your feet dry – in most cases, especially those of the wicking variety, and keep your feet warm when temperatures drop.
- They provide cushioning, can help prevent blisters and, well, we could go on and on.
- Socks are often comfortable, and their warmth provides welcome relief the temperatures start their descent in late fall.
- They can add a bit of splash to your wardrobe, or a more sedated look of sophistication.
Cons of wearing socks:
- Some shoes just don’t look good when worn with socks. Boat shoes for example, or sandals, although the socks with sandals look isn’t quite the no-no it used to be.
- Socks can bunch up.
- They can become too warm.
- They may make your feet sweat.
Pros of wearing no socks:
- Going sockless on a warm day keeps your feet cooler.
- It can also create a sophisticated look that lets people see that you know what you’re doing fashion-wise – at least if done appropriately.
Cons of wearing no socks:
- Walking around in a leather shoe all day without socks is asking for sweat-induced trouble.
- Not wearing socks increases your risks of blisters and other irritations for which socks provide you protection.
- Not wearing socks with certain footwear or situations may make you look uncouth.
Which leads us to our next question:
When is it OK to go without socks?
There are a few rules to follow when it comes to wearing shoes with no socks, at least according to fashion experts.
- When wearing shoes with no socks, it’s best to wear slim-fitting pants or jeans.
- Your pants and jeans should finish above the ankle.
- Going without socks may make you look more sophisticated but keep in mind that certain formal situations require you to wear socks with your dress shoes.
- Break in your shoes before going sockless in them. Doing so helps prevent blisters.
- You need to do more than just washing your feet before going sockless or you risk never-welcome foot odor. So, scrub your feet vigorously and then line the insides of your shoes with baking powder, baby powder, or anything that keeps bacteria and fungus at bay.
- Loafers and boat shoes are great options if you prefer to go sockless. Some even argue that you should choose loafers for your first foray into the world of no socks. It’s safe and it looks good.
Do you have a favorite pair of socks? If so, why do you like them? And, have you worn any of those listed here? We welcome your comments and suggestions!