6 types of socks (and when to wear them) + sock lengths explained

July 22, 2019

This short article is everything about different kinds of socks and sock lengths, consisting of when to wear each type and suggested brands.

In this guide, you’ll know about:

  • Sock Lengths
  • Cushion vs. No Cushion
  • Sock Materials/Fabrics
  • Best Socks For Insert Activity

Click the above links to leap to a particular section, or read on!

Crew socks. Over the calf. No show socks. Ankle-length socks. Cotton, wool, artificial, silk. Light cushion, heavy cushion, no cushion …

There are lots of, many different kinds of socks to select from. How do you understand which socks to purchase? How can you be sure that you’re wearing the right socks with different types of trousers & shoes?

When you choose a pair of socks, what’s the best length?

I am insomnia at night for these boring problems, and after that compose the most detailed, extensive short article on the Internet about sock types.

How do I choose socks in the morning
How do I choose socks in the morning

If you likewise have questions about socks, you’re in the right place.

Now, we will teach you how to pick the socks ideal for any circumstance. Whether you’re a business bro or a broke university student with a budding interest in the goth ninja visual (streetwear), I have got you covered.

First of all, if we don’t talk about the length of the socks, we can’t talk about the type of socks.

These two ideas are almost associated …


A lot of individuals conflate sock type and sock length, which is confusing since length ≠ type.

Type is more about product and purpose. Is it a cotton crew sock? A wool dress sock? A casual sock? A hiking ankle sock?

The sock length is just one crucial aspect to consider. However, there’s more to socks than just their height.

And I simply realize why I like socks very much. Just my height, too, you know? I’m complex and intriguing and YOU OUGHT TO HAVE GIVEN ME AN OPPORTUNITY, KAREN !?

Sorry, I. don’t understand what entered into me. Where were we? Right, sock length …

Socks Lengths show for free to pin or share
Socks Lengths show for free to pin or share

Although there’s more to socks than their height length, it is extremely important, so it’s what we’ll focus on right now.

There’s no basic calling convention for stock lengths, so you’ll see different terms utilized to describe the same thing.

Throughout my research, I couldn’t assist, however, think that individuals are overcomplicating this. Let’s keep it basic.

Below are the lengths of all different socks, from the shortest to the highest:


These aren’t technically “socks” per se. However, they do develop a barrier between your foot and your shoe, so I include them here.

I’m not discussing comfort insoles like those squishy blue Dr. Scholl’s inserts you get at Walgreens.

I’m speaking about soft fabric inserts that serve as soft, moisture-soaking up layers between your skin and your shoe’s insole.

Cotton Terry Barefoot Insole
Cotton Terry Barefoot Insole

These resemble socks because they’re made from natural fibres (or natural-synthetic blends) and require to be washed in between uses.

For what it’s worth, I’ve discovered absence socks to be more useful, as these inserts tend to slip around or lot up as I stroll.

But this will vary depending upon the shape of your feet, and some people swear by fabric insoles.

If you don’t like any program socks, certainly give liners a shot.


These are also named loafer socks or low-profile socks, but the majority of people describe them as no-show socks.

Don’t like crew socks and over-the-calf socks, absence socks are developed to be invisible. They’re suggested to be worn with leading shoes like tennis shoes, loafers, moccasins and boat shoes.

no show socks
no show socks

Absence socks are ideal for the summer season, particularly if you like using shorts. They’re likewise great to use with cropped or cuffed trousers and chinos throughout the warmer months.

Approved, the “ankle cleavage” look isn’t for everybody. Some people hate this look and think it’s simply a trend. However, I like showing some ankle by rocking the “sockless” appearance, especially with low leading sneakers and driving mocs.

Using my Falke Invisible Step absence socks with grey canvas Vans.

socks with on show socks
socks with on show socks

I believe this is an ageless look that’s not going anywhere anytime quickly, and it feels great to let your ankles breathe during those sweltering summer months.

That said, I do not think the sockless look works with formal attire unless you’re at a casual summer event.

If you’re wearing a navy fit with double monks, over-the-calf socks are the apparent option. Absence socks look a bit off (in my viewpoint).

However, if you’re using a tan linen fit with brown suede loafers for a summer wedding, by all methods, select absence socks.


Ankle socks are longer than absence socks but shorter than crew socks. They end right at, you thought it, your ankles, and they’re not indicated to be undetectable.

It’s my viewpoint that ankle socks should be booked for practical functions like running, treking or playing sports.

ankle socks
ankle socks

I use Asics ankle-length running socks whenever I go for a jog. These are the ideal height for running shoes (you know because a running shoe brand name designed them).

However, in any other situation, these would not make sense. I can’t consider a non-active situation in which a different kind of sock wouldn’t be a much better choice.

ankle socks with shoe
ankle socks with shoe

Low-top sneakers and ankle socks are never a great appearance. Just go with no-show socks rather!

My advice? If you’re wearing ankle socks with shorts, attempt absence socks rather. If you’re wearing them with trousers, the length isn’t as essential; however, I’d still go with undetectable socks or taller socks (crew length or over the calf).


These are likewise called micro crew socks or mini crew socks. I’ve even seen them called quarter crew socks, as most brands’ shop crew socks have various lengths.

The point is that these are longer than ankle socks but much shorter than standard socks.

This implies they’re about six ″ tall and end above the ankle and below mid-calf.

short crew socks
short crew socks

These can be fantastic when you’re wearing high or mid-leading shoes, and you want to prevent chafing around your ankles.

I use quarter length wool socks when hiking, even in the summer season time. This will protect your ankle from sharp plant and insect bites.

Quarter-length socks can be worn with trousers too, and they’re a great option to crew length or over the calf socks when it’s hot out.

However, if you like to wear your trousers without any break (the “cropped” appearance), quarter-length socks might not provide sufficient coverage when you take a seat, and your trousers ride up your legs.

For me, quarter-length socks are like ankle socks. They’re functional, not trendy.


These are most likely the most popular socks in the majority of guys’ drawers and the majority of department stores’ underwear areas.

The crew’s socks are higher than your ankles and end up at your calf height. They will be longer than loafer socks or ankle socks, but will not reach the knees.

crew socks
crew socks

The majority of crew-length socks are made from 100% cotton, although cotton-polyester blends and other artificial products are increasingly popular, and you can discover crew socks made from wool or perhaps silk.

However, yarns such as wool and silk are often used for more beautiful socks and are generally not suitable for stocking socks (compared to higher socks).

For “average” size feet (between 8-12 in American men’s shoes), versatile crew socks will work well.

If your feet are bigger or smaller than average, I advise trying to find crew socks that come in various sizes.

I use a size 7 (U.S. men’s) in most shoes, so I typically look for crew socks that come in smaller-sized sizes.

If your socks are too huge, they’ll drop your calf throughout the day, which gets irritating.

This feels nearly as bad as when you’re cleaning your hands, and the water starts adding your arm into your t-shirt sleeve …

If they’re too small, they may limit blood circulation. If in doubt, try to find the right socks for your feet, not just a fixed size.


Over-calf socks(OTC) are typically seen as “dressier” than crew-length socks, so they’re frequently made from greater-end materials like wool or silk (or some sort of blend).

Naturally, there are a lot of cotton and synthetic over-the-calf socks out there too.

Compared to crew-length socks, the significant advantage of OTC socks is the fact that they do not drop your calf with time.

over the calf socks
Over-the-calf socks

They struck listed below your knee, and the round, tapered shape of your calf prevents these socks from sagging with every action.

These Corgi socks fit well– the toe box and heel remain in simply the right place.

When looking for over-the-calf socks, consider what type of shoes and attires you’ll be using them with.

If you plan to wear oxford shoes in the summer, you’ll want thin, breathable OTC socks made from fine, dressy products (like light-weight wool, cotton or silk).

Go with thicker wool for additional heat if you’re going to wear them with boots in the winter.


Sometimes you require a little extra assistance between your foot and your shoe. Or possibly your shoes are simply a tiny bit too loose, and you want to include some additional padding.

In this case, try to find socks with a bit of cushion through the heel and ball of your foot.

I choose thicker socks during fall and winter when I’m using boots. I discovered that the additional heat and padding is comfier.

Wool socks and suede boots
Wool socks and suede boots

Cushioned Smartwool socks with suede Chelsea boots.

Many sock makers make socks with different levels of cushion, from no cushion to heavy cushion.

My boots are usually paired with Smartwool. I have found their medium cushion wool socks to be some of the most long-lasting and comfy cold-weather socks on the market.

If they do not fit snugly sufficiently), darn Tough likewise makes fantastic socks with plenty of cushions that are ideal for cold weather conditions and wearing with boots (specifically.


In addition to the ubiquitous 100% cotton socks, you’re visiting a great deal of material blends nowadays (e.g., cotton polyester or wool-cashmere).

Not to point out, more and more fabric makers and clothes brands are making their own efficiency fabrics, which are generally natural-synthetic blends or even 100% artificial.

Therefore, be sure to check the actual material structure of any socks you purchase on the product packaging or the page.

Here’s a quick introduction to the various kinds of fabrics utilized to make socks, along with their homes:


  • Soft but strong.
  • Retains heat.
  • Extends quickly.

Cotton is frequently combined with artificial fibres for much better efficiency and sturdiness.

100% cotton socks benefit sportswear or elegant outfits, however, don’t rely on them for efficient wear (like working out).

Cotton is the most used material for all our custom socks.


  • Wrinkle resistant.
  • Stretchy, however durable (holds shape).
  • Absorbs wetness and odour.

Wool is nature’s performance material. It’s an amazing natural fibre that can take in moisture and odour, keep you warm or cool, and hold its shape after lots of washes.

For these reasons, wool socks are perfect for hiking (specifically if you want to load light, as you can wear the same socks several times without cleaning– let them dry and air out).


  • Silky and breathable.
  • Hypoallergenic and antimicrobial.
  • More long-lasting than cotton.

Bamboo is among the fastest-growing plants in the world, and its fibres are becoming an extremely popular product for clothing, including socks.

Remember that “bamboo socks” are not made from 100% bamboo.

They’re made from rayon, Athey’s made from rayon, a “manufactured fibre made from regrown cellulose fibre” (according to Wikipedia).

Doesn’t rather have the very same ring to it as bamboo socks.

The point is, rayon can be made with other sources of cellulose; however, bamboo is a significantly popular choice due to its soft, resilient feel and its hypoallergenic and antimicrobial residential or commercial properties.


  • Steady and strong.
  • Soft like cotton.
  • Resilient.

Modal, specifically Micro-Modal, is a type of rayon– generally stemmed from beech trees– that’s just as soft (or softer) than cotton, however, that outperforms cotton in lots of methods.

Modal is more resistant to diminishing in the washer/dryer, and it has integrated with wetness-wicking homes.

Micro-Modal is an outstanding, elegant product for underwear, undershirts and, naturally, socks.

I specifically love Modal Absence socks.


  • Strong natural fibre.
  • Light and elastic.
  • Sweat sensitive.
silk fiber
silk fiber

Silk is an elegant natural fibre that can be comfortable for your skin; however, it should be prevented at all expense in the heat (or if your feet tend to sweat).

The huge bulk of people will never (and most likely need to never) use 100% silk socks. They just do not make sense compared to other materials.


  • Lightweight and soft.
  • Water-resistant.
  • Very insulating.
alpaca wool
alpaca wool

Alpaca wool is like sheep wool on steroids. Soft and lightweight like cashmere, alpaca wool is naturally water-resistant and wrinkle-resistant.

It’s likewise fantastic for cold weather, as alpaca wool is warmer than, state, Merino wool.

This stuff is expensive; however, lots of people swear by it. I own one pair of alpaca socks that are best for the winter season (with boots) and have lasted for several years.


  • Luxuriously soft.
  • Lightweight.
  • Naturally insulating.

If wool had a handsome, abundant older bro who just flies very first class and hasn’t purchased his groceries in years, his name would be Cashmere.

Made from soft Cashmere goat hair, this glamorous material is incredibly soft, lightweight, and insulating.

It’s ideal for crew length or over-the-calf dress socks throughout the cooler season, or anytime you just wish to spoil your toes a bit.


  • Keep dye.
  • Dries quickly.
  • Not breathable.
Grey dye cotton polyester fabric texture, detailed closeup, vintage fabric.

Polyester is a synthetic fibre made from petroleum, that’s often combined with natural fibers like cotton to harness its specific residential or commercial properties in smaller sized concentrations.

A small amount of polyester will help the socks to be brightly coloured. It also allows the socks to dry faster (compared to 100% cotton).

But 100% polyester socks are not a good choice, and they won’t be as breathable or comfortable as most other products.


In any scenario, there’s going to be a mix of length, product, and cushioning that works best.

For example, if you’re going skiing, you most likely wish to wear cushioned wool crew socks.

If you’re using boat shoes for a yard barbecue, you probably want to use cotton no-show socks (or perhaps even no socks at all).

Calf socks with fine cotton are your finest choice if you’re going to a task interview in a match and tie.

Selecting the very best socks is rather subjective. Some people will desire more ankle when hiking. Some choose more cushions when exercising.


I hope this socks guide helps you understand which kinds of socks to wear for any circumstance.

Keep in mind, that it’s not just about sock length, but also about material and cushioning.

Please leave a comment below or contact us if you have any concerns or suggestions for great sock brands!

Other More Maby You Need:

Basics of custom socks – Materials/Yarn

Basics of custom socks – socks length

Basics of custom socks – Sizing

Custom Sock Options

More useful articles for custom socks:

Sock Illustrator/Photoshop Design Mockup Guide

Custom Socks Package(Label/Carton/Bag) Guide

Hand Draw Sock Template Guide

Free Download Center

Past Socks Design

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