The humble sock. Often one of the first things we put on in the morning and one of the last items to be replaced in our wardrobe. Unless there’s a hole in the toe or it’s Christmas and you have a present from your Aunt Mildred, how often are you getting new socks really?
The thing about socks is that they’re one of the most utilitarian items of clothing you own. Sure, you dress for seasonality and occasion, but it doesn’t usually go much further than that. But who’s wearing tube socks to a funeral or Alpaca wool socks to the gym.
The lowly sock seems to have a bad rep as a forgettable piece of clothing. Well, I think that’s unfair. I’m always looking out for the underdog, you see. So, I thought I’d use this space to highlight fourteen of the best socks that fit into any part of your life. Kick back, take your shoes off, stretch those little tootsies of yours, and enjoy.
The Best Everyday/Casual Socks
Arvin Goods Old Skool Crew Socks
In the coveted spot on J. Crew of “Brands We Love” is Arvin Goods, a brand with a focus on sustainability and American style. These Old Skool Crew Socks are a wonderful addition to your underwear drawer with their classic striped-ring crew and a comfortable recycled blend cotton-poly for a level of comfort and support for all-day wear.
Uniqlo 50 Colors Socks
Yes, you read that right. Uniqlo’s classic socks come in 50 – that’s five-zero – shades. With more choices than your local Baskin-Robbins, one may feel a little overwhelmed on which color to choose. Luckily, at $4, you can really stock up. With a bit of piping and a thin, breathable material, these great socks can double for a summer wedding or the ambiguous “business casual” quite easily.
Madewell American Trench Retro Stripe Quarter Crew
A perfect sock to tug over a pair of kicks or to tuck into a Chelsea boot, American Trench’s quarter crews are a dream. I love the 70’s feel of the multi-colored stripes mixed with the thick cottoned sole to balance style and substance. It’s a three-pack at a great value for Madewell. Stock up on some of the best socks around. Now.
MUJI Men Organic Cotton Right Angle Rib Sock
For fans of stationery and classic menswear staples, Muji is already a familiar name. A poly-blend sock of cotton, polyester, and spandex, these are the best socks to slip on and head out the door for work or a coffee. While not as many choices as the Uniqlo option, they can keep up. And at $5 a pair here, you can definitely refresh your wardrobe with a couple options of the best socks.
The Best Dress Socks
J. Press Over-Calf Hose Wool Socks
A classic American Ivy brand, I would have been remiss to not include J. Press on this list. The over-calf hose wool sock may be an outlier in the list for its length and austerity, but neither of those things worry me. It’s a great sock. A classic. It’ll go with anything. And, really, this is just your gateway drug into bigger and better J. Press items (think their infamous Shaggy Dog Sweaters).
Goldtoe Middleton Rib Crew
I personally know three types of people who love Goldtoe socks (I’m sure there are many more, but I can only speak for myself): college girls who trek across campus, college professors in the English Department of my alma mater, and my uncles. I think Goldtoe is a good way to balance the line between functionality and style. The Middleton model has a more classic hosiery look without the effete feel one sometimes has in such undergarments. And, as with most Goldtoe products, it’s incredibly comfortable and insulating.
London Sock Co. Mayfair II
My God, do I love the Brits. They know how to turn out for big events and especially in the flamboyant accessorizing they have down to a T. Big hats and colorful socks seem to punctuate the grey doldrums of Spring weddings in London and the surrounding counties. London Sock Co’s Mayfair II is a confectionary three-pack of some of the best socks in gemstone hues to break up the usual drab menswear that many of us default to here in the U.S.
The Best Athletic Socks
Adidas Trefoil Quarter Socks
In terms of value and performance, these Adidas socks perform way above their punching weight. A classic for many gym-goers, the Trefoil Quarter socks are designed for comfort and ease. With a ribbed cuff to avoid slippage and a comfortable arch for support, the childhood acronym of yore could easily be “All Day I Dream About…Socks”.
Lululemon MicroPillow Tab Running Socks
Some socks are made. Others darned. These have been engineered. Lululemon has thought of every possible outcome in sock-owning and flipped it on its head. From a mesh construction for maximum breathability to zinc-infused yarn to help with odors to soft cushioning throughout (hence its name), the MicroPillow Tab a serious contender for any athlete.
Nike Elite Crew Basketball Socks
Look, I’m no basketball player (read: I’m 5-foot 9-inches), but man, I love these socks. Nike’s history in the performance and athletic space shines in the basics, I think. What’s great about these socks is the zonal cushioning, which helps on the court as much as for daily use on one’s feet. Further, it’s a small thing, but there’s a specific demarcation between left and right feet, so they’ll keep their shape longer.
Bombas Performance Running Ankle Sock
Bombas do it right. What looks like a random band of color in these socks is actually a modified arch support with additional wicking capabilities. For such a small amount of real estate, Bombas pack an enormous amount of comfort. And with a 6-pack, you’re set for a couple weeks for the gym at least.
The Best Cozy Socks
Gardenheir Lambswool Mid-Calf Socks
My favorite brand I discovered this year has a luxurious set of socks that comes in six shades. Made from lambswool, they’re an incredibly soft sock that transitions easily from days in the garden to subsequent nights in front of the firepit relaxing. They are currently sold out but keep these socks on your radar because they are among the best we’ve come across.
Bombas Merino Wool Calf Socks
It’s no accident that Bombas would show up a couple of times on this list. They just make some of the best socks on the market. The merino wool calf sock has the softness I desire when I’m lounging with a bit of structure to keep the soft fabric from totally sliding down my leg. They come in a variety of neutrals, so can easily match your favorite pair of pyjamas (I take my comfort very seriously).
Roots Mens Classic Cotton Cabin Sock
I love these socks for the simple fact that they remind me of some bygone days of lumberjacking and being able to go to college on a milkman’s salary. But, besides that, they look incredibly cushiony and have a great marled fabric with a nice red accent. Perfect for cozy evenings in or apres ski, I think these can go way beyond the bedroom for long term use. And, what’s better, once they wear out, you can probably make a sock monkey with them. Win-win.