No-show. Crew. Over the calf. Ankle length. There are many different types of socks to choose from, but with so many options, how do you make sure you’re wearing the right type of socks for the occasion and to complement your outfit?
Picking the perfect length of socks is probably not the sort that dilemma that will keep you up at night, and with this in-depth guide to help you, hopefully it will stay that way. So, what do you need to know?
No-show socks, also known as trainer socks or low-profile socks, are designed not to be seen. They finish just below the ankle and are not visible above the collar or tongue of the shoe to give you a ‘sockless’ look.
No-show socks are most commonly worn with trainers, loafers, moccasins and boat shoes, primarily in the summer months when it feels liberating to have a little less fabric next to your skin. They can also be worn as women’s and men’s sport socks and are particularly well-suited to shorts, chinos or cropped trousers. Here’s some more no-show sock guidance for men.
Although the ‘ankle cleavage’ look isn’t for everyone and tends to be favoured by younger men and women, the no-show sock has become more than a trend. It’s now become a timeless look that’s here to stay. However, you probably shouldn’t pair no-show socks with a formal outfit - that’s a step too far.
Next are the ankle or trainer socks. They are longer than no-show socks and finish along the ankle line. They are not meant to be invisible like no-show socks.
Ankle socks tend to be most commonly worn for leisure purposes, such as hiking, running and playing sports. They are the perfect height for this because they provide plenty of flexibility and versatility; they allow the air to get to the lower leg and are less likely to fall down than no-show socks.
As well as sport and leisure purposes, ankle length socks are commonly worn with casual shoes such as trainers. Many people also wear ankle socks with shorts to avoid having a taller sock showing on their legs (or getting a sock tan!).
Crew length socks are probably the most popular socks in the drawers and wardrobes of the UK, certainly among men. Crew socks are a good few inches longer than the ankle sock and reach up to the mid-calf.
Crew socks can be worn pulled all the way up or scrunched, depending on your preference. Some crew socks are also textured or have ribs, which is not only a stylish addition but also helps the socks hold their shape better and stay up.
Crew length socks pair well with any shoe, whether it’s casual or formal, and offer a high level of comfort for day-to-day wear. They’re also a good choice for the transitional seasons of autumn and spring when you need the warmth of a sock but do not want one that rises all the way up to the knee.
Over the calf socks are typically seen as the smartest of the sock lengths and are often made from high-quality fabrics such as cashmere, silk and wool. One of the advantages the above-the-calf has over the crew is the fact that the tapered shape of the calf makes them less likely to fall and sag over time.
When shopping for calf socks, be aware of the outfits and shoes you want to wear them. If you plan to wear them with formal shoes and a suit in the warmer months then thin, breathable socks made from materials like lightweight wool, cotton or silk will be your best bet. If you plan on wearing them with a skirt or boots in the winter, then a thicker wool will provide the extra warmth you need.
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