A sock is type of apparel worn on the feet and often cover the ankle and some portion of the calf (lower leg).  Socks are typically worn under some sort of footwear such as a shoe, sneaker or boot.  Socks come in a variety of colors, fiber content and sizes.  Although socks can be used as a fashion statement, they do have an important purpose for the wearer.  They can be used for comfort, protection, and the possible absorption of liquids. 

One of the roles of socks is absorbing or wicking perspiration.  The foot is among one of the heaviest producers of sweat in the body.   Depending on the fiber & fabric construction socks can help to absorb this sweat and draw it to areas where air can evaporate the perspiration.  Some fabrics have better wicking properties than others.

In cold environments, socks made from wool insulate the foot and decrease the risk of frostbite.   One of the benefits to wool is that it can retail heat even when wet.  Socks are also popular in cotton and other fibers.

Importance of Sock Colors: 

It is not set in stone, but there are common dress codes that often dictate the color of socks to be worn in certain occasions.  It is important to note that the rules of fashion do change from time to time for various reasons.  Current fashion trends and other societal issues can affect the rules of thumb for selecting sock colors.

The basic rule of thumb for men's socks is as follows: the color of your sock should match the color of your trousers.  That means wearing black socks with black trousers, dark gray socks with charcoal trousers, blue socks with your blue jeans, and so on.  This is a general rule of thumb but applies more in regard to business attire than when wearing casual pants such as jeans.

Sports Socks: In the past, athletic socks worn for sports had primarily been white in color.  Sports socks may also be colored to match a team uniform.  Much of the sock color issue depends on the sport.

Dress Socks: When dress shoes are worn for business or formal events they are traditionally worn with dark-colored socks.  The color of the dress socks often co-ordinate with the wearers pant color.  The shoes and belt should match one another, but the sock color would typically be guided by the pant color.  In the past, the colors worn with business attire had been rather conservative.  In more modern times, people have become a bit more flashy with color & design. 

Men's Dress Socks

We find in recent years that socks often don’t match the color of the pant any more.

Types of Socks:

Regarding the length aspect of the sock, there are three primary types of socks: low-cut, ankle, and knee-length socks.  The low-cut type can be for running, sports activities, relaxation, and other casual dressing.  They are good for the occasions at which you wear short pants, sneakers, or other casual shoes.  The socks with more length are possibly for some sports as well but also for dressier occasions.

Here is little information on a few of the different types of socks to consider.

Ankle Socks - Bare or ankle socks extend to the ankle or lower and are often worn casually or for athletic use. Bare socks are designed to create the look of "bare feet" when worn with shoes.  This sort of sock is not long, typically reaching just above the ankle. Anklets are sometimes folded or cuffed over. 

Ankle Socks

Compression Socks - compression socks are designed to gently squeeze legs a bit more than typical socks. They are produced in various lengths. The pressure these stockings put on your legs helps your blood vessels work better. The arteries that take oxygen-rich blood to your muscles can relax, so blood flows freely.

Crew Socks - Crew socks are short, thick everyday socks usually ribbed at the top of the ankles.   Crew socks are usually unisex but can be designed for a particular gener in mind.   The crew sock style is a short bulky usually ribbed sock.   Crew sock height can vary a lot, though most are about 6 to 8 inches from the heel to the top of the cuff.

Dress Socks : Dress socks are a type of hosiery worn by individuals for formal or semi-formal occasions, often paired with dress shoes and professional or elegant attire.

Men's Black Crew Socks

Tube Socks - a sock without a shaped heel.  Generally, covers the calf, but does not have to be that tall on the leg.

Boot Socks - fashionable socks worn with boots but purposefully exposed at the top of the boot for style purposes.

Low cut sock - this is a kind of sock that is cut below the ankle.  This type of sock uses a minimal amount of fabric to cover the foot.  Low cut socks are formed to cover the contours of feet.  Low cut socks are unisex.  Low cut socks are normally worn with shoes such as boat shoes, Oxfords, Moccasins, Loafers, etc.

Tab Socks - A tab sock has an additional portion of fabric that protects the upper heel and Achilles area of the foot.  Usually found on no-show and low-cut socks.

Hiking Socks - the type of sock you want to wear when going for long walks.  If you are planning to wear hiking boots, you should probably also wear hiking socks.


Sock History:

In ancient times, socks were made from leather or matted animal hair.  In the late 16th century, machine-knit socks were first produced. Until 1800 both hand knitting and machine knitting were used to produce socks, but after 1800, machine knitting became the predominant method.

Socks are manufactured in a variety of lengths and can have different purposes.  In addition to the numerous practical roles played by socks, they are also a fashion item, and they are available in myriad colors and patterns. 

Learn about sock sizing.

You may also want to learn about novelty socks and leggings.

If you work in the fashion industry, you may wish to also take a few minutes to learn a bit more about how socks are manufactured.

View fashion blog posts about socks.

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