Socks are an unsung hero of everyday life. Without them, our feet would be worse for wear, left to steep in a sneaker sweatbox. With them, our feet are afforded an extra layer of comfort as they carry us through our daily routine.
I, like most other guys, hadn’t put any thought into my sock selection until recently. When I needed new ones, I’d stock up with a some six-packs from the local department store and only return when holes appeared. But lately, with my age rising to match the hems on my trousers, socks are no longer just socks. Without getting too philosophical about something as simple as socks, there is no one pair that fits every situation — or every type of sneaker. Which is why it’s surprisingly vital to have a reliable sock rotation at the ready.
Whether it’s no-shows for the summer or beefy crew-lengths straight out of ‘50s gym class, these are the socks you need to keep you (and your feet) covered.
For low-profile sneakers like football-inspired adidas trainers or Vans style slip-ons, no-shows keep things no-fuss. They’re perfectly suited to help you through the summer, providing just enough coverage to minimize the sweat on your feet. However, it can be difficult to find no-shows that stay on your feet for an entire day.
Mr. Gray’s loafer socks do that well with silicon rubber grips at the heel, successfully staying out of view below the collar of your favorite sneakers. You can also stock up on the pile low-cut style from Uniqlo — three pairs for under $10 — which are a tad thicker and feature similar rubber pads. Nike’s dry cushion no-shows are popular as well and will wick away any moisture coming through on a hot summer’s day.
For socks that are as comfortable outdoors as they are inside the office, look no further. These may cost a few extra bucks, but they can take on bulky high-tops or slim low-tops with ease.
Smartwool’s classic rib pair is predominantly merino wool for added comfort and has enough cushioning for tallying multiple miles around town. Danner’s Drymax socks stay tight to your ankle all day and use an anti-microbial in the fabric to fight any unwanted odors no matter what shoe you’re wearing. While Anonymous Ism’s knit socks aren’t exactly subtle, they are well-made and pair great with some beat-up retro runners and worn-in denim. Finally, Norse Projects is always stocking a range of thoughtful sock options for men and women.
While investing in a few nice pairs of socks is recommended, the bargain bin selection can turn out well also. There’s a reason those multi-packs are so popular—they don’t over-promise and they’re not over-priced.
Workwear staple Dickies offers comfort crews that may look like old-school tube socks, but are hefty, tough, and cost less than $3 per pair. If those are a bit geriatric, Japanese minimalist Muji has turned its right-angle socks into a cult classic with thin, but sturdy, fabric and a bent shape that fits the foot more naturally. For your favorite low-profile skate shoes, these fit seamlessly with cuffed, wide-legged pants.
Workwear and everyday staple Hanes also offers options in every shape and variety, from no-show cuts to tube socks, and even dress socks for special occasions.
If you’re tucking your pants into your socks a la Kanye West or just cuffing them higher and higher, high-end designers want your socks to say something. With these, your brand loyalty will never be in doubt.
Vetements makes socks for the Instagram influencer who needs to connect their $1,000 track pants with their Yeezy 350s and these Reebok and Vetements-branded socks (FYI the normal “sexual fantasies” socks keep selling out, even on Grailed) fit right in. Virgil Abloh has turned the diagonal stripe into an Off-White calling card as well, and places it on its socks to match the rest of his collection. For something a bit simpler though, turn to both Rick Owens and Gosha Rubchinskiy, who have put their spin on things with more minimally branded pairs of their own.
For more of our favorite products – including sneakers, apparel, accessories and more – head to Highsnobiety’s curated shopping channel What Drops Now.