Dress socks are a critical piece to any formal man’s wardrobe. Not only do they provide additional comfort when wearing dress shoes, but they also subtly demonstrate your own unique sense of style.
When researching the best dress socks, you will find that they come in many different materials, fits, lengths, colors, and very few do as well at demonstrating strength in all of these key areas such as the socks made by the Boardroom Socks we reviewed.
In this guide, we will list the finest dress socks currently available.
Best Dress Socks Reviewed
Designed and made here in the USA (North Carolina), Boardroom Socks are the quintessential dress sock that should be in every man’s wardrobe. The authentic USA roots demonstrate the high level of craftsmanship and that we can still make quality textiles stateside.
What makes these dress socks so special is the material coupled with their construction. By relying on a high-quality merino wool fabric, these dress socks will wick moisture to keep your feet nice and dry throughout the day.
With fabric reinforcement at the heel and toe area, these socks should be plenty durable to last several wears before showing any signs of use.
While above is just the black variant, Boardroom Socks makes the mid-calf merino dress sock in a variety of colors.
View the Full Review: Boardroom Socks Review
Best for: men who want comfortable feet when working 9 to 5 at the office.
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Amazon is quickly turning heads in the men’s fashion industry by making quality garments at an affordable price. But what truly makes their Buttoned Down dress socks so special that they deserve your consideration is their composition.
Relying on a high-quality Pima cotton (65%), this long-staple cotton will be super soft and breathable – making them comfortable to wear particularly in the warmer months of the year. While this sock relies on an additional blend of nylon, polyester, and elastane for both structure and durability, the majority cotton blend is what you will particularly feel once you slide them on.
Available in a few different colors and patterns, these will match well with the dress clothes in your wardrobe.
Additionally, these cotton socks will fit shoe sizes 8 to 16.
Best for: men that want a comfortable cotton blend dress sock.
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If Nike and Brooks Brothers had a child, then the Ministry of Supply Atlas Crew Sock would be the offspring. By merging key qualities found in both athletic performance and formal dress socks, the Atlas Crew hits a home run when it comes to odor control.
These sweet-looking dress socks rely on some intense fabric engineering to keep your feet both odor and sweat-free. In order to achieve this, Ministry of Supply relies on both targeted ventilation through the fabric along coffee-infused fabric for odor control. Together, you have a dress sock that keeps your feet feeling fresh long after your 9 to 5 day is over.
If that weren’t enough, the Atlas Crew Socks rely on recycled materials to lower the impact on the environment.
Who said you can’t have your cake and eat it, too?
Best for: men who want to get their sweaty and smelly feet under control.
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Be bold and express yourself. Those are the first words you will think of when considering any of the dress socks from Happy Socks. Bright and colorful, these dress socks not only make for a great gift but more importantly, an outlet to express your unique personality.
Perfect to wear in an informal office, or even with a nice pair of chinos or raw denim jeans – they are available in a multitude of colors and patterns.
Crafted from a blend of cotton (72%), polyamide (27%), and elastane (1%), you can expect these socks to feel mighty comfortable once you slide them on.
If you are looking for patterned dress socks – then consider these by Happy Socks.
Best for: men who want to make a statement through their clothing items.
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A trusted clothing brand for the working man, Bonobos knows how to make a good piece of clothing that men absolutely love – and that couldn’t be more evident than with their Soft Everyday Socks.
Constructed from a soft Pima cotton (72%), polyester (25%), and spandex (3%) fabric blend, these socks will keep your feet warm while offering plenty of breathability to prevent moisture buildup thanks to the ventilated design.
With the addition of spandex to the fabric blend, you can expect these socks to stay up when worn for extended periods – no adjustments necessary.
Unlike cheesy novelty socks, these dress socks by Bonobos have some nice and subtle patterns that are workplace appropriate while casually making a style statement.
Additionally, these dress socks have a cushioned footbed that allows for great comfort, a particularly important feature should you be on your feet for an extended period.
Available in a myriad of patterns and two sizes (S-M / 6-9, M-L / 9.5-13), most guys should have no problem finding the perfect sock.
Best for: men that want a daily-wear mid-calf dress sock.
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If you are looking for over-the-calf socks that will stay put throughout the day, then the Gold Toe Men dress socks should be considered. Crafted from 100% nylon, these super durable socks will naturally wick moisture from your feet.
While pictured above is from their Metropolitan line, Gold Toe makes this over-the-calf sock in a few different lines including Stanton, Harrington, Canterbury, and more. All these lines differ in moisture control, fabric composition, and cushioning – which is good should you not find the 100% nylon blend ideal.
With a firm over-the-calf fit, you never have to worry about these socks falling down or needing to be readjusted throughout the day. Additionally, if you like to cross your legs while sitting, you never have to worry about your skin showing.
Available in three different colors including black, brown, and navy – these socks should pair with your dress pants or preferred dress shoe. No pattern options are available.
Best for: men who want a sock that stays up all day long.
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Diabetic socks offer a unique construction that doesn’t restrict blood flow when worn for an extended period. It’s through this need that the EMEM diabetic dress socks are special in their own right. With a non-binding top that rises to the mid-calf, these will feel looser and more comfortable.
Relying on a cotton blend, these socks will also be plenty breathable. There is a touch of polyester and spandex that will help retain the shape and increase durability.
Available in several different colors (no patterns), they should pair well with all your dress clothes.
Best for: men looking for a non-binding diabetic dress sock.
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If you are over 6′ and find that most dress socks just simply don’t fit well on your naturally larger frame, then you should consider the specially made big and tall dress socks by Polo Ralph Lauren.
Designed for shoe sizes 13 to 16, these dress socks are designed for large feet and won’t be stretched thin when you pull them up.
These mid-calf socks are primarily made from cotton and feature a ribbed top. There is a touch of spandex (3%) added to the fabric blend to ensure that they don’t fall down at all. Additionally, these socks feature antimicrobial properties so your feet won’t smell.
Best for: men with large feet and want a dress sock that fits.
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Men are quickly discovering the quality that Bombas delivers when it comes to all sorts of socks. Whether it’s a pair of no-show, crew, or dress socks – their craftsmanship is top-notch. Their merino wool dress sock is no exception here.
Able to naturally wick moisture, reduce odor, and keep your feet warm but not too overly hot through its temperature regulation properties, merino wool is a great primary fabric when it comes to dress socks.
What makes these socks by Bombas so special compared to other merino wool socks is the small details. These dress socks feature their proprietary sure-fit cuff, seamless toe, and honeycomb art support. All this combined ensures that you have a dress sock that stays put throughout the day.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, for every sock you buy through Bombas they will donate one to a homeless shelter.
Best for: men that want temperature-regulated and comfortable merino wool dress socks.
The Bottom Line
If you are on your feet all day, then you know that thin dress socks are not ideal as they provide next to nothing when it comes to cushioning and seam reinforcement that can quickly develop holes or signs of wear.
Therefore, if you want extra cushioning and support, then you should consider the orthopedic-focused Dr. Scholl’s Men’s Non-Binding Crew Sock. With reinforced cushioning along the footbed paired with a smooth toe seam, these won’t feel like your typical dress socks.
Rising to the mid-calf, these socks won’t get in the way when working. Lastly, they use Silvadur antimicrobial technology that does a good job at resisting odor.
Best for: men who are on their feet and want added cushioning in their dress socks.
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Cashmere is silky smooth, warm, and naturally moisture-wicking. Like a quality men’s sweater, cashmere socks are a welcomed addition to any man’s wardrobe. Mack Weldon hits all the right notes when it comes to fine craftsmanship. For the body of the sock, they rely on a durable double-fiber construction that makes this sock an ideal candidate for daily wear.
Furthermore, they employ a seamless toe and heel that won’t cause discomfort or blisters when worn for prolonged periods.
While this is marketed as a cashmere dress sock, Mack Weldon does rely on a touch of nylon (only 6%) likely to help the stock stay put and retain its body.
While the price of these socks is higher than most (nearly $70 for a single pair), you quickly forget all of that once you slide them on.
Best for: men that want a soft and luxury dress sock.
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8 Considerations When Buying Dress Socks
While you may already have a good idea of what you want in a dress sock, we wanted to share with you a few additional features to give you a better idea of the options available:
1. Sock Material
Dress socks come in four primary material groups – they are as follows:
- Cotton: This breathable material is lightweight and perfect for summer months. While not as stretchy as other materials reviews, cotton may lose its shape after several wears. Cotton comes in many different grades including pima and supima cotton.
- Merino Wool: Receiving a lot of popularity in recent years, merino wool is an animal-derived material that is naturally moisture-wicking. Additionally, merino wool resists odor all while feeling comfortable against your skin.
- Spandex/Elastane: This material is found in small quantities within dress socks and helps to keep the sock close to your legs when worn. Seek out this material if you are tired of your dress socks always falling down after a few uses.
- Nylon/Polyester: These man-made fabrics are intensely durable and naturally moisture-wicking. However, they have a bad reputation for not being nearly as breathable or soft. This is a good choice if you find that your dress socks always get holes in them.
2. Sock Fit
There are two features regarding fit to be mindful of when considering your options– those are the fit of the sock and the thickness of the fabric itself.
The fit of Sock: Do you prefer a dress sock that has a snug fit or one a little looser? Typically a standard dress sock should fit snug around your feet. Make sure that you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations based on shoe size. Go up or down in size if you prefer an extremely tight or loose fit.
Material thickness: The thinness of the material can help to increase breathability while also reducing foot odor. Many men may have different socks for different seasons – such as cotton socks for summer and wool socks for winter. Plan accordingly based on the climate where you live. However, with thinner socks, there is less material to absorb sweat, so it does become a game of give-and-take. Dress socks typically aren’t as thick as traditional athletic socks.
3. Sock Comfort Features
Beyond fit and material, many dress socks may contain additional features that can make a major difference in comfort. Here are a few that we came across in our research:
- Moisture Wicking: This is an important feature, especially if you have profusely sweaty feet that may even lead to blisters. Moisture wicking technology pulls the sweat away from your skin to the surface of the fabric ensuring your feet stay dry. As an added bonus, this fabric also does a great job at reducing odor.
- Sock Padding: If your work demands that you are on your feet all day, additional sock padding can be a small but nice feature to prevent fatigue. Expect to find this on the heel, footbed, and toe area.
- Silver: Some companies embed silver into the fabric as it is effective at neutralizing odor. Look for this feature if you want to keep smelly feet at bay.
4. Sock Size
While sizing for dress socks may vary from one company to another, we found the following to be a good guide, especially if the company doesn’t have a size chart available (or if you are shopping on a major retailers website):
|Shoe Size||Sock Size|
|Size 5 or lower||Extra-small|
|Size 5 to 6 ½||Small|
|Size 7 to 8||Medium|
|Size 8 ½ to 10||Large|
|Size 10 ½ to 11 ½||Extra Large|
|Size 12 to 13 ½||2X Large|
|Size 14 or higher||3X Large|
5. Sock Length
Dress socks come in two popular lengths: mid-calf and over-the-calf. Here’s how each of them differs:
- Mid-Calf: These are going to be slightly higher than traditional crew socks. However, compared to over-the-calf, mid-calf is a touch more comfortable when worn for extended periods. Additionally, this dress sock is also a bit more casual.
- Over-the-Calf: More formal and traditional of the two. However, the biggest advantage that many men like about this cut is that they rarely slip down. Additionally, should you sit with your legs crossed and the pant leg hikes up, no skin will be exposed.
6. Color Options
When buying dress socks, it’s a smart move to purchase them to compliment what you intend to wear. Here are a few style tips to keep in mind when buying dress socks:
- Bright Colors: A new trend in recent years is that men are beginning to demonstrate their unique sense of style through colorful sock choices. This color choice is ideal for semi-formal or for office wear only as it can be a bit too casual for a formal meeting with a client.
- Patterns: A subtle pattern for dress socks can work for semi-formal to near formal settings. Exercise judgement here as some patterns such as bold and bright polka dots may be best reserved for casual wear.
- Shoe Color: The old rule that many men still follow to this day is to match the sock color to the color of the shoe, usually a brown or black color. This is a safe pick and one that should be done for meetings, interviews, etc.
- Tie Color: Similar to adding a splash of color above, matching dress socks to your tie is a subtle way to bring your overall style together. To really make everything click, try to also coordinate this with a pocket square.
- Trouser Color: Another safe pick is to match your sock color to the trousers or dress pants you plan to wear. However, this may be difficult if your socks are several shades away from the trouser color – so pick carefully to try and match them up as best as possible.
7. Sock Brand
Like all products, you may consider buying, going with a reputable brand is always a good first step as it often correlates to a quality-made product. Here are a few good dress sock brands:
- Calvin Klein
- Gold Toe
- Ralph Lauren
- Boardroom Socks
- Happy Socks
- Stance Socks (novelty)
Dress Socks Frequently Asked Questions
When should I wear dress socks?
For the most part, dress socks should always be worn with dress pants and chinos. However, some dress shoes like the monk strap or loafer may be worn with no-show socks instead of formal dress socks – if worn with shorts or even cuffed pants during the summer months.
Where can I find dress socks that are not tight around the ankles?
If you want a looser fit to the dress sock that isn’t tight around your ankles, then you should consider buying diabetic socks. These socks have a looser fit along the top.
How should dress socks fit?
A good dress sock should fit snug, but not tight, around your legs. Socks should leave deep indentations on your skin when taking them off (although some slight indentation is expected). Unlike crew or tube socks, a dress sock is much thinner.
How do I wash dress socks?
How you wash dress socks depends on their fabric composition. Most socks are machine wash and hang dry. Double-check the care instructions prior to washing.
Shawn Burns is the founder and senior editor of Tools of Men. He started this site with the goal of teaching men proper grooming habits and sensible style. Shawn’s expertise includes in-depth product reviews and how-to articles. Shawn was recently featured in the Wall Street Journal for his expertise.