From the onset, purchasing a pair of socks seems like a straightforward purchase – find one with good reviews, toss them on under a pair of jeans and go about your day.
However, as any fashion-forward man can tell you, selecting the right pair of socks should not only withstand a full day of abuse but can also work to prevent your feet from stinking while at the same time demonstrating a subtle sense of style.
3 Quick Tips for Buying Great Socks
You’ve probably purchased tons of socks in your life, but take a moment to consider the following:
Here are a few quick things to remember about sock materials:
- Cotton: Naturally breathable and good if your shoes run a little hot. Cotton is affordable and always a home run.
- Spandex: This fabric is a staple in virtually every pair of socks. This is what gives the sock a nice bit of stretch.
- Wool: Found in hiking, winter, and dress socks, wool is naturally moisture-wicking. Go for merino wool if you have foot odor – merino wool is naturally antibacterial (source).
- Artificial: Fabrics such as polyester and nylon give socks structure and durability. Found in dress and athletic socks, artificial fabrics are less likely to rip and are moisture-wicking.
Socks come in four different heights, no-show, ankle, quarter, and crew:
- No-show: Great for loafers and summer wear, no-show socks keep your feet dry while giving the appearance that you are barefoot. Quality varies greatly here as some may easily slip off, causing a frustrating experience.
- Ankle: Designed for athletic purposes, the ankle sock is cut just above the shoe collar. This sock is best paired with shorts.
- Quarter: Halfway between ankle and crew socks you’ll find the quarter sock. This sock is designed to be worn with Chukka or Chelsea boots. Quarter socks protect your lower leg from the collar of the boot rubbing on your skin.
- Crew: Often extending above the calf, the crew sock is commonly found in sports, compression, and dress socks.
Socks come in three primary categories: casual, athletic, and dress. Consider the following when making your purchase:
- Casual: You’re looking mostly for comfort here. A cushioned footbed paired with breathable cotton works well together. Color can be white, gray, or black.
- Athletic: Moisture-wicking fabric is most important here as it will help to prevent blisters. Silver woven into the fabric can be a nice touch as it helps to keep things odor-free.
- Dress: Comfort and stretch are essential for dress socks. You want a pair that stays up all day and is comfortable, especially when worn with a pair of rigid Oxford shoes. Consider a merino wool fabric.
Best Socks for Men Reviewed
Materials: 48% Tencel, 21% Merino / 15% Recycled Nylon / 7% Recycled Polyester / 7% Polyester / 2% Spandex | Sock Height: Crew | Color Variants: 15 | Sizes Available: 4 | Noteworthy Tech: Renewable Materials / Moisture Wicking
Known for their knit running and casual shoes, Allbirds is making waves in the $80 billion dollar footwear industry (source). Founded in 2014, Allbirds is an eco-conscious brand that not only makes products in a sustainable and responsible manner but also gives back to the community by taking part in programs such as Soles4Souls (source). While they have a great story, the scope of this review is their popular no-show socks:
Whether you are wearing your favorite pair of shoes with shorts, boat shoes, or even dress shoes, the Trino no-show sock will stay put on your foot throughout the day. Allbirds is able to achieve this by having a non-slipping heel along with a high-cut design that wraps the top of your foot. But don’t worry, when worn with a lower-cut boat shoe, these socks are not visible.
Relying on soft modal fabric (Tencel) along with merino wool, these socks will feel super soft while exhibiting natural moisture-wicking properties. Therefore if your feet naturally sweat, the fabric will help to reduce odor or discomfort by drawing the sweat away from your feet. In addition to moisture management, merino wool is also a natural odor neutralizer so you won’t have to worry about how your feet smell when you take off your shoes after a long walk.
While color isn’t likely at the top of your mind when deciding on socks, especially those that are designed specifically not to be seen, we were happy to see the wide color range available. With 15 different colors to choose from, it’s a refreshing change from the standard black, white, or gray sock color offered by virtually every other brand out there.
Other Important Features
- Available in 4 sizes (S-XL) ranging from shoe sizes 5 to 14
- 30-day no questions asked return policy
- Simple care instructions – machine wash and tumble dry low
- Carbon neutral manufacturing process
- Fits true to size
- Smart design ensures it doesn’t slide off when worn
- The top-quality fabric keeps your feet dry and free of odor
- A wide array of color options available
- A bit pricey for a single pair
Materials: 70% Cotton / 28% Polyester / 2% Spandex | Sock Height: Quarter | Color Variants: 2 | Sizes Available: 2 (Shoe size 6-12 / 12-15) | Noteworthy Tech: Moisture Wicking / Arch Compression / Reinforced Heel & Toe
There is a lot to love about these quarter-length socks from Dickies.
Featuring their proprietary Dri-tech fabric, these Dickies socks are the perfect everyday sock for a lot of men.
Not only do they draw moisture away from your feet — which of course reduces both the occurrence of blisters and smelly feet — but they are also designed for the rigors of daily life.
With reinforced toes and heels coupled with arch compression, the bottom of your feet will feel like they are in the clouds when you slip these babies on.
Available in two sizes (shoe size 6-12 and 12-15) and two colors (black and white), they are nothing fancy and should serve most men.
The quarter-cut design also makes these perfect when paired with your favorite Chukkas.
When it comes to value, the Dickies deliver.
Retailing for about $2 per pair of socks, these are one of the most affordable picks on our list.
Now naturally given that these are mass-produced sock that is made to be affordable, we did come across a few quality issues reported by other men.
Therefore, if you decide on these, just give them a quick look over before wearing them.
- Reinforced bottom provides additional comfort
- Tremendous value
- Moisture wicking technology is welcomed
- Some quality control issues reported
What You Need To Know
Materials: 67% Merino Wool / 30% Nylon / 3% Spandex | Sock Height: Over the Calf | Color Variants: 10 | Sizes Available: 2 | Noteworthy Tech: Moisture Management / Reinforced Heel & Toe
If you are looking for a quality dress sock that you can be taken seriously in, then there is no better pick than the Boardroom Merino Wool Over The Calf dress sock. Made in North Carolina and constructed from fine merino wool, these dress socks will be a game-changer for your wardrobe – especially if you are currently wearing a thin and droopy dress sock. Here’s what we particularly liked about the Boardroom Dress Socks:
Relying on a fine merino wool fiber, the Boardroom dress socks are the perfect (and versatile) dress sock that can be worn in all seasons. By relying on merino wool, these socks will keep your feet feeling comfortable as the fabric will naturally wick moisture away from your feet keeping your feet both comfortable and dry.
In addition to moisture management, the merino wool has been paired with both nylon and Spandex which will allow the sock to stay up throughout the day. Unlike cheap dress socks that need to be pulled up once every few hours, when wearing these socks, no regular adjustments will be necessary.
Whether you like to keep things conservative and go with only dark solid colors (i.e. navy, black, etc.) or a subtle pattern, Boardroom socks offer a conservative design that doesn’t try to make a statement.
While funky designs have their place, if you want to be taken seriously around the office, then any one of the designs offered up by Boardroom Socks will be a solid pick.
In a world where everything gets outsourced to faraway countries with little to no quality control, it’s always refreshing to see a company that cares about its product rather than looking to make a quick buck. With roots going back to 1837, Boardroom takes great pride in the product that they produce here in the USA.
It’s one thing to say you care, but it’s another to stand by your product. Offering a 90-day satisfaction guarantee for all their socks, they will happily issue a refund or replace your socks if you aren’t satisfied.
Other Important Features:
- 2 sizes available that fit shoe sizes from 8 to 16
- Available in 1 or 12 pair packs – larger packs provide cost savings
- Heel and toe are reinforced so they last longer
- Mid-calf options are available
- Merino wool is naturally breathable and moisture-wicking
- USA-made means quality craftsmanship
- Wide color selection will work with any suit or dress pant color
- For a single pair of socks, they are a bit pricey (but worth it)
Materials: 52% Upcycled Cotton / 40% Recycled Polyester / 3% Nylon / 3% Spandex / 2% Elastic| Sock Height: No-Show | Color Variants: 4 | Sizes Available: 2 | Noteworthy Tech: Moisture Wicking / Elastic Cuff
To explain why this is so important, we recommend that you check out this interesting and powerful video (only 1:47 duration) by Arvin that demonstrates why thinking about your socks and underwear is important:
Cool stuff, eh?
It’s through this noble mission that we had to include these no-show socks…
…but great mission aside, their socks are also well received.
During our research, we saw other men state that they were “thick and soft” and were undoubtedly the “perfect no-show sock”.
Now when it comes down to the composition, these socks are crafted from the following materials:
- 52% Upcycled Cotton
- 40% Recycled Polyester
- 3% Nylon
- 3% Spandex
- 2% Elastic
As you can see, 92% of the actual sock is made from sustainably sourced materials while still relying on the essentials — notably nylon, spandex and elastic — in order to keep the sock firmly on your feet throughout the day.
Given that these socks are likely to be worn in the warmer summer months, moisture wicking is key in order to prevent sweat build-up and foul odors.
Some of the baked-in tech in this sock accounts for this and will keep your feet dry with no issues.
- Made in an environmentally conscious way
- Wicks away moisture to prevent sweat and odor
- Perfect for summer months
- Moderately priced
- Size limitations for large feet (max foot size 12)
What You Need To Know
Materials: 77% Supima Cotton / 14% Nylon / 7% Polyester / 2% Spandex | Sock Height: Crew | Color Variants: 2 | Sizes Available: 1 (Shoe Size 8.5 – 13) | Noteworthy Tech: Premium Materials
If there is any one president of the United States known for their style, it would have to be John F. Kennedy.
Known primarily for wearing his Tortoise Ray-Ban Wayfarers, Kennedy also developed quite the following for his sock choice as well:
The fashion that this man wore still lives on today with the Kennedy-inspired luxury athletic sock by American Trench.
Mimicking the same exact look as the socks Kennedy wore, this contemporary take has come with modern-tech built in.
The most notable feature of this luxury athletic sock will undoubtedly be the heavy reliance on Supima Cotton (77% of total sock).
This extra-long staple cotton represents less than 1% of total cotton grown in the world and gives the sock key properties, including increased breathability, softness and color retention (source).
While feeling great, this sock is a shallow crew, making it just a touch shorter than your standard over-the-calf crew sock while not rolling down to your ankles – largely because it relies on 2% spandex for flexibility and a fair bit of both polyester and nylon for structure.
Great for casual use, these socks are a great way to demonstrate restraint and classy subtlety.
- High Supima Cotton concentration is incredibly soft
- Made in the USA
- Inspired by our 35th President
- Pricey for a pair of socks
- Available in only one size
What You Need To Know
Materials: 82% Cotton / 10% Nylon / 7% Polyester / 1% Spandex | Sock Height: Crew | Color Variants: 3 | Sizes Available: 2 (Shoe Size 6-12.5 / 12-16) | Noteworthy Tech: Aqua FX Moisture Control / Reinforced Footbed
Serving men since 1934, Gold Toe sets the standard when it comes to daily casual socks.
Now owned by Gildan, which participates in a variety of social causes in both the environment, communities and their own workers, it’s easy to see why men love this sock.
With over 7,000 reviews (at the time of initial publication), these crew socks balance a variety of qualities perfectly.
Not only are they inexpensive, but they are highly comprised of cotton (82%) that has been sourced from here in the U.S. (even though the label says Made in Honduras). These also have a few synthetic fibers also thrown in (nylon and polyester) that help to give this sock some rigid properties.
The heavy reliance on a super soft cotton, along with their AquaFX moisture control technology, allows this sock to be highly breathable in order to prevent moisture from building up between your toes.
Like the Dickies we reviewed, this pair of Gold Toe socks has a reinforced cushion on the footbed that allows for all-day comfort, especially welcomed if you are on your feet for the better part of the day.
If there were any major drawbacks to the Gold Toe’s, it would be around their Spandex composition.
At only 1% of the total sock, they will eventually break down after a few months of use and not adhere to the calves as well.
However, given that these are affordable pair of socks, replacing them won’t clean out your wallet.
- Extremely affordable
- Perfect composition of cotton to keep your feet cool
- Reinforced cushion provides greater comfort
- Light on the spandex/elastane fibers
What You Need To Know
Materials: 80% Cotton / 10% Spandex / 10% Polyester | Sock Height: Crew | Color Variants: 48 | Sizes Available: 2 (Shoe Size 6-12 / 12-16) | Noteworthy Tech: Moisture Control
When it comes to dress socks, it’s great to have a bit of fun.
While joining a sock club might not be your thing (after all who wants to wait every month for a new pair of socks), this 12-Pack of Mio Marino Fun Dress socks is a quick and easy way to expand your wardrobe with fun designs.
Not nearly as aggressive in design choices as some of the others on our list, the subtle patterns are great for semi-formal work settings and won’t draw too much-unwanted attention.
Patterns and colors aside, these socks are built with some great technology that handles both moisture buildup and durability concerns.
With a high concentration of cotton (80%), their breathability is on par with the highly touted Gold Toe Crew Socks and will prevent any sweat build-up, especially when walking for an extended period of time.
One feature that men really loved about this sock was its high concentration of Spandex (as you may recall, this was a shortcoming of the Gold Toe’s we also looked at).
At 10% of the total composition, these spandex-laden socks will feel like a second skin on your feet, allowing for greater comfort and less time spent readjusting.
Lastly, if you are looking to purchase these as a gift for someone else (or perhaps yourself), they do come in a nice presentation box with each sock individually wrapped – making it a great gift for birthdays and holidays.
- The perfect dress sock that isn’t too trendy
- High cotton concentration prevents moisture buildup
- Packaging is great for gift giving
- Rightly priced
- Lack of additional cushion on the bottom
What You Need To Know
Materials: 80% Cotton / 15% Nylon / 5% Spandex | Sock Height: Crew | Color Variants: Over 100 | Sizes Available: 1 (Shoe Size 7.5 – 12)
If you are looking for a fun and trendy sock – then these are it.
Absent of any cutting-edge tech like the others that we have reviewed, these dress socks are designed solely for those men who want to stand out in a crowd and express their personality through their socks.
Available in a ton of different designs (we lost count after 100), you can truly find the perfect sock to match your style.
Construction of the sock is standard and doesn’t contain any noteworthy tech like the others featured on our list – it’s more of a novelty item.
However, when looking at the composition, you will find the following:
- 80% Cotton
- 15% Nylon
- 5% Spandex
Given that there is quite a bit of cotton, they should have no problem getting air to your toes. While the spandex concentration is a fair bit lighter than the Mio Marino’s we reviewed, they still should be able to adequately stay on without the need to be pulled up every two minutes.
These socks aren’t made to last you for years, nor are they recommended for heavy walking. They are a novelty item and should be treated as such.
- Wide array of designs to suit any personality
- Fairly affordable
- High cotton concentration
- Absent of any key technology
What You Need To Know
Materials: 95% Polyester / 3% Rubber / 2% Spandex | Sock Height: Ankle | Color Variants: 6 | Sizes Available: 1 (Shoe size 8 – 12) | Noteworthy Tech: Moisture Wicking / High Performance
For the men who find themselves at the gym regularly and are looking for a sock that can withstand high-performance scenarios, then the Saucony Performance Comfort Socks are a match made in heaven.
With a high concentration of polyester (95%), plus the additions of rubber (3%) and spandex (2%), these grippy socks will feel like a second skin and not cause any sort of unwanted rubbing on the bottom of your feet – a key feature in order to reduce the chance of blisters forming.
In addition to Saucony’s impressive moisture-wicking technology, these socks have plenty of ventilation (despite the high polyester concentration) that will allow the air to flow freely between your toes.
To further enhance comfort, the wrapped band on the arches provides some natural support that forms around the mid contours of your feet.
Also worth noting is that the sole of the sock has a slight bit of cushioning that lessens the impact, particularly under the heel.
Lastly regarding the design, these socks by Saucony are marketed as no-show; while that may be the case for larger running sneakers, if you try to wear these with a pair of casual shoes, you can expect the upper part to be showing. These socks are more akin to ankle cut.
If you do want a new no-show sock, go with the Arvin Goods socks we reviewed.
- The perfect ankle cut sock for runners
- Hi-tech polyester pulls the moisture away from your feet
- Added heel cushion and arch support increase natural foot comfort
- Largely restricted to athletic activities
What You Need To Know
Materials: 80% Polyester / 17% Nylon / 3% Spandex | Sock Height: Over the Calf | Color Variants: 3 | Sizes Available: 2 (Shoe size 9 – 13 / 12 – 15) | Noteworthy Tech: Moisture Wicking / Arch Support / Half Cushioned Foot
If you are looking for a pair of socks to wear with Cowboy or rain boots, then you will want to take a look at the Wrangler Western Boot sock.
Available in three different colors, these high, over-the-calf socks are perfect for not only keeping your feet warm, but your legs protected as well.
We all know just how uncomfortable it can be wearing too short of socks with boots – the rubbing on the back part of your leg slowly removes the skin and gets more and more painful as the day wears on.
But while these socks will keep your feet feeling both warm and protected, their largely polyester design (80%) will keep the moisture away from the toes deep in your boot.
In addition to its moisture-wicking tech, these socks also have an additional cushion on the bottom and arch support – which is often found on more athletic centric socks like the Saucony Performance Socks and Under Armour Charged Cotton 2.0 Socks.
As great as the fabric and fit of this sock may be, it was the additional arch support that got this sock on the list.
If you ever wore a pair of boots and your sock was constantly moving around or slipping after walking for an extended period, these socks stop all that and will be perfect for you.
- Great design all around for boots
- Keeps feet warm and comfortable without sweating
- Moderately priced
- Not suited for men with smaller feet
- Fairly limited in use
What You Need To Know
Materials: 80% Cotton / 17% Nylon / 2% Polyester / 1% Spandex | Sock Height: Ankle Cut | Color Variants: 5 | Sizes Available: 4 (Shoe size 1 – 4 / 4 – 8 / 8 – 12 / 12 – 16) | Noteworthy Tech: Anti Odor / Extra Cushion / Charged Cotton / Arch Support
Not only will they withstand the daily abuse your feet go through, but they are constructed in a way to increase comfort.
First, let’s look at the fabric choices. The UA Charged Cotton is made from four fabrics:
- Cotton (80%)
- Nylon (17%)
- Polyester (2%)
- Spandex (1%)
All of them work together to not only provide you with a sock that retains its structure after several washes but resists pilling (cotton clumping after washing) while keeping your feet comfortable.
The ‘charged cotton’ within the socks features some faster drying tech built in to help keep your feet from becoming damp.
One of the biggest selling points for a lot of men who own these socks is their cushion – particularly those who live in large urban areas where you are always walking (think NYC, LA, etc.)
This added level of cushion keeps your feet from feeling too fatigued after roaming about the city.
In addition, the arch support, like those found on both the Saucony and Wrangler socks we looked at, will prevent this sock from sliding around inside your shoe.
The biggest gripe that we and other men had about this sock would be around the cut. If you are looking for a low-profile sock that isn’t at all noticeable, this isn’t for you.
The sock does rest just below the ankle, making it visible when boat shoes or standard casual shoes are worn.
Also, one minor nitpick about this sock is the logo location. Resting rather high on the front top, it may be a bit too noticeable for some men.
- Great everyday sock
- Provides great cushion and arch support
- Color variety is welcomed
- Not really a ‘no-show’ sock
- Logo placement should be more discrete
What You Need To Know
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.