Where can I get quality women's dress socks?
April 25, 2012 7:48 PM   Subscribe

Help me find high quality, breathable black women's dress socks for the cheapest price available. I'm overwhelmed by the options on the internet and have a history of buying terrible socks!

I've decided to get rid of all of my old socks and just buy a mass quantity of the same pair of black socks. This way, I will always wake up and know that I have matching socks for work.

I wear a shoe size 8.5, and I am looking for women's dress socks that let my feet "breathe" and not get too smelly. Bonus points if these socks are good for both winter and summer weather.

Thanks in advance :)
posted by soundproof to Shopping (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Major kudos on your decision to remove decision from your sock drawer.
Sorry, I don't know how women sock sizes map to men. But if you can find a size, Gold Toe is the men's standard for all your requirements. They're everywhere. Good luck.
posted by LonnieK at 8:00 PM on April 25, 2012

I came here to second your sock homogenization plan and to make a joke about socks for black women. But I'll also second the Gold Toe comment, though, if you're wanting black socks presumably that is more of a dress sock type goal? Clarify please. (Dress shoe wear is the one issue with mono-socking it)
posted by Chekhovian at 8:06 PM on April 25, 2012

What has been terrible about your past socks?

In general my rule for socks is that they must have a reasonably high wool content. Wool lets feet breathe better than other materials. Wool is finicky about washing - so you will want to be sure you get "washable wool" and then you can machine wash and air dry them. Smartwool is one reliably good brand of washable wool socks, but they are expensive.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:15 PM on April 25, 2012

I've been doing this for years, for myself and my kids. The clerk laughed at me at Old Navy when I bought 10 identical pairs of gray socks for my toddler, but when one kid has blue and one has gray, laundry is much easier.

I got socks like this (Polo / Ralph Lauren with the little horse on the side) on sale at Marshall's or Ross about a year ago. This picture shows one gray and one black pair, but they did have some with 2 black pairs and I bought them all. I'm wearing them right now. They're cotton, hold their color pretty well through repeated washings, and are reasonably dressy. Your standards may vary. I work in a hospital, so a lot of my footwear could be described as nurse shoes. I don't think I even own any heels.

I'd recommend scoping out Target, JC Penny, etc and buying a few different versions of your desired sock. Places like that tend to keep the same basic stuff in inventory for a while. Test drive them, then when you find one you like, go back and get 10 pairs. You will be so glad you did! It still puts a smile on my face every time I do laundry and see all my matching socks.
posted by selfmedicating at 8:34 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

You've asked for recommendations for "high quality" and "cheapest price"- my experience is that the two are rarely found together. However- to second LobsterMitten, I'd really recommend Smartwool (link goes to a pair similar to your description). I know they're expensive- but they last a long time; I've been wearing the same 7-10 pairs of socks for 6 months or longer, and aside from a bit of surface pilling they look and feel like new. I own a number of pairs of Smartwools that I've had for 10 years. They don't stink (wool has a innate anti-funk property), and they absorb much less moisture than cotton so they're not a sponge for perspiration.

Think about the cost this way: Option 1: Pay ~$100 for 5 pairs of Smartwools that you can wear for a year or more, that are comfortable, look good, don't fall down to your ankles, and hold up beautifully. Option 2: Pay $25 for 5 pairs of cheaper socks. They probably will not have to cushion of Smartwools, may not stay up, and wear out after 3 months of constant wear. Repeat this 3 more times and you're reached the same $100 you would have spent for Smartwools (or other high quality socks like Wigwam or Icebreaker), they were never as comfy or nice as the Smartwools, and you've put 9 pairs of socks in the landfill.
posted by EKStickland at 9:11 PM on April 25, 2012 [3 favorites]

I buy the same Ralph Lauren / Polo socks that selfmedicating linked to and they have held up for years. If you're in NYC, you can find them at Century 21.
posted by valeries at 6:55 AM on April 26, 2012

EKStickland has it re. inexpensive socks. I started wearing SmartWool a couple of years ago and Can Not Believe I wasted so many years wearing (and wearing out) stupid, inexpensive socks. Try a pair or two first, if you're not sure about spending the money. Second runner up: The Walking Company's brand.
posted by evilmomlady at 3:12 PM on April 26, 2012

I'm wearing black cable knit smartwool socks right now. They're great. They do go on sale occasionally at REI and I've seen them at Sierra trading Post.
posted by vespabelle at 9:22 PM on April 26, 2012

Response by poster: Okay, so... of the different smart wool sock varieties, which are more appropriate to wear with dress slacks, then?



The cable socks or the merino wool liner socks??
posted by soundproof at 7:32 PM on April 27, 2012

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