Socks that may or may not exist
April 22, 2014 4:11 PM   Subscribe

A plea for socks for a fussy, fussy, fussy man.

So Mr. Llama has a sock problem he's been struggling with for years. I'd like to help him solve his sock problem.

Here are things Mr. Llama hates:
Smartwool (I hate Smartwool too, it strangles your feet, it's like getting your blood pressure taken)
Floppy sad socks from Target that scootch down your ankles
Thick, itchy socks.
Prickly socks with too much elastic that he got from The Gap.
Having cold feet, which he has from September through June.
He has high arches, which translates as wide feet.

So you can probably gather the problems with constraints.

To the best of my ability to discern the preferences, I think he wants a lightweight sock that won't roll down and create a depressing little leg warmer around the bottom of his calf. I think he needs crew socks for the summer, for sneakers, and taller socks for the winter. He got some sock liners at one point, and liked that okay.

I don't think he cares where he has to go to get these awesome mystery socks, but I have watched him hit retailer after retailer for a full ten years and the man still hates his socks. I kind of thought Thorlos, which I like a lot, but after my showing them to him, he remained unimpressed.

What to do for the finicky sock wearer with chilly feet?

It is possible he simply hates socks, but he isn't going to like sockless feet any better.
posted by A Terrible Llama to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (23 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Mr. gudrun is fairly picky about socks. He has recently fallen in love with Fox River socks. These are the ones he is currently mad for, since he does a lot of walking, but the main site I linked has a helpful sock finder to check options. He absolutely loathes itchy socks, and says these are not at all itchy and not too tight (he wears a 12 wide and their XL size fit well.)
posted by gudrun at 4:26 PM on April 22, 2014

This probably won't help much, but I think you both should try the next size up of Smartwools. I hardly wear anything else, and I have no idea what you mean by the blood pressure cuff / strangulation thing.
posted by jon1270 at 4:27 PM on April 22, 2014 [8 favorites]

I'm also picky about socks (though with some different constraints) and have come to really like Gold Toe socks. They don't fall down, they last a reasonably long time, and aren't tight like the Smart Wool ones.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:28 PM on April 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

I took a few pairs of Smartwools and a few pairs of Dr. Scholl's Blister Guard socks on a walking-intensive vacation for the past few weeks, and I found I definitely preferred the Dr. Scholl's (though I didn't dislike the Smartwools as much as you). I have perpetually cold feet and I found them to be plenty warm without strangling your feet or (for me, worse) cutting off all the circulation in your calf. They're also pretty soft and have some cushioning without adding too much bulk.
posted by scody at 4:30 PM on April 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

My husband really likes socks from Ted Baker and Happy Socks - both are available at Nordstrom.
posted by joan_holloway at 4:31 PM on April 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

I switched to Darn Tough socks after wearing through a lot of Smart Wool socks. I have thicker and thinner pairs and don't find either to be itchy.
posted by tangaroo at 4:34 PM on April 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

posted by travelwithcats at 4:44 PM on April 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

McGregor non-binding socks are my faves. Maybe a little heavy for summer wear, but great when it's cooler. Smart Wool are just no; they dig into my calves, and have a life measured in weeks.
posted by scruss at 4:51 PM on April 22, 2014

My dad swears by the thin wool over the calf socks from Nordstrom, which appear to be these.
posted by kbuxton at 4:57 PM on April 22, 2014

I discovered diabetic socks and they are very comfy. They don't bind at the top and the toes are usually a little roomier, giving you wiggle room. I love them for padding around the house. I have a few pairs of regular white crew socks but they come in all kinds of flavors.
posted by Room 641-A at 4:59 PM on April 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Seconding diabetic socks. I got my dad a pair on a whim, and then that was all he ever wanted to wear. They are non-binding and comfy.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 5:05 PM on April 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

My husband likes Thorlo socks because they come in specific sizes. Lots of selection of different kinds of socks for warmth. A good fitting pair of socks made a huge difference for him.
posted by mamabear at 5:07 PM on April 22, 2014

cotton dress socks
posted by cotton dress sock at 5:55 PM on April 22, 2014 [6 favorites]

Wool, but not SmartWool. I love (and bought for everyone I could) Costco's Kirkland merino socks, but I suspect those are difficult to get right now except for weird third parties on Amazon. But I have pickly sensitive feet that get cold very easily (but slippers are too hot) and I lived in Kirkland socks all this winter, after an entire adult lifetime of swearing I'd never wear a wool sock. They do not feel like I thought they would feel.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:06 PM on April 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

I am also going to suggest Darn Tough. They are not as aggressively elastic-ed as Smartwool, and they feel great and wash nicely. I linked to Mr. Clover's summer sock of choice (also picky).

I'm a huge Thorlos fan too, and I think there are so many different styles --surely one will work. (Buy at REI and return the losers.)
posted by purpleclover at 6:29 PM on April 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

I wear Wigwam in the winter and Injinji in the summer. Love them both and don't have any of the problems you list.
posted by Jacob G at 6:46 PM on April 22, 2014

How about hand-knitted socks, made to order?
posted by xyzzy at 6:46 PM on April 22, 2014

They are probably not warm enough for the winter, but Gold Toes are pretty awesome. My dad is super-picky about everything and he has been wearing Gold Toe for years. I (a woman) recently started wearing them and I really like them.
posted by radioamy at 6:58 PM on April 22, 2014

Second Falkes for over-the-calf dress socks. You can get 'em real cheap at Sierra Trading Post if you stack your deals properly.

My favorite athletic socks of all time, they are just wonderful, are from Flint and Tinder. After 3 years of fairly consistent use, they still stay mid-calf, but aren't too tight. Plus, your feet are very comfortable and dry–the sock is just as fluffy as the day I got it!
posted by Maecenas at 7:10 PM on April 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

I (a very picky sock selector) got a few pairs of sox from Dutch Harbor Gear a few years ago, and they are hands down the greatest I've ever worn. Sadly, my attempts to acquire more of them have failed. If you happen across a pair, grab it.
posted by armoir from antproof case at 8:01 PM on April 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

I love Happy Socks. I have like six pairs and they kept my toes warm all cold winter long. I'm a woman but they're pretty much unisex.
posted by sweetkid at 9:47 PM on April 22, 2014

I wear Pantherella Over-the-Calf Merino Wool socks. These take care of scootching, they're not smartwool, don't have prickly too much elastic.

They're thin but they're wool so they're warm. Kind of expensive, but Sierra Trading Post always has 30% to 40% coupons you can grab.
posted by photovox at 7:00 AM on April 23, 2014

I'm a big fan of Bridgedale socks, which are often available at reasonable prices from Sierra Trading Post. I, too, dislike Smartwool socks (but I love wool in general), and in addition to being more comfortable, I find Bridgedales last much longer as well (more than making up for the higher price).
posted by Emanuel at 9:15 AM on April 23, 2014

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