Are thick men's dress socks a thing?
August 15, 2022 7:09 AM   Subscribe

I work in an office environment where classic, business casual is the dress code. I have noticed over the years in buying classic dress socks that all men's dress socks are thin. What gives?

I understand the reasons for this, but it seems like an antiquated practice. E.g., most of the men I know buy Cole Haans and the like. These sorts of dress shoes fit like athletic shoes; shouldn't the socks be thicker for such shoes?

This has led me to search for thick dress socks, simply because I like thick socks better. By thick, I don't mean warm wool. I mean just regular cotton socks. Maybe I'm the anomaly, because I can't find anything out there like this. You can either buy crew socks, which have their own sort of "look" regarding the weave and without business patterns; or you can buy thin dress socks. Does anyone have this same feeling as me (that they'd like thick dress socks), and if so, where can I find thick dress socks?
posted by uncannyslacks to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Crew socks don't go above the calf. If I'm wearing an over the calf dress sock that's thick it is simply too hot, that's why they're not preferred. I also find thick dress socks bunch up near the shoe and looks kind of dorky, but that's just my opinion and not the question.

I have found thick socks at Target and pretty much anywhere, Amazon has them. Look for wool if you're having a real hard time or search for "over the calf" or "otc."
posted by geoff. at 7:27 AM on August 15 [1 favorite]

No but I did consider buying a pack of quality white sport socks and doing a medium brown dye job.
posted by sammyo at 7:27 AM on August 15 [1 favorite]

Uniqlo has relatively thick cotton crew socks in conservative patterns and solids that work well with trousers.

If we are talking over the calf not sure, I only have wool socks for that (and I rarely wear them).
posted by casaubon at 7:30 AM on August 15 [2 favorites]

For decades I've been buying regular black Hanes socks, which are thick and mostly cotton, as my dress socks for work -- is there something about them that doesn't meet your requirements?
posted by AzraelBrown at 8:02 AM on August 15 [4 favorites]

I think the weave, as the OP mentioned, can look "off" if you are really attuned to such things. But I don't know that anyone is really looking at their coworkers' socks that closely.

You might try a pair of Bombas. They are pricey, but durable. I haven't specifically tried their dress socks, which are a cotton blend, but their other socks are on the thicker side and the dress socks are advertised as cushiony.
posted by AndrewInDC at 8:24 AM on August 15 [3 favorites]

Here for the responses and also seconding Bombas. While they don't have the look of dress socks they're awesome and IMO look "nicer" than something like a Hanes sock. They're as fancy as a crew sock gets and come in lots of great patterns - plus, anybody who knows socks knows Bombas 1) aren't cheap, and 2) are high quality. So if there are any sock snobs about, they certainly can't assume you didn't want to spring for the good socks.

(Bombas are a great gift for other adults who already "have everything." They're more than many folks like to spend for socks, but they last a loooong time and are good quality. Great customer support too - I had one that was defective, contacted customer support + they sent a whole 4-pack. I swear I don't work for Bombas, I just really like their socks.)
posted by jzb at 8:46 AM on August 15 [2 favorites]

A thicker sock or less smooth fiber could also potentially affect the way slacks fit against the lower leg (i.e. they could bunch up or disrupt the line of your slacks). Think of it like how undergarments work for women—a slip helps a dress flow over the body. I would look for socks with thicker/padded bottoms but not full on old fashioned athletic socks all the way up because they may cause your pants to fall/move weird.
posted by Bunglegirl at 9:33 AM on August 15 [10 favorites]

Cotton socks with a complicated pattern knitted into them, with a lot of short thread ends inside, are that much thicker. If colorful patterns are too much for your job, there are some in navy-and-black that might do.
posted by clew at 9:40 AM on August 15

> I did consider buying a pack of quality white sport socks and doing a medium brown dye job.

Having failed at dyeing socks in the past, let me save you the hassle of learning firsthand that, sadly, this likely won’t work. There’s a lot of plastic in socks (synthetic fibres like Lycra, Elastane, etc) and they will not take dye evenly. They’ll likely look “marled / heathered” at best, and also the dye will likely transfer all over your feet and maybe even wreck your shoes if they get wet.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 10:51 AM on August 15 [2 favorites]

I've been wearing black cotton crew socks to the office for years. They're easy to find at a lot of stores. I've bought them, in person and online, from Macy's and JC Penney in the past.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 11:17 AM on August 15 [1 favorite]

These Gold Toe dress socks are nice and cushy thick, while still looking professional - I recently dumped all my miscellaneous sock stock and just bought a heap of these so all my socks match, haha. They're a perfect setup because I wear fancy shoes sometimes, but heavy combat boots on the regular, and they hold up to both.
posted by FatherDagon at 11:53 AM on August 15 [3 favorites]

Seconding Azrael; those Hanes multipacks of black cotton socks from Target are exactly what Mr. Kouti buys. He likes not having to think about changing his socks when going from workwear to an afternoon run. They have yellow stitching on the toes and heels, but this is not visible in dress shoes. He does like the thick wool crew socks I've bought him before *because* they're not only for keeping feet warm in winter, they wick extremely well in the heat of summer and are great for running while looking good enough for the office, but since the wool ones tend to cost 8-10x what the cotton ones do, he doesn't have a full wardrobe of them yet.
posted by Pandora Kouti at 11:59 AM on August 15 [2 favorites]

Depending on your shoe size (and leg physique if you want dress-style cover-your-calves options), you may want to explore the world of women's socks which has a LOT of variety. Target's women's section carries mid-weight knit socks with a bit of cushion and a range of colors that work great with trousers and loafers. My guess is that once you specify your ideal sock features, you could probably find something. As a more concrete example - Sock Dreams carries boot socks : knee-high socks that have meaningful cushioning in a few neutral colors and a size range that appears to extend up to men's size 16.
posted by BlueBlueElectricBlue at 12:30 PM on August 15 [1 favorite]

There are some mid-weight wool socks from outdoor companies like Smartwool and Icebreaker that would look absolutely fine in a business environment.
posted by kickingtheground at 2:48 PM on August 15 [1 favorite]

Thirding the Bombas recommendation - I started using them for my work socks pre-COVID. Super comfortable, and they come in lengths up to knee high. I get the calf length ones - you won't show any bare leg in dress pants, and they don't fall down or slip lower at all. Very well made.
posted by sockshaveholes at 2:50 PM on August 15

Darn Tough is another company that makes mid-weight wool socks that look quite nice; that they are also very comfy (even in warm weather), quite durable and have a lifetime guarantee is a really good bonus.
posted by Aleyn at 11:18 PM on August 15 [1 favorite]

I've used 'work socks' in the past where I have had shoes that are too loose for walking moderate distances, but I'm too cheap to throw them out. They look fine in most situations but, if you were in an environment where you're sitting down and fashion matters, they would look odd. They also tend to make dress pants ride up, as the hem catches on the rougher weave or something.

So I guess the answer from me is 'no, but you may be able to substitute something else if you're OK with some compromise on looks'.
posted by dg at 11:56 PM on August 15

For years I've bought black/gray hiking socks, and used them for almost all of my dress sock needs. These Darn Tough socks have been my goto.
posted by Philbo at 9:32 AM on September 1

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