What’s your favorite (slightly nicer) sock?
September 16, 2022 1:50 PM   Subscribe

What socks do you love to wear, that don’t cause you to overheat, and come in interesting color ways or designs?

I really love socks but have become disenchanted with what I’ve been wearing the past decade and would like some new shopping options. These are mainly for wear with dress trousers and skirts during office work. I rotate shoes—oxfords, sandals and sneakers. I can spend some money on the right socks and am looking for quality over quantity. I’m looking for socks that meet the following criteria:
  • Come in fun colors (not black, white, gray)
  • Are lightweight enough to prevent me from overheating (hot feet make me too hot all over)
  • Solid options are okay, but I also love pattern (think geometric/stripe, not smiley faces or animals)
  • Bonus points for being tall enough to cover skin when wearing cropped pants (knee high or trouser socks, most likely)
Socks I know and sometimes love:
Bombas are great quality but the style is lacking. I want something that feels nicer than Uniqlo. I have a lot of “novelty socks” like Woven Pear and am looking for something more stylish (plus they’re hot and tight). Happy Socks’ Hysteria line hits the note style-wise (regular Happy Socks are on the “too hot” side). Come Si looks like what I might like as a solid but I’d love to find them a bit cheaper. I don’t see anything of the style and quality I’m looking for at Sock Dreams.

Based in the US, but traveling to Europe soon and can order online. Size womens 8.5 US/39
posted by Bunglegirl to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (21 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Have you ever tried bamboo socks? They tend to be lighter and cooler than other materials. I've found men's bamboo socks at TJ Maxx with the brand name Green Treat. They were comfortable and came in a bunch of colorful stripes. Also of note, even though they're men's, the foot area ran a little small. I have small feet (men's 9/42.5), and they fit my feet nicely. Most men's socks bunch up at the heel for me.
posted by kevinbelt at 2:02 PM on September 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

I can't recommend darn tough socks enough. Expensive but so perfect.
posted by bbqturtle at 3:00 PM on September 16, 2022 [7 favorites]

Darn Tough (here is their lightest, the "ultralightweight no cushion," and their lifestyle socks which are more varied)

Smartwool (here is their "zero cushion" line, which comes in a wide variety of heights, patterns, and colors)

Thin wool is just delightful, no issues with overheating at all.
posted by Questolicious at 3:08 PM on September 16, 2022 [3 favorites]

I love darn tough, but man are they tight on me. I probably have circulation issues though. Happy socks are also tight on me.

I do like the bamboo socks from sockologie (I get the solid ones). The cotton socks I like as well, but a lot of them are novelty socks.
posted by umwhat at 3:18 PM on September 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

Darn Tough all day. Lifetime guarantee, which I have taken advantage of several times (actually a low number for how long, how often, and how hard I wear socks). What they don’t tell you is that you can bring them back to (most? all?) authorized retailers to instantly do a warranty swap if they get a hole or otherwise wear out, rather than shipping back to the company.
posted by supercres at 3:48 PM on September 16, 2022 [4 favorites]

N’thing Darn tough. @Supercres I didn’t realize you could return them in (some) stores - nice to know.
posted by 2 cats in the yard at 4:09 PM on September 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

(Me either until like last week. Game changer, even though I don’t need to warranty them that often!)
posted by supercres at 4:20 PM on September 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Paul Smith stripey socks? Men's and women's are both styled and accented in the ways you are asking about.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 4:31 PM on September 16, 2022

Best answer: I did exactly this hunt about a year ago, and ended up loving MySocks. Lots of bright colours, geometrics and stripes, the knee-highs are tall and stay up, and I find them thin enough to pass as business wear. The quality is working out fine: like, they are lasting.

(I also tried Smartwool, Darn Tough, and Icebreaker, but the thin ones got holes and the thick ones were too warm and too casual for me. I tried a bunch of super-expensive European brands too, like Pantherella, Falke, Wolford, and London Sock Co., but for various reasons none of them worked for me. Mostly they didn't fit, or only did neutrals, or seemed cheap/flimsy.)
posted by Susan PG at 4:42 PM on September 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I have Smartwool (tight!) and know Mefi loves Darn Tough, but that’s not style I’m going for. Perhaps there’s a more design-forward line of theirs that I’m not seeing? I’m looking for “nicer” not just in quality (I.e. will last forever) but also more sophisticated/modern style and comfort. I figured Scandinavian, European, or Japanese sock brands might have the total package.
posted by Bunglegirl at 5:05 PM on September 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

At last, the time has come for me to recommend my absolute favorite socks: Korean socks.

They are superior to literally every brand of socks I have ever bought in the States. It is not even a close competition.

Here, we are speaking of Korean socks manufactured in Korea as opposed to American socks manufactured in Korea. There are design differences.

A longtime fan of socks with fun patterns, I have noticed that most American brands of socks have one or more of the following design pitfalls:
- Socks whose patterns bite into feet or ankles and leave indentations when removed
- Socks that bunch up in weird ways after the first wash and never look even remotely smooth again
- Socks that wear out within a year of regular wear
- Socks that cause feet to sweat, either because they are too thick or because they are a weird fabric blend
- ‘Nicer’ socks that are so thin, they quickly develop holes in the soles
- Socks that have very thick, very uncomfortable elastic bands at the top that cut into the legs of any normal human person to the point of causing pain while somehow managing to be too loose in the heel/toe areas at the same time

Korean socks manage to avoid every single one of these issues. Whatever the process is with the patterns, it does not add the same level of bulkiness I’ve seen with American socks, nor do the patterns mess with the sock’s overall shape or comfort. The elastic bands are much smaller and less obtrusive, making them far more comfortable for all-day wear, and yet! despite this, the socks do not slip around. Furthermore, I have had pairs that have lasted 3-4 years of regular wear.

Many online retailers, including Amazon and Etsy, sell Korean socks. If there is a Korean supermarket or shopping mall in your area, you may be able to buy them there too.

The only two specifications that they might not fully meet for you are related to sock height and pattern variety. Korean socks do not usually come in knee-high varieties. Most are crew socks or ankle socks. They offer many fun patterns, but generally tend to offer specific patterns rather than geometric patterns.

Examples: animals, food, cartoon characters, famous art, and famous monuments.*

*because the availability of individual patterns change, I can't guarantee that all of these links will still work for folks reading this thread several months from now. Nor am I intending to endorse particular online sellers, I just wanted to give a visual for folks to know what to look for. Doing an online search for 'Korean socks' will turn up a variety of sources.
posted by panther of the pyrenees at 5:09 PM on September 16, 2022 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I like Socksmith. Most of their patterns are quirkier than what you want, but they have some more subtle options too, and various fabrics.

Tabio seems to have the sort of aesthetic you’re looking for, but I don’t have personal experience with them.
posted by wondermouse at 5:35 PM on September 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

Uniqlo has nice trouser socks at a cheaper price point. Hansel From Basel is a trendy brand right now that has something close to what you’re looking for.
posted by stoneandstar at 5:48 PM on September 16, 2022

We're megafans of Stance socks...but I'm not sure of the heat factor since that isn't an issue for us.
posted by BlahLaLa at 5:52 PM on September 16, 2022

I can vouch for wondermouse’s suggestion of Tabio. I shopped their socks at their London store when I lived there and continue to use their online store now that I’m in the US.
posted by mollymillions at 6:34 PM on September 16, 2022

Muji socks are fantastic.

I also like Darn Tough quite a lot, though I've noticed the quality has suffered a bit recently. They still offer their unconditional lifetime warranty, which is nice, but they seem to wear out in a year, when they used to take more like 4-5 years to get holes.

Woolly socks remind me of the way Darn Tough used to be, both for comfort and durability, but they're not exactly fashion-forward, and they lack Darn Tough's warranty.

Check out Muji!
posted by sportbucket at 6:45 PM on September 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

I love my few pairs of memoi socks.
posted by Mizu at 8:29 PM on September 16, 2022

Paul Smith and Missoni. for wool and warm socks then Burlington
posted by alchemist at 9:05 PM on September 16, 2022

Best answer: Tabio socks are thin, lightweight and can be super stylish. I see someone has already recommended them, so I will just second them. They do seem to come in different quality levels. The ones I've got from the Tabio store itself (in London) have always been the better quality ones, while those stocked by other stores can be more hit and miss.
posted by tavegyl at 12:27 AM on September 17, 2022

You might like Sock Dreams, and now I see that you already mentioned them.
posted by dmo at 11:51 AM on September 18, 2022

The next time you do want some novelty socks of the type you're looking for, I would recommend Sock It To Me. They're often a cotton/poly blend that's a great ratio of comfort and ability to not get hot and damp/cause blisters like all cotton does, they have reinforced heels and toes so they've lasted me a long time, and the patterns are often cute as the dickens. (I have three pairs of my ones with a piece of peanut butter bread holding hands with a piece of jelly bread because I never want to be without them. And I just bought the Pugasus ones.) I also found they stay up, which matters to me, and the knee socks are not nearly as constricting for my wide calves as others I've tried.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 11:31 AM on September 19, 2022

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