You put them on every day and forget about them — if they’re good. If they’re bad, you can’t help thinking about them. There are so many ways socks can go wrong: when they don’t hug your ankle tightly enough, or when the no-shows slip off in your shoes, or when you hate the pattern that’s peeking out from under your pants. So to find the best socks for men, we talked to a dozen guys — many of them men’s-fashion insiders — to get the intel.
“Unless it’s snowing outside, I only wear no-show foot panties (as my friend Bill Melnick calls them). The best ones are from Mr. Gray for comfort and construction. I like that they come in packs of three, and thanks to the exact fit and the quality of the yarn, they don’t slide, and really grip my foot unlike any other. My runner-up is Beams Plus cotton-blend socks because the grippers on the inside are super powerful. They’ll never come undone when you’re walking.” — Nick Wooster, menswear consultant
Wildly Patterned Socks
“I wear Stance socks all the way, in tons of different patterns, from solids to the ones in the really insane patterns. I like to save the really wild ones for big shoots.” — Eric Ray Davidson, photographer
Socks for Arch Support
“I never really invest too much in socks. Most of the time, I’m in sneakers. And if I’m dressing up, I usually just go sockless, unless the cold prevents me from doing so — but these socks stay up, don’t lose their elasticity, and have a honeycomb elastic on the foot that I’m sure does something for arch support. I wear them to work out and just all over the place really.” — John Jannuzzi, curation lead, Twitter
“Like white briefs, there’s old-school perfection in a pair of red, white, and blue tube socks, and American Trench makes some of the best. I wear these pulled up high with shorts and sneakers, but they’re also a good choice for dancing around the house Risky Business style.” — Jon Roth, style editor, Esquire
“For dress socks — I love Falke and Pantherella, which are these amazing over-the-calf dress socks that actually become essential for your circulatory system when you have 25 showroom appointments a day. Pantherella also makes great sock peds, which are usually so hard to find (after one wash, most of them shrink while the rubber/elastic grips do not, making a not-so-fun tourniquet at the back of your ankle.) These don’t do that.” — Brian Coats, stylist
“These are my favorite socks because they’re long-lasting (I’ve had mine for several years), durable, and very comfortable. They never fall down, but at the same time they don’t cinch your leg so hard that they leave an indent once you change into gym shorts after work.” — Kevin Smith, senior lifestyle editor, BuzzFeed
“All my socks are from Uniqlo. There are so many styles and colors for any occasion — I just buy a whole bunch of them and wear them on formal occasions. I love their loafer sock when I want to sport the no-sock look. I love their athletic socks, too. Lululemon makes great ones, but they’re $18 per pair, which seems like a lot.” — Joshua Greene, interior designer, Hernandez Greene
“My favorite color is red because Oscar de la Renta wore red cashmere socks with Belgian shoes, corduroys, and cashmere sweaters. These are absolutely perfect for when it’s just a little bit brisk out and you need some pampering on your feet.” — Joshua Kamei, womenswear designer
“My favorite socks hands down are Happy Socks. I first got them as a gift, and then I went out and purchased more. They’re so great because they never leave an itchy ring around my calves; they fit without being too tight, like I’ve experienced with other socks. They also have this wide range of wild patterns, from near solids to socks with polka dots and lemons on them.” — Terence Edgerson, PR consultant
“Nothing captures my current state of mind quite like my socks depicting Edvard Munch’s The Scream. There are other classic pieces of art in the Hot Sox museum collection, and all of them make a bold fashion statement. These socks do invite conversation, so make sure you’ve at least perused the painting’s Wikipedia page in preparation for any questions you might get. To show off my ankles, which are my best feature, I like these 2(x)ist socks for when the weather gets above freezing. The nice thing is that they have the added bonus of being a colorful surprise for anyone who has the privilege of seeing me without shoes.” — Scott Rising, social-media manager, Macy’s
“These are my favorites because they fit and hold up really well. Scotch & Soda offers a larger option for bigger feet; the socks have a bit of stretch; and, unlike other brands, they haven’t shrunk or lost their stretch, even after a lot of washing and drying. Plus, they come in a range of nice, yet work-appropriate, patterns.” — Tsz Hin Kwok, investment banker
“I recently started wearing these high-quality socks from this English brand, which are available in classic patterns and colors. I’m not really a guy who needs socks to show ‘personality.’” — Tony Nikolla, vice-president, Edelman
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