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, when the no-shows slip off in your shoes, when you hate the pattern that’s peeking out from under your pants, or when one wash cycle turns them into an entirely different pair than the one you bought.
To find the best socks for men, we talked to 28 guys — many of them men’s-fashion insiders — to get the intel on the pairs that have served them the best over time. They told us about their favorite no-shows, athletic socks, crew socks, dress socks, and more. Below, their top picks (to which we’ve added a few Strategist-approved pairs we love), from simple and affordable everyday staples, to statement-making styles for those who like to show off their socks, to a pair for guys with very large feet.
Best men’s crew socks
For those looking for a proven pair of socks suitable to wear the entire year, a whopping eight of the men we spoke with praised Uniqlo’s affordable and colorful cotton-blend crew socks. “They’re medium height and thickness, so they’re versatile for many different outfits and activities,” says Phillip Wong, the co-founder and creative director of Hawthorne. “They also come in a wide range of amazing colors, so depending on your outfit, you can have a nice tonal moment.” Photographer David Cortes told us these are his favorite because they’re “warm, soft, and don’t sag.” Another fan is photographer Patrick O’Rourke, who likes to “wear them with black loafers so you can catch a glimpse of color on top” and says he grabs a few pairs every time he shops at Uniqlo. And, according to photographer Christopher Fenimore, who is known for his weekly street snaps of New York City’s best-dressed and told us he wears these “for the gym, and pretty much any other occasion,” the socks “last hundreds and hundreds of washes before fading or tearing.” Nicolás Lazaro, a community specialist at menswear-resale platform Grailed, adds he’s been wearing his pairs of these socks for “more than a decade now,” agreeing that they’re “cheap without sacrificing quality or fit.”
Like Uniqlo, Bombas is another brand that came up multiple times in our reporting. As Jeremy Kirkland, the host of menswear podcast Blamo!, explains, the brand is known for reinforcing their socks in key areas, which results in a fit that publicist Nick Roberts says “hugs the foot and provides great support.” Both men wear these Bombas crew socks, with Kirkland noting he mostly puts his on for working out. “Quality socks can just put you in a better mood,” says Roberts, who promises that these are “extremely comfortable and can withstand wash after wash.” Do-gooders, he adds, “will admire their mission of donating a pair of socks every time you purchase a pair.”
For his daily wear, Kirkland, swears by these bamboo socks from CDLP. “They’re thin enough to wear with dress shoes and thick enough to wear with sneakers,” he says. “I like the bamboo material because they don’t shrink, are anti-odor and antibacterial and made from a natural, more sustainable fiber. Last but not least they’re just comfy AF.” If the price makes you balk, a reminder that you’re spending $90 for five pairs, so each breaks down to a much more reasonable $18.
While Calvin Klein may be better known for its underwear, writer Kevin Smith tells us these socks from the brand are are his go-tos. “These are my favorite socks because they’re long-lasting (I’ve had mine for several years), durable, and very comfortable,” he says. “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.” Sold as a set of three, the cost of each pair normally breaks down to a little more than $7 bucks — but the socks are even cheaper now that they’re on sale.
Jarod Taber, the co-founder of creative agency Wash and Fold, told us he loves the “classic, ribbed silhouette” on Lady White Co.’s socks, which he says look “really good with a low top sneaker.” At $25 per pair, they may cost a little more than others in this list, but Taber cities their craftsmanship (the socks are made in a 50-year-old hosiery factory in Japan) as proof of their quality, alongside the fact that they’ve proved to be incredibly durable for him. “I typically blow through socks skateboarding, running, and just down to the fact that I walk a ton,” he told us. “But not these.”
For a slightly more affordable, made-in-Japan crew sock, men’s-fashion writer Jordan Mixson — who also runs the sock-focused site the Sockateur — loves Tabio’s. “I love their take on crew socks,” he says. “They feel so smooth and silky, like a fancy dress sock. And they come in a nice, wide range of colors if you want elevated basics.”
If you prefer to buy American, Lazaro says his other favorite crew socks are these made-in-the-U.S.A. ones. Their “robust organic cotton holds up to heavy wear,” he says, “and they have all the classic details for a comfortable fit without the bells and whistles you find on most brands these days.” Summing it up, Lazaro says these are a “throwback to when things were simpler and still made here with sustainable fair-trade resources.”
For a crew sock that’s both exotic (made in Korea) and local (designed in Brooklyn), consider these from Plus Ultra that Strategist senior editor Anthony Rotunno says he’s been wearing multiple days a week since getting a couple pairs to try out from the brand last year. After a disappointing run with Bombas (“they developed holes within a couple months of regular wear and wash”), he says the Plus Ultras — which also come in black and navy and in shorter quarter and ankle styles — have proved to be truly durable and to keep their shape and stretch in his months of wearing and washing them. “I’m not a gym person, so I haven’t really put them to that test, but for regular life, these ha