this thing's incredible

The Toddler Socks So Durable That They’ve Become Hand-Me-Downs

Augie in his hand-me-down socks. Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photo: Lauren Ro

My husband’s entire extended family lives nearby in New Jersey, and one of the perks we’ve enjoyed — aside from the constant supply of homemade kimchi from his mom and aunt — is regular drops of hand-me-downs from his cousins, who have kids a couple of years older than our 3-year-old.

But among the piles of sweatpants, T-shirts, thermals, pajamas, and outerwear that make up around 80 percent of Augie’s wardrobe, it was a bundle of vehicle-themed grippy socks that stood out. Maybe hand-me-down socks are common, but I was impressed by the winking implication that something that takes a beating like socks would still be serviceable after one child has outgrown them.

I put them on Augie’s squirmy little feet, and they stayed on all day. Most pairs I’ve tried (from Carter’s, Uniqlo, etc.) eventually slide down or come off completely, but these were ironclad on his ankles without causing any discomfort thanks to the stretchy but not too tight reinforced opening. He never slipped in them, allowing him to run across our hardwood floors without incident.

The truly remarkable thing about them is they didn’t look worn or threadbare, as you might expect of socks that had a previous owner. (Other socks we’ve tried are too thin, don’t hold their shape, and have loose threads hanging out after one laundry cycle.) In fact, they’re so durable that they still look good even after going through yet another preschool-age owner (Augie). I’ve only had to chuck one or two pairs after months of wear because they were getting a little thin around the toes, but no actual holes ever materialized.

I didn’t know which family sent them over until we were at a recent gathering and I noticed a similar pair on my husband’s 4-year-old nephews and had to ask his mom about them. She told me she got them on Amazon after seeing how highly rated they were — nearly 23,000 4.8-star reviews. She loved them so much that when her son outgrew his first set, she immediately bought the next size up.

Augie eventually outgrew the hand-me-downs, too, so I ordered a pack of 12 in the 3T to 5T size for $15 and am thrilled with their quality. The brand, Rative, makes socks for all ages, from newborns to adults, all highly reviewed on Amazon. Some of the patterned socks — at least for boys — can be a little corny (America-themed stars and stripes), but most of them are pretty cute (bears, all types of vehicles, outer space), and there are neutral styles available as well. (The girls’ socks are much cuter.)

With baby No. 2 on the way this spring, I’m definitely saving the new socks and the hand-me-downs (still going strong) for Augie’s little brother. I also plan on getting some terry newborn pairs.

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The Durable Toddler Socks That Have Become Hand-Me-Downs