What are the best socks for men? That really all depends. Are you looking to keep your feet dry in swampy heat, or keep your feet warm in cold weather? Do you need extra arch support, or a reinforced heel and toe? Athletic socks or dress socks? Crew socks or ankle socks? Supima cotton or merino wool?
If that seems like a lot of thought to give the layer you wrap around your feet, trust us: getting this nitty-gritty about your hosiery won‘t just improve the feel of your footwear—it’ll help make them look exponentially cooler. Ever seen a pebble-grain Oxford paired with ankle or quarter crew socks? Just doesn’t feel right.
So maybe you’ve got specific answers to those questions, or maybe you need all of the above. Either way, we’ve rounded up the eight essential types of men’s socks you’ll want to reacquaint yourself with once you start wearing shoes that aren’t cozy slippers. (Which, to be clear, should be now.) From weighty hiking socks to moisture-wicking performance socks, here are the 32 best socks for men for every situation, style, and budget.
The Best Socks Shopping Guide
The All-Purpose Half-Calfs
If you’re looking to overhaul your sock drawer from the ground up with the most useful, versatile pairs around, these are the ones to stock up on first. Got a landlord who refuses to crank the heat even in the dead of winter? These socks are thin enough to slide into sleeker shoes—your loafers or Oxfords— without causing you to break a sweat, but thick enough to keep your toes warm should your fancy footwear carry you to freezing locales.
The C-Suite Essentials
Ribbed, solid-hued dress socks are still the very best way to fill in the gap between the cuff of your suit trousers and the tops of your brogues. That means get real teal! And eggplant! And maybe neon pink?! Because they’ll look good against gray or navy pants. With brands like Pantherella –known for being obsessed with fabric weights and finishes for the past 80 years—and Uniqlo offering up a plethora options for less than five bucks each, you’re more than covered.
The Heavy Hitters
Big winter boots call for big winter socks. But if you’ve got the kind of feet where people start leaving the room before you’ve even finished untying your laces, it’s time to carefully consider your options. The key is to settle between warm and breathable, which is why you’ll want to go for fabrics like wool and cotton.
The Summer Camp Specials
Sleepaway camp: good for making lifelong friends, learning practical survival skills, and developing excellent taste in thick, nappy socks. Whether they’re a slubby pair knit on a vintage vintage machine flown in from Japan (or just bought online from the good ole Bean), these are socks built for fond memories ahead.
The Retro Athletic Tubes
Whether you were a jock or an affiliate, if the classic tube sock speaks to you by all means lean into it. The best pairs are going to hit that old school charm while leaning into retro prep style.
The Hippy-Dippy Hosiery
Even if you aren’t a full-blown, hemp-wearing flower child, you still need at least one pair of vibe-y tie-dye socks in the rotation. What separates a good tie-dye job from a less-than-stellar one is distinct color separation—meaning you can actually see how all the colors play off one another instead of just seeing a muddled mess. Good thing there’s plenty available for your palette and budget.
The Total Swerves
We may not abide by novelty socks anymore—sorry, Justin Trudeau—but these freaky patterns will scratch the itch your Frasier socks used to. And just to be clear, freaky doesn’t mean kitschy. (Blindingly bright confetti print? No. Leopard print? Hell yes.) It can be tricky to differentiate between the two, so start here.
The #menswear-era heyday of going sockless is long behind us (thank god!) but there’s still a time and place for flashing some ankle or not letting your sock totally overpower your shoe. The way to do it without swamping up your brogues is to look for breathable blends reinforced with the appropriate amount of stretch for a durable heel grip.