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Types of Socks

Seen and Unseen: All types of socks to play with your looks and to include in your DIY project list

All about socks!

Most of us probably don’t pay attention to this kind of underwear which is often hidden by shoes and trousers. 

If you focus on other more visible elements of clothing you are bound to put on whatever type of socks you have in your underwear drawer without considering their shape or their material. It’s just socks. 

Neutral ribbed socks
Image source: Pinterest

You can grab them in packs from the racks by the cashier’s desk, just before paying for your shopping and without giving it a second thought.

They magically get lost in the washing machine. 

Your dog likes to chew them because they remind him of you. 

The consideration we give them is minimal but, with some extra attention, they can become a smart detail of our appearance.

Types of socks
Image source: Pinterest

Find out all about socks in this article! You will understand that they are a fun element to play with to liven up your looks and to make you feel better. 

You will discover different types of sock cuts and types of sock lengths. At the end of this article, you can decide:

    • what length is more suitable for you
    • which is the best material according to your skin type
    • how you could style visible socks
    • how to recycle your old socks
    • how to personalize your existing socks
    • how to make your DIY pair of socks in a variety of styles!

If you are undecided on whether to buy or to make your pair of socks do check our 10 reasons to start sewing clothes

Remember also to read about our sewing hacks and our best sewing tips and tricks before starting your project so you can plan when to implement them

The more experienced sewists can also appreciate our list of advanced sewing techniques and budding DIY lovers can benefit from our articles on learning to sew and how to sew.

Stock up on your customized woven labels from SuperLabelStore before sewing your project so you won’t have to wait to mark your creation with your signature or logo!

Different types of socks length and cuts

What are the different types of socks?

Unlike other items of clothing, especially t-shirts, socks have the same shape for both men and women. They are unisex.

It is only a question of your foot size and desired hem length. In this table, you can see different types of socks lengths and cuts.

Toe cover

They cover only the front part of the foot. They are used with shoes that show the heels, like mules.

Cotton rich toe covers for women
Image source: Pinterest

No-show

They reach the instep. They are hidden when wearing any kind of closed-toe shoe.

No show socks
Image source: Pinterest

Liner

They sit just above the heel. 

Originally, this type of socks was used for hiking as an additional layer under a thicker sock to prevent blisters and excessive moisture.

Breathable cushioned no show socks
Image source: No Nonsense

Ped

They are slightly higher than liners and the hem sits in the middle of the ankle.

White peds socks
Image source: Amazon

Quarter 

Also known as anklets, they cover the ankle.

Flower bellflower socks black
Image source: UK Tights

Crew 

They reach the mid-calf. They can be quite noticeable when sitting. They are often used as types of sports socks or sweat socks.

Watercolor lightweight socks
Image source: Pinterest

Executive

They cover all the calf so no skin is shown when sitting or crossing legs.

Plain charcoal grey ribbed mens socks classic rib executive socks
Image source: Ties Planet

Knee-high

They hit right under the knee bone.

Knee high socks
Image source: Asos design

Over the knee

They are slightly higher than the knee.

Ella rib over knee socks
Image source: Pinterest

There are also other types of socks that don’t cover the foot at all and wrap only certain portions of the legs.

Slouchy crochet leg warmers
Image source: Pinterest

Now that you have an overview of the different sock lengths, you can decide which material is the most suitable to hug your feet!

Do you need help with other items of underwear as well? 

Boys can have a read of our blog on types of male underwear and girls can browse the article on types of underwear for women.

Types of socks materials

The range of sock materials is as varied as the one for sock lengths.

Socks can be made from infinite kinds of fabrics, made out of both natural and synthetic fibers. The second ones last for a longer time and are considerate of your wallet but not of your feet’ health.

Are you interested in understanding what are the different types of textile fibers? Follow the link and everything will be much clearer. 

To learn more about synthetic ones, check out the types of polyester fabric.

Socks are also almost a disposable item….how long does it take you to have a potato in your sock? 

Types of sock material
Image source: The Basics

After all, socks cover one of the most active parts of the body that without difficulty can become sore, sweaty, and…sometimes even smelly! 

To prevent tearing and overheating, the choice of material is strategic. The most important thing is that the fabric should always make you feel comfortable

Here’s a list of the common materials used for socks.

Some of them keep your feet fresh and happy. Consider that to have the best properties of each one of these, you can often find them mixed in varying proportions:

Bamboo 

The benefits of bamboo socks are infinite. It’s all you can ask for your feet. 

They are warm in winter and fresh in summer because bamboo is thermo-regulating. 

They are antibacterial and antifungal which means that they prevent germs from growing in that hot and wet space that can be your foot after a walk. Ugh!

Bamboo socks
Image source: Extravaganza

This kind of fiber, then, keeps your feet dry and odourless also by absorbing more water than average socks.

It is soft and gentle on the skin so it cuddles your feet with a lower risk of suffering from blisters.

It can be paired with a percentage of cotton because its two drawbacks are that it dries more slowly and it is more fragile. 

Hemp

If bamboo is fragile, hemp is unbreakable. It is resistant like a synthetic sock but with additional benefits.

It absorbs water faster than bamboo, so your feet will be even drier. Like bamboo, hemp is antibacterial, antifungal, and thermo-regulating.

Hemp socks
Image source: Pinterest

Being stronger than bamboo, though, means that it isn’t as soft and is even slower to dry.

Cotton

It is the most affordable option among the natural fibers but always check out the list of materials on care labels when buying cotton socks! 

Even if the pack says cotton, it can always be mixed with a percentage of synthetic fibers, besides the necessary elastane.

Dark green leeds socks
Image source: Pinterest

Cotton needs no presentations, it has always been a longstanding presence in the wardrobe of humankind. Soft, resistant, breathable.

Read our blog on all the types of cotton fabrics to know more about this fiber. 

Polyester

The pros of polyester are that it is resistant, lightweight, and, given that it reacts well to colorful dyes, can present more vibrant styles. 

Liner socks
Image source: Borsani Calze

If you have sensitive skin, then the major drawback is that polyester socks, like any other kind of synthetic piece of clothing, can be itchy, causing irritations and make your feet more sweaty and smelly.

Wool

Wool too is antibacterial and thermo-regulating, it will keep your feet dry and odourless as it expels moisture instead of retaining it like cotton. 

Wool socks are perfect not only for snuggling at home during winter but also for walks in nature.

Different types of socks
Image source: Åsmund Arup Seip on Unsplash

The best quality of wool is that you don’t need to wash your wool socks after every use!

For sure, it isn’t the coolest material and it is more comfortable to wear wool socks in colder places.

  Material                        Pros                                                                           Cons

Bamboo

Thermo-regulation

Antibacterial

Antifungal

60% more absorbent than cotton

Breathable

Hypoallergenic

Super soft

Odourless

Sustainable 

Slower to dry

Fragile

Expensive

Wrinkles 

Hemp

Strong

More absorbent than bamboo

Breathable 

Antibacterial

Antifungal

Thermo-regulation

Odourless

Sustainable

Expensive

Not colour rich

Slower to dry

Coarser

Wrinkles 

Cotton 

Softer and more breathable than polyester

Cheaper than bamboo and cotton

Gentle on sensitive skins

Fragile 

Non antifungal

Non antibacterial

Less quick to dry than polyester

Less absorbent than other materials

Polyester

Long-lasting

Vibrant and resistant dyes

Strong

Cheapest option

Quick to dry

Non-breathable

Causes irritation

Non anti-fungal

Non-sustainable 

Smelly 

Wool 

Cold insulation

Highly absorbent

Seasonal

Delicate

Itchy

Inspiration for your sock looks

If you wear trousers or skirts that aren’t floor length, your socks are going to show. 

With trousers that end at the ankle, socks become a focal point, especially if you wear shoes with heels or plateaus. 

Read our blog on types of pants and types of jeans and you will see, according to your height, which ones will elongate you and will allow more space for socks. Check also the types of shorts!

With this said, why don’t you take the opportunity to make socks an interesting twist for your look?

A tone-on-tone detail, a matching accessory or an accent of a popping colour…there are many ways socks can be stylish.

All types of socks
Image source: Olive Clothing

It’s worth noting that socks have in general a moderate price because they are a small item of clothing. So you don’t have to put in too much effort!

Be inspired by our blog on types of clothing aesthetics to find the right vibes for your style!

If you want to be more ‘sock conscious’, anklets and crew length might be the easiest types of socks to start with

The longer ones can be more difficult because they are more dramatic and edgy. The shorter ones are less visible unless you wear sandals.

Colourwise, you can follow the palette of the rest of your outfit. This will make the whole look harmonious and blended.

Types of sock cuts
Image source: Olive Clothing

Contrasting hues, instead, break the monotony of a total look!

Yellow sock suit
Image source: Polka Dot Wedding

If you want to experiment with texture and shapes as well, you’ll be spoiled for choice. The types of socks for women offer many possibilities for extra decorations.

Ruffles, laces, applications, knit motifs, tulle, bows…and so on! Again, these decorated socks can add some spice to a basic look.

Ruffle crew socks
Image source: Pinterest

If your soft spot is the fear of emptiness instead, you can go on layering elements and textures.

Floral print socks
Image source: Pinterest

DIY projects for your socks

Here’s a list of projects you can do to either:

    • Recycle your old socks
    • Make your existing socks unique
    • Make a new pair of socks yourself

You only need to pick the option that inspires you the most or make them all!

If you are looking for DIY projects not related to socks in particular, do read our ideas for easy beginner sewing projects and intermediate sewing projects.

Before starting, it is better to make sure you have all you need:

    1. Check what threads are suitable for you with our guide on sewing threads types and tips
    2. Check what sewing fabric works best for your project
    3. Check what tools you need: is it a no-sew project? Do I need a special needle? do I need to print a pattern? 

If you are going to use a special fabric, remember that you can note down its care instructions on our care labels so to have them at hand whenever you need to wash your creations.

Recycle your old socks

There are many ways you can use your old socks. As you accumulate torn, faded and out-of-shape socks, store them all together in a bag.

Once you sit down to plan your project, this will help you to see how many there are to get an idea of the possibilities you have.

Socks that haven’t a particular pattern or colour (like boring neutral liners or sports socks) can turn into:

    • reusable wipes and dusters
    • gloves for scrubbing
    • pet toys
    • ice and heating pads
    • discreet and strategic valuable holders (no one would ever want to put their fingers in your tattered underwear!)
    • furniture legs covers

Types of athletic socks
Image source: Pinterest

These are all no-sew projects because there is no need to modify the socks for their new purposes.

If you have cuter socks that you no longer wear but you still fancy, you can have a go at more crafty options like these:

Stuffed toys

There are so many options for creating a stuffed toy. 

You can shape it like your favourite animal, a doll or you can create a brand new strange creature.

Here you can find a free pattern and instructions to make a narwhal! You don’t have to use the same colours as in the sample, you can experiment with different colours. 

Sock narwhal stuffed animal
Image source: Craft Passion

Pincushion

It follows the same principle as the stuffed toy.

Cut a piece out of your sock, the dimension is up to you! Stuff it with other recycled materials like scrap fabric, cotton or spare socks, sew it into place, and here’s your brand new pincushion! 

You can hide the stitches by placing them in a holder, like a small jar or a spare teacup.

Novelty vintage tea cup and saucer pin cushion
Image source: Pinterest

Draftstopper

Again it’s all about stuffing and getting rid of extra stuff laying in the house.

    1. You can either use one knee-length sock or several shorter types of socks, cut and sewn together into a tube
    2. Fill with the padding material you found in your home
    3. Stitch in place and…

Ta-dah! Winter won’t be as cold as it used to be.

Uses for old socks
Image source: Instructables

Blanket or Pillowcase

By cutting your socks into squares, or any other shape you like, and sewing them together, you can make any fabric surface you can think of. 

You can consider it a sort of quilting. 

With winter socks you can create a warm blanket while with lighter cotton socks you can make a new pillowcase for your sofa. 

Baby blanket from recycled socks
Image source: Pinterest

Personalize your socks

You can mark anonymous store-bought socks to give them your personal flair!

Embroidery

You can embroider them with threads in your favourite colours (this is useful to patch small holes too!) or drawing on them with fabric felt pens.

How to embroider socks
Image source: Pinterest

Dyeing

Another idea is to dye white socks for a unique effect! According to how you fold the socks before dipping them in the dye, a specific motif will form. 

Here’s a tutorial on how to spiral tie-dye sports socks, but you can find other effects too.

Make a pair of socks yourself

There are three options for making a pair of socks from scratch. 

Here’s an overview of what you would need for each technique and free patterns or tutorials, so you are ready to start!

Sewing

You cut the fabric pieces and you sew them together. The results would be original because in stores you usually find only standard knitted socks.

You need:

    1. knit stretchy fabrics, tulle or lace
    2. sewing machine
    3. matching threads
    4. iron

Sock sewing tutorial
Image source: Threadistry

For a chic look that brings focus to your feet, do try this tutorial for making tulle socks! Even if it is beginner-friendly, it gives haute couture vibes. 

There is no need for a pattern as you can trace the shape of the most comfortable sock you already have in your stash.

Knitting

You interlace the yarn with two long knitting needles. You can create different textures according to the type of knit stitch you use.

You need:

    1. knitting needles
    2. yarn

Lounge socks
Image source: Pinterest

This free pattern by Yarnspiration will help you knit the perfect warm socks to snuggle on your sofa.

Crochet 

You interlace the yarn with one crochet hook. Like knitting, crochet has a wide range of stitches.

    1. crochet hook
    2. yarn

Sock crochet pattern
Image source: Knitterbox

Use this free pattern and guide by DROPS Design to crochet a pair of socks with a scalloped hem.

Don’t forget to customize your hang tags if you own a shop…or even if you don’t: you never know if your creations will be so beautiful to end up in a store!

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