What Are the Best Dress Socks For Men?

There’s undoubtedly no lack of variety in sock options. Whether you’re looking for something to wear around the house, at the office, or in the club, there’s going to be dozens of socks for you to choose from. But finding the right pair of socks is different from finding just any old pair of socks. These are the factors you should look for when seeking out the perfect pair for you.


Wool and cotton are the most common choice for sock material, and one isn’t necessarily better than the other. But the processing method for making either wool or cotton socks can dramatically impact its quality.

Merino wool is the highest standard in wool production. Sheared from the unique merino breed of sheep, it’s both softer and more durable than traditional wool.

The standard for cotton is set by Pima cotton. Produced in the Pima region of Peru, Pima cotton has significantly longer than average fibers. That makes them more durable than traditional cotton, but Pima cotton is also wrinkle-resistant and significantly softer.

If comfort is a high priority, socks that incorporate synthetic materials are a highly practical choice. Nylon and polyester are the most common synthetics – and while we don’t suggest getting socks made entirely from synthetics, they can reliably add to the elasticity and sweat wicking qualities of a pair of socks.


The fit of a sock may not seem like the biggest deal considering that you’ll be wearing them tucked under the leg of your slacks most of the time, but an ill-fitting pair of socks can be uncomfortable either from slipping down your leg or clinging too tightly to your skin.

Off the rack socks are rarely if ever going to provide you with a perfect fit, but they can provide you with a ballpark estimate of what you actually need. In American shoe size, 12 is considered the average, and that’s what you should expect from a medium sock. Scale appropriately as necessary.

But thickness can also be an important factor when figuring out the right size for your socks. Wool tends to be bulkier and can apply unneeded pressure to your fit while also causing more wear and tear on your shoes. And if you’re seeking out dress socks for men, the last thing you want is a sock that changes the shape of your slacks leg. Thickness can also provide added layers of warmness, so what you need will really come down to the situations you’ll be wearing the socks in.

Color and Pattern

And just because you’re wearing your socks around the office doesn’t mean that you don’t have some flexibility to express yourself. While black may be the standard in the professional world, it’s not your only option. Matching your socks to your suit is one of the most safe ways to accentuate your wardrobe, but playing with complementary colors – and keeping it relatively mute – can really help your wardrobe stand apart from the competition.

That’s true even when you don’t find yourself in a professional environment. Bold colors and patterns stand out, and the fact that they’re only going to be exposed in flashes means that you can get more playful with your sock design without worrying about being too ostentatious. Whimsical socks featuring sasquatch, the American flag, or bacon and eggs can all show off a part of your personality without having to put it front and center.

The right sock for you is predicated on one thing – you. But no matter who you are, comfort and durability are going to be a concern. Seek out a manufacturer that uses high-quality materials and construction, and proceed from there to find a sock that suits you.


Alex is the co-author of 100 Greatest Plays, 100 Greatest Cricketers, 100 Greatest Films and 100 Greatest Moments. He has written for a wide variety of publications including The Observer, The Sunday Times, The Daily Mail, The Guardian and The Telegraph.

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