Dress socks are a necessary part of any man’s wardrobe and have more versatility than just dressy situations. A punchy color of mid-calf dress socks under a crisp pair of sneakers can be just as useful as a simple blue or grey under your business-casual loafers.
When wearing suits, it is our opinion that you should wear over-the-calf dress socks. These will keep the socks snug against your calf up to the knee, keeping you away from the amateur looks of socks pooled by your ankles. As they will also stay in place far better than the mid-calf versions, they’ll look better in such situations. However, in more casual situations or with low boots or sneakers, particularly with jeans or chinos, the mid-calf version works a bit better.
Here are some of the best dress sock options to get you through your workweek, your weekend plans, and anything in between.
1. Gold Toe Metropolitan Over the Calf Socks
This nylon blended, well-priced sock is the workhorse of any gentleman who must wear a suit every day. Yes, they carry a bit of an old man vibe if your shoes are off and you cross your ankles in someone’s face, but otherwise, they get the job done. Over the calf is the appropriate length when wearing with suits, so as to minimize the amateur move of wrinkled socks by your ankle. Three packs in your standard navy, black, and brown can be had with minimal investment, so buy extra! They are not “fitted” to your foot very well, however, which can cause issues with blisters particularly for the first few wears, but can be avoided with care.
2. Uniqlo Men’s Color Socks
At four for $12.90, these mid-calf dress socks are an incredible value. They’re not going to last much more than a few months with regular use, but at that price you could wear them once, throw them away, and buy a new set for next week and still be ahead of the game. These are ideal for wear with dressier sneakers like a Common Projects Achilles or a simple Nike blazer, and in the myriad of colors, they can add a little pop of color for more casual situations.
Uniqlo Mid-Calf Dress Socks
3. Falke Airport Wool Blend Socks
Walking around the airport on your way to a long business trip? Falke’s Airport socks are up to the task. They’re made in Germany from lightweight merino wool, with cotton, nylon and elastane for comfort and stretchiness. The outer of the socks feature temperature-regulating merino wool, while the inside is made from soft cotton, keeping you comfortable all day. They’re available in royal blue, red and tan.
Falke Airport Socks
4. Paul Smith Three-Pack Socks
BEST STRIPED SOCKS
Those who find the suit boring and dull have clearly never heard of Paul Smith, who has spent the last few decades injecting fun and color into tailoring without ever veering into clown territory. Take these colorful striped dress socks — there are pops of reds, yellows and greens, but the classic styling makes for dress socks that can be worn in all but the stuffiest offices. They’re made from a blend of organic cotton for softness and comfort, and nylon and elastane for stretchiness.
Paul Smith Socks
5. London Sock Co. The Simply Sartorial 15-Pack Socks
BEST MULTI PACK
Do you like to keep it simple with your socks? This pack from London Sock Co. consists of 15 black socks, taking the guesswork out of which socks to wear for that day. They’re not identical, though — the logo on each sock is a different color, which adds a touch of flair while also making it easier to match your socks. Plus, they come in a stylish presentation box.
London Sock Co Socks
6. Calvin Klein Men’s 4-Pack Stripe & Dot Dress Socks
Calvin Klein is one of the best brands for underwear and t-shirts, so it’s no surprise that they also make great socks. This four-pack includes two solid pairs, one striped pair and one polka-dot/stripe pair. Four different color themes are available from Macy’s, with packs in shades of tan, blue, gray and black.
Calvin Klein Socks
7. Pantherella Solid Wool Half-Calf Socks
BEST WOOL SOCKS
If you’re looking for a truly luxe option, Pantherella’s half-calf socks are made from a blend of wool, with nylon added for stretchiness. Wool is naturally moisture-wicking and durable, on top of being more luxurious than cotton or synthetic fabrics.
8. Cole Haan Men’s Dot Dress Socks
BEST POLKA DOT SOCKS
Cole Haan has mastered the slightly offbeat dress shoe, and the brand also makes the best slightly offbeat dress sock to go along with them. They have a pink and white polka dot pattern, but the small dots and black background make these socks subtle enough for traditional tailoring. They’re crew length, meaning they work well as casual socks as well. These are made from a blend of cotton, rayon, polyester and spandex.
Cole Haan Socks
9. Polo Ralph Lauren Men’s 3-Pk. Dress Socks
BEST SOLID COLOR SOCKS
Looking to keep it simple, but not bland? Pick up this three-pack of solid socks from the modern master of American menswear, Ralph Lauren. The pack includes navy, tan and pink, and the socks have a subtle pony logo. They’re dress socks, so they’re good for tailoring, but the crew height makes them good for casual wear as well.
Ralph Lauren Socks
10. Bombas Merino Dress Sock
BEST DTC BRAND
THE internet sock company. Marketing everywhere, all over Instagram, and with a great product behind it. A solid, strong choice not only for dress socks but also their no-show socks, which are a smart choice for warmer days that demand the loafers with a no-sock look with your new linen suit. You can’t go wrong with this option, but they are slightly more cushioned than other variants, and therefore won’t fit quite as well in higher-end dress shoes.
Bombas Merino Dress Socks
11. Gold Toe Windsor Wool Dress Socks
BEST FOR COLD-WEATHER
On those days when it’s hovering well below freezing, but our careers require us to be in the thin fabric of suit pants, those of us in the Northeast must find a way to protect ourselves! In comes the wool blend of the Gold Toe Windsor dress socks. Still dress-sock thin, they’ll fit under your best oxfords but keep you nice and warm from toes to knees.
Gold Toe Windsor Wool Socks Multi-Pack
12. Brooks Brothers Stripe Crew Dress Socks
Want to have a little fun and just throw some wild into your wardrobe? Brooks Brothers has brought the flair with lots of stripes, polka dots, argyles and houndstooth designs. Right now, you can get a quality, interesting pair of socks to wear for a little fun around the ankle. Keep them for special occasions, or throw them on daily to keep yourself from the mundane.
Brooks Brothers Stripe Crew Dress Socks