Style Q&A: Finding Quality Socks That Fit

When socks are sold in ranges that are supposed to accommodate 6 shoe sizes, it's no wonder guys can have a hard time finding a decent pair that fit correctly, and are built to last. Grant's on the case.

I'm trying to find nice socks. Seems like a simple task, but with the range of “One size fits all size 6 – 13” from all manufacturers, it's difficult to get a good fit.

Do any of the wonderful Primer writers have any awesome tips on where to find nice socks? I've done the Target thing via one of your articles, but they're still running a little large (with the heel sliding up my ankle) and I don't have terribly small feet (Size 9, or 9.5 depending on the manufacturer of shoe). – Doug C.

Socks never seem to be a big deal to most men until they have a hole in them, they lose them, or heaven forbid they don’t fit. Then they become a huge problem. In the military, soldiers are taught to take care of their feet and keep them dry and comfortable. This often means changing socks one or more times per day. You may not be in the military but you should still keep your feet in pristine condition with the best socks you can afford.

Extra – Loafer socks. The socks are the most minimal available and look more like the footsies you see in the shoe store. They’re intended to be worn with loafers and/or other shoes you may go sockless in.

Socks come in many different shapes and sizes but there only three worth talking about–ankle, mid calf, and over the calf. Ankle socks should be saved strictly for athletic pursuits – sports, the gym etc. Mid calf socks are what most men are familiar with. They extend to the middle of the calf and are the most common socks worn by Americans. However, they are the least practical. Mid-calf socks have a tendency to succumb to gravity and slide down during the day exposing the wearer’s hairy legs which is a faux paus in menswear. Mid calf socks end up looking slouchy, slovenly, and unkempt. Men of style—or at least those trying to obtain a certain level of style–should opt for over the calf (OTC) hosiery, the technical term for socks, when wearing suits and dress pants. OTC socks extend past the calf almost to the knee. They provide better temperature maintenance and stay up well into the affairs of the day without exposing the wearer’s leg to the public.

Many men have issues finding the right fit for socks. They end up being too small or too large. Sizes vary amongst brands and the best way to find out which fits is to simply try them. However, there are guidelines. I wear a similar shoe size and have encountered the problem myself. Here’s a handy guide to shoe and sock sizes in American measurements. UK and Euro sizes are a whole other issue.

Shoe Size Sock Size
6 – 12 1/2 10 – 13
7 1/2 – 8 10 1/2
8 1/2 – 9 11
9 1/2 -10 11 1/2
10 1/2 – 11 12
11 1/2 – 12 13
12 1/2 – 13 14
13 – 16 14 – 16 (Extended Sizes)

Socks should fit as well as any of your other garments. The heel should sit on your heel and not under it as in a sock too small, nor half way up your Achilles as in a sock that’s too large. Socks should be flush against your foot with no extra material sagging. The toe seam should lay flat across the top of the toes.

Socks also come in many price points from reasonable to extravagant. Here are few we recommend in each category. Of course the higher the cost the better the quality.

Collage of socks

Low –

Richer Poorer

Happy Socks

Mid –

Marko John’s

Le Bas De Julie


High –





style qa

Grant Harris

Grant Harris is Owner & Chief Style Consultant at Image Granted; a Washington, DC based Image Consulting Company dedicated to solving the complex image, style & fashion issues of today's professional man. He has a healthy obsession with socks. Follow him on Twitter & Facebook.