A Full Guide: 32 Different Types of Sock Names and Functions

You probably have a variety of different socks in your sock drawer, with differing lengths, colours, patterns, etc.  

Do you know the name of all of them?

Probably not, right? 

Today, we want to introduce 30+ different types of sock names, their functions and what types of shoes they’re worn with. 

By Sock Lengths

#1 Ankle Socks

ankle socks

Ankle socks cover the entire foot and sit right at the ankle.

They started gaining popularity in the 1930’s with the rise of popular pastimes like sports and tennis. 

People had to switch from long socks to a short pair of ankle socks that allowed the leg to bare while looking stylish. 

To this day, ankle socks are still great for sports since they’re short enough to keep tucked hidden away in your sneakers. While at the same time, keeping your feet protected from friction and foul-smell. 

They’re small enough to not need folding when you put them away in your sock drawer.

But thick and sizeable enough to keep your feet protected during vigorous sports. 

#2 Crew Socks

crew socks

Arguably, the most popular type of causal socks, crew socks are thick socks that are ribbed. 

Common materials used to make crew socks are made of cotton or a blend of natural and synthetic fibres. 

In terms of design, they can be plain or adorned with simple designs like red or navy stripes at the opening of the sock. 

They are a great option for both sports and everyday casual wear among young people. 

#3 Micro Crew Socks

The smaller version of crew socks are called micro crew socks and are about a quarter of the regular standard crew sock's length.

Like ankle socks, micro crew socks are your typical short socks.

However, crew socks are slightly longer than your average ankle sock as ankle socks sit right at the ankle. 

#4 Quarter Socks

Quarter socks are actually another name for micro crew socks. 

You guessed it, their length is about a quarter of the regular standard crew sock, hence the name. 

They are very similar to ankle socks. 

However, the key difference is it has more length over the ankle sock. 

#5 Calf Socks

Calf socks are tall socks that rise above the ankle and covers the entire calf area. 

Depending on the design or the brand, they can go all the way to above the knee or just below the knee. 

#6 Mid Calf Socks

mid calf socks

Mid-calf socks hit right at the halfway point of your calf. 

They’re shorter than full calf socks, but longer than crew socks. 

Opt for a pair of mid-calf socks when you’re looking for a bit of protective barrier where crew socks come up a little short, but calf socks are too long.  

#7 Knee High Socks

Knee high socks fit either below or slightly above the knee, depending on the brand and maker of the sock.

Knee high socks are often worn with girls’ school uniforms, therefore knee highs are associated with a preppy look.

Use a pair of knee highs to give your outfit an edgy look!

#8 Over the Knee Socks

Over the knee socks reach past and cover your knees, but not yet reaching to the thighs. 

They’re great for colder weathers as they keep a larger area of your legs warm and comfy. 

#9 Thigh High Socks

Thigh high socks are socks that come right up to the thigh. 

They are usually held in place by a stretchy elastic or silicone.

Thigh highs look like a pair of stockings or pantyhose, but without the uncomfortable gusset and waistband. 

Thigh high socks can be made from a variety of different materials. 

Unlike knee high socks, thigh high socks don’t expose skin in the gap between stockings and the skirt or shorts. 

#10 Ped Socks

Ped socks are low cut socks that fit just above the heel collar. 

They’re great for the summer time when you’re going for that no-sock look. 

However, some people don’t like ped socks and complain that they keep slipping off. 

To prevent slippage, it’s important to make sure you have the right size. 

If your sock keeps slipping, it’s most likely because they don’t fit your feet properly. Wearing a wrong-sized sock is the number one reason behind no-show sock-slippage.

Check to make sure your sock size is the correct one. It shouldn’t be too loose or too tight, but it should fit snug.

If you're certain your sock size is correct but your no-show socks still keep slipping off, check the silicone grip part for hair, lint dust, or other residue that can be preventing the grip from sticking to your heel. 

#11 No Show Socks

No-show socks are low-cut socks that fit just above the heel collar. 

They’re also called sock liners or invisible socks. 

They act as a protective layer between your feet and the inside of your shoe. 

Their moisture-wicking property will also help pull sweat and moisture away from the skin and into the exterior of the fabric making it easier to evaporate. 

By Occasion

#12 Dress Socks

dress socks

Dress socks are socks that are usually worn with dress shoes. They come in a variety of colours, styles and heights. 

There are many different ways to make dress socks. They can be produced in a factory in large batches or custom-made and tailored specially for the wearer. 

#13 Business Socks

Business socks are also known as dress socks. 

When choosing a pair of socks to wear in a professional or formal setting, a good general rule of thumb to follow is to match the socks with your dress shoes. 

Business dress socks should be thin, in order to sit well inside the tight space of your dress shoes.

#14 Casual Socks

casual socks

Casual socks are also known as everyday socks. 

They come in a variety of different colours, materials, and lengths. 

You should select your causal everyday socks based on the functionality you’re looking for. 

For example, if you have certain medical conditions, you might want to choose a pair of white socks over black socks.

By Sports

#15 Sport Socks

sport socks

Sport socks is an umbrella term for socks used for athletic activities, like jogging, basketball, or hiking. 

They are usually made of strong natural fibres, or a blend of fibres such as cotton or wool. 

A pair of good sport socks will have strong moisture-wicking properties to keep your feet dry while you hike or train. 

#16 Ballet Grip Socks

Ballet grip socks look just like ballet flats, but with strong grip and traction. 

Depending on the maker and the brand, they can be either open toe or closed toe. 

They are perfect for barefoot workouts, but give the additional support needed to prevent slipping.

#17 Ski Socks and Snowboarding Socks

wool socks

The best type of socks for snow-related activities is merino wool. 

A thick sock will collect sweat and hold it close to your feet. Their bulky size tends to bunch up during the day of constant and active movement. 

Merino wool, while keeping you warm, will help keep the moisture away from the foot. 

#18 Yoga Socks

Yoga socks seem like regular socks, but have grip support on the underside to prevent slipping on your mat. 

They come in a variety of colours and materials and can be open toe or closed toe. 

A pair of good and functional yoga socks will help you keep your control and balance.

#19 Stirrup Socks

Stirrup socks are baseball uniform socks commonly worn during the 90’s. 

Stirrup socks are often worn over a pair of long white socks.

They don’t have a foot section, but only a “stirrup-like” elastic that clings onto the bottom of your foot. 

The tube body of the stirrup sock extends to just below the knee.

By Function

#20 Compression Socks

Compression socks are specialized socks that help the flow of circulation.

They are made from a special elastic material that fits tightly at the feet and loosens towards the calf.

Conrad Jobst, a German engineer and tool-maker, who suffered from venous ulcers came up with this idea when he discovered his legs felt better when he was in the pool due to the pressure from the water.

#21 Gel Socks

Gel socks, also known as moisturizing socks, are socks that have lotion built-in. 

Tightly covering your feet with lotions and creams can significantly help people with dry and cracked.

They are best worn after taking a bath for about 30-60 minutes each time. 

By Shoe Pairing

#22 Boot Socks

boot socks

Boot socks are made from various different types of knitted materials. They are typically worn with boots to provide additional warm in the winter. 

Depending on the style you are going for, they can peek out of your shoes or stay neatly tucked in.

#23 Loafer Socks

Loafer socks are thin socks that you wear inside your loafers. 

There’s not much length in these socks. 

They sit right above the heel collar, so they don’t stick out of your loafers. 

Loafer socks generally stay hidden from sight when your loafers are on. 

#24 Slipper Socks

slipper socks

Slipper socks are thick and warm comfy socks that feature soles. 

They are somewhat of a mix between slippers and socks, as their intended purpose is indoors.

Most slipper socks feature cute and cozy designs perfect for cold weather home use.

#25 Rainboot Socks

If you wear rain boots often, you’ll know how cold the inside of the rain boots can get. 

Rain boot socks are made from an array of different materials, but with the sole purpose of keeping your feet warm.

#26 Liner Socks

Liner socks are thin socks, designed to be worn inside a primary sock.

The purpose of sock liners is to prevent blisters and reduce chafing from the friction caused by walking. 

Sock liners pull moisture away from the foot and to the outer layer for quicker evaporation. 

They are often used with hiking socks and hiking boots.

By Decorative Function

#27 Lace Socks

Lace socks come in varying degrees of sheerness. They can also come in a variety of different designs and embroidered patterns.

They possess more of a decorative purpose than a practical one. 

Lace socks are usually sported in everyday wear to go with an outfit. 

#28 Fish Net Socks

Fishnet socks are are open knit socks that feature diamond-knit patterns. 

They are often made in black, but can also appear in different colours.

Fishnet-style socks and stockings emerged into mainstream fashion in the 1950s.

#29 Frill Socks or Ruffle Socks

Frill socks, also known as ruffle socks, are socks that feature a line of short ruffles near the opening of the sock. 

Although it has no practical application, its charming and adorable design are widely popular among young girls. 

#30 Transparent Socks

Transparent socks are made from a sheer mesh fabric. 

They do not provide much protection to the feet, and therefore usually worn for decorative purposes. 

By Separation of Toes

#31 Toe Socks

toe socks

Toe socks look like a mitten for your toes. 

They’re also called 5-toe socks or digital socks. Just like a mitten, this specially designed sock features a special encasing for each toe. 

The toe sock was invented in the United States in the late 60’s by Ethel Russell. 

#32 Split Toe Socks or Tabi Toe Socks

Split toe socks, also referred to as “tabi” socks, are socks that have a separate section for the big toe. 

They have been worn during the sixteenth century in Japan, and were designed to wear with Japanese wooden sandal clogs called geta. 


Surprisingly, there are so many different types of socks out there. 

We hope our brief sock encyclopedia will give you a bit more of an understanding towards the pieces inside your sock drawer! 


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