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That there is a direct correlation between a man’s age and how much he enjoys receiving socks as a gift is a scientifically proven fact.
That said, too few people take the task of giving a pair of socks seriously. To be a great sock gifter, you must first know your socks: Fabrics. Patterns. Textures. Colors. And most importantly, you need to know your sock wearer: Is he freewheeling or conservative? An important businessperson or a work-from-home cozy guy? Does he prefer an all-purpose garment or an occasion-specific one? Etc.
To help you be a more enlightened sock-giver this year, we’ve compiled our very favorite sock labels below, along with some notes on what type of sock-wearer will love them best.
For Crunchy Hiker Bros: The Patagonia Lightweight Merino Crew
With extra cush in all the right places and some snazzy retro branding that tells ’em you’ve been fucking with Patagonia since long before the corporate-fleece set stepped in, these socks are for men who like playing outdoors and want everyone to know it.
For Cozy Boys Who Tend Fires: United by Blue Ultimate Bison Sock
United by Blue are pioneers of incorporating bison leather and fiber into hard-wearing, sustainably made goods, like these extra-thick wool socks that’ll keep your dogs warm all winter long.
For Your Clotheshorse Cousin Who Is Also a Label Whore: CHUP Hansker
They’re knitted in Tokyo on vintage machines and the fact that the name is printed in big bold letters on the outstep is very much intentional: those who know it will tear up the moment they unwrap them.
For Your Clotheshorse Cousin Who Isn’t: Thunders Love Cotton-Blend Striped
Thunders Love is a two-year-old company out of Spain that works with mills in Portugal to produce some of the highest-quality hand-knits in the game. Their subtle patterns and melanges have the little details that dudes who take getting dressed seriously go wild for.
For Office Dads: Ace and Everett Core
This merino wool and supima cotton blend is thin but sturdy, meaning it will fit seamlessly under your dress shoes without feeling like those dainty dress socks that blow holes after the second wear.
For Gym Dads: Bombas Men’s Vintage Stripe
A classic bold stripe sock for men of leisure who may or may not mow the lawn with their socks pulled all the way up. Bjorn Borg would approve.
For Festivalgoers: Anonymous Ism Uneven Dye Crew
The perfect sock for traipsing through muddy fields in neon shorts and a Jerry Garcia T-shirt.
For Prep-School Alums: American Trench Kennedy
Named for the most stylish American to ever walk this green earth and made from extra-long-staple supima cotton grown in Texas and California. Pairs best with a copy of Take Ivy and a pair of wayfarers.
For Your Nephew Who Is Back at ‘Em Again With the White Vans: Goose Socks
If he is well-versed in meme and wears sneakers with the socks pulled up as high as they’ll go, almost as if he’s wearing invisible garters, then these are the socks he wants. They are based on the Untitled Goose Game, a silly video and computer game that is very popular among da yutes.
For Guys Who Wear Their Socks Outside: The Acorn Slipper Sock
As literally worn by astronauts, these two-layered wool socks feature a padded sole that makes them perfectly appropriate for fetching the paper or walking the dog, no matter how low the mercury on the thermometer drops.
We've put in the work researching, reviewing and rounding up all the shirts, jackets, shoes and accessories you'll need this season, whether it's for yourself or for gifting purposes. Sign up here for weekly style inspo direct to your inbox.