July 31, 2018

Sock FAQ: Looking at Length

The sock fairies are back again to answer all of your most pressing questions, this time about sock lengths. Our cool novelty socks come in lots of varied heights, and we tend to get frequent inquiries about how high up certain pairs will come and related issues.

So pull up your socks and strap in for another rousing FAQ!


Why are there so many different sock lengths and terms for them?

Great question! The true answer: Who knows? Every sock maker does things a little differently, and many use different terms to describe their products. Getting up to speed can be kind of like studying for a vocabulary test.

Here at The Sock Drawer, because we sell socks from lots of different brands, we do our best to explain the various length options and to show you every product on a standard foot. We think seeing a picture of how far up a sock comes can really help shoppers understand what to expect. That’s why we take photos of all the socks we sell on the same size men’s, women’s and kids’ mannequin feet.

sock-height-chartWhat are the common sock heights?

Although there are about a bajillion variations on different lengths, there are some commonly used terms. Use this handy guide and sock height chart to understand them:

Thigh high: Pretty simple. These are the tallest socks around. Popular among women, they typically have some elastic or other materials at the cuff designed to keep them up.

Over the knee: Another height that’s popular for women, these socks hit just above the knee. In recent years, it’s also become common for wearers to scrunch these down around boots for a cozy look.

Knee high: Popular among athletes and workout fans, roller derby enthusiasts and women who like to make a style statement, knee high socks come to just below the kneecap. In addition to regular knee highs, we also offer a collection of especially stretchy pairs for people with wider calf muscles. In the image at the top of this page, the two styles on the far right are knee high socks.

Trouser (aka mid-calf socks, tall socks): This less-common height term usually describes men’s socks that are taller than most, often referring to dress socks. This length is less popular than in decades past, but we still see it sometimes.

Crew: Ahh, crew socks. Our bread and butter. We have more crew socks than any other length for both women and men. Super versatile, these typically come to about six to eight inches above the heel, although that can vary somewhat. In the image at the top of this page, all of the first four styles starting on the left actually count as crew socks, but they vary a bit because they are from different brands. (That Vincent van Gogh style is approaching “trouser” height on this model, to be sure.)

An example of mini-crew socks, aka ankle socks

Mini crew (aka ankle socks): Now we get to the shorter styles, and this is where the vocab becomes particularly messy. The term “mini crew” refers to socks that come up a couple of inches above the ankle bone, although we rarely hear shoppers call them that. Some people call them “ankle socks,” but that can also refer to an even shorter style, as you’ll read about next. These are popular among cyclists and other athletes, and they also look great with shorts or a skirt.

Micro crew (aka shorties, ankle socks): Very popular for exercise, these socks come up to the ankle bone and cover the whole top of your foot. That makes them ideal for wearing with an athletic shoe, often with the edge of the fabric just peeking out. The insider industry term for these babies is “micro crew,” but our shoppers more commonly call them ankle socks, shorties or short socks.

Peds (aka footies, no-shows, invisible socks): The shortest socks of all, peds are designed to remain hidden and unseen down inside your shoes. They offer some protection for your skin and help keep feet from getting smelly, say in leather shoes.

Read even more about the different sock lengths on our website.

What are no-show socks?

An example of no-show socks

The term “no-show socks” has been everywhere in the industry in the past couple of years. These are the shortest height we talked about above, meaning socks that stay hidden inside your shoes. Although we are all for showing off your crazy cool patterns, we understand sometimes people want that invisible look. They’re like a secret you walk around with all day!

What length is best for me?

That really depends on two things: your style and what you’re doing.

Some people love rocking a tall statement sock, while others just want an inch of a fun pattern peeking out from under their jeans. That choice is all yours. Simply choose lengths you find appealing and attractive!

When it comes to what you’re doing, certain lengths are more appropriate for certain activities. If you’re out in the snow in boots this winter, taller socks make sense. If you’re going for a run in summer heat, maybe stick to cool short socks.


That’s it for now! If you have any specific questions about different sock lengths or how certain styles might fit on you, you can reach out to us sock fairies at any time. We’re here to help! Email us at hello@sockdrawer.com. Also, be sure to check out our other FAQ posts and let us know what topics we should cover next!