The Best Men’s Dress Socks


If you don a suit for work everyday, it’s likely you have a dresser drawer stuffed with black, navy and gray dress socks. These conservative hues were once the norm for office and formal dress, but men’s dress socks don’t have to be just in 50 shades of the same. Bold colors and patterns can express your personality while also being sartorially smart. We’ve selected some of the best men’s dress socks that will upgrade your wardrobe. Easton Marlowe appeals to both conservative and wild tastes, and the best dress socks for the value are Alpine Swiss.

Our Top Choices

Best Overall


Easton Marlowe

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Premium Pick


Boardroom

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Best Value


Alpine Swiss

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If you don a suit for work everyday, it’s likely you have a dresser drawer stuffed with black, navy and gray dress socks. These conservative hues were once the norm for office and formal dress, but men’s dress socks don’t have to be just in 50 shades of the same. Bold colors and patterns can express your personality while also being sartorially smart. We’ve selected some of the best men’s dress socks that will upgrade your wardrobe. Easton Marlowe appeals to both conservative and wild tastes, and the best dress socks for the value are Alpine Swiss.

Features to Consider

Men’s dress socks are typically made of blends of varying percentages of cotton, polyester, nylon, wool and spandex. A cotton-polyester or cotton-nylon blend is usually advertised as “moisture wicking,” which refers to the fiber’s ability to move perspiration to the surface so it can evaporate.

Cotton is comfortable and absorbent but keeps moisture trapped in the fibers. Polyester, nylon and other synthetic materials repel moisture and excel at moisture wicking. Many dress socks are made of cotton woven with some sort of synthetic to help with moisture wicking and an elastic to keep the sock from slipping down to your ankles.

Sizing can be tricky, especially if you want socks that are predominantly made of cotton (80% and higher), which shrink when washed. Most socks are available in men’s shoe sizes 8–12, so if you have a larger foot and want the socks to fit after washing them, look for dress socks that are also available in sizes 13–15.

Polyester and cotton blends don’t shrink much after repeated washings, so you can buy them in your regular shoe size. Socks that are predominantly cotton will often shrink after the first wash, so it’s best to buy them (if available) the next size up.

1

Easton Marlowe: Best Overall

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Easton Marlowe has a huge selection of dress socks for the conservative dresser as well as for someone who prefers to shake things up with bright colors and bold patterns. They’re made in Portugal and Turkey of 80% combed cotton, 17% polyamide (a generic name for durable synthetics like nylon), and they didn’t shrink or fade when washed. The 3% spandex in the fabric blend prevents the socks from slipping below mid-calf, so you won’t need to worry if your pants get hiked up.

Easton Marlowe’s traditional colors for dress socks — black, navy, gray and tan — are available in both solids and minimalist patterns such as diamonds and subtle stripes. Easton Marlowe’s rainbow-hued patterns of eye-catching polka dots, chevron stripes and plaids are definitely statement-making.

For a casual event or party, the patterned socks would be fun paired with jeans and a similarly colored shirt. The Easton Marlowe dress socks come six pairs to a package and, depending on your shoe size, run between $15–20 per pack, which is quite reasonable for these high-quality socks.

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2

Boardroom: Premium Pick

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Over-the-calf dress socks seem like a throwback to bygone days, but many men like the feel of a supportive sock that fits up to the knee and won’t sag. Boardroom Men’s Over the Calf Dress Socks are made of 97% pima cotton, which the company touts as American-grown and -woven. If you have a business meeting or formal affair, the Boardroom socks are an elegant choice.

These well-made socks have reinforced heels and toes to prevent the usual wear and tear. They’re breathable and soft to the touch, and the 3% spandex that is blended with the pima cotton ensures that the Boardroom socks won’t sag and will stay put all day. Their vertical ribbing clings to the curve of your calves, giving them a refined, elongated look.

The Boardroom Over the Calf Dress Socks are available as one size in black, navy, gray and tan. Since they’re made of pima cotton, it’s likely that they will shrink after repeated washings. The Boardroom socks are also quite expensive; at $14.95 per pair, you’ll need to spend a sizable wad of cash to restock your sock drawer.

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3

Alpine Swiss: Best Value

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The Alpine Swiss dress socks have patterns and styles for anyone’s taste, conservative or daring. Ribbed elastic (1%) and cotton (73%) blended with polyester (26%) make the socks feel soft yet supportive of your ankles and calves. The cotton-polyester fabric is machine-washable and delays shrinkage and fading, which we wrote about it our review of the best laundry detergent. These aren’t thick socks, so they might not be ideal for inclement or winter weather, but for the other three seasons of the year, Alpine Swiss are a great choice.

The socks are only sold in one men’s shoe size, 6–12, so if you have a larger foot, these aren’t for you. They’re grouped into four styles: bold, bright, fun and — the best selection for the workplace — a multi-colored pack of blacks, grays and blues in solids and argyles.

The “bold pack” of purple and blue stripes and argyles add just enough pop without being too flashy. The “fun pack” has blue, gray and red stripes, most of which you could pair with a business-casual outfit. The “bright pack” are actually a lot more fun than the “fun pack,” with stripes and polka dots; these would work with casual wear.

Best of all is their price: At $9.99 for a package of six pairs, these well-made and attractive dress socks are a steal.

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4

Mio Marino

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Mio Marino is an online retailer of reasonably priced clothing, shoes and apparel for men and women. Mio Marino’s dress socks are both fashionable and funky in colors and patterns. In an eclectic range of polka dots, zig-zags and Mondrian-like abstract designs, Mio Marino’s socks are works of art for your ankles and feet.

They’re made of 80% cotton, 10% polyester and 10% spandex, which makes them feel soft and supple and also prevents slippage. Depending on the shoe size you select (6-12, 12-16), Mio Marino’s fabric blend will keep the socks mid-calf or just below the calf, even after washing. Toes are reinforced to double the thickness, which can bunch up in your shoe unless the socks are pulled up tightly.

It’s unlikely that you’d wear the extra-bold Mio Marino dress socks in a boardroom of shareholders (unless you’re on Mio Marino’s board). But for a party or event where you don’t mind if your pants hike up a little to flash a bit of ankle, these eye-popping socks will get people’s attention.

Six pairs range between $17 and $21, and they’re packaged in an attractive box, which makes them ideal for gift-giving.

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5

7DayOtter

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7DayOtter dress socks are made of a proprietary blend of combed cotton, polyamide, polyester, spandex, Lycra and modal. Modal is a lightweight and durable fabric made from beech-tree pulp that’s usually used in t-shirts, bed linens and underwear, which makes them silky smooth.

7DayOtter’s dress socks are as absorbent as regular cotton socks, but the 24% polyamide also makes them moisture wicking, hence the company’s claim that the socks are odor resistant, since perspiration moves to the surface of the modal-cotton fabric and evaporates.

At present, 7DayOtter has a limited variety of patterns and colors, which are muted and understated. All of their socks are crew-style, and the large men’s size fits just below the calf. For smaller feet, size 6-8.5 is also available.

The modal fiber imbues the socks with a bit more softness than cotton, and they feel very comfortable in shoes. However, after washing them, despite the blend of several synthetic fabrics, we did notice slight shrinkage.

7DayOtter socks are a bit more expensive than other dress socks, but they’re stylish enough that you would feel at ease wearing them to a business meeting or high-end event.

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6

Gold Toe - Metropolitan

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Since 1934 Gold Toe has been a leader in both dress and casual socks for men and women. The Gold Toe – Metropolitan over-the-calf dress socks is one example why. These vertically ribbed, 99% nylon and 1% spandex socks cling tightly to the calf and, as their name implies, they stretch over the calf to just below the knee.

The Gold Toe – Metropolitan socks are lightweight, and nylon is is one of the best for moisture wicking and keeping your feet dry. As with all Gold Toe socks, the toe is woven with their trademark yellow thread and reinforced to prevent tears.

The Metropolitan is one of several lines of Gold Toe’s over-the-calf dress socks, which come in one shoe size (6-12.5) and in black, brown and navy. They’re very affordable — one-third the price of the similar Boardroom over-the-calf dress socks. The Gold Toe is a thinner sock, but since they’re made of nylon they will be durable and won’t shrink much, if at all.

If this style appeals to you, virtually ensuring no one will ever catch a glimpse of your exposed leg, the Gold Toe – Metropolitan is a good, low-priced option.

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7

Amazon Essentials

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The Amazon Essentials – Patterned Dress Socks are soft and comfortable, and though they might not wow anyone you hope to impress, they’re a great all-around day-or-night sock. These are crew-length socks with a ribbed top that keeps them affixed just under the calf. They’re made of 82% cotton, 17% nylon and 1% spandex, so they’re easy to slide on and off. The high percentage of cotton makes the Amazon Essentials absorbent, and the nylon keeps the socks moisture free. The nylon also prevents shrinkage during washing.

Two of the five pairs in the package are solid, which seems a bit deceptive in marketing them as patterned dress socks. The patterns for the black and navy socks (the only colors available) are argyle, stripes and a subtle polka dot.

They come in two shoe sizes — 8-12 and 13-14 — and the cotton-nylon blend prevents shrinkage, so they should still fit after repeated use. As you might expect, Amazon has priced these dress socks competitively at low $13.50 for a pack of five. We would prefer that Amazon sold five patterned socks, rather than just three, in this set, and though these aren’t exceptional dress socks, they’re decent and well-priced.

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8

James Fiallo

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With 37 different combinations and a dozen different styles, patterns and colors in each set, the James Fiallo collection of dress socks is vast. If one day you’d like to be king of the jungle, you could slide on the Fiallo wild animal socks; or you might wear the dress argyle socks for a Great Gatsby look; and if you really want to let the world know how much you love burgers, you could go with the novelty foods socks. Whatever your mood, whatever the occasion, James Fiallo has you covered.

The James Fiallo dress socks are made of 95% polyester, so their punch-drunk colors won’t fade, and 5% spandex, which gives them considerable stretch and clinginess. These are crew-style socks with a 2-inch grip top that fits snugly just below the calf. Because they’re predominantly made of polyester, the James Fiallo socks aren’t breathable, but they’re champs at moisture wicking: Your feet may get hot, but they’ll keep dry.

The Fiallo socks aren’t as soft or cushiony in the shoe, and although it’s unlikely these socks will shrink, after washing them we did notice loose threads down the back of one sock. Because of that, we predict that the Fiallo socks won’t be long-lasting.

Prices vary, depending on color and patterns and range from $14.99 for plain black dress socks (a real bargain) to $28.00 for the pizza and sushi socks. They’re sold as twelve pairs in a package, but not all of the socks in a set are thematically patterned; for example, six of the wild animal set are just stripes. So before you buy them, make sure that you’re actually getting twelve different patterns in the set.

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9

Dockers - Dobby Crew Socks

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The Dockers – Dobby Crew Socks are basic, mid-weight dress socks that fit slightly below the calf. Made of 83% polyester, 15% cotton and 2% spandex, they slide on and off easily and hold their shape after washing. The spandex gives them cling, so they don’t slip down your legs.

They’re available in black, navy and khaki, as single colors or mixed, for shoe sizes 6-12, in packages of five for $13-$15. Two solid-color socks and three lightly patterned socks are in each package. The Dockers Dobbys won’t catch anybody’s eye with wild and crazy colors, but they’re suitable for the office and everyday wear.


10

Wander - Men's Classic

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Wander – Men’s Classic certainly wins the award for unique packaging: They’re vacuum-sealed. Wander socks are made of 88% organic, extra-long staple cotton and 12% spandex. Extra-long staple cotton (“staple” is just a term for fiber) is derived from a particular species of cotton that has long, silky fibers, which when combed and woven, make fabric exceptionally smooth and soft.

Wander socks are a bit thicker than other dress socks, and the extra-long staple cotton keeps them breathable. Wander socks have a considerably higher percentage of spandex than other dress socks, and they feel and cling very much like the Metropolitan over-the-calf dress socks.

The Wander socks come in two sizes, 7-12 and 13-15, and because of the high percentage of cotton, they shrink when washed, so if you’re a size 12, we recommend buying the larger size. They’re sold in packages of six solids in black, gray, navy or mixed. A few patterned socks are available, and though they’re inexpensive, these Wander socks are actually odd and not stylish.

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11

Bonangel

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Bonangel socks aren’t really suitable for an austere environment, but they’re fantastic for just about anywhere else because they’re simply fun to wear. If you don’t mind your ankles being the topic of conversation at a party or bar, the Bonangel – Novelty Men’s Dress Socks are for you.

Made of 80% cotton, 15% nylon and 5% spandex, Bonangel socks are explosions of color, imagination and whimsy. Michaelangelo’s David, Egyptian queen Nefertiti and Botticelli’s Venus are a few of the artistic patterns in the 12-pair “painting” collection. Other designs include puzzle pieces, undersea animals, outer space, tropical paradise and psychedelic paisleys.

They’re only available in one-size-fits-most, 8-12, but they’re a bit narrow around the ankle and despite the blend of nylon and spandex, they don’t slide on easily. Before washing, the Bonangel fit to mid-calf, but because of the high percentage of cotton, washing shrank them by an inch, bringing them to just below the calf.

We don’t think the Bonabel socks will last through repeated washings, but they’re inexpensively priced, between $22–24, for 12 pairs. At such a good price, you might not mind having to replace these artistic and vibrant socks every few months.

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12

Anatolian - Bamboo Socks

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Super-soft Anatolian Bamboo Socks, made from organically grown bamboo-derived viscose (rayon), slide on effortlessly and seem to form-fit around your feet. Bamboo is eco-friendly and hypoallergenic, so if you’re prone to skin irritation or allergies you might want to try bamboo socks. Bamboo is also moisture wicking and antibacterial, so bamboo socks keep your feet dry and fight odor.

They’re available in solids of black, navy, dary gray and light gray and a sophisticated honeycomb-pattern named “Brighton.” Sold in packages of four pairs, they come in one men’s shoe size, 7–11, so if you have large feet, the socks will reach only to mid-shin. Once washed, they will shrink about an inch, so If you’re concerned about hiked-up pants flashing skin, the Anatolian socks might not be for you.


13

Goodthreads

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Goodthreads is Amazon’s reasonably priced men’s clothing line. Surprisingly, their patterned socks are a bit too expensive for what they are: lightweight cotton-blend crew socks. One pair in the five-pair pack is usually a 60-75% cotton blend, mixed with nylon and spandex; the other four pairs are 80% cotton with less nylon. This is a strange design choice, since the socks with a higher percentage of cotton will shrink when washed, and as expected, the ones we tested did.

Goodthreads patterns and colors aren’t especially bold, although a few socks have touches of whimsy, such as dogs, wildlife and fish. These are really just basic, everyday socks for work and casual events and not what you’d want for dressing up.


Gene Gerrard, Writer

Gene has written about a wide variety of topics for too many years to count. He's been a professional chef, cooking-appliance demonstrator, playwright, director, editor of accountancy and bank-rating books, Houdini expert and dog lover (still is). When he's not writing for Your Best Digs, he's performing as a magician at the Magic Castle in Hollywood.

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