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Buying Guide for Socks


The best socks are worn not just to protect and keep one's feet warm and sweat-free but often serve as a stylish accessory to an outfit. Our dress socks come in an endless combination of materials and styles, so determining which are best can take some careful consideration. Natural fiber dress socks, for example, are typically softer and warmer than synthetic varieties, but usually, cost more as a result. Synthetic fibers are usually cheaper, but some varieties don't breathe well and may trap sweat.

Matching colors and patterns to outfits is something else buyers should consider before making a purchase. However, don't feel obligated to spend a small fortune on the best dress socks; we can help make the search for the perfect dress socks a snap, and all without ever needing to leave the house.

Types of Fibers

Dress socks are made of dozens of different types of fibers that have their own unique qualities. When determining the best dress sock, one may need to determine where their preferences stand on the sliding scales of softness, give, durability, protection, and insulation.

Natural Fiber Socks

Natural fiber dress socks generally have superior insulation than most synthetic fibers and come in many different varieties. Though they will most often be used in a blend with a small quantity of synthetic fabric to provide enough elasticity to stay up around the calf, the dominant fiber used in a dress sock can dramatically alter its feel and appearance. Some natural fibers provide more insulation than others, some are softer, but as a rule, all are generally more expensive than synthetic varieties.

Cotton Dress Socks

Though cotton doesn't have the best insulation qualities of natural fibers, it does breathe very easily, which is ideal for warm weather climates. Dress socks are often made of Pima or mercerized cotton, which are particularly soft and durable varieties. They also exhibit a silk-like sheen, which can highlight interesting knit patterns or color choices.

Bamboo Fiber Dress Socks

Another lightweight, attractive, and summery alternative to cotton dress socks is bamboo fiber dress socks. Often used in a blend of synthetic fibers, bamboo is also ideal for warm weather and great for anyone with a threadbare budget. Bamboo fiber dress socks also have a beautiful silk-like sheen often only seen in more expensive fabrics. However, the bamboo fibers tend to trap moisture. For those who have sweaty feet, other fibers are likely an ideal alternative.

Wool Dress Socks

Wool fibers have some of the highest insulation properties among natural and synthetic fibers, which is why they are often used to make winter coats. Often, the wool of specific breeds of sheep, such as Merino sheep, is selected for its superior softness and durability. Wool dress socks are warm and soft, perfect for winter, and one of the cheaper options available among dress sock varieties.

Angora and Cashmere Dress Socks

Angora or cashmere dress socks are both super-soft natural fiber socks with a beautiful silk-like sheen and impressive insulating qualities. They're wonderful for hard, cold winters, or particularly chilly office buildings. However, they are also often prohibitively expensive.

Silk-blend Dress Socks

Silk has a lustrous, almost metallic sheen, and is incredibly durable when woven. For this reason, it is often blended into other fibers to increase durability and longevity. However, silk-blend dress socks are prohibitively expensive when compared to dress socks with other fibers alone, such as wool or cotton.

Synthetic Fiber Dress Socks

Synthetic fiber dress socks tend to have more elasticity than natural fiber alternatives, and will, therefore, retain their shape better over time than many high-natural-fiber content socks.

Acrylic and Rayon Dress Socks

Acrylic and rayon dress socks can achieve the lustre and softness of natural fiber dress socks at half the price but have virtually no insulating properties or durability. Prone to early pilling, these may be the best alternatives for anyone wanting the look of expensive dress socks with a shoestring budget.

Nylon Dress Socks

Though almost all other fibers will also feature a small percentage of nylon to improve elasticity, some manufacturers also provide all-nylon dress socks. These varieties tend to have improved "stay" around the leg so that there's less drooping or sagging over the course of a day. That said, nylon, like acrylic, has very poor insulating properties, and would not be ideal for cool or cold conditions. Additionally, though inexpensive, nylon dress socks do not typically breathe well.

Polyester Dress Socks

Though not as soft as acrylic or rayon dress socks, polyester dress socks can easily wick sweat or moisture away from the feet, making it an attractive, low-budget solution for those with sweaty feet who would rather not pay for more expensive, natural-fiber options.

Dress Sock Styles

Dress socks are made of dozens of different types of fibers that each have their own unique qualities. When determining the qualities of the best dress sock, one should consider how colors, patterns, and embellishments may complement or accentuate their style.

Solid Color Dress Socks

As the name implies, many dress socks are available in a wide range of solid colors. Some may feature a colored toe or other toe design. These colors should be matched to a wardrobe and the situation in which they will be worn. For example, louder colors should not be worn for more formal occasions or with sharply contrasting dark slacks and shoes.

Patterned Dress Socks

Dress socks come in thousands of patterns, from stripes to argyle, and much more. Patterned dress socks can act almost as a tasteful accessory to an outfit when paired well, though care must be taken. Patterns worn in dress socks should complement any other patterns one might be wearing, and as a general rule of thumb, one should never use the same pattern repeated on more than two or articles of clothing, or three if all are small or mostly hidden from views, such as socks, a tie, and a vest or hat.

Embellished Dress Socks

Some dress socks may feature creative embellishments, such as monograms, cabling, or even buttons. When deciding whether or not to purchase dress socks with embellishments, it's important to question the durability of the embellishments and how well they might hold up through laundering or frequent wear.

Matching

Before buying dress socks, it's important to consider what they are intended to be worn with. There are several general rules of thumb that can guide anyone uncertain with proper fashion etiquette. When in doubt, plain black or navy are always the safest colors to stick with, regardless of the rest of one's attire. In general, one should avoid matching the color of his sock to the color of his shoe. Instead, match socks to accent pieces, such as ties and pocket squares. For a cohesive look with a little more variation, group cool colors, which include grays, purples, blues, and greens, separately from warm colors like browns, reds, yellows, and oranges.

Buying the Best Dress Socks on our site

After determining what fiber type and size of dress sock to buy, begin searching for the pair that fits those qualifications. A wide variety of dress socks of all kinds can be found through our listings.

Finding the Best Dress Socks on our site

As with any web-based search engine, locate the search bar and type in the size and variety of dress sock that matches your established and ideal criteria. The listings that meet the criteria of that search should appear immediately. 

Navigating through the categories is also an easy way to find dress sock listings. At the eBay home page, click the Collections link. This will display a long list of categories under which almost all of the site's listings are organized. From there, find and click Collection that you search for. 

Questions About an Item

If one has specific questions about any listing or item that appears in the gathered listings, there is always the option to communicate directly with us of that item. Simply find and click the "Contact us" link in the footer of the page.

Conclusion

Though there are almost endless combinations of dress sock style materials and patterns, it's relatively easy to determine which might be best to buy for one's specific situation. The best dress socks are those that are soft to the touch, breathe well, and are matched to the temperature. Colder temperatures will warrant dress socks with better insulating properties, such as wool or cashmere, while the warmer weather may necessitate cotton or synthetic fibers. Other people can and do see the socks one chooses to wear, so it's imperative to match dress sock colors and patterns with the outfit with which they're intended, without of course crossing that barrier of matching too well. When in doubt, match socks to slacks or an accent piece such as a tie or pocket square, and avoid clashing patterns, matching dress socks to shoes, and pairing warm and cool colors.