by Editorial Staff March 08, 2022

Find the right pair of dress socks, and you’ll experience that perfect Goldilocks moment: Just the right amount of comfort, and just the right amount of style. Go a step further, and hopefully those socks are durable enough to last you for a while.

But before you can embark on your quest for the ideal socks for work and play, you’ll need to make a tough choice. What length is right for you? The right dress sock length for men depends on your unique body shape, as well as the sort of outfits you enjoy wearing.

In this quick guide, we’ll walk you through the do’s and don’ts of choosing the right length of dress socks, from no show all the way through knee high. Let’s get right into it.

No show

The bare ankle look is gaining serious popularity with young professionals, some of whom go barefoot with loafers, boat shoes, or leather sneakers. But trust us: Your shoes and your feet will thank you for continuing to wear socks, since their moisture absorbing qualities will keep your shoes in better shape for longer.

model wearing grey no show length dress socks with jeans

Are no show socks entirely acceptable in a professional office environment? Usually not. More casual workplaces might be okay with them, but traditional jobs frown on showing any part of your bare legs.

Don’t get us wrong: We love our no show socks, but they’re probably best reserved for your weekends.

Shop No-Show

The Middle Lengths: Low cut, Ankle, and Crew

Three different socks in one heading? Yep, and for a good reason: Low cut, ankle, and crew socks are all more appropriate for athletics than office wear.

This is where a lot of guys go wrong when they’re trying to buy dress socks. They look for socks that are similar to their everyday go-tos, but in a thinner and nicer material.

ankle length white socks with black dress shoesPhoto: BOSTINNO

The trouble here is twofold: The lower cut socks will show your ankles when you sit down (and just overall not look great with slacks). And crew socks have a tendency to fall down or bunch up, leading to uncomfortable days and an uncultured look.

In short, we recommend skipping over this range of socks entirely when you’re on the hunt for dress socks!

Mid Calf

By extending a sock’s length all the way up to the middle of your calf, it gives them a chance to hug snugly on the muscles of your lower leg. That keeps the socks from falling down during the day — provided that their elastic is high enough quality to not wear out after a few uses.

Mid calf socks are one of the two most popular choices for men’s dress socks. So which one is “better” overall? There’s actually no clear winner (which is why we make socks in both lengths).

model wearing purple mid-calf length dress socks

It comes down to personal comfort, and that depends on the size of your lower leg. If you’re a former pro soccer player, finding a mid calf sock that doesn’t wear out immediately will be a huge challenge! But if you’re on the thinner side to begin with, mid calf dress socks can be both comfortable and convenient.

Shop Mid-Calf

Over the Calf

Also known as “knee high” dress socks, over the calf socks are the classic choice for professionals heading to the office.

True to their name, these socks pull up over your calf — meaning that they’ll use the natural ridge of your muscle to stay up all day long.

model wearing charcoal grey over the calf length dress socks

The only folks who don’t enjoy over the calf socks tend to find the amount of material uncomfortable; if that’s the case for you, mid calf socks are the way to go. We’re big fans of this style of dress sock, and find that it’s a great fit for most guys.

Our best advice? Try out one pair of both mid calf and over the calf dress socks, and decide for yourself which one is better. Then you can stock your sock drawer with the most comfortable socks for you.

Shop Over the Calf

Finding Your Perfect Dress Socks

Now that we’ve covered the ins and outs of choosing the right dress sock length for men, you may want to check out our big guide to how to buy dress socks as well. In it, we expand on the subject of sock length before moving on to how to choose the right material, color, and style — and answer some of the questions about dress socks that guys get hung up on.

But if you’re already sold on a certain length, why not take a look at our collection and pick out a pair or two?

Shop Boardroom Socks

 Other Helpful Articles:
What are the best dress socks?
What to look for in cotton dress socks.
What are the best knee high socks for men?
How to wash dress socks.

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff

Our editorial staff is comprised of menswear experts dedicated to providing you with helpful information. Sharing everything from style tips to sock care instructions, these gentlemen are a wealth of knowledge for both our customers and the Boardroom Socks team.

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