Flash-fashion events are like lightning, only lasting a hot second before disappearing into the seasonal ether — but even such fleeting fads can leave a lasting mark. Welcome to Micro Trends, where we explore the latest and greatest of these blink-and-you’ll-miss-them style moments.
Somewhere in an alternate universe, Steve Urkel is quaking in his oxfords. The calf-length ribbed crew sock, which had long been associated with the likes of, say, beloved TV nerds or certain sock-reliant athletes, has been fully embraced by the fashion crowd this summer. And, obviously, wearing visible crew socks isn’t a groundbreaking moment, but what seems to be the name of the game this particular summer is this: The higher the crew sock, the better. These sweltering temperatures are no sweat for the folks who are trading in their ankle-length or no-show socks for ribbed pairs that come up mid-calf or higher.
Street style stars from Bella Hadid to Emma Chamberlain have been pulling up these tube socks and pairing them with virtually every kind of footwear: chunky loafers, platform Mary Janes, ballet flats, and (of course) regular workout sneakers. And, with a dose of sartorial confidence, these outfits look anything but dorky — these mid-calf crew socks actually turn the most predictable of summer looks into something more unexpected. Planning to wear a mini dress with strappy sandals? Add a pair of crew socks for a sportier take! Thinking of styling high-waisted denim shorts with a vintage T-shirt tucked in? Pull up a pair of white ribbed socks with your Adidas Sambas for a throwback summer camp moment! Unabashedly leaning into this big sock energy — and having a joyous, playful time with it — can make even the most sock-adverse curious. Who could have predicted that grandpa-approved short shorts and compression socks could become such a coveted look?
While there are a plethora of ribbed crew socks you can buy (I also wrote about these surprisingly Amazon-viral, top-selling slouch socks last year), the mid-calf sock that people — both athletes and fashion people alike — seem to keep recommending is the best-selling Nike Everyday Cushioned and Nike Everyday Plus Cushioned socks, which are sweat-wicking, supportive, and comfortable for feet during intense workouts. (The “Plus” refers to the cushion level, not foot size, which has extra cushioning under the heel and forefoot.) There’s plushness at the heel, built-in arch support, and a snug band that doesn’t droop even during cardio drills. For those who are strictly style-oriented, the big bonus seems to be that these Nike socks aren’t overwhelmingly thick, meaning they’re relatively effortless to wear with all types of shoes.
For further investigation, I consulted Brooke Huseby, an NYC-based creative producer and self-proclaimed sock fanatic. She is often wearing Nike Everyday Cushioned socks with virtually every kind of outfit, whether it’s for the tennis courts or casually out on the town. “I’m a wearer of crew socks because they’re the most versatile. My legs are pretty long, and ankle socks or anything shorter than a mid-calf crew looks a little disproportionate,” Huseby says. “There’s also a little athletic element that might imply ‘I play sports.’ Crews are also really great because you can hide them under a trouser — no one would ever know the sock length — or pair with a skirt and expect them to be seen.”
When I asked if she had any theories on why these socks are having a bit of a moment, Huseby circled the trend back to sneaker fandom: “The hype over sneakers just continues on and on and on — look up any photo of Bella Hadid wearing sneakers or check out the line for Aimé Leon Dore New Balances whenever there’s a drop. Crew socks may just be the best way to showcase a sneaker, but when people see these trends come from sources like these, expect them to multiply.” In terms of styling the crew sock, Huseby’s current go-to pairings are with the UGG Tasman X, the Wales Bonner x Adidas collab, and the Maryam Nassir Zadeh Kiki boot, though she emphasizes how versatile these socks are with all shoes.
Rest assured, there are plenty of other MVP-level crew socks options if displaying the Nike logo isn’t your jam. Huseby also loves the Skims Sport Crew Sock, priced affordably at $10 a pair, which she says are super comfortable and lightweight. For a more elevated foot-swathing experience, the Comme Si Yves Trio, a three-pair pack for $85, is a fancy upgrade: “The Egyptian cotton is like a luxury hotel bed for your feet.”
Below, get a closer look at and shop these fan-fave Nike crew socks:
Best For: People who want a thinner sock with less cushioning
The Hype: 4.5 out of 5 stars and 321 reviews
What Customers Are Saying: “Great comfortable socks. [They] keep their shape and elasticity after many washings. I bought these over a year ago. I like socks that stay up and don’t slip down to my ankles. These are perfect.” —Reviewer sunglasskid22 at Nike.com
Best For: People who want more cushioning in the heel and forefoot
The Hype: 4.7 out of 5 stars and 661 reviews
What Customers Are Saying: “They are really good! The color is strong and reaches about mid-calf. Sock is made out of very strong material, have had them for around 2 months now, and they are still in almost perfect condition. However, when I took them off for the first 2 – 3 times, fuzz would come out (padding) and get all over the floor. But after wearing them for a while, that doesn’t become a problem anymore. Will probably buy again.” —Reviewer JoshG555884242 at Nike.com
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