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I haven’t been in school in a long time, but I can still feel the edge of the school year drawing ever closer. Sure, we’re not in summer yet, but you can taste the promise of what summer might be (and I have to admit, almost-summer is one of my favourite seasons, more full of possibility than true spring). Schedules start to shift after US Memorial day, there’s more half days, summer plans get cemented, there are more perfect days to have cookouts.
And, of course, we have a sock (well, several) for that.
Camping isn’t for everyone, but it’s a big part of a lot of folks’ summers. Whether your camping means tent, RV, car or going off to a structured sleep-away camp, having socks that are sturdy and more forgiving about how often they’re washed lets you focus on other things. Like having fun, making memories, battling werewolves…
Wool blends and bamboo are not only a little better than other fibers at not getting ultra-foot-gross after a day, wool can air dry quickly so you can give them a wash or rinse and they’ll be dry and often ready to go the next day. Using our Advanced Search to limit Sports Socks to those that have wool brings up some favourite sturdy options. The separated toes of the Wool Lightweight Running No Show Toe Socks helps keep your feet happy and healthy on long treks, and the Extraordinary Wool Socks are nice and tall to protect your legs from mean bushes and brambles.
Combining wool and bamboo makes for what are my personal favourite camping socks: Sockwell’s crews and midcalves. Any time I pack for camping, they go in my bag and on my feet! For all their cuteness, they’re sturdy as heck, comfortable to wear for a long time and wash up easy.
Late spring and early summer also brings the start of backyard barbecue, picnics and other ways of celebrating that the weather is being sunny enough to be outside, but not so hot the idea of eating outside is gross.
Fun, novelty, crews are like the perfect condiment complement to outdoor eats.
And this may just be something specific to where I’ve always lived, but what starts as a sunny cookout often grows surprisingly cold as the sun sets and the yard lights go on. It isn’t really summer yet, after all! Arm warmers and knee socks that play equally well scrunched down or pulled up will keep you warm enough to keep on chilling (without being chilly) outside.
Now, if your travel plans are a bit more involved and take you far from home, styles that are comfortable and useful in lots of occasions are key. Packing for the plane is an art! Plus, if you’re going to be doing a lot of sitting, either during a car trip or in an airplane, you want to keep your toes in best health.
A style that fulfils all those requirements are the Sockwell compression knee highs. They look good while keeping you comfortable as you stand and sit for long periods at a go. Graduated compression helps keep blood from pooling in your poor feet while cute and classic patterns go with a lot of different looks.
What are your favourite travel socks? My go-tos are always Sockwell (as mentioned earlier) and a couple Dreamer Socks like the Dreamer Jacquard Ripple OTK and the Acrylic Slouches. If I’m camping or travelling, all other socks go by the wayside! As we inch into true summer, I hope your plans live up to your dreams and that this is the best summer ever!
Though we started off, long ago, with a smaller array of coverage styles (knee highs, long socks, etc), we’ve added so many more coverage levels and styles in the past few years—this past year especially!
Most notably, more and more suppliers are offering true no-shows, little bits of nothing that cover your toes and your heels, but not the top of your foot. And we’ve also started offering shoe liners, a most un-sock-like sock option, but one that does the same job of keeping your shoes and feet from dirtying each other.
Because of this, we’ve refined some of our coverage categories (those thumbnails at the top of the Socks page) to make things easier to find and understand!
Let’s talk Liners
Liners, or insoles, are the closest to not wearing socks, because well, you’re not wearing socks at all! Shaped like the bottom of your shoe and made of materials to cushion or insulate, liners exist to give your feet some distance from your shoes. They can be tricky to first use, since it can take a little wiggling to get them into place. We’ve found holding them at the sides and bending the front edge back a little as you slide them in helps.
Right now we only offer two kinds of liners (we are sock folks, after all). The Alpaca Felt Insoles from Heartfelt are your winter option, adding warmth and coziness meant to work together with your favourite socks to keep your toesies cozy in the cold! SummerSox’s shoe liners are the summer option, for when you seriously could not imagine wearing socks, but don’t want your feet sweating and slipping on your shoes.
Though we were a little sceptical of liners at first, in our testing of them we fell in love! Having that extra layer between our feet and the cold ground that the Alpaca Felt Insoles offered made winter far more bearable. And the bonus to the SummerSox we loved was their soft combed cotton stopped that annoying “slap-slap” you get when walking barefoot in strappy summer sandals!
Colloquially called “peds” although “Peds®” is a registered trademark of the The Peds Company and only Peds® brand peds can be called peds, no-shows (or no shows, up to your personal hyphenation preferences) cover your toes and your heels, but leave the top of your foot bare. When paired with the right shoes, they’re practically invisible! Some brands also call them “liners” and we roll with that in their names, but if it’s covering your toes and heels and nothing else, then it’s a no-show—unless it’s a KeySock, in which case it is the happy child of a no-show and a knee high.
A great option for when you want the no-sock look or feel, but need more between you and your shoes than a liner can provide, the main drawback to no-shows is that the bit at the heel can sneak down into your shoe. Finding a style that fits you fab helps, but some styles know what is up and have grips at the back of the heel to keep things in place and we make sure to note that in Sizing Tips!
There are some no-shows that walk the line of not showing, like ToeSox’s Bella styles. That mary jane strap across the foot (that helps keep them in place) almost makes them . . .
Also called “sneaker socks” and sometimes even “anklets” (which are a whole ‘nother beast that is sort of similar/different to “ankle socks” in the same way crews and midcalves are just the barest difference of length). Footies dance right around the anklebone, landing either just below or just above, it seems like one of the key defining features of a footie is that it’s just the foot of a sock. See, the leg part of a sock is called the shaft (can ya dig it?) and a footie doesn’t have that. It covers the toes, heels, top of the foot and pretty much ends there. At most it has a bit of a cuff that covers the ankle bone.
Because a lot of the folks who make socks aren’t as persnickety as I am, footies also get called “no-shows” even though they show in most shoes (except sneakers, which would explain the “sneaker sock” term). And, as we tend to, we keep that supplier naming, and just sort them accordingly by coverage level.
A perfect summer or spring sock, often the height running styles are made in, footies are fun and fabulous when you just need a touch of sock but don’t want to be up past your ankles in warmth!
As the weather warms up, we hope these refreshed coverage categories make it easier to find just the right sock (or lack thereof) for summer!
Did you know, May 17th is National Packrat day? I’m sure you do know “packrat” is a term for folks who hold on to maybe more stuff than they’ve space, or who are avid users of what I call “organised piles” (which is a thing I do, and those piles are library-catalogued, test me).
What does this have to do with socks? Well, I’m pretty sure some of you saw the word “packrat” and guiltily thought of your sock stash. That’s what it has to do with socks. So!
First off: no guilt, you love what you love. Second, let’s use this silly fake holiday to figure out how to make your stash more like a dragon’s hoard, rather than a cute rodent’s mega-nest. Organising, mending/crafting and sharing are ways to manage your socks. And you gotta organise to figure what the next step is, so let’s jump to it.
On the face of it, “organising” sounds kind of insurmountable. I mean, if I was organised, I’d be able to find those cute anklets I love for spring, right? The thing to remember is that you’re organising for your lifestyle, not a magazine spread. If two heaps of socks in separate laundry baskets is what works best for you, then go for it (that was my choice of organisation for years!).
A Sock Dispatch from last summer talks about some of the ways Dreamers organise their socks, which are varied as the Dreamers themselves!
“Those are still really organised!” Oh dude, don’t stress. We definitely tidied before taking pictures (and tight crops of sock storage means you don’t see any yet-to-be-sorted socks just outside of the frame)!
Let’s focus on how different Dreamers sort their socks. Everybody rocks socks in different ways, with their own individual emphasis on what they want socks for. So look at what influences your sock choices most? Here are four of the more common sock sorting themes, but there are lots more!
Do you want warmer socks separate from lightweight ones?
Do you have trouser socks for work and dreamy slipper socks for home?
Do you want to keep running/yoga/biking/aerial socks and leggings separate from “regular” styles?
Do you want to keep things sorted by colour and pattern first?
So, set aside a chunk of time (or a couple small chunks of time) and let’s make some glorious, organised heaps of socks. Your main sock stacks are going to be whatever sorting system works best for you (by weather, activity, fashion, etc). Then, make three more piles, and be honest: socks to mend, socks to give away, socks that are no longer socks.
Once you’ve got your stash sorted, put away everything but those last three stacks. Boxes, baskets, one of those intense custom closet systems from Overboard , whatever works for you. However you are putting them away, try to do so with good intentions. Keep delicate stockings in separate bags so they don’t get snagged, make a home for wayward onsies to stay until their friends return.
Sometimes, setting up simple expectations (I will pair everything before putting it away!) can help in building habits that better your day (if everything is paired, I can have matching socks even if I have to get ready in ten minutes!).
Look at that! You organised the HECK out of those socks. That’s the hardest part, you’re awesome!! I hope you re-discovered an old favourite. Now, we’ll deal with those three problem piles.
Mending & Crafting
Let’s look at the “socks to mend” pile. It doesn’t take too much crafty skill to do basic mending and fitting, especially when you know that most of your awkward stitches will be nicely hidden in a shoe! If you have socks you love but don’t wear because of holes or an imperfect fit, make yourself a little sock hospital of a mending basket (or bag, or box!) that you can dip into when you have a moment to restore a sock to health and regular rotation!
We’ve talked about mending a lot before on the Sock Journal, so I’ll just give you some links to resources for being a sock doctor!
• Got holes? Darn it! •
• Stockings too long? Simple sewing solution! •
• Too big a foot? This Tumblr user has a great fix! •
• A smidge too snug? Blocking may be your friend! •
• Foot just no good ? Maybe they’d be better as arm warmers! •
• Just not working as tights? Bet they’d be fabulous gartered stockings! •
I’m saying this as a person with a mending basket that never seems to empty, but mending is perfect for those times when your brain is just not up to crafts but you need something to do with your hands while you watch TV or listen to podcasts. Setting small goals (I will mend one thing a month!) or getting friends in on it (group mending nights!) helps a lot in getting those socks fixed and back on your feet.
But what if there is not still a sock enough to mend, but you still don’t want to throw ‘em away? Well, what can you make with them? We’ve got mad loads of crafting and DIY posts in a range of skill levels for you to check out in our DIY category!
And even if you don’t have a crafting or mending bone in your body, you may know somebody who does! Socks are great for doll clothes and their thickly knit material is easy to handle for small ones just learning to sew. Essentially, you can make your own Crafty Bundles (though the socks we use for Crafty Bundles have never been worn and are just defects and things like that).
If, after later inspection, some socks are just not fixable or useable in any way, set them into the “socks that are no longer socks” pile and we’ll get to them in a moment.
What? Give people your old socks?! Give me a second—I’m not talking about, like, your ratty, shoe-stained ones. I mean, you bought a pair and they don’t fit the way you like, or you just never wear them or that was the pair that taught you that you were allergic to wool.
Because of the sock saturation most Dreamers have, we end up with a lot of styles we just can’t give the life they deserve. So, just like with clothing swaps, we often bring in old styles during regular closet clean-outs and let other folks have at it. If you’re somebody who does clothing swaps on the regular, then try introducing socks into the mix of sweaters that sweet-talked their way into your closet.
If those socks still can’t get love, then take them to your local clothing donation center. Some smaller towns have giant mailbox-looking bins, some places have charity shops, check and see if they take socks!
No matter how you’re sharing and swapping socks, keep these this in mind: make sure the socks are only gently used. If something is just ratty and threadbare, it’s not a nice thing to give to someone else and your better bet is probably recycling.
Socks that are no longer socks
Fiber recycling is sort of hard to track down. It’s going to vary a lot on what your local options are and if charity and thrift shops around you also take fiber recycling donations. Luckily, Zkano takes socks for recycling through the mail!
There’s more info at this link, but here’s a little of what they say:
Old fibers can be reworked and reused. The most worn out cotton fibers can be composted. Here’s where we come in. . . It’s little steps that make a big difference as we move towards a sustainable lifestyle. Our family is proud that you’re taking a few of those steps in Zkano Socks.
Look at that! Organising, fixing, sharing and repurposing. It’s something possible with simple steps that can be broken down as small as your time needs. Don’t let your socks wear you out!
Maybe it’s a little funny that in our colour search we have “Rainbow” as an option. I mean, rainbows are made of lots of colours, that’s the point! But if you need rainbow socks, then you need rainbow socks, which is why Rainbows have their own category too!
The difference in the results between Rainbow as a colour search and Rainbows as a category is that the colour search brings up individual varieties that are rainbow, like the M Sleeves in Classic Rainbow, where the category just shows styles that have rainbow options. The category is also a little looser on the definition of “rainbow”, like with the Kawaii Not Rainbow Youth & Junior Crew, which is defined as “Pink” by our colour search, since that’s the dominant colour in the sock.
I’ve mentioned this before, but our main goal with the colour searches is to make sure that nobody is going to search for “green” or something and be disappointed by what the results are. So in multi-coloured styles we only tag the dominant colours. Unless, of course, it’s RAINBOW.
So let’s look at some rainbows across different brands! As we discussed in the post about matching stripes across styles, rainbows are basic but tricky, because there are so many more colours to match up. That means our focus in this colour post is more about types of rainbow styles, rather than dissecting how a hue is portrayed across brands and fibers.
Dream Stockings & Dreamer Socks (including Love Lite Tie Dye)
As the majority of Love Lite Precision Tie Dye styles are made with our Dream Stockings and Dreamer Socks blanks, it’s easier to wrap them all up together. Between our three versions of Rainbow Dreams and our plethora of Radiant Rainbow and Harvest Rainbow styles, we’ve got rainbows on lock down. The classic tie dye rainbow stylings of Love Lite are the cherry and whipped cream on top (or the pot of gold at the end of all these rainbows!)
Top row from left to right: Rainbow Dreams Bright, Rainbow Dreams Classic, Rainbow Dreams Pastel, Radiant Rainbows, Harvest Rainbows
Bottom row from left to right: Extraordinary Tie Dyed Thigh Highs, Extraordinary Tie Dyed Stripes
Full of classic primary-coloured rainbow options, Foot Traffic also has some fun styles with rad rainbow touches.
Some basic rainbows, sure, but K Bell also rocks the rainbows striped or set off with black.
From left to right: Rainbow Skull & Crossbones Knee Highs, Neon Rainbow Gauntlet Gloves, Vertical Rainbow Fishnet Tights, Acrylic Rainbow Thigh Highs, Over the Rainbow Thigh Highs, Neon Acrylic Rainbow Thigh Highs, Neon Rainbow Striped Fishnet Tights
Background is Rainbow Organza Tutu
Sock It To Me
They just cover the basic rainbow needs, but they do it well!
With probably the slimmest of classic rainbow offerings, I figure it’s because Tabbisocks focuses on nailing all aspects of solid colours.
Other brands have something to represent rainbows, but they’re regularly pretty basic stripes (with the exception of space dye in Sparkle, but we’ll get to that in a sec).
Now, let’s look at the basic variations rainbows end up in!
Is anything quite the special kind of adorable that big socks/little socks makes? I think the snaps I took for an old Father’s day post are still probably my favourite because of that.
We don’t offer a whole lot of kid styles, because there are shops out there that specialise in those complicated little sizes. But, gosh darn it, if we encounter a new baby or kid sock that is an itty-bitty version of a grown up style, then it’s pretty hard to say no. The Tropical Trio Socks are a good example. They match the Mouthy Fish 3-D and the Mouthy Alligator 3-D socks!
And we know we’re not the only ones who feel that way. We can tell that it’s new baby season when we pull orders that have perfectly paired sets of socks for the whole family’s feet! So we’ve made a way to find what socks have options for feet both big and small! Just search “family”!
You’re going to see all sorts of socks, but any sock we’ve tagged “family” come in options for big and for little feet. If you can’t spot the matching pair right away, check the main copy, Sizing Tips or Additional Info for links (we try to fit them where is most logical for the style)! We’ve done our best to cross-link matching styles.
Luckily, several of these family-ready styles have the smaller sizes available from the size drop-down, most particularly Sock It To Me, like with their Unicorn Knee Highs.
Mostly though, the two different sizes live in separate entries to make things a little easier for the majority of folks browsing (we don’t want someone getting a kid size when they were trying for an adult size!). Some big & little styles are perfectly paired, like the Sweet Marcel styles.
Or the Owl vs. Mouse Midcalf!
Others are similar, but have some colourway differences, so you get more of a style match than a 100% perfect sock match.
And some styles just exist across a bunch of heights and shoe sizes, so you can get the whole family in on it! I think the most notable styles for this are the Sock It To Me super hero styles:
And our Harvest Rainbow styles:
There are a whole hecka lota options for matching across sizes, so play around with the Advanced Search to limit the results to what you need. For example, if you’re trying to match socks for littler feet to larger feet (say, up to a US men’s size 12), click “Larger Feet” under Category to bring up just the styles that come in those larger sizes.
In general be sure to check the Sizing Tips on each product page to make sure that a size will work for you and yours. We’ve also got a post with some tips and tricks about sizing those tricksy little toes for you too! If your searching skills are strong, you can use the tags explained in the baby & kids sizing post to augment your search within family socks. Just remember, if you’re using two tags and want both of them to count, put a big ol “AND” between them. But not all of us are that skilled, so here are some quick links. Since these searches are looking specifically for little foot socks, remember, look for the cross-link to bigger sizes in the copy:
Family socks with styles that fit infant (wee baby) feet
Family socks with styles that fit toddler feet
Family socks with styles that fit little kid (generally folks 5-8 years old) feet
Family socks with styles that fit big kid (generally folks 7-12 years old) feet
Special bonus! Family socks with a smaller style that can fit up to a US women’s 5 or 6
There are a lot of parent holidays coming up (with Mother’s day coming up May 10th!) so let’s get you and yours (or your friend’s families) marvellously matchy!!
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