Best Kids' Socks

Updated October 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

51 Models Considered
30 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
60 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best kids’ socks

Between growing feet and active lifestyles, it’s common for parents to buy socks for their kids on a regular basis. A quick peek in a kids’ sock drawer will tell you it’s also quite common for kids to own a variety of socks. Said drawer is likely to contain socks of many lengths, materials, patterns, and colors.

It’s important to have the right socks for every occasion, whether it’s for daily wear, lounging, sports, or a dressy event. There are socks for each season and socks with unique features, such as wick-away material and nonslip nubs. Regardless of the day’s activities, kids need socks that fit well and remain comfortable enough to wear all day. Quality also plays a role in a wise sock purchase, as poorly made pairs need to be replaced more often and may end up costing families more in the long run.

Is it time to upgrade your kids’ sock collection? To help you fill that sock drawer with all the pairs your child will need, we present this comprehensive buying guide.

It’s recommended that you wash new socks before wearing them to minimize skin irritation. This also keeps dye transfer under control, as new socks with vibrant colors may stain footwear, carpet, or upholstery.

Key considerations

Lifespan of socks

Socks, like other articles of clothing, have a shelf life, though it’s unclear exactly how long that is. Even if socks still fit, the material will degrade over time. Frequent washing, friction from rubbing against shoes, and just plain wear and tear is enough to deteriorate socks.

If you’re wondering if it’s time to replace a pair of socks, look at them and feel them to assess their quality. Friction holes may be present around the cuffs and heels. Loss of elasticity, namely in the cuffs, is a sure sign it’s time to shop for something new. Heavy pilling, which is common with cotton blends, may indicate the socks have lost their “new” and crisp appearance — and it’s unlikely they’ll get it back.

Sizing

It’s easy for adults to find socks that fit because their feet are no longer growing. For kids, however, it’s a different story.

Baby and toddler sock sizes, based on age, are the most consistent sizes across brands. Once kids surpass this age group, however, it becomes more difficult to find the right size. Even though sizing for kids’ socks is somewhat standardized, not every maker expresses sizing the same way. For example, some sock manufacturers go by shoe size. Others adopt general sizing buckets of small, medium, and large. Some brands include the actual measurements of the socks, including the foot length and cuff circumference. Others craft their own conversion charts based on a combination of the aforementioned sizing methods.

Individual pairs vs. value packs

Buying individual pairs of socks is ideal if you need a specific style or design, such as for a special occasion or formal event. Individually sold socks are often made of superior materials and tend to have better construction. However, this is the most expensive method of purchasing socks.

For all other pairs, including those for everyday wear, it’s much more cost-effective to purchase value packs of socks. These packages contain anywhere from three to a dozen pairs. The pitfall of buying socks in bulk is that the quality and construction may be hit or miss.

Features

Material blends

Cotton reigns supreme as the most popular material for kids’ socks. It’s usually blended with other materials, like spandex or polyester, to prevent shrinking. Some kids’ socks, such as those used for sports and other activewear, are made with wick-away materials to keep little feet cool and dry. Wick-away properties also aid in overall foot hygiene.

Weather-appropriate socks

Weather-appropriate socks are suitable for wear in specific climates or temperatures. For example, socks designed for cold weather may be thicker with longer cuffs. Wool is a common material for cold-weather socks.

Socks designed for warm weather usually have a lower cut and may feature ventilated areas or wick-away material. 

Cut

The cut of a sock refers to how high the cuff is. Crew socks, the most popular cut for kids’ socks, cover the lower to mid-section of the calf. No-show socks are cut so low that they aren’t visible in shoes at all. Liner socks are cut just below the ankle and fully expose it, whereas quarter socks are cut just above the ankle. Knee-high socks, often worn as part of school uniforms, are cut as the name implies.

Reinforced toes and heels

The toe and heel areas of a sock sustain the highest level of friction. For that reason, many socks are equipped with reinforced toes or heels. This simply means the material is thicker or has a slightly more durable weave at these points to minimize damage from friction. A secondary benefit of reinforced toes and heels is that they provide modest cushioning and shock absorption.

Nonslip detail

If you’ve seen Risky Business (1983), you already know that socks and hardwood floors make for a slippery situation. While Tom Cruise could handle it, it’s actually somewhat of a safety hazard. For that reason, some socks are made with nonslip detail on the soles to prevent slipping and sliding. Nonslip socks may have tiny rubber or silicone dots, swirls, or patterns.

Embellishments

Fancier kids’ socks may have embellishments such as lace, bells, ribbon, or scalloped cuffs. They’re often worn to formal events like weddings, though some can be worn as part of a school uniform. While these socks are certainly charming, a downside is that they’re somewhat delicate and may require hand washing.

Kids’ socks prices

Kids’ socks range in price from $4 to $30. The more you spend, the more socks you tend to get in a value pack, though that’s not a hard-and-fast rule. Here’s how the brackets break down.

Inexpensive: For $4 to $10, you’ll find individual pairs of kids’ socks and smaller value packs of three to four pairs. With the exception of well-made individual pairs, quality is extremely hit-or-miss in this range.

Mid-range: For $10 to $18, you can find six-packs of kids’ socks made by well-known brands. Pairs are constructed with better-quality material blends and offer much longer life spans.

Expensive: In the $18 to $30 bracket, you’ll find multipacks of high-quality socks and mega packs that include a dozen pairs or more. Unfortunately, many mega packs prioritize quantity over quality.

Tips

  • Use fabric softener. To keep kids’ socks soft, wash them with fabric softener. If your kids have sensitive skin, stick to a hypoallergenic, fragrance-free formula.
  • Buy the same socks. It can be time-consuming to pair up socks. Save time by purchasing several pairs of the same socks for easy, effortless pairing.
  • Buy a size up. Little feet are constantly growing, and it’s hard to anticipate when it’s time to size up. Keep a few pairs of the next size up on hand to ensure kids have well-fitting socks as soon as growth spurts happen.
If your kids wear socks as part of a school uniform, keep them in an accessible place near their other uniform pieces. That way, it’s easy to find them during the morning rush.

FAQ

Q. Is it okay for my kids to wear socks that are slightly too big?
A.
In theory, there’s nothing wrong with it, but it could pose other issues. For one, kids wearing oversized socks might trip or slip on floors. Big socks also have extra material, which can be extremely uncomfortable when stuffed into shoes.
 

Q. Are kids’ socks unisex?
A.
For the most, sizing is unisex for kids until they’re ready to wear adult shoe sizes. However, some parents feel that socks specifically geared toward young girls are cut a bit more narrow than those for boys.
 

Q. How do I eliminate pilling in my kids’ socks?
A.
Pilling is common with cotton blend materials. While you could pluck off the tiny pieces, it’s fairly time-consuming. Another option is to invest in a fabric defuzzer. This device is designed to buff away pilling without damaging the material.
 

Q. What is the best cut for kids’ socks?
A.
Many parents recommend crew or quarter-length socks for kids. This is to ensure that the sock completely covers the ankles and Achilles heels, which are sensitive to friction when they rub against footwear.

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