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How Socks Became A Streetwear Mainstay

Max Rosengren

Streetwear socks have grown from simple designs to a vital part of any colourful streetwear outfit in 2020.

Socks’ journey into streetwear and modern day fashion has been far more interesting than you may think. To many it may not seem all that exciting. But for your average sneakerhead, socks are a vital part of presenting your shoes and your outfit in the best way possible. In fact, many even style certain fits around the socks they’ll be wearing. The “sock-market” is a thing on its own at this point. Multi-million dollar investments by stars like Jay-Z and Will Smith, have gone to brands like Stance and Heist. And with socks making a huge return into fashion, these brands are making more money than ever. We take a look at the streetwear accessory trend & hand pick 5 of our favourite streetwear sock styles.

Socks Vetements

Above: The VETEMENTS Shut Up Socks.



High-rise socks aren’t exactly a new thing to come into fashion. Already in 1955, mens fashion magazine Esquire, spoke on shorts as “looking like the devil unless you wear high-rise socks with them”. Something many of us still stick by. But it wasn’t until Nelson Knitting Company invented the tube sock in 1967, that the high rise socks entered every-day fashion. By removing the shaped heel and toe, as well as producing the socks in a stretch yarn, making them one-size, the Illinois based company could produce significantly larger amounts in a way shorter time. The tube socks grew largely in popularity within the sporting world, icons like Pelé, Björn Borg, Chuck Taylor and Kareem Abdul Jabaar were often seen sporting the white high rises. Several professional sports teams wore the socks made by Nelson Knitting Company, including 1973 Super Bowl teams Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins.


Above: The OFF-WHITE Tye Dye Diag Socks.



Naturally, the demand for the low cost sock increased. And it didn’t take long for it to go from sports gear to fashion item. As the tube sock grew in popularity, it progressively made its way into several different fashion trends. Whether it was amongst the toughest prisoners and gang-members of America or the most colourful roller skaters of the 70’s, the tube socks were a significant part of their image. Despite its popularity, the high rise sock tumbled in and out of high fashion as time went on.

Socks Mastermind World

Above: The Mastermind World Skull Socks.



And it wasn’t until recently, when high fashion, streetwear and athleisure started merging together, that the high rise tube sock became a significant part of what it is today. With the dad shoe trend blowing up, and sneaker culture growing bigger and bigger, it may be that the tube socks are playing their biggest role in fashion yet. In a 2016 Vogue article, the tube socks return to high fashion was announced. Pelé and Björn Borg made space for new “tube sock icons” like Tyler the Creator, Jonah Hill and of course Mr Yeezy himself, Kanye West.

Socks Givenchy

Above: The Givenchy Classic Logo Socks.



In the past year several brands have popped up and taken over the sock world. At one point in the 2010’s, everyone and their grandma were wearing the classic HUF weed socks. The collaborative Vetements x Reebook socks racked up over 1000’s of searches a day and appeared in pretty much everyone’s feed.

Palm Angels

Above: The Palm Angels Vertical Logo Socks.



The growing sneaker trend has also paved the way for the growing streetwear sock trend. With the sneaker market & sneaker resale market now bigger than ever, sneaker culture is dominating the way in which we now buy accessories and apparel. At the end of the day who doesn’t want to team up their exclusive crepes with a pair of matching colourway socks from brands like OFF-WHITE, Vetements, Mastermind World, Givenchy or Palm Angels?


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1 Comment

  1. Avatar
    Kat May 28, 2020

    Socks is just as big part of the shoes. Lots of streetwear enthusiasts have been spotted with dope socks and I’m all for it! I’m guilty too!


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