Free Shipping to US & Free Custom Packaging with All Orders

What are the Different Types of Socks?

best custom sock company

Customized socks are a fabulous corporate gifting option that appeals to everyone. Whether you aim to show appreciation for essential employees, trusty vendors, or long-term clients, offering pairs of socks provides a practical gift that can strengthen the business relationships of your organization.

Socks come in various styles, materials, and possible uses, so finding the perfect fit for your intended recipients may be tricky. As a custom sock supplier, we’ve set out to answer the most common burning questions in your mind to help your organization make well-informed decisions when deciding to pursue a corporate gifting campaign.

So, how many different types of socks are there, and what are the different types of socks to consider for your organization? We’ll cover that and more in this guide, so let’s jump right in!

How Many Different Types of Socks Are There?

If you’re shopping for socks, you might find yourself quickly bombarded by an overwhelming amount of different types available. There’s a lot to consider when choosing a type of sock, from the typical daily routines of your recipients to local climate and aesthetic considerations.

So, what are the different types of socks?

We’ll be breaking them down into several categories that will be simple to understand. Before we jump into our classifications, let’s briefly discuss the factors that differentiate these types in the first place.

Use Case

Wearing socks provides several benefits, and the type of sock you choose may be better suited depending on a specific use case.

Socks do an excellent job keeping feet warm, especially when you opt for thicker socks like cashmere and wool. Conversely, athletic socks made of cotton or rayon are built to keep feet dry if you want to absorb sweat and prevent the build-up of moisture.

Some types of socks have more utility as an aesthetic option, like knee-high socks that play a part in outfits or novelty socks that are a fantastic way to inject a bit of flair into an outfit.


When people wonder – how many different types of socks are there, anyway – Differentiating them often comes down to the material used. The most common materials include cotton, wool, nylon, silk, and rayon.

The material your socks are based on helps determine the contexts in which they can be used. Dressy socks usually comprise silk or Supima cotton, while athletic socks must be moisture-wicking and contain breathable materials like rayon and wool.


While socks have tons of functional utility, it’s also important to consider the aesthetic properties of each different type! Socks come in various lengths, from “no-show” socks that only cover the soles and toes of your feet to knee-high socks that offer a unique look when paired with shorts or skirts.

Socks can also range in colors, patterns, and logos, from standard mono-color socks that exude an air of professionalism and simplicity to vibrant designs and patterns that tie an outfit together seamlessly.

All three factors are weighed to create the various types of socks. With these qualities in mind, let’s switch gears and talk about our categories of socks.

What are the Different Types of Socks?

Our breakdown of the types of socks available will cover most of the basics you need to know when sourcing socks for your business. 

There’s a lot to consider, and keep in mind that some of these categories can overlap with each other. For example, it will be common to find two different types of athletic socks, one pair in ankle length and another in crew length, so be sure to consider every aspect of your intended design while shopping.

Athletic Socks

Athletic socks are designed for sports and physical activities. They are made of breathable, moisture-wicking, anti-microbial, and durable materials.

Wool and nylon are two of the most common materials, thanks to their ability to prevent sweat build-up and withstand daily use. You’ll want to pair athletic socks with your intended activity for the best results.

A pair of custom cycling socks made with nylon may be just what the doctor ordered for biking, as they feel lightweight while protecting the wearer’s feet. Winter sports enthusiasts may prefer custom ski socks, while hikers should opt for custom hiking socks, as both types are made of fortified merino wool that keeps feet warm.

Cushioning is also important when choosing custom running socks, as the wearer will want to avoid blisters and provide an even surface for their feet.

There are many options for athletic socks, but as a general rule, high-quality materials like merino wool, nylon, and Supima cotton should cover most uses, while specific cuts of athletic socks are a great choice for themed sock giveaways.

Dress Socks

Dress socks are the pinnacle of luxury, pairing excellently with dress shoes and slacks. They are usually thinner and lightweight than other types of socks. Custom dress socks offer stylistic versatility and can be crafted using high-quality cotton or merino wool.

Learning how to fold dress socks properly can help extend their lifespan significantly since they are often susceptible to wrinkles and creases that detract from their aesthetic.

Compression Socks

Compression socks are designed to improve circulation and reduce swelling in the legs. This makes them an excellent choice for exercise and medical reasons.

Materials like nylon or spandex are usually paired with compression socks, and they are commonly styled with athletic wear or under business attire to help support wearers during their daily routines.

Novelty Socks

Novelty socks are designed to be fun and expressive. They often feature unique patterns, colors, and designs, making them an amazing choice for a crazy sock office party or as a way to spice up a bland outfit.

They are typically made of cotton or a cotton blend but can also be made of wool or other materials. 

Crew Socks

Crew socks are a bit longer and come up to the calf or just below the knee. They are usually made from thicker materials like wool or synthetic blends, making them ideal for wearing with boots or other shoes that cover the ankle. 

Custom crew socks are a great option as a catch-all since they are an optimal length for several different types of outfits and can breathe extra life into an aesthetic with personalized logos or messages.

Knit Socks

Custom knit socks are made by knitting yarn together to create a fabric. They can be made of a variety of materials, including cotton, wool, acrylic, and nylon.

Knitting yarn into socks is a critical part of manufacturing, providing a lightweight, soft-wearing experience that can wick moisture and give warmth in colder months. Knit socks are extraordinarily versatile, and the knitting process allows for unique designs and logo placements.

Wool Socks

Wool socks are made of wool fibers that are soft, breathable, and resistant to odors. They are known for their warmth and comfort, especially in cold weather, and their protection against odors also makes them a versatile choice for athletic wear.

Merino wool is one of the most popular materials for custom wool socks, thanks to the warmth it provides to wearers and its long-lasting durability.

Knee High Socks

Knee-high socks are a fabulous choice for aesthetic appeal, providing a unique look without compromising on comfort. A well-designed pair of custom knee high socks can be made with various materials like cotton, wool, and nylon. Plus, they can even doubly serve as compression socks for athletic endeavors.

Textured knee-high socks are an amazing pairing with shorts and skirts, and they also offer a large blank canvas for intricate designs and patterns.

Ankle Socks

Ankle socks will typically stop at or below the ankle, making them a wonderful pairing for sneakers, especially in the summer months. They are also simple to slip on and off and feel lightweight on the feet, allowing wearers extra comfort.

You can find custom ankle socks in nylon or cotton, and they can still be paired with logos and slogans as desired, especially if they are worn with slide sandals or shoes that emphasize the ankle area.

If You’re Ordering Custom Socks, Which Type is Right For You?

After exploring the numerous sock categories available, how do you find the best choice for your business?

You’ll want to weigh your intended recipients’ preferences and daily habits to help find the right type, while also crafting a design that can incorporate a corporate logo or slogan if desired.

Considering Your Organization’s Needs

Taking into account your intended recipients will help you decide the best type of socks for your giveaway goals. 

Athletic or compression socks can be a great choice if you are gifting to a group that enjoys exercise or a client located in hot climates as a way to fend off sweat. Conversely, a cold-weather business may gift wool or knit socks to their employees in the fall to help them stay warm with the changing seasons.

Choosing the Right Type, Style, and Material

Remember that your custom socks should be crafted with your audience in mind, blending the materials used with the intended use cases. 

You’ll also want to ensure your design is aesthetically pleasing for the wearer. You’ll want to avoid a pair of socks that goes unused, since that would run counterintuitive to the goals of your marketing department and leave the people who matter most to your business unsatisfied.

Adding Your Logo

Promotional socks are an excellent method to grow your brand loyalty with a thoughtful, high-quality gift, and adding your logo or a marketing message can provide an extra layer of value. 

You can turn your giveaway into a bonafide pair of marketing socks, especially with fun novelty designs, allowing your recipients to act as walking billboards and increasing their own loyalty to your brand.

Of course, not every sock manufacturer allows you to customize your logo and marketing designs so that your socks appeal to everyone, so it is vital to find the right fit for your business.

When in Doubt, Reach Out!

There’s so much to weigh when you decide on a sock giveaway for your business. This guide may have sparked new ideas or questions, so you should always feel comfortable reaching out to sock suppliers to receive additional guidance.

We’re available here at Custom Sock Lab to discuss all things socks, whether you want to visit us in person in Charlotte, NC, call us, or email us, so contact us with any questions you may have! 

We Have All the Different Types of Custom Socks Waiting For You Here at Custom Sock Lab!

Now that you have an idea of the various types of socks and how to choose a style that works for your business, the only step remaining is to find a supplier that produces wholesale custom socks in bulk.

At Custom Sock Lab, we have mastered the art of crafting custom logo socks, thanks to our 100% USA-based manufacturing process that goes above and beyond to deliver premium-quality products that will endear your clients, employees, and vendors to your business for years to come.

Why You Can Trust us as Your Wholesale Sock Supplier

Your search for the best custom sock company ends here at Custom Sock Lab. From the moment you begin dreaming up a custom sock order, we provide a streamlined process that offers you unlimited creative flexibility.

By working in tandem with members of our design team, you’ll have total control over the creative process, allowing you to customize your socks to your heart’s desire. Our products are made entirely within the USA, placing us within an exclusive group of less than 1% of sock suppliers.

All of our factories are equipped with top-of-the-line knitting machines on the cutting edge of manufacturing. Combine all these factors, and it’s no surprise we have a storied track record of delivering jaw-dropping results that stand the test of time.

We’re confident in our ability to craft an amazing product, and that’s why we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If an order has any issues, whether there are shipping delays or a final result that didn’t pan out how you dreamed, just contact our dedicated customer support team, and we’ll work to make it right for you.

How to Get Started Today

Working with us here at Custom Sock Lab can take the guesswork out of learning how to make custom socks. Our effortless process starts with you conveying your custom sock ideas to us. Whether you want to hop on a phone call, doodle a quick sketch, or have an in-house design team craft a prototype, our creative team will work to bring your idea to life.

Once you have a design in mind, you’ll choose your preferred yarn type and style of the sock, using this article and the recommendations of our designers as a guide. From there, we’ll work on creating a prototype for you to approve.

After approving a prototype, we’ll start production on your order, so sit back, and you’ll have your fresh order of custom socks in no time!

Final Thoughts on the Different Types of Socks

Customized socks have tons of flexibility for business owners and promotional departments, but figuring out the right type of socks to give away can pose some challenges. There’s a lot to consider, from how your intended recipients will use the socks to which kinds of materials to use and the style you wish to convey.

To sum it up, how many different types of socks are there? The design possibilities are nearly endless when working with a creative team, but we can confidently divide socks into a few smaller groups to help you decide the best fit for your order. These include athletic socks, dress socks, novelty socks, crew socks, and more.

If you still have questions on the world of custom socks, we strive to cover everything you need to know on our blog at Custom Sock Lab. Check out our work on how to tie dye socks, how to wear dress socks, how socks are made, and a look at the world’s most expensive socks.

If you’re ready to start a customized order to kick off a giveaway of swag socks for employees, clients, or vendors, we’re here to help at Custom Sock Lab. Our dedicated creative team is available to turn your dream designs into reality with the help of our 100% USA-based manufacturing process, so reach out to us today!