You’d think socks would be one of those things that you can just buy without thinking about, that you can pick up any old 12-pack from the store and be done with it. For some people, that might be true, but for others, sock hunting can be a surprisingly complex ordeal. Not only do you have to think about how they look, but since they’ll be on your feet all day long, how they feel is just as, if not more, important.
But don’t worry. It isn’t impossible. In this guide, we’ll go over what exactly you should look for in a cotton sock and how to choose the right cotton socks for you. Once you know what you’re looking for, we’ve also got a list of our ten favorites to help you start your search. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get sock hunting.
How to Choose Women’s Cotton Socks – Buying Guide
The first thing you need to do is figure out if cotton socks are really what you’re looking for. Cotton is great for day-to-day wear–it’s strong, breathable, and retains heat well (when dry).
However, it isn’t very good for athletic wear–cotton tends to stretch out easily and soak up moisture, which could leave you with blistery damp feet (which also means that it’s not the best for people with particularly sweaty feet). So when looking for cotton socks, there can be a lot you need to keep in mind.
All Cottons Are Not Equal
As with most things, there are a number of different types of cotton, and some are better than others.
Supima Cotton: High Quality but Expensive
Supima cotton is a high-quality cotton grown in the US that makes up less than 1% of the world’s cotton. It has extra long fibers, which makes the fabric simultaneously strong and soft. However, that also makes it significantly more expensive.
Egyptian Cotton: Soft and Durable If It’s Real
Egyptian cotton, like Supima cotton, is a long-fiber, durable fabric. The threads are softer and finer than that of normal cotton, which means the weave must be tighter and stronger.
It’s less expensive than Supima cotton, but the key is making sure that you’re buying the real stuff. There’s a lot of fake Egyptian cotton on the market, so be sure to check where the product is from before you buy it.
Combed Cotton: Pre-Treated for Longer Life
Combed cotton isn’t a type of cotton, but a preparation method. As its name suggests, combed cotton has been combed, which removes short fibers and impurities.
The product is a fabric that doesn’t fray as easily and feels nice against your skin. Generally speaking, it’s a bit more expensive than an uncombed cotton.
Choose a Length Based on What You Wear
One of the key factors in which socks to buy is how you’re going to wear them.
No-Show Socks for Low-Rise Shoes
No-show socks generally come up just above the heel and loop around the toe, leaving the top of your foot exposed. These kinds of socks are good for shoes with a low profile like casual sneakers, ballet flats, and loafers. However, when looking for a no-show sock, you should always make sure it has a silicon heel grip to prevent slippage.
Ankle Socks for Almost Anything
Ankle socks come up to right around the ankle. These are a great all-around length–they are high enough to always stay put on your leg and yet low enough to not be too distracting above your shoe. When looking for an ankle sock, ensure that the top of the sock is higher than the back of your shoe to prevent blisters or slippage.
Crew Socks to Show Off
Crew socks come up to just below the calf. This length is ideal for when you’re wearing pants as it’ll help bridge the gap between your shoe and the hem of your pants. For more formal situations, feel free to stick to solids. But for some fun, pick an interesting color or pattern that will just peek through above your shoes.
The length of a crew sock is also ideal for athletic purposes as it ensures that the socks won’t slip down over your heel. Of course, always check reviews to see if they slip down throughout the day before buying though.
Socks At or Above the Knee Look Great with Skirts and Boots
Knee socks can stop either just below the knee or just above it. This length looks fantastic when worn with skirts, shorts, and boots.
The main concern when looking for knee socks is whether they stay up throughout the day. Some will include a grip up top, made of materials like silicon, for some extra support. Be sure to read reviews before buying, otherwise, you might find yourself fixing your socks all day long.
Look for Cotton Blends for High-Performance Use and Frigid Weather
By itself, cotton can stretch out and retain moisture throughout the day, which is less than ideal for athletic use. However, when blended with synthetics like nylon, cotton will become more moisture-wicking, making it better for athletic wear or for those on the move.
Pure cotton socks will also not cut it if you’re playing winter sports or live in frigid temperatures. Cotton is great for letting heat escape, which is why thin cotton shirts feel so great in summer. If you must have cotton socks in sub-zero temperatures, look for one that’s been mixed with an insulating material such as wool, which is ideal for trapping heat.
If you’re looking for the comfort of cotton but still need to get some high-performance use out of your socks, be sure to look for a good blend.
Extra Support for Flat Feet and Poor Circulation
Socks aren’t just to keep your toes from smelling. They can also alleviate aches and pains. For those with low arches, look for socks that have a supportive middle portion so that you’re more comfortable on your feet. For those with poor circulation or achy legs, look for compression socks to help keep your blood flowing.
Top 11 Women’s Cotton Socks to Buy Online
Now that you know what to look for in a cotton sock, here are a few of our favorites to help get you started on your search.
11. Kayhoma Extra Long Over the Knee Socks
Thigh-Highs for Thighs of All Sizes
These over-the-knee socks are made from a blend of cotton, nylon, and spandex making them soft, breathable, and stretchy. At 2’4″ from heel to top, these socks will hit just above the knee for most women between 5’1″ and 5’7″. They are made with high-density fiber fabric meaning they are on the warm side and are very opaque.
These socks are extremely stretchy and resilient and will fit women of almost all sizes. However, some reviewers have noted that because they don’t have a silicone grip at the top, the socks might slip down throughout the day. These socks come in black, gray, and white.
10. Feetalk 98% Cotton Lightweight Dress Socks (6 Pack)
Super Soft Crew Socks for All Day Comfort
These socks are made from 98% cotton, and, as a result, they’re extremely soft and breathable. They have a wide elastic band on the top to ensure that they stay up all day long and are seamless so that you’re comfortable while wearing them. These socks also have reinforced toe and heel sections for increased longevity.
They come in two sizes that fit women from size 5-11, though because they’re completely unisex, you can also order in men’s sizes if you need something a little larger. These socks are thin and lightweight, which make them great for the summer months–but they’re probably not ideal during colder weather.
9. Thirty48 Women’s No Show Socks (3 Pack)
Super No-Show Socks for Loafers, Boat Shoes and More
These socks are some of the smallest no-show cotton socks you can find. They fit just around the toe and heel, making them great for basically any kind of low-cut shoe. The silicone tab on the back heel means that they’ll stay in place, so you don’t have to worry about them slipping off.
However, these socks come in one size only (size 6-9) and can shrink if you put them in the dryer. So for those with larger feet, these might not be the best choice for you. They come in multiple colors, and even if no one else will ever see them, you can still have your pick.
8. SIGVARIS Women’s Calf High Compression Socks
High-Quality Compression Socks for Optimum Comfort
These compression socks are made with Supima cotton, making them super comfortable and super durable. They have a graduated compression of 15-20 mmHg, which helps ease the pains of achy legs, late-term pregnancy, and prolonged periods of sitting.
These socks come in three sizes, which fit women from sizes 5 to 12 and ankles up to 10.5″ in circumference. They also come in three different colors. As they are meant to fit snugly, they can take a bit of effort to put on, which is normal with compression socks, though the cotton makes them more breathable than normal nylon options.
7. iNicety Women’s Low Cut Socks (3 Pack)
Combed Cotton Socks for Even the Smallest Feet
These ankle socks are made from high quality combed cotton, which makes them extra soft and durable. They also have a reinforced sole, heel, and toe for even more longevity. Their seamless toe means that you won’t feel anything inside the sock, and they fit just above the ankle and won’t slip down over your heel.
These socks come in four sizes, which provide a wide range from a women’s 3.5-11. They come in several colored and neutral sets and are packed in a gift box as an added touch. They’re thin and are sure to keep your feet cool during the summer, though they will likely not be enough for cooler climates.
6. KONY Women’s Cotton Knee High Socks (3 Pack)
Knee-Highs That Stay Up
These knee-high socks are made from a combed cotton blend that comes up just below the knee and stays there. They are medium weight and extremely soft, making them great for year-round use. Both the material and the color are long-lasting and hold up well to both washing and drying.
These socks come in many different colors with and without the striping at the top. However, they only come in one size meant to fit a women’s 6-9 and may not fit properly if you’re not within that range. Some reviewers have also noted that they can be uncomfortably tight for those with larger calves.
5. Pro Mountain Rib Cushion Cotton Athletic Sports Socks (3 Pack)
Cotton Athletic Socks That Hug Your Feet
These socks are primarily made from a blend of cotton and polyester, making them softer than your usual athletic sock. Great for movement, these socks have a unique top band that keeps the sock in place without digging into your skin. They are breathable and cooling without being too thin.
These socks have extra cushioning from the toe to the heel and have a light compression around the arch and ankle for comfort and support. They come in two sizes that range from a women’s 7.5-11, so they’re not best for smaller feet. However, these socks do come with a 1-year quality guarantee, so if they’re not just right, you can get your money back.
4. SDBING Women’s Warm Cotton Socks (5 Pack)
Cotton Socks Fit for Winter
Like your soft cotton socks but need something a little warmer for winter? These are the socks for you. These socks are made from 90% cotton and are terry-knitted for both breathability and warmth. They come up to just above the ankle, and their lightly elastic cuff means they stay up all day without digging into your skin.
These socks come in one size, which fits a women’s 6-10, and it should be noted that while these socks are warm, they are not particularly thick. They come in several neutral colors great for winter wear. Some reviewers have noted a strong initial odor with these socks. However, it goes away after a couple washes.
3. Vero Monte Women’s No Show Socks (4 Pack)
Super Soft No-Show Socks
These no-show socks are made from a high fiber-density combed cotton that’s neither too thick nor too thin. They’re soft, durable, and have a reinforced toe and heel. To prevent the socks from slipping down below your heel, there are four strips of silicone in the heel.
These socks aren’t super low and work best with medium profile shoes like Vans or Toms. They come in two sizes which fit women’s sizes 6-9.5. They come in three neutral colors–including nude so that even if they do show over the top of your shoe, they remain inconspicuous.
2. Vero Monte Colorful Patterned Cotton Socks (4 Pack)
Cotton Socks for Colorful Personalities
These socks are made from 95% cotton and, as a result, are incredibly soft and breathable. They have just the right amount of elasticity to help them stay up all day without digging into your legs or leaving marks. They aren’t overly thin or thick and are great for wear in shoes or at home.
They are the perfect length to show above ankle boots. They come in three different sizes that fit women’s sizes 6-11. Each set comes with two different color combinations which are meant to be shown off. And if all this isn’t enough, these socks also come with a satisfaction guarantee.
1. Formeu Women’s Athletic Low Cut Ankle Socks (4 Pack)
Breathable, Soft All-Purpose Ankle Socks
These socks are great for almost any situation. Made from 80% combed cotton, they are soft, breathable, and fast drying. Despite their high cotton content, they work well for athletic as well as casual purposes and have a good amount of elasticity so that they don’t irritate or stretch.
They have extra cushioning on the sole as well as light compression around the arch. These socks also have an extra high lip at the back of the ankle to prevent your shoes from chafing. These socks come in one size that fits a women’s 6-9. They come in two basic colors–black and white.
So there you have it–a comprehensive guide to choosing and buying the best cotton socks. We’ve got low-cut, no-show socks for evening wear and knee-high stockings for the winter. There are socks with silicon grips and light compression and socks made from cottons of different quality.
Who knew that cotton socks could be so complex, right?
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