Crew Socks [Origin, Features, How to Wear]

I bet you have many questions on your mind such as:

What are crew socks?

Where do they come from?

Why are they called crew socks?

There are many questions that need to be answered about this typical sock and I want to explain everything in this article.

I will talk about where they came from, the features and the many benefits they offer.

Enjoy 🙂

What is a Crew Sock?

Crew socks are warm and comfortable. They are usually long and thin for aesthetics or thick for comfort and warmth.

They are common among the fashion industry and have many uses.

They are called crew socks because they were created specially for boaters back in 1948. Officials ordered the crew of the boat to wear same-sized socks.

After World War 2 they became available to the public and that’s where the name “crew sock” came from.

Crew socks are unisex and have many different colors and designs, lengths and features.

They can be made to look super cute, super colorful or plain and bland. But at the end of the day each crew sock has its own purpose.

You will also find ribs on crew socks that help stop the sock from sliding down.

Ribs create a stretchy fabric that is actually better at following the curves of your legs, thus resulting in a more snug and warm fit.

The ribs come in many sizes…1×1, 2×2 and even super long ribs that cover the entire sock. These ribs make extra warm socks!

What’s the Length of a Crew Sock?

Unlike ankle socks or no show socks, crew socks come up above the ankles and vary in length depending on its purpose.

There are lengths for when you want a sock but not too much sock, and other lengths where you want lots of sock showing.

The common lengths of crew socks are as follows:

  • Mini crew sock
  • Half crew sock
  • Full crew sock

Mini crew – A little higher than ankle socks and contains ribs

Half crew sock – This sock length has a little more material than mini crew socks which is also ribbed

Full crew sock – A full crew sock is the longest crew sock and finishes before the mid calf. Anymore material (such as in the middle of the calf) and it will be called a trouser sock

Crew sock length

Sometimes you might find that some people call a trouser sock a crew sock but they are mistaken.

As a rule of thumb to help you remember: A true crew sock is anywhere between ankle socks and midcalves.

The Features

Moisture-wicking – Athletic crew socks require moisture-wicking material that absorbs sweat from the body to keep you dry. These are more commonly used in athletic activities

Thermal properties – Thermal socks are use for the complete opposite…cold environments. These are good for skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports. The extra thickness provides more padding which leads to more warmth

Ribs – Ribbing is what keeps the sock stretchy and able to stay up on the leg. The more ribbing, the comfier and warmer the sock

Reinforced Heel – Some crew socks feature a reinforced heel to stop it from wearing out fast

Cushioned Comfort – More expensive crew socks have extra padding underneath the feet for warmth and comfort

There are lots more features but these tend to be the main ones that appear on most crew socks.

What are the Common Uses of Crew Socks?

Crew Socks Skateboarder

Crew socks are worn by a lot of people in this day and age.

I am now a fan of them and never have been, but there are others who absolutely swear by them, and those are the people I want to talk about today.

Here’s some common uses of crew socks.

Fashion – This is especially true amongst the younger crowd. Lots of people ages 14-30 tend to wear crew socks with a nice pair of kicks because it’s trendy and “cool”

Skateboarding – Skaters wear crew socks for skateboarding because it’s trendy and looks cool, but more importantly, they provide an extra bit of stability to not fall off

Basketball – Basketball players also benefit from long socks. Crew socks reduce muscle fatigue and act as a stabilizer since basketball requires lots of sudden movements, which is easier to slip or make a mistake

Weightlifting – Crew socks are also perfect for weightlifting because they keep your feet in a secure position. This is especially good for deadlifts, squats (all squat variations), lunges, military press, and more

Hiking – Mini crew socks are great when wearing mid or high top shoes because they prevent chaffing around the ankles. They also add more protection against bug bites and sharp plants

Hiking Crew Socks

Winter sports – A simple pair of ankle socks simply won’t cut the mustard when it comes to extreme winter sports, and that’s why crew socks are the go-to because they have all the thermal properties needed to keep the wearer warm and safe from the cold conditions

Around the house – Wearing crew socks around the house in the winter time is simply amazing and that’s why lots of people do it. The thicker the sock, the more comfortable and warm it will be

Thermal Crew Socks Around Home

How Do You Style Crew Socks?

Well at the end of the day it comes down to personal preference, but the vast majority of people wear crew socks for casual and casual-smart settings.

What you feel comfortable in determines your overall look.

When you’re first start in your quest to looking stylish, I recommend starting off simple.

A plain color that compliments your shoes works wonders.

But of course trying different colors and seeing what you feel comfortable in will always be the best way to go.

Crew socks are also good with chinos, denim, trousers and jackets.

There is NO set rule to looking stylish and fashionable in crew socks.

The best way is to try new things and see what you like, because that’s what everyone else does 🙂

How to Fit Crew Socks Properly

The average crew sock sizes are 8-12 which is supposed to be a “one-size-fits-all”.

But of course that means your shoes have to be between any one of those sizes for a secure fit.

If you’re under or over the 8-12 size range, you’ll need to opt for a smaller or bigger size.

But remember, too-tight socks can hurt your legs, cause circulatory issues, varicose veins or even worsen them if you already have them.

On the other hand, too-big socks will keep falling down which is going to look silly and be a pain in the ass trying to pull them up every 10 minutes of the day.

The Difference Between Crew and Ankle Socks

Ankle socks are much shorter in length as they cover your entire foot but stop at your ankle. They can barely be seen as that’s the main purpose of them.

Ankle socks are made to be there but without actually being there.

There is a hint of color that compliments an outfit, but otherwise they are not made to be seen and are best used with shorts or athletic activities due to the lightweight and ventilation characteristics.

On the other hand, crew socks are made to be seen and look the part thanks to all the different colors, patterns, designs, lengths, features, etc.

Basically, crew socks can be for stylish reasons or for stabilization for athletic activities that require sudden movements like basketball, tennis, etc.

One is not better than the other, it just comes down to personal preference.

What you feel more comfortable in.

For me I feel more comfortable in ankle socks because ANY sock that comes above my ankles just irritates the hell out of me.

Even in cold conditions I opt for ankle socks, but they have to be thick with lots of padding.

But for others they absolutely love crew socks and wear them for pretty much any occasion.

The Best Crew Socks

There is no this is the best or that’s the best.

Different sized crew socks mean they are better used for different activities.

It simply won’t be right if I said here’s a warm crew sock to walk around the house, yet you need one for basketball which is going to need moisture-wicking properties.

Well considering summertime is coming up, it makes complete sense to opt for something airy and lightweight.

The Champion Double Dry Moisture-Wicking Socks are my recommendation.

They are affordable, Champion are a trusted brand, and they’ll last the entire season as they come in a 6 pack! 🙂


So now do you know what crew socks actually are? I hope you do.

They can be worn for pretty much any occasion, and it all depends on the type of activity you’ll be doing that determines how long the crew sock will be.

But like I said, everyone loves a crew sock. It is the most commonly used sock out of all the socks within the sock universe, and that’s why every man and his dog owns at least a dozen pairs.

I hope you have learned enough about crew socks that you are sick of hearing the name.

And finally, that concludes this article.

Please let me know what you think about these amazing socks in the comments below. I’d be happy to answer all your questions and concerns.

Cheers and have a great day.


Shoe Mastery

PS: You may also want to learn about no show socks.

10 thoughts on “Crew Socks [Origin, Features, How to Wear]”

  1. I constantly buy socks but frankly, I do not know what they are called. Now only I know most of my socks in the closet are either ankle socks and crew socks.

    Thank you for this informative article that has taught me the types of socks that I tend to ignore in the past. One question, I’m wondering if those black socks that I’m wearing with my leather shoes to office are crew socks too?

    • Hey Jacky. Great question.

      That depends on the length of the sock. If it’s higher than the ankle and finishes anywhere between the midcalf, then you are wearing a crew sock.

      If it sits on your midcalf or higher, we’re looking at a totally different sock.

  2. This is a nice article about crew socks. I am happy to have learnt about the history of crew socks and how the name came about.

    I have heard the name before but I did not understand why they were called crew socks. Thank you for this article, it is well researched and detailed.

    • it is really interesting how the name come about but I like the name and think it fits well.

      Glad you like the article Smoochi.

  3. Hi Brandon,
    Here in the UK we have a whole bunch of different names for everyday objects and I literally had no idea that included socks. I’m currently sporting some trainer socks and they are driving me nuts as I picked the blue pair which don’t have the little rubber Jimmy on the heel to stop it slipping off into the vast void of my size 12 shoe. Super interesting site ..have a great day 😎

  4. This is a very informative article about crew socks. Personally I have always trouble to find socks that are good enough for hiking and climbing in the mountains. I enjoyed to learn more about these specific ones and I might give them a try next time I go for a hike. Thank you 🙂

    • Half crew socks are AMAZING for hiking and mountain climbing! Just make sure they are warm, or extra warm for mountain climbing.

  5. Hello there, nice article.

    I am familiar with these socks, in fact I fancy the full size but I never knew the name nor the history behind the name!.

    I use them around the house during cold season and I also wear them with my sneakers for outing (short size).

    Quite informative and interesting

    • That’s awesome Lizzychris. I’m also starting to wear the thicker ones around the house more as it’s getting much colder here in New Zealand!


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