Shopping for the best men’s dress socks at a time like this—when you still might not have an office to go to everyday, or weddings to attend, or anything else on the calendar that merits formalwear—might not be high on your priority list. These days, though, the best men’s dress socks are actually simply the best men’s socks, period. They’re no longer made of skimpy, itchy fabrics that’ll fall down around your ankles and tear at the heels after a heavy day of walking. Instead, today’s best dress socks are cut from the best materials, with all the high-quality durability, exceptional breathability, and supersoft goodness of fresh hotel linens. They’re engineered to feel as cushiony as your sport socks and stay up on your calves all day without suffocating them completely. They just plain feel good on your feet, whether you’re throwing on loafers on your way out the door or just padding around the house in slippers.
And while they say you can judge a man by his shoes, the socks you wear let everyone (your boss, your Hinge date, your parents-in-law, the barista, everyone) know you didn’t just buy fancy oxfords—you have your shit together. The right dress socks will help you to look proper, show your respects, nail the job interview, stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter. But what are the best dress socks? We’re done with the whimsical ones that look like airport carpeting. Nothing cutesy, nothing argyle, nothing “novelty.” No, you need dress socks in solid colors and subtle patterns that work under a cuffed tweed trouser, a stiff pair of jeans, and wild patterned pants. And they should make you feet feel fantastic, even after 12 hours spent cooped up in heavy leather brogues. All 20 of these dress socks—from fancy French heritage hosiery to cheap and cheerful basics—check every box.
The Best All-Around Dress Socks
So, you’re probably not visiting all that many airports at the moment. But the logic behind Falke’s signature Airport socks remains sound all the same. They’re built from a supremely versatile blend of wool, cotton, polymide and elastane that’s engineered to keep your lower extremities temperate, cushioned, and comfortable—even through a harrowing day of air travel. Even when you don’t have a five-hour layover to suffer through, though, these densely knit numbers will treat your tired dogs right, and the buckets of available colors and very respectable sub-$20 price tag will ensure your fits and wallet are equally satisfied.
The Best Next-Level Dress Socks
Charvet, the legendary Parisian atelier, takes zero half-measures. Their exquisitely tailored dress shirts—which pass through the hands of no less than 50 skilled craftspeople—have been worn by the likes of JFK and Matisse. Their $400 house shoes are the stuff WFH dreams are made of. And their socks, accordingly, are finely rib-knit in France from pure cotton, for a smooth and luxurious handfeel (footfeel?) that won’t quit or sag even after years of regular washes. Dropping $115 on a single pair of socks might sound preposterous, but the prodigious boost of confidence you’ll get just from slipping these on is worth every penny.
The Best Stench-Battling Dress Socks
Haunted by your end-of-day foot stink? Soured relationships with friends and family over your sour-scented hooves? It’s time to bring in the big guns. Mack Weldon’s extra breathable dress socks are laced with odor-assaulting silver threads that help to keep those unwanted aromas at bay.
The Best Workhorse Dress Socks
On your feet all day? Grab Gold Toe’s Harrington crew socks. No, they’re not as refined as the luxury brands above, but they deliver the all-business vibes of dressy ribbed socks with built-in cushioning reminiscent of your favorite athletic socks’. Plus, at less than $4 a pair, you can afford to buy your Gold Toes by the dozen.
The Best Get-Out-of-Your-Comfort-Zone Dress Socks
Want to experiment a little with your socks? Start with Uniqlo. Their ribbed dress socks are shockingly well made (tightly woven, comfortably padded, super-saturated in color) for a low, low price. Plus, they come in nearly every hue you can imagine. Get teal! And eggplant! Neon pink? They’ll look good against gray or navy pants! If a color isn’t working, you’re only out a few bucks.