by Nathan James November 07, 2021

Business Socks: The Ultimate Guide for Men

If you are looking for information on men's business socks, you've come to the right place. This article will outline everything you need to know including our expert pick on which business socks are best, how to style business socks, proper care instructions and much more.

Table of Contents

Best Business Socks: Expert Picks
What are Business Socks?
How to Choose Business Socks
How to Style Business Socks for Men
How to Wear "Fun" Business Socks
How Business Socks are Made
How to Launder Business Socks

Best Business Socks: Expert Picks

The best business socks for men are lightweight, comfortable and should blend seamlessly into the background of your day. In other words once you put them on in the morning, you should be able to continue on through your day without even knowing the socks are there. If you are constantly bending over to pull up your socks or pull down your pant legs, it’s time for new business socks.

Best Overall Business Sock: Black Merino Wool Over the Calf

Sock Strengths Details
black wool over the calf business socks for men  Soft, breathable merino wool keeps your feet dry and comfortable all day. The over the calf length ensures these business socks stay up.

-Rich black color goes with any business outfit

-Tasteful ribbed style; always appropriate

-Reinforced heel and toe

-Made in USA

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    "For the first time in my business life I am wearing socks that actually feel like "big boy" business socks. Comfortable and durable. They stay up all day - no wrinkles around the ankle, and I do not pull them up at any time."

    Richard E., Mesa

    Best Mid-Calf Business Sock: Black Merino Wool Mid-Calf

    Sock Strengths Details
    black merino wool mid-calf length business socks for men  Ideal for men who prefer a mid-calf length sock. Soft, breathable wool ensures your feet stay dry throughout the day. Reinforced heel and toe provide significant durability.

    -Black color goes with any business attire

    -67% Merino Wool, 30% Nylon, 3% Spandex

    -Classic ribbed style

    -Made in USA

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      Softest Men's Business Sock: Black Cotton Over the Calf

      Sock Strengths Details
      black cotton over the calf business socks for men  These business socks are made using the same material found in luxury bed linens. With a luxurious, silky-smooth texture against your skin, they are extremely comfortable.

      -Buttery-soft, extra long staple cotton

      -Breathable and incredibly comfortable

      -74% Egyptian Cotton, 23% Nylon, 3% Spandex

      -Made in USA

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        Fun Business Socks Top Pick: Purple Merino Wool Mid-Calf

        Sock Strengths Details
        purple business socks for men  If you're interested in making a statement with your business socks, these are for you. The rich purple color stands out yet is still quite tasteful.

        -Beautiful yet subtle purple color

        -Understated ribbed style for classical elegance

        -Soft, breathable wool for all day performance

        -Made in USA

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          Business Casual Socks Top Pick: Khaki Cotton Mid-Calf

          Sock Strengths Details
          khaki business socks for men  The perfect sock for business casual wear, these will look sharp with khakis, chinos and other casual pants while the ribbed texture ensures you'll be polished. 

          -Neutral khaki color perfect for chinos or jeans

          -Silky-smooth long staple cotton

          -Easily dresses up or down for business casual

          -Made in USA

            Check Price

            What are Business Socks?

            Let’s start with the most basic question: what are business socks? Men’s business socks are better known as dress socks, the style of hosiery worn by men in formal and professional environments.

            • Business socks are more commonly referred to as "dress socks"
            • Thin to comfortably fit snug leather dress shoes
            • Allow trousers to smoothly drape across your leg

            Business socks are manufactured with very fine yarns that produce a thin pair of socks specifically designed for dress shoes. They are intentionally thin primarily because dress shoes fit more snugly than other shoes but also because a thinner sock allows pants to move smoothly across your leg.

            why men wear business socks

            When wearing trousers and dress pants, you want the garment to drape well on your body as you move and cross your legs. Business socks are purposefully designed to be stylish yet functional, allowing your pants to move freely as you cross your legs. Bulkier socks would cause your pants to bunch, creating an unflattering look.

            How to Choose the Right Business Socks

            With a plethora of options on the market, it can be difficult to select the right pair of dress socks. We recommend breaking the process down into three critical steps, as outlined below.

            Step 1: Start with Length

            The two lengths of men's business socks are mid-calf and over the calf. While our recommendation for professional men is to wear over the calf business socks, some men prefer shorter dress socks.

            comparing business sock lengths

            If you are in a meeting with clients, pausing to pull up your socks or crossing your legs and exposing bare skin is considered unprofessional. Knee high business socks (over the calf) are hands-down the choice if you want your socks to stay up all day.

            To ensure the proper fit, the socks must be long enough to reach just below your knee where they will comfortably remain above your calf. The beauty of this style of business sock is that you will have no need to readjust or pull them up throughout the day. Over the calf is also the choice to cover your legs from toe to knee. Crossing your legs over your knee or putting your ankle on your opposite knee will not result in skin showing, which is considered a faux pas.

            how to wear business socks

            If you find a shorter sock cooler and more comfortable, then mid-calf length dress socks should be appropriate. For reference, this style of business sock is a tad longer than crew length. For further reading on this topic, be sure to read our in-depth comparison of dress sock lengths.

            Step 2: Select a Comfortable Material

            After determining your preferred length, the next step is to choose the sock material that you find most comfortable. The key here is understanding the difference between natural and synthetic fibers; dress socks knit with a high percentage of natural fibers will always be more comfortable than synthetic fibers. High content synthetic fibers may last longer, but they wear much hotter on your feet and legs.

            The classic professional business dress sock is knit with merino wool. When it comes to fibers, merino wool is considered Mother Nature's heat and air conditioner; it breathes in heat but keeps you warm when it is cold. If comfort is your goal, this would be the best choice for comfortable business socks.

            merino sheep for wool business socks

            The alternative choice is cotton, a fiber some men prefer for its soft texture. At Boardroom Socks, our cotton business socks are crafted with extra-long staple Egyptian cotton; this is the same material found in luxury bed linens and leaves a buttery-soft texture against your skin. This material is also ideal for men with sensitive skin.

            Step 3: Select the Appropriate Style

            If you are trying to keep to professional dress code standards, the recommended choice in business dress socks is to select a style that doesn’t distract. This is particularly true if you are giving a presentation or are engaged in other client-facing activities; your socks should not detract from your overall professionalism.

            black business socks with black dress shoes

            You can't go wrong with the classic business colors of black, grey and navy - which will go with just about anything in your closet. Additional colors that can be appropriate include burgundy, olive and khaki. Socks can have plenty of style without being a screaming color or loud pattern. Continue reading below for more tips on how to style men's business socks.

            How to Style Business Socks for Men

            To best style business socks, you need to have a clear understanding of the environment that you will be in and what is considered appropriate for that situation.

            For professional environments, we shared above our guidance on wearing business socks in the traditional shades of black, blue and grey. These core colors will look sharp with virtually any business attire and are always appropriate. To add a little more pizzazz, you can sprinkle in brighter solid colors or subtle patterns such as dots or stripes.

            colorful business socks for men

            A business casual setting will provide much more latitude in selecting your attire, including your dress socks. Working at your desk or with colleagues of a similar stature provides an opportunity to wear fun business socks; in this setting you could comfortably wear brighter colors or busy patterns.

            If you wear khaki pants to your office, brown, khaki and olive business socks would all be great choices. If you have the opportunity to wear jeans to the office, your choices are virtually endless. A pair of well-fitting jeans combined with solid burgundy socks and nice dress shoes is an incredibly dapper look that will bring your style up a notch or two.

            burgundy business socks with jeans and dress shoes

            You could then easily transition from the office to lunch or dinner with colleagues and not look underdressed. The wilder the sock color or pattern you select with jeans, the more casual an image you will project.

            Always keep in mind the old adage that you should dress for the job you want, not the job you have. With that perspective, we recommend occasionally tempering your hosiery choice with some more classic business socks.

            Additional Style Articles:
            (Click to Read)
            How do I match my dress socks, shoes and pants?
            What color business socks go with a navy suit?
            What color business socks go with a grey suit?
            What color socks do I wear with khaki pants?
            What color socks go with black dress shoes?

            How to Wear Fun Business Socks

            Fun business socks for men can be tricky; how can a professional man express some personality with his socks while still looking sharp? As we shared above, it really comes down to what is appropriate for the business environment that you are in.

            fun business socks for men

            Instead of garish colors or loud patterns, our recommendation is to stick to solid colors and subtle patterns. For example, solid red or solid purple business socks are incredibly stylish while still remaining quite tasteful.

            red fun dress socks for men

             More Tips on Fun Dress Socks:
            How to wear colorful business socks.

            How Business Socks are Made

            A quality pair of business socks is surprisingly difficult to manufacture and involves many steps through a complex supply chain.

            Step 1: Start with Yarn

            The very first step involves procuring the necessary raw materials which, in the case of socks, is yarn. Yarn used in manufacturing business socks can be thought of as a very fine thread that is wound on cones and then tied on to the knitting machine.

            cones of grey wool yarn used for manufacturing business socks

            Similar to a home's foundation, a pair of socks is only as good as the yarn it is made from. For additional information on the materials used to manufacture business socks, read our article on the best material for dress socks.

            Step 2: Designing the Socks

            The next step in manufacturing men's business socks is to carefully plan the design features of the socks. Will the sock be produced with a texture such as a ribbed style or will it be a flat knit sock? What length will the sock be? How much stretch should it have?

            At Boardroom Socks, the majority of our men's business socks are made in ribbed style. This is an intentional design choice not just for the style versatility that ribbing offers, but also because it improves the socks' ability to stay up. We also reinforce the heel and toe portions of our socks, providing enhanced durability. This adds a wrinkle into the manufacturing process as it requires additional yarn, leading many manufacturers to skip this crucial step.

            Step 3: Knit the Socks

            After the design process is complete, the next step is to tie the yarns onto the knitting machine and begin production. Business socks are manufactured on a circular knitting machine that gives them a tube-like shape with both ends open. The final step in knitting is to close one of the ends of the sock to create the toe seam.

            The video above shows a behind-the-scenes tour of a factory where business socks are produced and will give you a detailed look at the knitting process.

            Step 4: Finishing Process

            After the socks have been knitted, the final step is to complete the finishing and packaging process. During this step, the socks are thoroughly washed, ironed into shape, paired together and then packaged.

            How to Launder Business Socks

            With the proper care, men's business socks can last for several years. The best way to care for this hosiery is by following these four steps:

            Step 1: Turn Socks Inside Out

            Turning your business socks inside out helps prevent lint and other debris from adhering to their exterior. In the event anything in the laundry has an adverse reaction with your socks, the damage will be limited to the unseen interior of the socks.

            Step 2: Wash in Cold Water

            Exposing your business socks to heat during the laundering process will cause premature wear. Nylon and spandex are the fibers that allow business socks to both stay up and retain their shape. These materials are also very sensitive to heat and will quickly lose their strength and elasticity after prolonged exposure to high temperatures.

            Step 3: Dry with Care

            For all of the reasons shared above, exposing your business socks to heat is the quickest way to ensure their demise. We highly recommend air drying them or, if you must use a dryer, tumble dry on low.

            Step 4: Use a Laundry Bag (Optional)

            While not required, a sock laundry bag will further assist you when laundering your business socks. In addition to preventing socks from disappearing in the wash, this bag will also help prevent other garments from rubbing against them.

            laundry bag for washing business socks

             Further Articles on Care:
            How to properly care for dress socks.
            How to wash wool socks.

            Thank you for taking the time to read this article! I hope that it has been helpful and informative in answering any questions you may (or may not!) have had regarding business socks. I invite you to browse our collection of socks.

            Shop Business Socks

            About Boardroom Socks

            Boardroom Socks is a small, family-owned company based in Charlotte, North Carolina. We specialize in manufacturing premium, American-made men’s socks that are as comfortable as they are stylish.

            Nathan James
            Nathan James

            CEO, Boardroom Socks

            Nathan's favorite dress socks are our burgundy merino wool socks. You will also frequently find him wearing our new no-show socks with loafers. Outside of the office he enjoys fishing, reading and exploring Charlotte.

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