Residing somewhere between no-show and crew socks, the sometimes fickle ankle sock should be considered a mandatory player in your foot-sheath arsenal.
As the name suggests, the best ankle socks for men typically fall right below the ankle bone or barely cover it. And though I personally only wear them for running, hiking, or playing tennis, these are versatile socks that can be worn year-round for almost any reason.
If you’re looking for a knock around pair (or 12) to get you through the summer, there are plenty of inexpensive pairs out there. Plan on riding the couch with your be-socked toes pointed directly toward a crackling fire? Handsome and colorful patterns abound. And if you’re training for a race and need a little compression to keep things comfortable—you guessed it—there are plenty of men’s ankle socks that have you covered.
Like all of the best men’s socks out there, ankle socks can make a huge impact on your comfort level in almost any scenario. I’m going to run the gamut of ankle sock-dom throughout this article, but the pair that came out on top is Tracksmith’s merino wool no-shows (which, for reasons I’ll unpack soon, are more show-y than the name might suggest).
This and several other socks on the list tick essential boxes like breathability, the inclusion of sweat-wicking materials, added compression where needed, and ankle tabs to help reduce slippage.
Material: 73% merino wool, 26% polyamide, 1% elastane | Sizes: XS-L | Colors: 4
Yes, these are marketed as no-show socks—and they are depending on the shoes—but this pair of merino wool socks from Tracksmith has the bones (and the height) of ankle socks. And considering the obsessive attention to detail and craftsmanship that Tracksmith puts into all of its garments, that’s good enough for me and good enough to land them the top spot on my list of the 14 best ankle socks for men.
Tracksmith is all about running gear, so it should come as no surprise that these are perfect in every way for running. They’re lightweight, breathable, anti-odor, and feature structure and compression in all the right places. But as fate would have it, these are also excellent features for everyday life and whatever you could possibly choose to do with it.
Material: 84% cotton, 14% polyamide, 2% elastane | Sizes: 36-40, 41-45 | Colors: 5
These handsome, statement-making cotton socks from
They’re available in five colors, though I’m partial to the subtle pop of muted green that the Desert Sage option offers. The jacquard-knitted Arigato logo emblazoned across the front of the sock also helps this pair stand out in a crowd.
Material: 81% organic cotton, 17% polyamide, 2% elastane | Sizes: XS-L | Colors: 4
The word “workout” is a broad stroke. To you, that could mean anything from walking the dog to running a marathon to spelunking with your friend Kevin. Kevin’s always getting you into trouble. Anyway, you’re going to need a sock that can keep up with whatever your active lifestyle throws at it.
This handsome 4-pack from London Sock Co. fits the bill with its breathable organic cotton, reinforced heel, integrated arch support, and antibacterial treatment to keep things smelling fresh down there. It also features the company’s logo on the back tab to add a touch of whimsy to these colorful socks.
Material: 87% bamboo | Sizes: One size | Colors: 1
What makes this pair some of the best ankle socks for men is its bamboo construction. For starters, they’re super soft (Loci prides their blend on being second only to silk in terms of softness). But they’re also breathable, durable, help wick sweat away, and won’t lock in odors. You can’t go wrong by making this your everyday casual pair of super cozy socks.
And this being a black pair of socks, you’re going to find that it’s appropriate to wear basically anywhere except for weddings, interviews, dates, after-work cocktai… actually, maybe just wear them for ankle sock things.
Material: 88.3% cotton, 10.7% polyester, 1% spandex | Sizes: S-XL | Colors: 3
These approachably priced socks feature the greatest hits from the Best Ankle Socks For Men playbook: moisture-wicking, breathable cotton, reinforced toe, arch support, non-slip features, and compression where you need it.
There are a few other essential colors they come in, but you’ll want to grab a 6-pack or two of the standard white. They’ll be your go-to socks for countless occasions, from jogging or walking the dog to grabbing the mail or keeping the couch warm on a winter night. They’re white socks. You’ll figure it out.
Material: 95% polyester, 5% spandex | Sizes: S-XL | Colors: 3
Chances are, you’re not looking to reinvent the wheel when it comes to which ankle socks you put into your everyday rotation. You want sturdy materials, basic colors, an affordable price, and preferably a lot of them.
If that’s you, this 10-pack on Amazon is what you’re looking for. For the price and the quantity you’re getting, these socks have a surprising number of features. For daily wears like this, the ones you might be most interested in are their elastic cuffs to reduce slippage and their reinforced heels and toes to keep holes and tears at bay.
Material: 98% polyester, 2% spandex | Sizes: S-XL | Colors: 2
Another solid option if you just want a non-technical pair of comfortable, cushy socks without many bells and whistles is the Asics Cushion Quarter. The tops are constructed with engineered mesh to keep your feet breathing, while the ankle and sole are extra thick.
Reserve the flashy, colorful socks for ski trips and holidays—these are the ones you’ll want to kick up on the couch in front of a roaring fire and a guilty pleasure of a show.
Material: 98% polyester, 2% elastane | Sizes: L-XL | Colors: 3
Love to get outside and stir shit up? Love comfort? Love men’s ankle socks in general? All perfectly acceptable reasons to love Carhartt’s Force socks. Yes, Carhartt’s resurgence and arguable shift from actual workwear to streetwear has been the stuff of memes since the 2010s.
But if you strip all of that away, you’re still left with an impressive line of garments that can take a beating while keeping you comfortable and supported. With its reinforced arch and ankle, sweat- and odor-wicking properties, and breathable mesh instep, this specimen is no exception.
Material: 43% nylon, 28% wool, 27% tencel, 2% spandex | Sizes: M-XL | Colors: 7
I’ve been wearing Feetures compression socks on my runs for years now and find them among the best technical socks that I can still wear even when I’m not running. Its targeted compression areas hug all the right places on my feet, and the seamless construction keeps distractions to a minimum on runs.
The Merino 10s, however, take things to another level. The addition of Feetures’ Tencel and merino wool blend keeps feet warm in the winter and cool during the warmer months, and the comfort level is off the charts—you won’t even know they’re there.
Material: 86% Supima cotton, 13% nylon, 1% lycra | Sizes: S-XL | Colors: 65
Watermelons. Pandas. Pizza. Dinosaurs. Martinis. Toy Story. Tacos. Space Jam.
Yes, this is a shortlist of my favorite things. But it also happens to be a shortlist of the themes available in MeUndies’ impressive catalog of men’s ankle socks. There are a staggering 64 colors and themes to choose from, the most fun falling under their “Adventurous” category.
But it’s not all fun and games with this cast of everyday-essential characters. All 65 pairs are constructed of super-soft Supima cotton and feature a cushioned sole, blister-preventing ankle tab, and a seamless-feel toe.
Which is all fine and good, but in case you forgot… Space Jam socks.
Material: 66% merino wool, 32% nylon, 2% spandex | Sizes: S-XL | Colors: 2
When you saw the words “sweat absorbent” up there, did your brain automatically fast-forward to merino wool? If so, yay. If not, keep reading.
Merino wool is somewhat of a miracle fabric for those with an active lifestyle in that it provides warmth when it’s cold and keeps your feet cool when it’s hot. And yes, it’s far and away one of the best sweat-wicking fabrics out there. Not only is this pair from Swiftwick made mostly of natural merino wool, it’s got all the other bells and whistles like a seamless toe box and reinforced heel and toe.
Material: 48% merino wool, 48% nylon, 3% spandex | Sizes: M-XL | Colors: 3
The first thing you might notice about these socks is that they’re unnecessarily eye-catching. The second thing you might notice is that they’re made by Bombas (strong quality signal from the jump). The third thing? Golf. If you’re a golfer, consider this great news. If you’re not a golfer, also consider this great news. Just because they’re marketed as golf socks doesn’t mean they need to be pigeonholed to golf.
A few properties that make this one of the best men’s ankle socks are its breathability, sweat-wicking properties, seamless toe, and the fact that it won’t slip down your ankle when you’re doing whatever it is that you do. Oh, and that they’re perfect for every occasion, even if golf isn’t one of them.
Material: 95% nylon, 5% elastane | Sizes: M-XL | Colors: 2
Keeping the performance sock train rolling, Lululemon’s MacroPillow Tabs are ready for action and incredibly lightweight. They’re designed for running but would also make for solid additions to your daily rotation.
The heel tab is a bit oversized, but it goes a long way in helping to keep these socks snug against your ankles where they belong. Meanwhile, the heel’s construction is designed to give you a locked-in feeling whether you’re running, biking, hiking, or doing anything active. And speaking of activity, Lululemon’s “No-Stink Zinc” treatment helps curb the growth of odor-causing bacteria.
Material: 69% cotton, 27% polyester, 3% rubber, 1% spandex | Sizes: M-XL | Colors: 12
Ankle dress socks. And here you thought that was an oxymoron not worthy of even the slightest investigation. But let’s unpack this a bit, shall we? You wouldn’t wear ankle socks with a suit. You wouldn’t wear them out for drinks, either. In fact, there are very few scenarios where you’d find yourself wearing even the best ankle socks for men in a formal situation.
Enter: The shoeless soirée. Think about it. You go to a holiday party at a friend’s house. It’s a swanky affair, but they’ve got a toddler and don’t want your germy shoes all over the hardwoods. Are your socks presentable? You’re on a third date, and it’s time to get cozy on the couch with a thriller and some Red Vines. Are your socks presentable?
They will be once you pick up this handsome 6-pack of winter ankle socks from Bombas.
What To Look For In The Best Ankle Socks for Men
Ankle socks are versatile. They can help see your feet through a marathon, a day hike, an apres-ski session, a movie at home, or anywhere in between. For the most part, all of the best ankle socks for men were built for specific purposes. To get the most out of them, consider your lifestyle, how they’ll pair with what you’re wearing, and why you’re buying them in general, then weigh their features against those considerations.
Most ankle socks are designed to be seen, if only subtly. That in mind, you’re free to make the statement you want to make… even if that statement is nothing more than, “I’m running, leave me and my black socks alone.” Your socks’ design is subjective—just know that the sky’s the limit in terms of how the things look.
The material of any sock makes a huge impact. Some ankle socks are made of merino wool, which is an incredible performance fabric. But if you’re just looking for a comfortable knockaround sock, there’s no shortage of cotton options out there. Think about what you’ll be doing in your ankle socks and choose a material accordingly.
Ankle socks are all about performance and comfort, regardless of how they look and why you’re wearing them. As my top pick, the Tracksmith Merino No-Show Sock is everything a sock should be, right down to the breathability and indestructible construction.
Ankle socks are incredibly versatile. You can wear them for running, hiking, walking the dog, and everywhere in between. So a more appropriate question might be, when shouldn’t you wear ankle socks—the simple answer is anywhere formal.
Men, women, children, cats, dogs. Everyone can and should wear ankle socks as long as their lifestyle supports and demands this workhorse of a sock.
As with any sartorial decision, let your confidence be your guide. That said, you’ll typically want to avoid ankle socks with jeans, opting instead for no-shows or a colorful, stand-out pair of crew socks.