Over-the-calf dress socks present well and will stay up all day. However, as we found in our reviews, not all over-the-calf dress socks are created equal. This guide will review some of the biggest brands in the industry, including Boardroom Socks, Gold Toe, William Abraham, and more, to discover which is genuinely the best of the best.
Over-the-Calf Dress Socks Compared
Here is a brief comparison of each of the over-the-calf dress socks we reviewed so you can quickly see which features are most important to you:
|Brand||Composition||Price||Size||Country of Origin||Colors||Patterns||Machine Washable||Dryer Safe|
|Boardroom Socks||67% Merino Wool / 30% Nylon / 3% Spandex||$16.95||8-12, 13-16||USA||Several||Yes||Yes||Lay flat to dry or machine dry low-heat|
|William Abraham||100% silk||$78||6-7, 7.5-8.5, 9-9.5, 10-11.5, 12-14||Italy||Several||No||Dry Clean Preferred||No|
|Gold Toe||82% Cotton, 14% Nylon, 3% Polyester, 1% Spandex||$20 / 3-pack||6-12.5, 12-16||International||Limited||Limited||Yes||Yes|
|Bombas||77% Cotton, 18% Polyester, 3% Nylon, 2% Spandex||$16||6-9, 9.5-13, 13.5-16||International||4||No||Yes||Yes|
|Pantherella||70% Merino Wool, 30% Nylon||$24||6-7, 7.5-9.5, 10-12, 13-14||UK||Several||No||Yes||Lay flat to dry|
|Falke||95% Cotton, 5% Polyamide||$40||8.5-9, 9.5-10, 10.5-11, 11.5-12||Europe||Several||Yes||Yes||Lay flat to dry|
|Brooks Brothers||65% Merino Wool, 33% Nylon, 2% Lycra®||$24.50||Regular, King||International||4||No||Yes||Lay flat to dry|
What are over-the-calf dress socks?
As the name suggests, over-the-calf dress socks extend above the calf. They may also be referred to as knee-high socks. They are designed to stay in place and provide full coverage of the calf and lower leg. Over-the-calf dress socks are often made from high-quality materials such as merino wool, cotton, silk, or synthetic blends, and they come in various colors and patterns to match any outfit.
What should you know before buying over-the-calf dress socks?
Before making a purchase, its important to always keep the following considerations in mind:
- Fabric: Merino wool, cashmere, silk, and cotton are breathable natural fibers that’ll feel comfortable on your skin. However, socks are rarely 100% of any one material. Instead, they are a hybrid of blends. We recommend that a sock have at least 50% natural fiber for comfort.
- Size Chart: Sock and shoe size are not always 1:1. For example, a size 10 shoe may require a size 9 sock. Check with the manufacturer-provided size chart to ensure an accurate fit.
- Pattern/Color: When choosing a pattern or color, consider the color of your pants. Dress socks should match your pants, not your shoes. If you want to add a pop of color, consider a complementary color or match your tie.
- Country of Origin: Whether you want to support your own country or prefer a higher level of craftsmanship, consider a brand made in the USA, UK, or Italy. They often last longer and deliver better customer service.
- Environmental Impact: While sustainable shopping isn’t at the forefront of many people’s minds, it is something to consider. If you are looking for a more sustainable option, consider a brand that uses natural fibers, so it is biodegradable at the end of its life and is made closer to your home to reduce the carbon footprint of shipping.
- Foot Shape & Arch: Feet come in all shapes and sizes. While you likely won’t find a pair of socks for various foot arch heights (i.e., flat fleet) or in width sizes, if you want a good fit, buy a sock with a smaller size ranges for a more exact fit.
- Price: Over-the-calf dress socks range from $6 to $75. The price largely depends on the materials used, country of origin, and brand.
How we Chose the Socks
We looked at several factors to determine which over-the-calf dress socks were the best. This started by identifying a list of 100 different dress socks. We then narrowed this down based on what men’s fashion influencers and online communities were recommending. Furthermore, we also examined review data from large online retailers like Amazon, Nordstrom, and others.
Once we had a list of potential socks, we then got to work on reviewing them for this guide. We looked at the materials used, construction, fit, style, and the overall quality.
Notably absent from our review are novelty socks. These colorful, patterned socks are fun and can be worn as costume or expressive attire. However, they are not dress socks and should not be worn with a suit or other formal attire.
How we Tested the Socks
Testing socks is a bit different than testing other products. While we could have walked extensively in each pair of socks, this may not reflect how the socks would perform for you as each person has a different gait, stride, calf width, and more.
Additionally, things like comfort, fit, and durability are subjective. To provide the most objective review possible, we tested the socks across several criteria, including materials, construction, breathability, fit, style & design, and care instructions. For each category, we scored the socks 1-10, with 10 being the highest in an objective measure. After testing all the socks, we calculated an average score for each brand.
Why Should You Trust Us?
To date, we have written over 50 posts about socks. This includes the different types of socks, materials, designs, and more. We have also individually reviewed and tested several socks, including over-the-calf dress socks.
Additionally, we are independently owned and operated. There are no backroom deals with manufacturers or other brands for placement within this guide. When reviewing socks, we purchase them ourselves whenever possible. However, if we cannot purchase a pair of socks, we reach out to the manufacturer to request a sample.
How we Get Paid
Like other leading publications, the products on this page may contain affiliate links. When you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a small commission. However, we do not receive a commission if you return the socks. We are incentivized to provide you with the best products and services possible. Revenue from affiliate links helps us pay for the cost of running this site.
Best Over-the-Calf Dress Socks Overall
1. Boardroom Socks
Based in Charlotte, NC, Boardroom Socks is a family-owned business specializing in high-quality dress socks for men. While they make a variety of socks, including both mid-calf and no-show socks, their over-the-calf dress socks are some of the best we’ve seen.
Crafted from a blend of 67% merino wool, 30% nylon, and 3% spandex, these socks are soft, breathable, and comfortable. As soon as you slip these on, you’ll enjoy the temperature-regulating properties of the merino wool. This helps to reduce sweating and itchiness, even when worn for long periods. The addition of nylon and spandex adds a nice bit of stretch. Men with larger calves may find these a bit too tight, but they’ll fit just right for most.
For style, men love that these socks are available in several colors and patterns – allowing them to find the right pair to match their outfit or personality.
One reviewer said the following about these socks: “I have been wearing Boardroom socks for many years. They are comfortable, long-lasting, and — best of all — made in North Carolina.”
On the flipside, another said, “The wool socks outlasted the cotton ones. Some of the wool ones are starting to wear out. I wish they had the durability of Gold Toe, especially due to the price.” Worth mentioning, though, was that the customer care team at Boardroom Socks was quick to respond and offered to resolve the issue.
Overall, if you want a well-made and comfortable pair of socks made in the USA, then these are worth considering.
Read our full review of Boardroom Socks.
Our Rating: 9.5 / 10
Video Overview of Boardroom Socks
Most Comfortable Over-the-Calf Silk Dress Socks
2. William Abraham
Silk is widely known to be highly breathable and, when added to a sock, makes your feet feel like they’re walking on clouds.
These 100% silk over-the-calf dress socks from William Abraham are some of the most comfortable we’ve ever reviewed. They feature a ribbed-knit style, a reinforced heel and toe, and a relaxed fit. Crafted in Italy from the finest silk fibers, these socks are perfect for anyone wanting luxurious comfort.
However, these socks are not machine washable and should be dry cleaned or washed by hand in cold water – a dealbreaker for many. Additionally, they are expensive, retailing for $78 per pair.
While reviews are not published on the William Abraham website, we did find an in-depth discussion on StyleForum that was quite insightful. The member reviewing the socks stated aptly:
I never thought that I would appreciate the feel and quality of a sock so much, but alas, I did. While the product is quite a pricey investment (in comparison to others), I think that many of you would appreciate them.The Shoe Snob – https://www.styleforum.net/threads/william-abraham-socks.406574/
Whether you want uncompromising comfort, the finest craftsmanship, or just an excuse to treat yourself, these are definitely worth considering.
Read our full review of William Abraham.
Our Rating: 9.0 / 10
Over-the-Calf Dress Socks with Best Value
3. Gold Toe
Ah, Gold Toe, name a brand more synonymous with dress socks. Perfect for when you don’t want to spend a fortune on a few socks, Gold Toe makes socks that anyone can afford.
For a 3-pack, you’ll pay around $20, or about $6 per pair. For that price, you get many features, including reinforced toes and heels, Stay Up top bands, and arch support to provide extra comfort. In addition, their socks are crafted from a blend of 82% Cotton, 14% Nylon, 3% Polyester, and 1% Spandex, so you’ll know they’ll be soft and comfortable.
Given the reliance on cotton rather than luxury natural fibers, they are easy to clean and care for. Both machine washable and dryer safe, they take no additional effort to maintain.
While once a USA-based manufacturer, Gold Toe sources their materials worldwide, and their socks are now imported. Some folks are obviously not too pleased about this.
Reviews range from really good to bad. One notable positive reviewer loved how the cotton blend felt against his skin, noting that it offered much more comfort than some of the wool blend socks.
However, a few folks were disappointed that the reinforcement in the toe and heal area wore out quickly.
At roughly $6 per pair, it’s hard to go wrong with Gold Toe. If you just need a quick pair of dress socks and don’t want to spend a fortune, these are worth considering.
Read our full review of Gold Toe Socks.
Our Rating: 8.7 / 10
Video Overview of Gold Toe Socks
Environmentally-Friendly Over-the-Calf Dress Socks
Most well-known for their ultra-comfortable ankle socks, Bombas actually makes a wide range of men’s socks, including an over-the-calf dress sock.
These socks are made from a blend of 77% cotton, 18% Polyester, 3% Nylon, and 2% Spandex. They are lightweight and breathable, and the cotton provides a bit of stretch. The sock comes in three sizes (6-9, 9.5-13, and 13.5-16) to give you a rather good fit.
Despite the reliance on time-tested fabrics, the color and pattern options are limited. You’ll only find these socks in black, charcoal, midnight navy, and brown. No patterns are available either.
Worth mentioning is that Bombas is a Certified B Corporation, meaning its socks are made ethically and sustainably. As we discovered in our sock trends analysis of 2023, sustainability was one of the leading trends in buying habits, so this means a lot to many consumers.
Customer reviews for the over-the-dress socks are hard to come by as Bombas doesn’t publish reviews on their website. However, here’s what we could find:
One person on Reddit’s /r/buyitforlife subreddit found that their return policy was outstanding and was able to exchange an old pair of socks with worn out holes free-of-charge.
While Bombas socks are fairly thick, these over-the-calf socks are thinner than most due to the finely spun yarn.
Our Rating: 8.6 / 10
Traditional Over-the-Calf Dress Socks
If you favor a more traditional look, then Pantherella delivers. Founded in 1937 in Leicester, England, Pantherella is a 5th generation family-run business specializing in timeless styles. Their Highbury over-the-calf dress sock is the epitome of tradition.
Made from a blend of 70% merino wool and 30% nylon, these socks are both comfortable and breathable. As with other merino wool socks, these are lightweight and temperature-regulating.
Style-wise, the socks feature a seamless toe design for added comfort, along with a fine 200-gauge knit. The socks come in several colors, including black, navy, grey, and charcoal.
In terms of performance, many reviewers noted how comfortable they were and how they stayed up all day.
When looking at customer feedback, some folks found these to be overrated and wore out just as quickly as cheaper socks. Where they did show high praise, however, was concerning their comfort.
Overall, these are a great pair of over-the-calf dress socks for those that want a classic, timeless look. If you’re willing to pay the premium, you’ll find that the comfort is worth it.
Our Rating: 8.3 / 10
Video Overview of Pantherella Socks
Over-the-Calf Dress Socks for Sweaty Feet
Falke is a well-known European fashion brand with various socks and hosiery. While they make a range of different styles, the Shadow over-the-calf socks are our pick for the breathable category.
Made from 95% cotton and 5% polyamide, these socks are incredibly soft and comfortable. The cotton is lightweight and breathable to help keep your feet cool, while the polyamide adds a bit of stretch to ensure they fit well. The cotton concentration on these socks alone was enough to make us rank these socks up with the best of the best when it comes to breathability and sweat control.
The socks come in several colors and patterns, making it easy to find a style you like.
One thing to note with Falke products is that they are often more expensive than other brands, with these shadow socks retailing for $40 per pair – a steep price compared to the other socks we reviewed here.
Customer reviews note that the cotton on these socks was good for sensitive skin and any issues that individuals may have with synthetic fibers. Folks also liked the style of the socks, noting that the patterns and colors gave them a bit of personality.
Our Rating: 8.2 / 10
Video Overview of Falke Socks
Best Over-the-Calf Dress Socks That’ll Stay Up All Day
7. Brooks Brothers
The Merino Wool Ribbed Over Calf Dress Socks from Brooks Brothers is a quality pick for anyone who wants to look professional in the office.
These socks are made from a blend of 65% Merino Wool, 33% Nylon, and 2% Lycra®. The Merino wool provides breathability and insulation, while the nylon and Lycra® give the sock a bit of stretch to ensure a comfortable fit, even over time. The touch of Lycra also helps the sock to stay up all day.
If you’re looking for a pair of dress socks you can trust to keep your feet comfortable all day; these may just be the pair for you.
The socks come in four colors: black, charcoal, navy, and burgundy. Unfortunately, you won’t find any patterns here.
One interesting point brought up in a customer review was around branding. The customer stated the following:
These are not quite the same as the previous over-the-calf socks I purchased from Brooks Brothers (with the medium brown edging at the top), but they are light, soft, and stay in place. My only complaint, actually (hence, four stars, not five), would be the white paint used to apply the Brooks Brothers logo. It came off onto the leather lining of my shoe on the first wearing, which was not the case with the previous socks. I would recommend Brooks Brothers change this particular branding paint for one which does not transfer to shoe leather.https://www.brooksbrothers.com/merino-wool-ribbed-over-the-calf-socks/051D.html?dwvar_051D_Color=BK
This is interesting as oftentimes, companies assume that logos or prints are something that people want, but this customer shows that not everyone likes branding. So, it’s worth considering if you want to prioritize the look or something else.
Despite this, they still gave a rating of 4 out of 5 stars, which shows that they are pleased with the socks overall.
At $24.50 a pair, these are at the upper end of the price range, but given the quality and comfort of the materials, they’re worth it for anyone who needs a reliable pair of over-the-calf dress socks for the office.
Our Rating: 8.0 / 10