How Many Socks Should You Own? It’s Complicated

Everyone is different.  Therefore, the number of socks you own will be different from others.  However, on average, most people own 15 pairs of socks.

But to find out the right amount of socks you should own, you’ll want to consider the following:


People own different socks for different occasions.  Whether you are attending a formal black-tie event or simply lounging around the house, you’ll want to own socks to match the intent.   

Here are some of the primary reasons why you may need a specific sock:

  • House / Lounge:  Whether it’s the weekends or you are looking to unwind after a day of work, lounge socks have a comfort-centric design.  They often feature chunky fabric, are a fair bit looser, and commonly have neutral or earthy patterns and colors.  These are socks you will only ever wear in private.  Sock style varies from ankle to crew.
  • Casual:  This is your standard sock, including no-show, ankle, quarter, and crew.  Think of these socks to wear with your casual outfits when spending time with friends or family.  You’ll typically own most of this kind of sock.
  • Formal: Whether you work in an office or attend formal events frequently, the number of dress socks you’ll need to have on hand will vary.  If it’s part of your everyday attire, then you’ll need at least five; if not, then only one or two pairs will suffice.
  • Expressive/Novelty:  This is the type of sock that features bold patterns and styles.  The amount you’ll own here varies depending on personal preference.
  • Athletic (Optional):  If you lead an active lifestyle, you’ll know that athletic socks are helpful at wicking moisture, reducing odors, and preventing blisters.  The amount you should own varies depending on your workout frequency.  
  • Compression (Optional):  Compression socks help move blood along your lower extremities.  Follow doctor advice on how often you should be wearing these types of socks and plan accordingly.

Laundry Schedule + 1

Socks in a laundry basket

How often you do laundry combined with how frequently you wear a pair of socks will tell you how many pairs of socks you’ll need for a particular occasion.  Here’s a helpful table that you can print out or write as a guide:

Sock TypeOn HandTimes Worn Between Laundry Buy or Donate(tip: keep one extra)

Example Table:

Sock TypeOn HandTimes Worn Between Laundry Buy or Donate(tip: keep one extra)
Ex: House95-3

So taking the above example, if you like to wear your house socks five times per week, yet you have nine of them in your drawer, you can donate three of them, so you have the necessary needed plus one extra in case of an emergency (leaving you with six total).

By looking at your routine based on the laundry schedule, you can confidently donate or buy socks that complement your lifestyle without causing excess clutter to your dresser drawer.

Sock Style

Unfortunately, various sock styles can complicate the necessary quantity you may need.  

To try and simplify the process, we recommend that you select a neutral color and versatile socks such as the no-show and crew socks.  

  • No-show socks: These can be worn in the summer with several casual to semi-formal outfits, including shorts, loafers, flats, sneakers, etc. 
  • Crew socks: These socks are best to wear under your pants and even for light athletic activities (i.e., strength training).  Additionally, crew socks work well when wearing dress boots or hiking boots as they prevent the shoe collar from rubbing on your lower calf.

The problem with ankle socks is that they rarely pair well with most outfits and don’t work exceptionally well in the winter or summer months.  

Related: What are ankle socks?

Quality Fabrics

Socks are a wardrobe item that deserves investment.  Higher quality socks last longer, provide greater comfort and generally perform better.  When shopping for socks, go with ones that rely on quality fabrics such as merino wool, bamboo rayon, micro modal, and even cotton. 

Avoid acrylic or 100% polyester socks as they will trap odor, cause sweaty feet, and stretch out after washing a few times.

Do You Really Need 12 Dress Socks?

While buying a pack of six or twelve socks seems like a good deal, many of them go unused and cause clutter in your sock drawer. Therefore, always opt for the lower quantity unless you heavily use all of the socks (refer to our template mentioned previously for further guidance).

Rather than throwing out your old or extra socks, many donation centers do accept used socks, even those with holes in them. So help your community out and donate extra socks to those in need.

Minimalist Mindset

It is estimated that the United States generates a staggering 25 billion pounds of textile waste per year (source).  

It’s time to slim down and adopt the minimalist mindset for your wardrobe.

Try to go with fewer socks that can serve multiple purposes.  This will save your wallet, lessen waste, and make it easier to get dressed in the morning. 


We hope that this article gave you a new way to approach your sock drawer.  When you look at how and the frequency of which you wear your socks, you can quickly slim down your drawer and only have socks that you’ll genuinely love wearing every single day.

Theo Lawson

With a five-year background in men's fashion, Theo Lawson has shifted his focus to the world of socks. To him, socks are more than just a piece of clothing - they're a way to express yourself and make a statement.

To improve his knowledge, Theo consults with manufacturers and interviews industry leaders to stay up-to-date on the latest sock trends. His dedication to the field has earned him the trust of companies, celebrities, and sock enthusiasts, making him a true testament to the impact that one person can have when passionately pursuing their expertise.

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