What are Crew Socks?

Misty Amber Brighton

Crew socks are a covering for the feet that normally extend to the mid-calf region of the lower leg. These socks are designed for men, women, or children to wear with casual clothing or while playing sports. They usually have a cushioned sole and heel as well as a stretchy top. Normally made from cotton, these socks can also be a blend of other materials.

Crew socks are popular with basketball players and other athletes.
Crew socks are popular with basketball players and other athletes.

A common characteristic of crew socks is that they typically reach the middle of the calf. The top portion of these socks usually contains some form of elastic, so they are very stretchy. This also helps keep them in place, which is why they are often worn during athletics or while exercising.

Crew socks can usually be dried in a clothes dryer without shrinking.
Crew socks can usually be dried in a clothes dryer without shrinking.

The bottom of a pair of crew socks is usually smooth and soft, with a slight stretch to it as well. There may be additional padding near the heel or toes for added comfort. This section is usually made from cotton because it absorbs sweat, which keeps feet warm and dry, especially during hot weather.

Crew socks usually extend to mid-calf.
Crew socks usually extend to mid-calf.

Cotton is often used to make these athletic socks, but other materials can also be used. Some of these materials include nylon, wool, or polyester. Spandex might be used in the top of the sock with a combination of other material used for the sole.

People of all ages wear crew socks. There are pairs designed for men, women, children, and infants. While the various types often look similar, there may be slight variations between them. Some of the differences are the amount of stretchiness in the leg portion, as well as designs or logos placed on them. The length of the socks also varies from one type to the next.

Crew socks can usually be laundered in a washing machine using mild detergent. They can be washed along with other clothing, but white socks should be separated from colored ones. Athletic socks can normally be dried in a clothes dryer without shrinking. Individuals can also hang them on a clothesline or rack to dry.

Finding a good pair of socks can be easy to do. People should check the package to make sure the size of the crew socks is compatible with their shoe size. They should also check to see that the socks stretch slightly in all directions without losing their shape. Other factors to consider are the amount of cushioning in the heel or toe, softness of the fabric, and price.

Cotton is often used to make athletic crew socks.
Cotton is often used to make athletic crew socks.

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Discussion Comments


I'm a Brit and am intrigued by the origins of the name "crew" socks. We don't use that term over here at all, unfortunately. What does "crew" refer to exactly? Just curious - thanks! Love from across the pond. --SteveM


I have one or two pairs of crew socks that I might wear for certain occasions. All of my other socks are much shorter than crew socks and it feels weird if I put on a pair of socks that goes higher than my ankle.

The only time I wear crew socks is when it is really cold outside and I am dressing as warm as I can. When we go skiing or snowmobiling in the winter, I have some very warm crew socks that I wear. I like the extra warmth when it is cold outside.

For everyday use, I don't like to wear socks that go very far up my leg. My kids don't wear crew socks very often either. I think the ones they have just sit at the back of the sock drawer. At least they have a pair or two if they might need them, but that is never their first choice.


My husband works in construction and wears crew socks every day. He always wears a dark colored sock, usually black.

Even though these are worn under his boots, the black socks are so much easier to keep clean than white crew socks. When he goes hunting and it is really cold, he will a pair of wool crew socks.

I don't think he even owns a pair of ankle socks and would probably feel funny wearing them because all he is used to is the socks that go halfway up his leg.


@icecream17- I prefer ankle socks too for exercise, because they're lighter. I wear crew socks or even knee socks under pants in winter though, because my legs and feet get cold easily. And to be honest, I live in sandals much of the spring, summer, and even fall because then I don't have to wear socks at all.


I just wanted to say that my daughter loves to wear crew socks. She feels that they offer more support and thinks that they are stylish. My son, however absolutely hates these types of socks. He likes to wear the ankle socks instead. To him they are more comfortable to wear but I think that he likes to wear them because his dad wears those types of socks too. My son is really picky about his socks and really likes socks that have a visible inseam by the toe area.

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