Socks do not always receive the attention they deserve when putting together an outfit. For most men, socks are considered unimportant as they are less visible than other garments. Whilst this is true, an ill conceived pair of socks can ruin an otherwise well thought out outfit. In addition, socks can offer a great opportunity to subtly add pattern and colour. Socks need to be considered not only in visual terms, but also with respect to comfort and quality. In this article I will compare the leading designer sock brands for men on the basis of choice, quality, comfort, innovation and fashion. The brands I will be looking at are; Falke, Pantherella, Burlington, Calvin Klein, Emporio Armani, Paul Smith, Duchamp-London and Ted Baker.
An important distinction needs to be made between these brands i.e. whether they are sock specialists (Falke, Pantherella etc.) or fashion brands that manufacture a range of socks (Ted Baker, Paul Smith, Armani etc). There are several differences, apart from the fact that sock specialists offer a larger range. Most fashion brands manufacture men’s socks in only one size, known as ‘one size fits all’. On the other hand, sock specialists usually offer 3 different sizes; 5.5-8, 8.5-11, 11.5-14. Whilst it is more comfortable to wear a sock designed to fit your foot size, the fashion brands offer the chance to buy into a big brand name. In fact, sock specialist never put their logo on the outside of the sock, whilst designer brands usually do (such as the Armani eagle or Calvin Klein ‘CK’).
Pantherella and Falke have a vast range of men’s socks, covering all aspects of functionality from business to casual to sports. Within each category they offer plain fabrics in many colours, as well as fashion patterns such as stripes and argyle. In plain coloured socks, they also offer variations in fabric such as plain cotton, ribbed cotton, wool and cashmere. Calvin Klein and Emporio Armani also offer quite a diverse range, from plain cottons to stripes. The other brands have a more niche range, offering high fashion socks that adhere closely to the brand’s design principles (e.g. Paul Smith’s renowned stripe).
In terms of quality all the designer brands use high quality fabrics in their men’s socks, blended for durability. Falke go that extra mile in manufacturing hard wearing socks, and have developed a reputation throughout Europe. All socks are manufactured in Germany, and have a reinforced heel and toe (and in some cases additional stress zones). They are also the experts in using new technology such as using silver ions for freshness, anti-bacterial cotton and climate regulating fabrics. Falke have recently developed an ergonomic comfort system which has a patented ergonomically shaped sole area for an optimum fit. A combination of natural and functional fibres provides a breathable climate, and an innovative cushioning applied to the inside of the sole adds extra comfort. Custom socks low minimum