Our Sock Heights: A Complete-ish Guide

Three pairs of feet wearing different sock heights

Socks are usually a second thought. They say, choose the sock based on the shoe, rarely is it ever the other way around. And while some sock types are showier than others, generally they prefer to play the supporting part, letting the shoes take all the attention while they are behind the scenes, working hard to keep the feet comfortable.

But the best thing you can do for your feet is make sure that your footwear and sock work in tandem. It might blow your mind to hear this, but the sock height you choose is equally important as the footwear.

We have nine different sock heights here at Darn Tough. Six main ones, with a few in-betweeners. Before you say Nine? Nine! That’s too many! We’ve broken down each height so you understand the benefit of each and how and when you should wear it.

Infographic showing all sock height and length options, from no show to over the calf

It should be noted that our men's-sized socks tend to reach a bit higher on the leg compared to the women's sock heights of the same name. Just FYI.

Download Darn Tough's quick reference guide to the different types of socks here.

Neither Seen nor Heard

Pair of feet wearing no show hidden socks and canvas shoes

Our No Show socks our adequately named because when you wear them, well they shouldn’t show.

No Show Hidden and No Show Invisible are the shortest of short and should be worn when you don’t want your socks to show but still want the comfort that socks bring. Say you’re wearing low-rise sneakers or flats, no one can know you’re wearing socks, but you still don’t want the blisters that ensue from wearing shoes without socks. This is when you opt for the No Show Hidden or Invisible. These ones will have you asking, how low can you go?

A pair of feet wearing hiking no show socks and a low top sneaker

Moving right up along the foot, we hit good ole’ plain No Shows, with or without a tab. Still short, but if you were wearing super low-cut shoes, these might sneak a peek.

The tab version allows for a low-profile cuff, with a tab on the heel to eliminate chafe, while the version without the tab has a higher cuff line all around. Usually a height preferred by runners or athletes when the weather is warmer and the more skin, the better. Don’t be fooled by the minimal material on these, they will have you PR’ing and lifting heavy without stealing the show.

If you aren't already, we've presented a few reasons you should be wearing no show socks, with styling examples.

Shorty, What Your Name Is?

Pair of feet wearing 1/4 socks, aka quarter crew socks, which sit just above the ankle

In this corner, standing 5.5 inches tall, weighing less than a pound, the undisputed, quarter height sock. Some might deem this an ankle sock.

Adding some additional coverage to your lower leg, the quarter length sock sits atop the ankle bone making it ideal to wear with mid or high-top shoes, as they help prevent chafing while remaining inconspicuous. Perfect for summer hiking with low rise boots, or even if you prefer extra coverage when trail running.

A Height to Call Our Own

Pair of feet wearing micro crew socks, hitting just below mid-calf

Sock lengths are pretty universal, and while we can’t take credit for inventing socks, we will take credit for the Micro Crew height. This sock length is a fan-favorite, made popular by our best-seller, the Hiker Micro Crew.

Shorter than your typical Crew length, they land somewhere in between your ankle and mid-calf. This height made its debut in Hike, making it the perfect pair for hiking boots, providing protection against chafing. The height has crossed over to other categories and pairs well with running shoes and any mid or high-top shoes.

The Sock Height Chameleon

A pair of feet wearing crew socks, the perfect height for almost everything

Our Crew height socks are slightly taller, sitting right below the calf muscle. Crew socks are the most common height for casual and dress socks, meaning you probably have a few pairs of these sitting in your sock drawer.

The classic white tube sock? Yep, Crew height. Meaning you’ll probably see these floating around the gym, if you frequent there. From athletic to dress, gym to street, this height is oh so versatile and a staple for many.

How High Can You?

Pair of feet wearing darn tough boot socks, the perfect height for hiking boots

The opposite of the limbo, we like to test the limit of how high a sock can reach. From Crew height, we mosey right on up to our Boot height sock.

In men’s socks, Boot averages a half an inch taller than our Crew height; in women’s, it’s about 2 inches taller. This is the one you pick when you don’t want a super tall sock, but you don’t want a super short sock, and you land somewhere in the middle and settle on Boot sock. This height is found in our Work, Hunt, Hike, and Tactical categories.

Taller and taller still, from Boot height, we reach mid-calf and where the appropriately named Mid-Calf socks come up to. We only offer this height in a few socks, a Lifestyle sock, a Tactical sock, and two Work socks, and it can be worn with sneakers, dress shoes, and work boots alike.

Reaching Our Peak

A pair of feet wearing over the calf socks, aka knee high socks

We end our height journey at Knee High height, also referred to as Over-the-calf, or OTC. As the name implies, they reach just over the calf, and riiiiggghhtt under the knee cap.

Because there is more leg coverage, these tall socks provide an extra warmth and comfort under any bottoms, which makes them a great length in our Snow socks, whether your winter activity is ski or board, or even ice fishing.  These knee socks are also a popular choice for Hunt, when the season temperature dips.

Knitted From the Bottom, Now We’re Here

An illustration showing where different darn tough socks heights sit on the leg

If we go much taller, we start running out of leg and edge towards long-underwear territory. And to end the questions before they start, no we will not be knitting long-underwear.

Each sock height serves a purpose, and when you add in cushion and weight, there seems to be infinite possibilities of sock choices. Best practice when choosing socks, go with what you like. We are each as unique as a pair of Darn Tough socks, and so are our preferences. You may participate in the same activity as someone else, but they may choose a Crew height sock, while you like the Quarter height with cushion.

The beautiful thing? There is no wrong answer. We promise, you can’t go wrong (especially as they're all lifetime guaranteed socks made in America) .