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What are Trouser Socks?

Tricia Christensen
By
Updated May 21, 2024
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Trouser socks are socks made for women that generally reach to the upper calf or just below the knee, depending her leg length. They are often constructed of light materials, like nylon, so they can be easily worn with close-fitting shoes, like pumps. They tend to replace the now less popular nylon knee-highs that were worn in the past.

Like knee-highs, the high degree of nylon in the knit of trouser socks often makes them quite delicate. They tend to be slightly more durable than nylon knee-highs, but they can and do get runs, especially if simply washed in the washing machine. A woman can get longer life out of her socks by either handwashing them or by washing them in a fabric bag on a delicate or handwash cycle of a washing machine. Many prefer to use the washing machine, since all socks can get rather smelly after a time.

Some trouser socks also contain spandex, a highly flexible fabric that helps the sock keep its shape, and helps it stay up. Many people also find socks made with this material to be more comfortable, especially it's when used at the top of the sock. It tends not to cut off the circulation to the legs in those with larger calves.

These socks are also available for plus size women, or simply for women with a generous calf-muscle. These tend to have a wider opening, providing more comfort during daily wear. Many women find that, when regular ones leave impression marks on the legs, wearing plus size ones solves the problem.

Trouser socks can come in many patterns and colors. Some are quite whimsical and can be fun to wear as an accessory to an outfit. Others come in plain colors for those who wish a more conservative look.

Some women find that lightweight men’s dress socks are often just as comfortable with loafers or slightly dressy shoes, and they are often easier on the calves than women’s socks. Unfortunately, color and patterns may be slightly more limited in men’s dress socks, but they can make a good substitution in a pinch.

Recent studies regarding socks and blisters to the feet show that socks made from materials like nylon, polyester or spandex actually cause fewer blisters than those made from natural fibers like cotton. When breaking in a new pair of shoes, trouser socks can really come in handy, since they will generally lead to fewer blisters than cotton socks. They are considered fashion no-nos when wearing summer sandals, however.

BeautyAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a BeautyAnswered contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

Discussion Comments

By anon999232 — On Nov 19, 2017

I started wearing trouser socks instead of my regular dress socks for they do not cut into my legs, are very comfortable and stay up much better. Plus they look good on my legs as well. When I kick off my shoes no one knows that they are women's wear. The only down side is that they can get runs in them just like pantyhose can.

By anon336411 — On May 28, 2013

All men and ladies should try them at lest once! They will wear nothing else.

By anon294649 — On Oct 02, 2012

All I wear are women's trouser socks. I just like wearing mini stockings. They're super comfy and feel so silky on. Any man should try them. They probably will not go back to regular men's socks!

By anon24792 — On Jan 18, 2009

I agree with the poster above. I prefer "trouser socks" to so-called men's socks. They are more comfortable and stay up better. Who cares if they are "women"'s clothes? I say they should be filed somewhere under the old unisex garments that our mothers used to buy us as kids that we hated because they were girl's clothes.

By anon24098 — On Jan 07, 2009

Trouser socks are not for women specifically but are unisex garments. They are simply lightweight nylon based socks suitable for whoever wants to wear them. I live in a hot climate and find trouser socks far more comfortable than socks usually found for sale in the mens section of any clothing store. With their better elasticated top band, they stay up better than other socks too. I admit that sheer trouser socks/knee highs are more female-specific but the opaque style of trouser sock is a real lightweight and fashionable alternative to what are sold as mens socks, especially in warmer countries. I think manufacturers are missing out on a large possible segment of the market by marketing these excellent sock alternatives to women and ignoring the preferences of men.

Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen

Writer

With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a BeautyAnswered contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
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