This Week I Love …

… boot socks.

Now, obviously any pair of socks worn with boots can be considered boot socks. And many of the socks marketed as “boot socks” are sized for men’s feet and designed for folks working tough, outdoor jobs. (You’ll see what I mean if you Google the phrase itself!) But the boot socks I’m swooning over are tall, thick socks meant to pad the insides of your knee-high boots. Boot socks with a pattern or personality, that you simply must allow to peek out just a bit. Boot socks that can slip on over your tights and protect them from any nefarious zippers or hardware that may lurk within your actual boots. Boot socks that add warmth and cush to any boot-based ensemble.

Ya know, like these:

Sing High Socks – $7.99

Free People Mesh Tall Ballet Sock – $24

Betsey Johnson Betsey Buds Knee Sock – $15

Sock Dreams Dark Brown Knees – $6
These are 20″ at opening, 18″ through calf
More plus socks from Sock Dreams

A Leg Up Socks – $15.99

Smartwool Optic Frills Knee High Socks – $24

Sock it to me Crafty – $9

I adore the look of over-the-knee socks, but most of them dig into my thighs in a most uncomfortable way. Some boot socks do the same, and I feel sure that several of you avoid them for that very reason … but if you can find a slouchy, comfy style that works with your legs and boots, they’re a fabulous addition to your fall and winter wardrobe. (The Free People and Smartwool options shown above seem designed for slouchy tops.)

What are your thoughts on boot socks? Love ’em? Like the look, but not on yourself? Any other sources for great, tall, comfy boot socks?

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60 Responses to “This Week I Love …”

  1. Laurie

    Love the look, haven’t tried them yet though. I’ve been looking for a few good pairs but haven’t found anything I love…online though, I was loving the Free People ones but they are not available where I live so in my travels later this week I hope to get some!

    I swear…sometimes you post exactly what I’ve been shopping for…you’re freaking me out a little ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Cynthia

    Boot socks are a total necessity in my wardrobe, and usually I am wearing some sneaky fun ones under my sedate boots. I’m addicted to Sock Dreams — I have koi socks and Starry Night socks and Chat Noir socks…they are fun.

  3. Sam

    I’m got slightly longer legs, but I find the knee socks at American Apparel are pretty good. I must sound like a spokesperson for them lately, but apart from the trashy stuff there are some really good basics! They come to just under my knees, or just at them if I stretch them out a little. Might be worth checking out, I’m headed there soon to get some grey boot socks!

  4. Lisa

    You can also get boot cuffs which are basically short legwarmers that can be worn to peek out the top of boots. They work great with jeans. I’ve also seen them worn over booties (but don’t care for this look myself).

  5. Tara

    I love boot socks and wear them any time I wear tall boots with my skinnies or leggings. I go for over-the-knee socks for this. I look for socks with a good bulk and stretch. I have found several cute pairs at Macy’s this year. My favorite pair I own are teal/cobalt argyle with hearts worked into the argyle pattern.

  6. Sandra, aka madam0wl

    Me me! I love these, especially as you describe, ones with good quality and thickness and fun designs / colors. Never called them “boot socks” myself, but that is good to know, search term wise. Usually I just refer to them as knee socks.

    When my calves were less toned, it did bug me how some just regular sized knee socks weren’t quite big enough, so I can see the value of “plus” sized socks but it hadn’t occurred to me to look for them. I’ve had same dig into flesh problem at times. And the thigh problem with the one pair of over-the-knee ones, or it’s the reverse in that they aren’t tight enough so you end up having to pull them up throughout the day.

    Even if you aren’t wearing boots, knee socks have the advantage of providing warmth / coverage on dress days, without the inconvenience of static electricity and/or wrestling with the waistband of tights.

    Knee socks are one of my few “buy new” indulgences, though I haven’t had a lot of luck finding them. Sometimes Target has fun color / design ones, but they can be a bit too thin. I’ve worn holes in the heels of a couple pair, so I wear a short white athletic ankle sock underneath them, which helps for cushioning in boots too.

    This past spring I found two pair of nice quality ones at a sports store, I think they were technically soccer socks? Bright blue and bright pink, with white stars. I haven’t bought online before but might end up going that route if I really want to build my collection. Thanks for those links!

  7. Amy

    Thanks so much for the roundup! I only have one pair right now, and they’re getting overworked. LOVE the smart wool version.

  8. Jackie

    Sally, what do you think of layering these over tights? I I never wear boots without tights, but I like the idea of fun socks!

    • Sal

      LOVE the look of boot socks over tights! And it can really increase the longevity of your tights if your boots have scratchy stitching or zippers.

  9. Amanda

    I adore tall, thick socks! They’re so cozy and cute with boots and tights, although my favorite way to wear them is actually over skinnies tucked into boots. Sock Dreams is where most of mine come from – they have an incredible selection. I also like to buy tights (especially sweater tights) when I see them on sale, cut them off right under the crotch, and where them as thin, bunchy knee socks. The size of the tights doesn’t matter since you’re not wearing the waist part!

  10. Lili @ Relatable Style

    I’m a big fan of boot socks/knee socks or whatever name they actually have. I wore them last winter a lot between tights and my boots, I think they are great when the colors of boots and tights clash a bit and you don’t like that. Also, the extra warmth! My favorites are a warm ivory white and go with everything. I haven’t worn them solo though, because everytime I try I feel I look like a school girl, or worse, an adult trying to be the all-cutesy school girl, ick! Have you got any tips on how to avoid this?

    • Sal

      Hmmm. Make sure the rest of the outfit is either tough or sophisticated to offset the cutesy. Also avoid anything that evokes schoolgirl: Pleated skirts, plaid, maybe even cardigans.

  11. LinB

    I don’t wear boots, so no boot socks. My brother-in-law’s sister came over to me and hugged me around the shoulders at a vast family gathering last Thanksgiving as I sat in a corner knitting, and told me she wanted me to whip up a pair of slouchy boot socks for her to give to her niece at Christmas. She wanted to pay me $5. I declined.

  12. LNR

    I love Sock Dreams! I cannot even tell you how many pairs of over-the-knee socks that I have ordered from them in the past four years. Highly recommended, though you seem to be aware of them already! They have great customer service to boot =)

  13. Aziraphale

    Love them, for the simple reason that they free me from wearing tights for an extra month in the fall! I prefer the actual look of tights, but I love the feeling of bare legs.

    I find that the ones that go up and over the knee are not so flattering, on me at least. They seem to make my legs look shorter, and the cuff squashes my skin in such a way that it makes it bulge out a bit, despite the fact that I have lean, muscular thighs. But I think it looks cute when there’s just a bit of sock poking out the top of my tall boots.

  14. FutureLint

    Also not a fan of over the knee socks (maybe because I rarely wear skirts above the knee so then they just look like sweater tights until I sit down) but I do love me some knee socks! I usually just pick up cheap ones at Target or TJ Maxx!

  15. Anne

    You know Sally, if you had posted this say, a week ago I would have said, “No, they create too many horizontal lines on something I wish was longer anyway.” But since you put your stats up, I’m thinking that I probably look slimmer than I give myself credit for. This will be a fun look to try and a relatively cheap way to change things up.

  16. ConstantlyAlice

    I adore boot socks. I just found a really cute knitting pattern for a pair that has a great big fold over cuff at the top in leopard print ๐Ÿ™‚ (Unfortunately, double pointed needles are the bane of my existence, so I haven’t started them yet ๐Ÿ˜‰

  17. Patti @ NotDeadYet Style

    Oh yeah. I’ve been looking for something for fall/winter to get happy about, footwear-wise, and this is it. So simple and so cute! My workplace will even be fine with it (no skulls) : >

  18. Emma

    I hardly ever wear my boots without socks if I’m wearing dresses or skirts. Somehow just tights and boots feels naked, or liked a missed opportunity. Target usually has a really great selection of fun, albeit thin and cheap, knee socks for under $5. They’re waaay too thin for me to wear on they’re own but they’re great for layering.

  19. Sheila

    I’ve been wearing these for a few years and didn’t even know they had a name! I love that they create a longer boot look on short boots that might otherwise stumpify my legs by hitting mid-calf. It’s awesome to have a bit of argyle or stripes peeking out of the tops of my boots too!

    I like Point Zero (my favourite two pairs of striped knee socks – nice big (hidden) band at the top so no pinching), and I have a great thick pair of OTK wooly socks from Steve Madden that are non-binding (however, they do tend to slip down – you can’t win!).

  20. D

    I love, love, love! knee socks, boot socks, over the knee socks…especially with the fun colors and patterns. Also, as an added bonus, the longer ones help hold my slightly loose knee pads up at derby practice, so they are functional, warm AND cute. Those sing high socks you posted are adorable!

  21. Iona K

    Love boot socks! A good place to find them is shops or websites that sell ski gear – socks designed to go inside ski boots tend to be very warm and comfy, and come in fun colours. However, my favourite boot socks are from Carhartt, they are extremely thick and cozy. I think they are the men’s arctic heavyweight boot socks.

  22. Katharine

    I never called mine boot socks… they’re knee socks, or OTK socks, or thigh-highs. I have a lot; like Aziraphale, I love that they extend the no-tights season a bit longer. And they add texture over tights, even if they’re not in contrasting colours.

    I have quite a few pairs from Sock Dreams; the EG Smith thigh highs have been very good to me (stay up well, but not binding or squishing, and I have chunky muscular thighs). Little luck with American Apparel; theirs are meant for skinny preadolescent legs and bind. (I chopped the tops off the two pairs I bought before I discovered this, and wear them slouchy.) Point Zeros are also good.

    I made myself a couple pairs of sock garters for OTKs that are reluctant to remain where they’re supposed to be. Elastic is available pre-finished with spaced buttonholes (in black or white at my chosen notions purveyor); cut an appropriate length of this for wherever you want to wear the sock on your leg, plus finishing. Turn and hand-finish the ends, sew on a fun button of your choice, and there you go. You can wear them over the sock, or if that’s a bit too stripper-flapper for you, turn a cuff of sock over the top. (I have also seen similar garters for sale on Etsy.)

  23. Em

    Those green socks from A Leg Up are adorable! They look so cozy!

    I’m currently working on building my socks and tights collection, since I gathered so many cute dresses this summer and really want to be able to take them into the fall. This post is really inspirational! ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. Kelly

    I am a proud supporter of the knee sock movement. I wear knee socks to bed! I just love fun colors & designs (argyle, stripes, apples, etc) that can make a simple outfit more interesting. I usually wear them with bare legs, but I’m really excited about the idea of layering over tights! And thanks for the new addiction (sock dreams)! I already have a full cart! Oh, and thanks to Stephanie for the link to make legwarmers from sweaters… I’ve never layered legwarmers over my pants before, but that is so cute that I’m going to give it a try. And I thought I wanted another pair of boots for Christmas… now I want socks to liven up what I already have! Oh and if you want something a little different, try these (she makes them from the most amazing knee socks and then adds the furry flair):

  25. Diana

    I love boot socks! My favorites are hand-knit (I normally do not like to knit socks but I make an exception for tall ones). I find a lot of store bought knee socks to be way too narrow through the calf since they are often cut like shorter socks with a straight leg portion. What works better for me is buying OTK socks and scrunching them down to knee length.

  26. Caro

    I love me some knee socks. My favourites are from Sock Dreams. They’re black with “Wicked” printed up the leg in red.

    On a related note, does anyone know how to prevent the dreaded sock creep? I’m referring to socks worn with boots, particularly boots with heels, that manage to be pulled tight over the front of the foot, thereby cutting off circulation to the toes! I have a pair of John Fluevog Danke ankle boots that have been rendered practically unwearable for this reason.

    • Katharine

      Pull your socks out a bit at the toes before you stick your foot in the boot, so that the tight boot draws them back onto the foot as you go in. My Fryes are particularly bad for that, but the toe-pull fixes it.

  27. Anna

    Love Love Love “boot socks”, as you call them. This has been my staple look for 10 years now. I have a huge sock collection and I love each pair so much that when they get holes, I just cut the feet off and use them as leg warmers, which are perfect for boots!

  28. hellotampon

    I always let my socks peek out of my boots, and since I wear boots practically all winter, I have a lot of tall socks in different colors, stripes, and thicknesses. I feel warmer and more put-together with a good pair of boot socks… they can really ground an outfit! Not to mention that they look so much better than ankle socks when you’re curling up on a friend’s couch or trying on shoes at the store and end up taking off your boots. I used to “save” my nicer socks for flats and wear the aforementioned boyfriend’s socks with boots because I figured they wouldn’t show anyway, but then i realized the error of my ways!

    Today I’m wearing bright, cherry red tights and cognac boots. The two colors didn’t look so great together, until I slipped on a pair of light grey boot socks between them and suddenly my outfit became noticeably better!

  29. Jess

    My very very very favorite part about wearing boots is picking out socks to go under them. Lately, I’ve been wearing a pair of black rainboots a lot (I live in Oregon, hahaha) and a pair of herringbone leg warmers under, which accomplish basically the same thing as boot socks, with the bonus being that they come in handy after I’ve tromped to dance practice in a downpour.

  30. Callie

    There is nothing cuter than a pair of socks peeking out over the top of a pair of boots. I love those Free People one you featured – so pretty! I know I have tried out the trend a couple of times and always love how it turns out. Plus, it adds just a little extra warmth on those cold days. I love how you worked it into your outfit above – very chic!

    Always love your blog, Sally. It’s a great source of inspiration!
    Callie @

  31. Patience

    I love the look, but I’m a runner and my calves are pretty muscular. I’m lucky just to get a pair of boots zipped and the extra bulk of a sock would not help matters. I’ll have to look into the little boot warmers. I’m wondering how other ladies with wide calves handle the boot craze.

  32. Frances

    I have muscular calves too (but not plus size…bane of my existence. Regular boots are snug; ones designed for big calves are too loose). A trick a shoe salesman in NY taught a friend: push the top of the boot down a bit before you zip it, then let it slide back up. Works like a charm, no leg pinching!

    Not sure socks are going to fit inside most of my boots, but this look might rescue a pair with too-wide tops. Off to check out Sock Dreams…

  33. Marie

    Like Patience, above, I have a difficult time finding boots that fit. I’m a plus sized person, so finding book, or knee/boot socks that will abide the circumference of my calves is near impossible.

    I haven’t worn thigh-high boots for ages, though I periodically try them on when I see a pair that looks wider than usual at the top. So far, no luck, not even with cowboy boots. My solution is to simply pass on this fasion trend.

    The only boots I wear now are snow boots, usually from LL Bean!

  34. Elizabeth Rotering

    What are the details on the dress and boots in the picture???

  35. Mary

    I LOVE the look of boot socks but they always fall down. Always, even when they feel super tight when I put them on. Drives me crazy pulling them up out of my boots all day long. OTK versions = even more annoying. I’m thinking this has something to do with my chicken calves…

  36. Trystan

    *sigh* Boot socks & over-the-knee socks in general are out of the question when you have wide calves. I’ll fall in love with a pair of them, buy them, get them home to try them on (since you can’t exactly try them on in the store!), & then be disappointed bec. they don’t fit or are so tight as to cut off circulation.

    And since I struggle to find knee-high boots that fit on my wide calves, there’s no way in hell I’d fit socks in there too! Tights only. I stare longingly at gals who can tuck leggings or *gasp* jeans into their knee-high boots…

  37. Lauren

    I am literally (like, literally literally) aching from desire for those Free People ballet socks. I just discovered dancewear as a beautiful option for yoga classes and I’ve gone off the ballet deep-end. I neeeeed it to be payday!

    • Lauren

      Follow-up: Ordered them, got them yesterday and love them. Thank you SO much for this feature: hosiery and tall socks are my sartorial Achilles’ heel!

  38. Anonymous

    Sal, I would love to hear your opinion about knee high socks for women (with regular shoes, not boots). Do you think that i s a look a grown woman could sport, or should be reserved for teenaged Japanese girls and costumes? Could you concieve of wearing it to a work environment? Thank you!

    • Sal

      Hmmm. It’s not a look I’ve seen many adult women try to sport, except for roller derby participants during actual bouts. I think it depends on the individual woman’s style. I can imagine it looking fabulously funky in the context of goth or punk-influenced outfits. Probably not appropriate for most work environments except the most creative and relaxed.

    • Lauren

      I know my opinion is not nearly as valuable as Sal’s but… I guess I’m nosy, haha. I have a coworker (at my relaxed office – jeans are du jour) who regularly wears knee socks with shorter skirts. I adore her and admire her work a great deal but it just does not look professional. I think layering taller socks over tights or under boots looks chic and wonderful but a straight-on knee socks and mini combo is not office wear.

  39. Cel

    I just wind up wearing over-the-knees as under-the-knees to avoid that whole digging-into-flesh thing. I really like boot socks, and I sorely need more, but it seems all my socks are man-socks, or itty bitty stealth-socks. I must remedy this.

  40. LJmommy

    I’ve worn leg warmers tucked into boots and the tops of the leg warmers folded down over the boot, or just peeking out of the top of the boot. It give the same effect, and they are nice and slouchy.

  41. nancy

    i am looking for the new boot socks that fold over the top of the boot , does anyone know where you can get them , i saw then on a morning show.