Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bring Back the Tube Sock!

It is unfortunate that we are all slaves to fashion. Now, I'm sure there some of you out there who A) believe you are above such things and wear what you want and/or B) have seen the way I dress and wonder who I am kidding to think I know or have anything to do whatsoever with fashion. I am here to convince you otherwise.

When I mean slaves to fashion I am speaking in the broadest possible sense. I'm not speaking of the latest styles or trends, no I'm just referring to the basics of what's allowed and what is the object of scorn and derision. Take the whole male shorts thing. Men's shorts used to be well above the knee, but if there so much as an inch of bare leg above the kneecap now then my oh my are the critics going to pile on. Now at first I thought this wasn't so much fashion as people coming to the realization that a man's leg is not something we want to look at, but this is not that case. It is merely fashion! And I bet even those of you who think you aren't slaves to fashion are wearing your shorts at the "appropriate" length.

Here is how I know this shorts thing is all about fashion. At the same time that people are clamoring for the male thigh to be covered up, people will also hoot in derision if you wear long socks. Where's the consistency in that? To be consistent, we should all be in favour of the the tube sock and not these sissy little ankle socks that all the gents are wearing these days. So it's not about what looks good it's just about what is in fashion. We're showing the same amount of leg today as we used to back in the tube sock and short shorts era. It's just a different section of the leg. And I'm not buying that the male calf is sooooooo much more attractive than the lower have of the male thigh.

Check out these shorts and tube socks:

There have been plenty of good clothing items that have gone the way of the Dodo bird because of fashion. Take rugby pants for instance. They were comfortable, looked fine, and could be used for both casual and active wear. Why did we get rid of them? Fashion. I'm sure everyone out there has a favourite clothing item that has fallen victim to this scourge known as fashion.
Send in your comments about what you have been quietly rueing fashion for.

Meahwhile the fedora is making a comeback. What's up with that?


  1. I never wore tube socks. Nor have I ever worn those girly ankle socks. There is a middle ground.

  2. Oh Jack, you commenting on fashion? That's like me commenting on tact and subtlty in conversation!The tube sock is gone for two reasons: It had no heel so was uncomfortable, especially if walking any distance or for a long time, Second it was made out of nasty non-breathing man-made fibers as opposed to most good quality socks today which are usually 95-99% natural fibres, which again made it uncomfortable.As for the length of shorts? As you know I wear shorts all year and always have. I also have very bad pic's of me in short shorts, some even neon orange and green!I have, however, chosen to not let others see them? I've never worn those silly low socks, but I did like rugby pants.The fedora? I stopped smoking cigars years ago! Cheers, xelA.

  3. See, now I *know* you're just stirring the pot. Tube socks? Are you kidding me? I am no fashion maven, and I do have a soft spot for *some* retro clothing--but I'm telling you, women really don't dig tube socks. Never have, never will. Not only are they ill-fitting and ridiculously thick, but, after they've been worn a few times, the part of the sock that should be the heel gets turned around and is just a big dirty spot on the top of the foot. Turn it around and it's the same damn thing.

    And yes, well, rugby pants. Despite my temptation to hoot, I have to admit that I do understand the appeal, given that women can once again wear comfortable sweats without committing a fashion faux-pas (under the thin guise of Lululemon "yoga-wear", even if the only Downward Dog they've ever done is while picking up their pooch's poo in the park). I am a big fan of the secret-drawstring waist pant, especially after a big spaghetti dinner. But then, nobody will ever consult me for fashion tips.

  4. But that pic of you and your siblings in short-shorts and tube socks is awesome!

  5. For the record only the other guy is my sibling. The cute little blonde is my cousin. If I had more pictures from that family gathering I am sure there would be plenty more examples of tube socks.

    As for the dirty heel phenomenon, I never had that problem as I was and still am meticulous in the donning of my socks. The dirty side was always down.

  6. My exes who wore tube socks (and I'm not saying that's why they are exes, but it surely didn't help) would have done well to abide by the "dirty side down" rule. In fact, I think that will be my new modus operandi.

  7. Are you advocating for the return of the tube sock or just knee socks? There is a difference, no? Aren't there fitted socks that just happen to cover your calves?

  8. I'm with Guy. The Hegelian dialectic of socks will hopefully bring us back to middle calf sometime soon. Tube socks belong in the 70s with all its fashion woes. I personally can't warm up to these skimpy ankle socks that seem to be all the rage. I still stick to my grey, mid-calf semi-sport socks that I get in a six-pack from Marks Work Wearhouse. I'll be the height of fashion any day now.

  9. I'm not really advocating for the tube sock, so much as I am advocating for freedom from the tyranny of fashion dictating sock length. And not just dictating, but in the current sense dictating the absolute worst type of sock. Tube socks would admittedly be a backlash against the current ankle socks that my colleague Derbyroad so eloquently describes as "skimpy".

    I continue to wear mid-calf style socks despite the howls of protest from my sons and students.

  10. The best use of the tube sock is and always will be in flag football, where any rule enforcing the full length display thereof helps those of us on defense with less than stellar speed.

  11. According to the Little Jackie Showers flag football rule book:

    Rule 3.4 Flags shall be tube socks that extend below mid-thigh when hung from the waistband and must be hung with the coloured stripes down to increase visibility.

  12. Yes, I have always appreciated the many variations of the Showers Rules, which do a nice job of lassoing things that skew too far from the norm so that everyone has at least the illusion of a shot at the brass ring. Very Canadian. You're a real patriot, Jack.

  13. I've always worn tube socks with shorts, since the 70's. I think the skimpy booty socks look atrocious and are a ripoff. Yes, many of us are fashion slaves. I personally dislike cargo shorts and capris for men. Shorts were meant to end above the knee, not at the ankles. And what fashion idiot said pleated shorts are out? Sure, I get a few looks but it beats wearing spandex and booty socks to the mall.

  14. I loved my short athletic shorts. I remember I almost got sent home in the 4th grade because my shirt went past my shorts and looked like that was all I was wearing. And the color tubes...I have plenty and searching for more every day!

  15. I must say, I agree completely with Little Jackie Showers that we are slaves to fashion. Furthermore, we are slaves to many other things in society today such as the economy, the latest music, movies, technology or other trends. I could expand on these but I won't get into this right now. What I am writing about today relates to the discussion about tube socks.

    Over time I have seen some of the changes that have occurred in clothing. I'm a guy who grew up in the late 70's and 80's when long tube socks and very short shorts were quite common.

    I'm willing to bet that a significant portion of people putting down tube socks are much younger than me and did not grow up in the time when all this was popular. If this is true, what they don't seem to realise is the flip side. If a guy was seen wearing small ankle socks with long shorts 25-30 years ago, he probably would have been made fun of; they would have said he's wearing girl's socks or that he's looks prissy. This is probably why some guys my age and older would never want to wear ankle socks even today; some say it reminds them of the ankle socks that girls wore with the little pom poms at the end. So, which style is right or wrong here? Neither.

    But regardless the age, people who put down tube socks (or any other clothing for that matter) are likely just a small number of shallow minded, bigoted types who only care about the latest trend. They think the universe revolves around them so feel empowered to dictate what is right and wrong in fashion. Sadly, some of these people have the money and resources to spread their bigoted propaganda and thus, brainwash the general publc. Thus, the general population unconsciously accepts these mindsets about clothing. This is not because certain styles are good or bad.

    I am never one care about what the flavour of the day is. Once I find a style I like, I stick to it. If a new style comes along, I'll adopt it if I like it.

    If it's not too hot, I still wear long tube socks today and when I do, I always pull them up to the knees. Some days I wear my very short shorts with them.

    (my comment continued below)

  16. (Alistair Muir continued)

    Depending on the weather, I often wear my tube socks with skate shoes, cargo shorts, band t-shirts/hoodies and baseball cap when hanging out. Sometimes these cargo shorts go below the knees and have draw strings. Sometimes I pull these drawstrings so that the cuffs of the shorts are fit snug around the tops of the tube socks. Definitely a different look. Many people will surely say this looks dorky or retarded. But I like this and I make no apologies for it.

    In the last 15 years, I have never seen anybody else in my city wearing long tube socks with their shorts. The only exceptions were 3 people I saw within the last year. Each of them I have seen on 3 separate occasions. One of them was in his 40's with his wife. The other two guys were actually in their early 20's and dressed very much like I do. They all looked like normal, confident people out having a good time with their buddies or partner. They didn't look dorky to me. Thumbs up to these guys for being true to themselves.

    Yes, like Jack, I would like to see the tube sock come back. However, I am not just advocating for tube socks. More importantly, I encourage people to stand up to the "fashion police" and not be dictated. So long as you are not at work, attending a wedding or funeral, wear whatever it is you truly like whether it is in or out. If this becomes the case, then more people may start to think that that it's okay to dress a bit differently. Hopefully others would become more accepting of other different tastes. Fewer people would in turn become slaves to fashion. Perhaps people's favourite clothes won't just disappear from the market because they are no longer "in".

    Because I dress the way I like, I haven't become a slave to fashion. I'm a free man. If more people did this, I'm sure this new found freedom would make them feel good about who they are.

    Well, that's my two cents.


    P.S. For those who don't already know and are searching, check out They sell various sizes of tube socks with different colour stripes. I have some of their socks from a few years ago and they're still in good condition. This online shop has been around for more than 7 years. Recently, skatersocks has expanded their product list.

    So you see, there are still people buying tube socks. They haven't died out afterall.

  17. I'm 23 and wear nothing but white athletic over-the-calf tube socks. In fact, all the socks I buy are big & tall sized, extended sized, or extra long. (25" long or longer.) I'm thin, average height, and wear a size 10 sneaker, but I like my tubes as long as possible and loose fitting. I pull my socks up to my knees all the time, even when wearing shorts, and I like there to be at least a couple inches of sock still hanging off my toes after I do so. I need them to fit loosely as I just hate tight socks, loose socks are much more comfortable. I want the top of my tubes (the ribbed part) to barely stay put right under my knees while the excess length loosely piles up between my ankles and the start of the ribbed part. (Tubes that are ribbed the whole way up the leg are a no-no.) I just love seeing all that loose sock piled up around my legs below my calves. --- I wear my white athletic socks every day, no matter what I'm doing, where I'm going, or what the rest of my outfit is. Except I don't wear them with thong sandals, I'm not a Geisha, lol. (I do however love white tubes with athletic slides and other slip-on sandals.) I think all guys should wear white athletic socks all the time, we look ridiculous in anything else. Even with suits, white athletic socks are the only option. The fashionistas I call the Anti-White Socks Brigade can fuck off, they're the most clueless and pompous people on the planet. Oh and guys, once you throw out all the dress, casual, and colored socks in your drawers, please pitch the no-show, low-cut, ankle, quarter, and crew socks that are left. Be MEN and wear over-the-calf socks, not little girl socks. --- I've had white over-the-calf athletic tube socks ever since I made my mother start buying them for me when I was 6 years old. (When I fell in love with them upon my first encounter with them.) The thing is, my mother hates high socks and only bought them for me so I would shut up and stop asking for them. While I was growing up she always made me wear shorter socks in the spring and summer, and banished my tubes to the fall and winter months when I wore long pants. I was shamed in to wearing short socks "like all the other boys." It wasn't until a couple years ago that I said fuck it and started wearing my over-the-calf socks full time. I threw out my shorter socks and bought more and more over-the-calf tubes. Now my socks are longer and looser than ever, always pulled up to my knees and piled up above my ankles. Occasionally teenage guys in short socks (and that's who it is every time) will give me shit, but I don't care. --- For those of you stressing over "the dirty part flipping around to the top," calm down. Once you decide what will be the bottom of the sock (a tube sock has no sole since it has no built-in heel) simply keep it the bottom. Whenever you pull that sock on again just make sure the footprint stain goes on the bottom of your foot. Just be sure to wear the sock on the same foot each time, as the stains look messy when there are impressions from both feet on the bottom of a sock. I actually like having solid color sweat and/or dirt "footprint" stains on the bottoms of my tube socks, though they must be stain-free everywhere else. (Call me a freak if you want, but I just love seeing the dirty impression of a guy's sole/my sole on the bottom of a otherwise bright-white sock.) --- To those of you saying tube socks aren't comfortable, aren't durable, don't stay up, and aren't made of natural fibers like cotton, you obviously haven't bought athletic tube socks recently. They're always at least mostly cotton, stay up just fine, and are very comfortable as long as you but them long enough for your legs. And they're always very durable, even around where your heels end up, as long as you buy quality socks. Stay away from wholesale generic brands, and Hanes believe it or not, when buying tubes and you'll be fine.

  18. And lastly, those of you saying white over-the-calf athletic tube socks are "dead" are way off the mark. Countless companies still make them, and just in my area there are 6 guys besides myself that wear them constantly, even in the summer with shorts. All 6 are under 50, and 3 are under 20.

  19. I applaud you Patrick on your sock sense. I must suggest however that your paragraphs need not be as long as your socks. On the sock front however you have encouraged me to keep up the good fight.

  20. Sorry, lol. I tried breaking up the paragraphs with dashes, but oh well.

  21. I started using Tube socks because of nu metal bands influence (like Deftones or Limp Bizkit)
    But do i wear them because they do? No, i just like the style. Back in 2000 I would see more people with them but now in 2011, I see no one. Well ive once seen a 50 year old.
    I wear tube socks with skater shoes and shorts (a bit below the kneee) and I like it. The most important thing is that if you like, then theres really no problem.
    Sure some people in the street will look at you or some friends might told you thats "stupid" or gay but who cares? Certainly not me.
    And yes, I dont follow fashion, but Ive also seen some ways teens/adults that do and the way they dress nowadays I find terrible. But who am I to criticize them? If they like, they like it.
    This is the same as my style: i like it.

  22. Remember, you're only a slave to fashion if you want to be. Tube socks are great, it's all I wear, you can still by them, even with thick stripes! I don't care what other people think - I know they look great. I've even had younger guys ask me where I got them. And most tubes are made from cotton, not "man made fibers" as one commenter claims, although I've got some wool blend too. Ankle socks are for little girls - why guys wear them is beyond me. They look kind of feminine. I've seen guys taking off 10 inch work boots who were wearing ankle or quarter socks - is that dumb or what? Even if you don't wear boots, most guys would do well to cover up their lower legs. And since a lot of people will accuse me of being old fashioned or retro because I'm over 50, it has nothing to do with age. I hated bell bottoms when they were totally in fashion in the 70s. They looked stupid then (especially bell bottom trousers made out of plaid material -yuck!) As did disco clothes and platform shoes. I would also add that tube socks are very comfortable. The guy who said they are uncomfortable must have bought cheap ones. Lots of those out there. Try Wigwams or Twin Cities. Great socks.

    1. Unknown - I love tube sox -where all the time - where do you buy them with wide stripes ?

  23. Tube socks provide a little compression and warmth. I prefer the old school white tube socks with three thick stripes of color on them. Do you realize how difficult it is today to find those? Wigwam has EXCELLENT striped tube socks called King Tube (as well as the 7 footer and the 60) and comes in several colors, including a black sock with stripes. Twin City Knitting also has an amazing array of three stripe colors for knee-high white tube socks. But if you are in a colder region, or are just adventurous, I recommend thigh high socks for men with three stripes. SkaterSocks are the only place I know to get those as "unisex" for men. They need to be washed twice to get the sweet chemical smell out of them. Also, wear AT LEAST two pairs at a time, never wash, just rotate, and your socks will NEVER wear out, get holes or tear apart. Plus wearing multiple socks helps control bad odor and leaves only the good scent of shoe leather (at least for me). But trust me on the thigh high socks for men - they will not ever be fashionable with short shorts, sadly. ;)

  24. I'd rather walk barefoot than wear any socks, period. I hate them! Barefoot was popular in the 70's too