Nike Gym Socks Are the Must-Have Accessories for Summer 2023 – Footwear News

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Trends that call back to the late ’80s and early ’90s are influencing our style choices from head-to-toe. Mini-skirt suit sets, oversized leather motorcycle jackets, chunky gold earrings, and even shoulder-padded blazers have made their way back into fashion. But if there’s one unexpected throwback trend you probably didn’t have on your fashion bingo card for 2023, it’s athletic tube socks. Yes, gym socks — like the ones Princess Diana wore with her biker shorts ensembles in the ’90s — are reappearing in fashion, becoming the centerpiece of many street-style looks.

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‘It’-girls like Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid are completing their model-off-duty looks with athletic socks worn oh-so-casually with everything from chunky sneakers and loafers to slingback pumps and platform sandals. Their gym socks brand of choice? Nike, of course.

If you’ve followed fashion trends over the past few years, the athletic sock trend boom isn’t much of a head-scratcher. As social media has made fashion more mainstream over the past decade, unique personal style has taken autonomy over the runway-dictating trend formula of yesteryear. Yes, traditionally, athletic socks were paired with sporty outfits, but since accessories are a key to cultivating a signature look, why not experiment with the comfy, cozy sock that’s already a wardrobe staple?

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Bella Hadid and boyfriend Marc Kaman seen heading for dinner in New York City. August 9, 2022, Irina Shayk is seen during a street style shoot on March 01, 2023 in Paris, France, Shay Mitchell is seen on January 23, 2023 in Los Angeles, California, endall Jenner is seen on June 16, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.

From left to right: Bella Hadid (MEGA/GC Images), Irina Shayk (Christian Vierig/Getty Images for ABA), Shay Mitchell (Bellocqimages/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images), Kendall Jenner (Rachpoot/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)

CREDIT: MEGA/GC Images, Christian Vierig/Getty Images for ABA, Bellocqimages/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images, Rachpoot/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

“I think people are becoming more interested in dressing with contrasts and utilizing gym socks to help keep things casual and easy,” says New York-based stylist and writer Michelle Li. “I started wearing gym socks with my outfits simply because they were really comfortable, and I didn’t think anyone would notice. But my freshman year in college (2012), people started commenting on how I would style my Dr. Martens with socks, and I think since then I’ve leaned into it more.”

Socks are no strangers to the catwalk: Designers like Miuccia Prada love to incorporate the footwear accessory into their collections to give runway looks added oomph. Traditional dress socks are thin and don’t have the elasticity of an athletic sock for long-lasting wear, making them less comfortable and quicker to show signs of wear and tear. Today’s generation of tastemakers grew up with performance socks and technical fabrics, so it’s natural for them to pair Nike athletic socks, not flimsy dress socks, with their cute summer sandals.

“Beyond just being comfortable, I like that gym socks add a casual feel to an outfit, and I’ve always seen it as something that transitions the sneaker to the rest of the outfit,” says Li.

Effortlessness and ease in dressing is always desirable, and athletic gym socks can provide that perfect balance, similar to effect of wearing a cocktail dress with minimalist white sneakers.

 

Out of the wide variety of athletic sock options on the market, Nike gym socks are undoubtedly the most popular. On TikTok, searches for the term “Nike socks” have over 264.9 million views. Li tells Footwear News that she wears Nike socks the most because “they’re arguably the thickest and most versatile. Plus, the Swoosh logo is powerful in that it’s so immediately recognizable and chic. It’s one of the only logos I don’t mind having on my clothing.”

Put that all together with the current penchant for comfort, and it’s clear why a classic sportswear brand’s socks like Nike’s are coming out on top.


What to Consider When Shopping for Gym Socks

Street style stars from Bella Hadid to Irina Shayk have been pulling up their gym socks and pairing them with every kind of outfit, from a mini dress and chunky loafers to a skirt and platform Mary Janes and (of course) regular workout sneakers and leggings. Before thinking about throwing together a look, there are a few items you shoulder consider when shopping for gym socks.

  • Color: The best part about shopping for gym socks is that there are many colorful sock options to suit all styles. While choosing a hue is based on personal style, having tube socks in multiple color options is a perfect way to ensure your socks match all of your different outfits. “I try to stick to just plain and simple cotton socks since those are the ones that last the longest after washing and have the best thickness,” says Li. “I would say that having a few pairs of white and grey are important.”
  • Length: Workout socks come in various cuts, and the right option for you is mostly a matter of preference. “Consider how long you want your socks to be and the different types of ribbing as well,” says Li. “For example, do you want to scrunch it down or have it pulled all the way up to cover more leg? These subtle details can make a big difference for what [style] you’re trying to communicate.” If you want to go for a subtle retro vibe, there are mid-calf socks, which usually feature a nostalgic stripe design. Knee-high socks, which have been spotted in many runway collections, such as Miu Miu and Dior’s fall 2022 shows and on style stars like Iris Law and Bella Hadid, are another great option if you’re looking to keep in theme with the current “balletcore” trend.
  • Material: One of the essential attributes of workout socks is the material. If you’re wearing your workout socks truly for the gym, you’ll want socks made with technical synthetic materials, such as polyester or nylon, since they’ll be breathable and sweat-wicking, helping to reduce sweat build-up. On the other hand, if you’re wearing workout socks as a fashion accessory, you can search for socks made from nylon, cotton, or a soft spandex blend. No matter the intended purpose, the best socks will typically feature a slightly thicker material on the soles and a lighter mesh fabric on the forefoot. It’s also important to understand the thickness of the material to know what shoes you want to wear with your socks. For example, a thin crew sock is best if you want to wear them a pair of lifestyle sneakers. However, a thicker sock will cushion your feet and ankles in stiff combat boots.

Related:
Best Socks to Wear with Sneakers
Best Women’s Socks
Milan Fashion Week Sock Trend


Nike Everday Plus Cushioned Socks

  • Size range: S to XL
  • Colorways: Multi-Color, White/Black, Carbon Heather/Black, Black/White
  • Materials: 61-67% cotton/30-36% polyester/2% spandex/1% nylon
  • Special features: Comes in a pack of six; Dri-FIT technology helps your feet stay dry and comfortable.
  • Best for: Those who want comfort and support

Nike’s Everyday Plus Cushioned Socks are sweat-wicking, supportive, and comfortable for intense workouts. The “Plus” refers to the cushion level, meaning these socks have extra padding under the heel and forefoot. For those who are experimenting with Nike socks for the aesthetic, the good news is that these Nike socks aren’t overwhelmingly thick, so you can wear them with all types of shoes. Choose from a 6-pack of neutral-colored socks or go for the package of pastel ones that lean into the mermaidcore aesthetic.

 


nike cushioned socks


Nike Spark Lightweight Socks

  • Size range: 5.5 to 16
  • Colorways: Black, White
  • Materials: 82% nylon/18% spandex
  • Special features: Switch-foot arch support lets you wear your socks on either side.
  • Best for: Bold dressers or travelers

Compression socks may feel like function over fashion, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Whether you use them at the gym, on hikes, or for long travel days, your compression socks can be a cute accessory to your outfit. Nike’s Spark Lightweight Socks are over-the-calf compression running socks with a secure and breathable fit, letting you conquer any obstacle that lies ahead. They feature switch-foot arch support, fabric in the heel for a secure feel, and mesh at the top of the foot for immense ventilation. Take style notes from Bella Hadid and pair these with tailored shorts, a bomber jacket, and pumps for a weekend in the city.

What reviewers say:Wore these socks on Sunday and managed to win 100 and 200 meter sprint races in, my age group. I’m just getting over twisted ankle and these socks gave me the extra support I needed without bulk or weight, perfect”


nike compression socks


Nike Everyday Plus Cushioned

  • Size range: S to XL
  • Colorways: Active Fuchsia/Active Fuchsia, Mineral Teal/Mineral Teal, White/Baltic Blue, Black/White/Black
  • Materials: 70% cotton/27% polyester/2% spandex/1% nylon
  • Special features: Cushioning under the forefoot and heel; Dri-FIT technology helps your feet stay dry and comfortable.
  • Best for: People who want a thinner sock with less cushioning

Wake up that sock drawer with these colorful double-cuffed Nike socks. Not only do they lean into the Barbiecore pink trend that fashion tastemakers are quickly adopting, but they’re also practical thanks to Nike’s Dri-Fit sweat-wicking technology, soft fiber blend, and cushioning right where you want it.


nike plus pink socks


Nike Sportswear Dri-FIT Everyday Essential Socks

  • Size range: S to L
  • Colorways: White/University Red/University Red, Black/White, White/Game Royal/Game Royal, White/Black/Black
  • Materials: 70% cotton/27% polyester/2% spandex/1% nylon
  • Special features: Cushioning under the forefoot and heel; Dri-FIT technology helps your feet stay dry and comfortable.
  • Best for: Retro fashion lovers
Stripe tube socks are as versatile as they are retro. Nike’s Sportswear Dri-FIT Everyday Essential Socks hit that old-school charm while leaning into modern prep style. They feature the tried-and-true Dri-FIT technology that helps keep your feet dry and comfortable, a reinforced heel and toe for durability, and strategically placed mesh that adds breathability. Plus, they’re made with at least 75 percent recycled polyester fibers, so you can feel good about wearing them.

What reviewers say: “These socks are perfect and look really good on foot.”


nike retro socks


Nike Multiplier Crew Socks

  • Size range: S to XL
  • Colorways: White, black
  • Materials: 50% nylon/43% polyester/7% spandex
  • Special features: Sweat-wicking technology helps you stay dry and comfortable.
  • Best for: Everyday wear

These crew socks are the pair you’ll reach for first. They’re made from nylon, polyester, and spandex and feature a universal fit and medium weight. With a cushioned footbed providing style and comfort in a sporty, streamlined design, these socks are sure to make an impression. And since they come in a pack of two, you’ll get a lot of bang for your buck. Style these with tall boots and a dress, or let them stick out from your favorite low-top white sneakers when running errands.

What reviewers say:Outstanding socks. Not too fitted, so go on easily, and yet feel great, with cushioning and sweat transfer. Wish I’d bought another set.”


nike multiplier socks



Four women wear Nike Gym socks on the streets

From left to right: A guest at during Paris Fashion Week – Menswear Spring/Summer 2023 Photo by Edward Berthelot/Getty Images); Olesya Senchenko in Paris (Photo by Edward Berthelot/Getty Images); A guest at during the Milan Fashion Week – Womenswear Spring/Summer 2023 (Photo by Edward Berthelot/Getty Images); CEO & Co-Founder of Rotaro Georgie Hyatt during LFW (Photo by Kirstin Sinclair/Getty Images)

CREDIT: Edward Berthelot/Getty Images and Kirstin Sinclair/Getty Images

From left to right: A guest during Paris Fashion Week – Menswear Spring/Summer 2023 Photo by Edward Berthelot/Getty Images); Olesya Senchenko in Paris (Photo by Edward Berthelot/Getty Images); A guest at during the Milan Fashion Week – Womenswear Spring/Summer 2023 (Photo by Edward Berthelot/Getty Images); CEO & Co-Founder of Rotaro Georgie Hyatt during LFW (Photo by Kirstin Sinclair/Getty Images)

How to Style Gym Socks: Nike Gym Socks Outfit Ideas

While a dose of sartorial confidence is all you need to make your gym sock outfit look chic, we’ve outlined some of the best ways to style gym socks so you can have a joyous, playful time embracing the trend and turn your most predictable looks into something more unexpected.

  • Gym socks with a dress: Whether you have a maxi summer dress that you want to team with mules or a mini dress that matches ballet flats, add a pair of crew socks for a sportier take. This outfit idea mixes cozy and elevated, so you’ll find it appropriate for almost any non-formal occasion.
  • Gym socks with a skirt: ‘Schoolcore’ is the preppy fashion trend to wear right now. The best way to nail it? Take loafers and a pleated mini or maxi skirt, and opt for slouchy socks. Whether you choose crew length or knee-high, these socks will add something extra to your preppy and edgy ensemble.
  • Gym socks with bike shorts: Princess Diana was the queen of the gym sock look, so take inspiration from her outfits and team your calf-length athletic socks with bike shorts. Then add a pair of chunky sneakers and a graphic crewneck sweatshirt, and you’ll be prepared for anything your day throws at you.
  • Gym socks with jeans: If you want to style high-waisted or baggy jeans with socks, look for cropped denim to ensure the ribbed socks are seen. If you don’t own cropped denim, you can also cuff the hem of your favorite women’s jeans to achieve the same look. Finish with a vintage T-shirt tucked in and your Nike Air Force 1s for a throwback moment.
  • Gym socks with leggings: Celebrities are embracing the ’80s-inspired socks-over-leggings look. Hailey Bieber, Lucy Hale, Olivia Wilde, and more are sporting the combo to pilates classes, the supermarket, and beyond. If you’re unsure of how to style the look, you’re not alone — 19.1 million others are searching on TikTok for the same fashion answer. We’ve seen the look pair perfectly with a tight-fitted T-shirt and an oversized blazer or trench coat for the fall and winter. The look works just as well in the spring and summer with a sports bra and a cute hoodie tied over the shoulders.

Meet the Expert

Michelle Li is a stylist and writer based in New York City. She creates work that champions individuality and thoughtful consumption through a deep understanding of personal style. In Li’s previous role as a fashion and beauty editor at Teen Vogue, she handled creative direction, styling, and feature writing for fashion and beauty editorials. Li has been donning gym socks, especially Nike ones, with everything from flowy frocks to trousers for years.


Meet the Author

Nikki Chwatt is the Style Commerce Editor for Footwear News and WWD, where she writes and edits shopping stories on celebrity style, the latest fashion trends, and new shoe releases. Before joining Footwear News, Chwatt wrote for publications, including Editorialist. In her spare time, she enjoys scrolling through her favorite retailers and social platforms to stay up to date on the latest, greatest, and classics of what people wear, buy and love. As a New York City native, Chwatt is always searching for the best gym socks to get around comfortably. As a result, she has an overstuffed sock drawer full of athletic socks. Learn more about us here.

Adam Mansuroglu is the Director of Commerce for Footwear News and WWD, overseeing strategy for shopping content on both brands, along with writing and editing shopping guides, product reviews, and shopping trend stories for all types of footwear, from designer shoes to athletic sneakers for both men and women. Prior to his current role, Mansuroglu was a fashion editor and stylist at Cosmopolitan Magazine, Style Editor at BestProducts.com, and Senior Style & Gear Editor for Men’s Health Magazine, where he edited the annual Men’s Health Sneaker Awards. Mansuroglu has been tapped as a shopping expert for editorial websites such as Wirecutter, and his writing has also appeared in Out Magazine, Esquire and other publications. Learn more about us here.



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