Gen-Z says wearing socks the wrong HEIGHT makes you look old (2024)

The once-dated knee sock is facing a surprising comeback, with Gen Z leading the charge.

Gone are the days of low-cut or ankle socks ruling gyms, workplaces, and social media. Now, the trend is all about higher socks, echoing styles popular in the 80s and 90s.

Fashion trends are a battleground where generations clash. From Gen Z's banishing of the side-part to the slow death of the skinny jeans, the lines in the sand are clearly drawn.

'If you are wearing low-cut socks, it means you are 30-plus,' Chidebe Ndibe, a 26-year-old software developer and crew-sock advocate told the Wall Street Journal.

There's a constant push and pull between forging a unique identity and history repeating itself. Gen Z, eager to carve their own path, are guilty of making fun of styles previous generation's saw as 'hip,' even if those very styles were on all the rage way back when.

The once-dated ankle sock is facing a surprising comeback, with Gen Z leading the charge. Actress and singer Kylie Cantrall is seen on July 2 wearing the type of higher sock now favored by fashion-forward young Americans

Gone are the days of low-cut socks ruling gyms, workplaces, and social media. Now, the trend is all about higher socks, echoing styles popular in the 80s and 90s

Young crew-sock enthusiasts embrace the 'higher the better' approach, citing a range of influences.

From the late Princess Diana's iconic biker shorts and crew sock combo to contemporary celebrities like Hailey Bieber and Kendall Jenner sporting high socks with leggings after workouts, and even fashion editorials showcasing folded-over socks with loafers, these youngsters find inspiration in both classic and current styles.

'I feel like it makes an outfit look more complete,' another member of team crew sock, Kendall Maynard, 18, told the Wall Street Journal.

Ndibe echoes that sentiment: 'With my legs, specifically, I feel like it almost helps them look longer,' he says.

From the late Princess Diana's iconic biker shorts and crew sock combo to contemporary celebrities like Hailey Bieber and Kendall Jenner sporting high socks with leggings after workouts, and even fashion editorials showcasing folded-over socks with loafers, these youngsters find inspiration in both classic and current styles

'If you are wearing low-cut socks, it means you are 30-plus,' Chidebe Ndibe, a 26-year-old software developer and crew-sock advocate told the Wall Street Journal

Fashion trends are a battleground where generations clash. From Gen Z's banishing of the side-part to the slow death of the skinny jeans, the lines in the sand are clearly drawn

However, the other side of the aisle remain steadfast in their beliefs that calf socks make them look disproportional.

'I am 5-foot-2 on a good day and have short legs, and so if I wore crew socks, there'd be no differentiation between my thighs and ankles,' Krista Figueroa, 32, an X-ray technologist told the Wall Street Journal. 'It does not look cute.'

Figueroa also said she associates calf socks with her father, who pairs the god forsaken mid calves with New Balance shoes to create the ultimate old-school dad look.

But young people's preference for taller socks is reflected in sales figures.

Sock sales data from Hanes shows a rise of 5.9% for socks that go above the ankle since 2021, while low-cut sock sales have dipped 3.8%.

A similar trend is seen at Aritzia, where crew socks reaching mid-calf are outselling ankle socks by a two-to-one margin, according to Heather McLean, the company's executive vice president of product.

@phoebe_fitish

This is exactly how to tell the difference between a millennial and gen z just by looking at their feet #millennial #genz

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Young people's preference for taller socks is reflected in sales figures as sock sales data from Hanes shows a rise of 5.9% for socks that go above the ankle since 2021, while low-cut sock sales have dipped 3.8%

Bombas also reports a shift towards taller socks. Socks that are visible now account for 42% of their business in April, up from 33% last year. In fact, there's a corresponding decline in no-show sock sales, which fell 9% this April compared to last year, according to Randy Goldberg, Bombas co-founder and chief brand officer.

In a TikTok that has amassed 3.7 million views, Phoebe Parsons, a 34-year-old Pilates instructor in Brisbane, Australia, said there was a direct correlation to age and sock height.

'As millennials, we are stuck in the mindset of skinny legs, and we think our legs look better when you can see your ankle, but Gen Z doesn't care,' Parsons said. Although she tried seeing the younger generation's perspective, she said she had a 'visceral' reaction to crew socks, and that it just felt wrong.

Gen-Z says wearing socks the wrong HEIGHT makes you look old (2024)
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