How Many Socks Should I Own?

As the owner of a sock company, I have access to what is essentially an unlimited supply of socks for my personal use. However, most people don’t have such a limitless stockpile of hosiery. Also, most people don’t have an unlimited budget, so picking the wrong number of socks can impact not just your feet but also your wallet. 

So how many pairs of socks should a man own? Is there some sort of method we can use to determine the optimal number of socks to keep in your top drawer? Well that’s what we’re here to discuss today.

On average, people own between 10-20 pairs of socks. The number of socks you should own can be estimated by the number of days between laundry cycles. Typically, a fresh pair of socks should be worn each day. Knowing the average young adult washes their clothes and socks once every 7-10 days, a safe estimate would be to own at least 10 pairs of socks. 

How Often Do You Do Laundry?

The first thing to consider when determining the right number of socks to have on hand (errr...on feet) is how often you wash and clean your clothes. A recent survey of laundry habits of 1,000 people shows some interesting statistics:

  • Most people say they wash underwear (a good corollary for socks) after only 1 or 2 wears
  • Younger adults (18-24) tend to wash their underwear and socks more often than older adults

Do you actually need to wear one pair of socks per day? Can you stretch the usage of those socks to longer ranges? Based on the research we did for our recent blog on wearing socks all the time, you can extend the wear time of your socks with just a few simple tips, such as keeping your socks regularly clean and washing them in hot water to kill bacteria.

But for argument’s sake, let’s say you wear 1 pair of socks per day and you do your laundry once every 7 days, you would be fine to just have 7 pairs of socks. So step one of determining your optimal number of socks to keep on hand is to find your minimum: add 1 pair of socks for each day in between your laundry cycles

Note that if you tend to vary the time of your laundry cycles, you’ll want to increase your minimum number of socks to account for potentially longer periods between laundry room visits.

Add Additional Socks for Exercise and Activity!

Depending on how active of a person you are and how much you exercise, you may need to have extra socks on hand. You could need activity-specific socks, such as soccer, baseball, or running socks, and/or you sweat during your activities and want to change into cleaner socks. 

basketball socks

You don’t want to keep those sweaty socks on all day, and they’re likely headed for the laundry basket when you’re done with your activity. So you need more socks to compensate! The next step in determining the optimal number of socks to have is to factor in exercise: add at least 1 pair of socks for each day you exercise or do something athletic in between laundry cycles.

Account for the 4 Cs: Cold, Compression, Comfort, and Class

Now that you have your everyday essentials, what’s left to fill up your sock drawer? We’ve come up with a handy guide for other situations called the 4 Cs:

  • Cold - depending on where you live, you may want a pair of warming socks for extra cold days and outdoor activities in winter
  • Compression - compression socks can help encourage blood flow to the feet, which is helpful for pressurized environments such as flying on planes
  • Comfort - everyone should have a pair of cozy, comforting socks for bedtime, lounging around,  or sitting by the fire
  • Class - if you have a busy social calendar, you’ll want a few pairs of dressier socks for more formal occasions, such as weddings

When filling out your sock drawer, account for the 4 Cs by adding at least one pair of cold weather, compression, comfort, and classy (dress) socks each. 

The Sock Formula: Calculating Exactly How Many Socks You Should Own

To recap our methodology for determining how many socks you should have, we’ve created the infographic below:

how many socks should I own

Quality Impacts How Many Socks You Should Buy

Aside from your laundry habits, exercise, climate, and social needs for socks, there are many other factors that determine the optimal number of socks to keep around. Lower-quality socks tend to come in bigger packs, which can increase the number of socks you have by more than you intend. But are these extra socks worth the sacrifice in quality? 

While we’ve previously discussed the merits of more expensive, higher-quality socks, it comes down to wear time. We’ve shown that socks tend to last about a year before they need replacing, but low-quality cheap socks that you buy in bulk will last much shorter with regular usage.  

In the short term, you may feel like it’s a harder hit to your wallet to go for more premium socks. But in the long run, you’ll feel the savings by not having to replace them as often.

You Know How Many Socks to Own, Now Stock Up!

So now that you have a grasp on how many pairs of socks you should have, what better time than now for a refresh! Tall Order Extra Cushioned socks feature high-quality, premium fabrics that are designed to stand up to everyday use as well as your favorite activities and gatherings.

They feature extra cushioning for all-day comfort, moisture control, arch support, and come in a variety of great colors and patterns. Whether you get the Crew Length for heading to the office and a night on the town, or the Low-Cut Ankle Socks for your favorite walks, runs, and sports, you’ll feel confident and comfortable with Tall Order Socks filling out your top drawer!