What to Look For When Buying Wide Calf Socks

When I’m on the road selling Tall Order Socks, one of the top questions I get from potential customers is “how wide do these socks stretch around the calf?” I get why people ask this a lot; having wide calves is a major problem when trying to buy conventional socks. Many socks aren’t designed for wide calves, and wearing those socks leads to one of two problems occurring:

  1. The socks feel too tight on the calf, causing a constricting feeling and leaving imprints on the leg long after taking them off
  2. The sock stretches too much and tears faster than you’d expect a sock to degrade

It’s important to have your socks well-fitted to the shape and contours of your calves. This is especially important for people with wide calves and people with wide feet. In this blog we’ll help you decide whether or not you need to buy wide calf socks, and show you what to look for to ensure you get a high quality pair.

When to Buy Wide Calf Socks

Before you go searching for wide calf socks, you should ask yourself if wide calf socks are the right product for you. You should look for socks for wide feet or socks for wide calves when you experience one or several of the following problems:

Tightness and Discomfort

The most important reason to find a better sock for wide calves is because the wrong socks can cause tightness around the calf. This is not only a major issue with your daily comfort, but can also have medical impacts on your legs. When socks are too tight, they can cut off circulation to your ankle and foot. If you then perform extended activity on your feet, such as walking or standing, this can lead to severe pain. Thus you should find a sock that isn’t so tight around the calf so as to cut off circulation. 

Sagging Socks

If your socks don’t stay up on your calf, perhaps it’s due to previous stretching. The more you wear your socks, the more they get a little more stretched out each time you wear them. This is especially true if your calves are wide, as they will stretch out conventional socks faster and to a greater degree. Be careful though, as you may be confusing the need for socks for wide calves with a need for standard-size socks with a higher quality cuff or elastic band for the calf.

Medical Issues Affecting Calves and Feet

(NOTE: Please consult with your physician or podiatrist for the most personal guidance for medical-grade products for your feet)

Diseases such as diabetes can cause unwanted swelling in the calves, bringing on a requirement that socks have wider calves. While diabetic socks are available for those with extreme swelling, people with milder swelling in the calves can benefit from a sock that is designed for more general wide calves.

What to Look For in a High-Quality Pair of Wide Calf Socks

Durable, Breathable, and Flexible Material

While we’ve previously discussed the best sock materials on this blog, it bears repeating that the material choice has a great impact on the comfort and stretch of the sock. Look for fabrics that are flexible to shape to the contours of your calf and feet. You also want fabrics that can breathe as they wrap your calves to alleviate some of the tension in the socks and your calves. Finally, you want fabrics that are durable so they can get stretched out over many wears and not degrade, tear, or feel too loose and sag down the leg. Look for blends with fabrics such as polyester for durability, cotton for breathability, and nylon for flexibility. 

A Properly Engineered Cuff

When shopping for socks for wide calves, not only does the sock itself need to be made of a quality fabric, but also the cuff or band at the top of the sock needs to be engineered to fit wide calves properly. The cuff should not be just an extension of the sock; it should be its own material that has even more stretch and durability. This is because the cuff is the part you stretch with your hands most often and so it needs to bounce back into shape without getting too tight. Look for a cuff that’s not too tight nor too loose, and look for the inclusion of spandex for the most stretchability in the elastic band.

Ample Space in the Ankle, Foot, and Toes

Even if the cuff is perfectly engineered, if the rest of the sock isn’t properly fit you will still feel discomfort. You want there to be enough stretch through the rest of the sock, especially because a lot of people with wide calves also have wide feet. It’s of paramount importance to find the right sock size for you, so take a look at our previous blog discussing how socks should fit for more information.

An Affordable Price Point

While you may expect to pay a small premium for the extra fabric in socks designed for wide calves, you never want to break the bank with this type of purchase. You want to be able to fill your top drawer with these more comfortable socks without completely emptying your wallet. Don’t look for bottom shelf prices either, as that can be an indicator of poor quality socks that don’t last very long, requiring constant replacement and more money spent overall. We’ve previously blogged about the decision of buying expensive socks, so take a look there if you want to deep dive on the price point of socks.

Finding Wide Calf Socks That Work For You

We understand the difficulty of finding the best socks for wide calves and the best socks for wide feet. When looking for the best socks for wide calves, look no further than Tall Order! Our XXL socks go from size 16-20 to stretch to fit even the widest calves. In fact, our Classic Fit crew length socks can stretch to fit up to a 22-inch calf!