Tube Socks: History And Continuing Popularity

Like vinyl records, wallpaper, choker necklaces, and other fads of the past, tube socks are still very much a part of our culture.

Tube socks have been around longer than many people realize. Some fashion historians date their existence to the 1800s. Their popularity in the U.S. peaked in the late 1960s and ‘70s, as kids became more active in sports like basketball, soccer, track and field, and roller skating.

In those days, tube socks were more about comfort and protection than fashion. They were constructed with no bend for the heel like traditional socks, forming a straight tube — hence the name.

This offered several advantages for those participating in athletic activities. Their simple shape meant they could essentially fit any foot. They were much easier to put on than traditional socks and could stretch up to the knees in most cases. Plus, they were made to absorb sweat and protect feet from blisters.

Early tube socks were mostly white, with some sporting colored stripes at the top. As girls started playing more sports, tube socks proved to be appropriate for both genders, which contributed to their popularity.

Tube socks faded in popularity during the late 1980s and ‘90s as athletes at all levels started to consider their game uniforms as fashion statements. Basketball and soccer shorts, and even baseball pants got longer, while ankle socks replaced the old tube socks.

A combination of nostalgia and a more casual approach to attire has resurrected tube socks. But today’s tube sock enthusiasts have more choices than plain white or striped.

Custom tube socks are not only suitable for athletic use, but also marketing campaigns and themed events. Unlike straight tube socks of the past, it’s now standard to find higher quality tube socks with a bend for the heel, terry cushioning on the sole for extra comfort, and a choice of lengths.


About the author

EVERSOX is a worldwide supplier of custom branded socks for businesses, retailers, and promotional products distributors — with over 10,000 designs manufactured & 100 major brands served since 2010.