We offer FREE USPS shipping on all US orders!
back to » home
ACRYLIC FIBER: A synthetic fiber, it is soft, warm and lightweight and can feel like wool. Because the textures are similar, many wool blends include acrylic fiber. Color is added when the fiber is made, and acrylic fiber cannot easily be dyed at home. Acrylic can be prone to pilling, and is not as warm and cozy as cashmere or wool.
ANKLET: Also called a “sneaker sock” or a “quarter crew”, anklets and ankle socks end right around the ankle bone.
ARM WARMER: Used to describe many kinds of arm coverings, the primary definition of an arm warmer is an open-ended tube that has at least a hole or section for the thumb. If there is no spot for the thumb, then an arm warmer is actually a “sleeve.” Most arm warmers extend from just below the knuckles of the hand to mid-forearm.
BACKSEAM: With today’s circular knitting machines we can have seamless stockings, but up until the 1950’s, all stockings and nylons were made with a backseam. When looking for retro appeal, backseams are the way to go!
BAMBOO FIBER: The versatility of bamboo means it can be processed into yarn for bamboo socks in a couple of ways. The majority of bamboo socks are made with rayon from bamboo, but a few styles are made with bamboo yarn. Rayon from bamboo is silky and soft, but does not retain the antibacterial and moisture wicking properties of true bamboo yarn, which is also called “mechanically processed bamboo fiber.”
BLEEDING: When the color of an item washes or rubs off onto other items. Though this isn’t as common with modern dyes, a good way to avoid bleeding is to wash new items with similar colors the first few times they’re laundered and to always follow washing instructions.
BLEND: A yarn or fabric that consists of multiple fiber types. Rarely is an item 100% a single type of fiber, as it is blends that make modern yarns and fabrics more durable, easier to dye and beautiful. Some fibers, like silk and angora, are rarely more than 50% of a blend, and are often less than 12%, as it does not take much of these fibers to impart their luxury.
BLOCKING: Manipulating high percentage cotton and wool knits when wet for a better fit. Blocking techniques for shrinking a foot size or stretching the calf of a sock can be found on the Sock Journal.
BOBBY SOCK: A cuffed ankle sock that has been around since the late 1920s, when ladies showing their ankles became acceptable and was very popular in the 1940s and 1950s.
BOOTSOCKS: At least midcalf-high, with a thick or padded foot or sole. Some bootsocks have padding all the way up the body of the sock, others are just thicker and sturdy from toes to tops, offering protection to the wearer and a longer life against the wear and tear of boots. Some bootsocks are prone to slouching, which creates a distinctive look above a boot.
BOUCLÉ: Strands are wound together in a way that makes that distinctive loopy appearance. Fabric knit from bouclé yarn has a squishy thickness to it that indicates its lovely insulating properties.
CAPRI: Leggings that end anywhere from just below the knee to about mid-calf.
CABLE KNIT: A classic decorative pattern in knitting, the appearance is of braided or crisscrossing ribs. True cable knit requires the stitches be re-ordered in the process of knitting and uses some pretty neat and specific needles to create that distinctive look. Many “cable knit” styles are actually “cable look”, achieving the classic appearance of cable knit in a simpler knitting process.
COLORFASTNESS: How well dye resists fading or bleeding. Always test colorfastness on a hidden or easy to hide part of the fabric before using bleach or harsher cleaning techniques.
COMFORT TOP: Less binding than a regular sock cuff, the comfort top is wide and ribbed. Not all comfort top styles are fully non-constrictive, but they are far less prone to cutting into the leg.
COMPRESSION SOCKS: Designed to encourage blood flow from the feet and legs back to the heart, relieving tired legs and providing support. Most compression socks utilize graduated compression, starting tighter at the ankles and reducing in compression as they go up the leg. Compression socks need to be worn properly to maximize comfort and the benefits of the compression. Our Sock Journal goes into detail here.
CONTROL TOP: Tights or pantyhose that have LYCRA® in the panty to smooth and shape the tummy and hips. The level of “control” varies between styles and brands.
COOLMAX FIBER: Made of specially designed polyester fibers. It is used mostly in sports and technical products, to wick away sweat and moisture and to improve breathability.
COTTON FIBER: Produced from the fluffy ‘boll’ that surrounds the cotton seed, this is one of the widest used fibers in clothing around the world. It is comfortable and durable, but not very elastic and is prone to shrinking when washed or dried at high temperatures. The higher the cotton content of a sock, the less likely it is to stay up well on the leg.
- EGYPTIAN COTTON: Made from the longer and finer fibers of the cotton plants grown along the Nile, it is a luxury fiber prized for its softness and fine texture.
- PIMA COTTON: Grown in Peru, Australia and the southwestern United States, it is a longer, finer, and more durable cotton fiber; though not as fine as Egyptian cotton.
CREW: Taller than an ankle sock, shorter than a midcalf, most crew socks go no higher than just below the calf muscle. Many socks designed for women and smaller feet tend to be crews instead of midcalves, as the shaft of the sock is knit to match the length of the foot.
- QUARTER CREW: A popular sport sock height, the quarter crew is, simply, one-quarter of a crew sock, which is the height of an ankle sock.
CROCHET LOOK: The use of knit lace techniques to create the look of crochet. By nature of being a knit object, machine produced socks cannot be crocheted.
CUFF: The top part of a sock, usually ribbed to help the sock cling to the leg. The cuff is both a place and a part of the sock. Other than a simple ribbed band, there are different cuff types:
- DOUBLE WELT CUFF: Also known as a “doubled cuff”, the top ribbing of the sock is folded over and secured, creating a thicker cuff that is often wider and better at distributing pressure, causing less “bite” into the leg. On socks, the thicker cuff is not easily worn with traditional garter clips. Most of our Dreamer Socks utilize a double welt cuff.
- ELASTIC BIND OFF: Instead of a distinct cuff, the sock is finished with a specific row of stitches that sometime incorporate bands of elastic, resulting in a cuff that has about the same stretch as the body of the sock. This type of cuff works well with all garter clips. Our Long Cuffable Scrunchables are finished with an elastic bind off.
- RAW TOP: Also known as a “raw edge” or “topless”, there is technically no cuff, the sock simply stops or is cut off at a certain height in a way that won’t unravel. Raw topped socks and stockings pair well with most garter clips, and can be made at home by cutting the panty off of tights, as explained in this Sock Journal post.
- ROLLED TOP: Also known as a “rolled edge”, it is a specific knitting stitch that finishes the sock and has a natural inclination to roll. Because the roll of the cuff is due to a specific type of stitch, it does not encourage the rest of the sock to roll down.
CUBAN HEEL: An opaque or reinforced sole that extends up the leg, past the heel, ending in a point. Mostly seen with backseamed stockings, this kind of detail means a reinforced sole and no pesky seam causing discomfort under the foot.
DENIER: A textile measurement that is used to indicate opacity and thickness; the higher the denier, the thicker and more opaque the item. The general descriptive ranges for hosier denier are:
- ULTRA SHEER: Less than 10 denier
- SHEER: 10-20 denier
- SEMI-SHEER: 21-30 denier
- SEMI-OPAQUE: 31-40 denier
- OPAQUE: 40-70 denier
- THICK OPAQUE: 70-100
- MEGA OPAQUE: 100+ denier
DYEING: Using natural or synthetic dyes to color fabric, yarn or fiber. We’ve written lots of DIY guides on dyeing in the Sock Journal, including techniques for dyeing cotton, nylon and wool.
- OMBRE DYED: A technique that transitions from light to dark, it is also called “dip dyed” or “gradient dyed”.
- SPACE DYED: The yarn itself is dyed in many sections of repeating color, causing the finished item to have beautifully unpredictable and unique patches, patterns and stripes. This means that every pair of socks, and sometimes each sock in a pair, is different from another. It’s like the lottery, except there’s always a winner!
- TIE DYED: A contemporary interpretation of dyeing techniques used over the ages around the world, tie dye is created by folding and binding the material before selectively adding dye. The end result is a beautiful, organic pattern that varies slightly from item to item when hand done.
ECO FRIENDLY: A general term used to indicate awareness of environmental responsibility. This can include things like organic and recycled fibers. Sock Dreams has a thorough approach to eco friendly options, in our products, our stock room and our shop.
FAIR ISLE: A traditional knitting technique using a limited palette of colors, using only two colors per row of stitches. Fair Isle creates distinctive, banded patterns that can look vintage when paired with classic colorways and wildly modern when used with brightly dyed yarn.
FASHIONED: Also called “fully fashioned.” Made on special machines that can increase and decrease stitches, a fashioned item is shaped to fit the wearer, creating stockings that are shaped like legs, with a narrower ankle and fuller calf and thigh. This is particularly beneficial in nylons, and prevents stockings from bagging at the joints.
FELTING: When the fibers mat and draw together, becoming denser. Felting is caused by heat and friction and causes shrinkage in wool-heavy blends, and can be prevented by careful hand washing and line drying.
FENCENET: A wide-gauge open knit that is reminiscent of chain link fence. Fencenet does not hug curves as closely as standard fishnet, but has a dramatic look.
FINGERLESS GLOVE: Though they retain the same individual spaces for the fingers and thumbs that gloves do, the spaces for fingers are not closed off, leaving at least the top half of the wearer’s fingers free.
FISHNET: A fine-gauge open knit. This is the most classic net stocking gauge and is made from everything from thick strands to a gossamer weave that is nearly invisible.
FLAT KNIT: Used in the context of socks and stockings, flat knit indicates a texture with a smoother surface, similar to jersey or t-shirt material, though not always as finely knit.
FLEECE: A fabric with a wooly or fuzzy nap or pile. “Fleece” as a type of fabric, not a description (like “fleecy”) primarily refers to polar fleece. A synthetic fiber fabric, designed to mimic the insulating properties of natural fleece, it also washes much more easily than natural fiber options.
FLEECE LINED: Indicates a fuzzy inner layer that helps insulate the wearer, keeping them warmer.
FOOTLESS TIGHTS: Often confused with leggings, footless tights are simply tights with no foot and are less opaque, or thinner than leggings. Some patterned footless tights have a solid panty area.
FOOTIE: Covers the foot but don’t go very high up the heel. Often paired with low-top sneakers or flats because they don’t show above the shoe, footies are often referred to as “no show socks,” but a footie covers the top of the foot.
FORMED HEEL: The most common type of foot in modern socks. A formed heel is shaped to fit a foot, with a knit in curve and pocket for the heel. An empty pair of socks with formed heels retains a foot shape, because it is built in.
GAUGE: Used to refer to both the openness of a net, as in fishnet, or the thickness of the yarn used in a knit and how many needles around the knitting machine uses to knit a sock. There are three basic classes of gauges in socks and hosiery:
- HIGH GAUGE-200+ needles: Also called “fine gauge”, it is knit with thin, fine yarn with many needles. If you see descriptions like “200 Needle” then you are looking at a high gauge sock. The finished knit is finer and smoother.
- MIDDLE GAUGE-between 132 and 180 needles: Most socks are knit this way, the finished knit is thicker than fine gauge, but the stitches are small enough to produce simple knit-in patterns.
- LOW GAUGE-between 48 and 96 needles: Thick or doubled yarn is used with less needles, creating a rustic or old fashioned knit that can have less stretch on the leg, particularly at the ankle.
GARTERS: Devices ranging from elastic and clips to simple ribbons that are used to hold up socks. They range from severely simple to lushly decorative.
- GARTER BELT: Also called a “suspender belt”, the clips for holding up stockings are attached to leg straps which descend from a belt worn at the waist or hips.
- SOCK GARTERS: A tight ribbon or band of elastic worn over a sock or stocking to keep it up. A variant is the classic “men’s sock garter”, which is an elastic band paired with the same type of clips found on a garter belt. This configuration allows the garter to be worn securely above the swell of the calf and still reach a shorter mid-calf dress sock.
GARTER CLIPS: The device at the end of a garter strap that holds onto a sock or stocking. Sometimes simplified, confusingly, to “garter”. There are two basic types of garter clips:
- BUTTON AND LOOP: The traditional garter clip option, consisting of a plastic or metal keyhole loop and a matching rubber or plastic tab with raised button. The loop slots over the button, with the sock or stocking in between, effectively capturing it. This style of clip does not pair well with thick socks or doubled cuffs.
- SUSPENDER CLIP: Like the clips used on modern suspenders, with a toothed grip that is well adapted to keeping a hold on thick or slippery styles.
GLOVE: Covers the fingers and thumbs, allowing for their individual movement while keeping them enclosed.
GUSSET: A small piece of fabric that is inserted into an item to increase strength, allow for more movement, as in the crotch of tights; or better fit, as at the thumb of gloves.
HALF SOCK: Just the toe half of a sock. Covering only from toes to mid-arch, they are a perfect match to clogs and slide shoes.
HALF-TOE: Like a fingerless glove, half toe socks retain the individual spaces for the toes but are not closed at the end, offering a combination of natural grip and sock support beyond traditional toe socks. Many Pilates and yoga socks use half-toes.
HALO: The fibers that puff up around stitches, creating a softly fuzzy feeling. Found mostly in wool and acrylic blend styles, halo is part of what can make a sock so very fluffy-soft or hairy-scratchy, depending on one’s skin sensitivities.
HAND WASHING: Using the recommended temperature for the fiber, gently agitate socks or hosiery in sudsy water. Avoid rubbing or twisting wool blends, as this can cause felting. Non-wool blends can be gently rubbed at stains to remove dirt.
HARLEQUIN PATTERN: Alternating diamonds of color, patterned after the traditional motley of stage clowns.
HEATHERED: A visual texture created by mixed yarn colors knit together in a way that creates an even mix of tiny flecks of color. Most heathered colors are more muted, caused by mixing a grey and a color together, but any two colors can be blended in this way.
HEMP FIBER: Environmentally friendly, this fiber is very durable, absorbent and resistant to mold.
HOSIERY BAG: A mesh bag that can contain one or two more delicate items, allowing them to be machine washed but protecting them from the full ravages of a washing machine or dryer.
INDUSTRIAL: A general descriptive word for styles that indicates starkness and bold simplicity
- INDUSTRIAL NET: An open knit gauge that is larger than regular fishnet, but smaller than fencenet, composed of thicker strands. This combination of gauge and sturdiness is what earns them the name “industrial”
INSOLE: A shoe or foot shaped thickness of fabric or fiber. Unlike the similarly shaped liners, insoles are used with intent to cushion or insulate.
JERSEY: A flat knit fabric made with small, close stitches. Stretchy, with great drape, it is also called “t-shirt knit.”
KILT HOSE: Traditionally made with wool, kilt socks are worn cuffed just under the knee. Though often worn in a range of solid colors to complement various tartan patterns, the most common color is off-white or cream.
KNEE HIGH: One of the most popular sock heights, knee high socks end just below the knee and tend to have a secure enough cuff to stay up without garters.
KNEE SOCK: A sock height between a proper knee high and a full over the knee sock (OTK), a knee sock varies in height depending on the length and fullness of the leg wearing it. Most knee socks can be scrunched or cuffed to knee high, but fall short of being true OTKs.
LACE: A delicate, often floral, fabric made of interwoven threads. Most true lace has less stretch than a knit object. Knit laces, or openwork styles, can be referred to both as “lace” and “lacy”.
LATEX: The milky sap from some families of plants, it is what rubber is made from. Folks with latex allergies should be aware of elastic content in their socks.
LEG WARMER: Open-ended tubes that are simply socks without feet, leg warmers range in lengths that go from crew to over the knee. Not just for dancers and 80’s parties any more, legwarmers are a great layering item, especially in transitional seasons like spring and autumn.
LEGGING: Often conflated with footless tights, “leggings” are a general term used for lightweight, fitted and stretchy pants. The common differentiation between leggings and footless tights is opacity, with leggings being more opaque or “like pants.”
LINER: A shoe or foot shaped thickness of fabric or fiber. Unlike the similarly shaped insoles, a liner is lightweight and used to protect the foot and shoe from each other, while also assisting with moisture wicking.
LINER SOCK: A thin, lightweight sock used as the barrier between foot and shoe, or foot and thicker sock, with the primary intent to protect and wick moisture. When worn in conjunction with another sock, a liner sock protects the wearer from texture and fiber they may be sensitive to, while also protecting delicate or luxury fibers from sweat and wear.
LUREX®: The brand name for sparkly, metallic yarn.
LYCRA® FIBER: The trademarked name for spandex, or elastane.
MARLED: A mottled or streaked pattern that is more subtle than space dye.
MERCERIZATION: A treatment for cotton that increases its luster and strength. It is also known as “pearl cotton”, which is a great description of the soft shine of the finish.
METAMERIC COLOR MATCH: Colors that appear identical under some lighting but not under others. This can happen when different types of dye are used to color the materials, or when the fiber content is different between two items.
MISS-STITCH: A defect caused when a knitting machine’s needle does not catch the loop of a row below.
MITT: An arm warmer with a separate place for the thumb, distinct from the space for the fingers. Some mitts simply separate the thumb from fingers with a couple stitches, others place the thumb hole in a more anatomically thoughtful position.
NATURAL FIBER: Fibers of animal or vegetable origin, the most common types of natural fiber are silk, wool, hemp and cotton.
NON-CONSTRICTIVE: A non-constrictive cuff is not significantly tighter than the body of the sock, so it is non-binding and less likely to “cut in” to the leg over the day. This is especially important for people whose ankles tend to swell or who need diabetic socks. Some non-constrictive socks also have minimal elastic in the body of the sock, or woven toe seams, to increase comfort.
NO-SHOW: Covering toes and heels, but leaving the top of the foot bare, unlike the footie sock. Some styles also have a small patch of silicone at the heel to keep them in place.
NOVELTY SOCKS: Designed with the primary intent to illustrate holidays and lifestyle quirks, or simply to amuse, most novelty socks consist of a repeating pattern or motif. Other novelty socks employ trompe l’oeil or broad illustrative design. Commonly used for gifts or in celebration.
NYLON FIBER: A synthetic fiber that is most similar to silk and wool, it is used heavily leg wear, to the point that it became synonymous with stockings in the 1940s. Nylon has a tough elasticity that makes it perfect for socks and stockings. It can be used for anything from thick, opaque socks to the sheerest stockings.
OVER THE CALF (OTC): Another common height for men’s dress socks, most OTC socks could also be considered knee highs, landing somewhere between midcalf and the knee.
OVER THE KNEE (OTK): Rising higher than the knee, but lower than mid-thigh, OTK socks exist in a nebulous range.
ONE SIZE: Used by manufacturers to indicate the base size of an item. Optimistically meant to fit the median size of the population, hence the misnomer “one size fits all”, it rarely achieves this goal and is more often used to contrast a product from any eventual larger or smaller variations. As with any general size category, it is best to refer to any specific sizing information for an accurate fit estimate.
OPAQUE: Ranging from semi-opaque at 30-40 denier to 100+ denier mega-thick opaque. Higher denier opaque styles are adept at covering leg hair and freckles, though high contrast tattoos may show on areas that are more stretched, like the hip and thigh.
OPENWORK: Less definable than lace, fishnet or crochet-look, but generally indicating a design with a balance of open and covered areas that results in a decorative, lightweight pattern that shows skin without fully baring the leg.
PANTY: When referring to hosiery, the upper section of tights or hose that extends from waist to the top of the leg. The panty area of many tights is thicker, opaque or reinforced to extend the life of the tights.
PANTYHOSE: Covering from the waist to the toes, pantyhose is normally available in beiges, tans and dark browns to match skin colors, or in neutral colors like navy or grey. However, the term “pantyhose” specifically refers to tights that are less than 40 denier, meaning that they can range from at least semi-opaque to ultra sheer. Most pantyhose are made with nylon or rayon fibers.
PETTICOAT: A layered skirt of tulle or net that adds fullness under a skirt. Can also be worn alone or over leggings, as a fashion item. Longer and with more drape than a tutu.
PILL: Accumulating from wear, pills can develop from the fabric rubbing against a shoe, or fabric rubbing against itself in too harsh a washer or dryer. Pills can be easily removed with a sweater shaver or sweater stone and can be prevented with careful washing. Cheaper fabrics and some recycled fibers are more prone to pilling because of their shorter fiber length.
PLUS SIZE: A blanket term used by manufacturers for products made larger than their standard size. This varies from supplier to supplier, though it is generally meant to indicate sizing of 1x (or US dress size 16) and above. As with any general size category, it is best to refer to any specific sizing information for an accurate fit estimate.
POLYESTER FIBER: A synthetic fiber, polyester is wrinkle and abrasion resistant and now much more developed than the pantsuits and loud shirts of the 1970s. Some of the softest modern fibers are polyester and many “action fabrics” include special polyester fibers, like Coolmax, that are designed to wick away moisture.
RAYON FIBER: The first manufactured fiber, processed from wood pulp. It is soft, absorbent and resistant to pilling, making it a favorite addition to fiber blends. It has a distinctive slink and softness, particularly rayon from bamboo, which is the most common modern rayon.
REINFORCED TOE: Thicker or more durable knit at the toe end of the sock or stocking, to prevent runs and holes caused by wear. In fencenet and industrial net, this can also mean a tighter weave to prevent against toes slipping out of the net.
RIBBED: A vertical ridged texture created by differences in opacity, stitch or weight. This texture is often used at the cuffs of socks or stockings that are otherwise flat knit.
- RIBBED KNIT: Fabric that is fully ribbed, it has more elasticity than plain knit and often is more form-fitting.
SATIN: A fabric with a glossy finish and a dull back, known for its smooth and silky texture and luxurious appearance.
SEAMLESS: Knit on circular knitting machines, there is no seam up the back joining the sock or stocking sides into a tube. Modern socks have a seamless leg.
- SEAMLESS TOE: Also called a “woven toe” the toe seam is woven closed, not sewn, eliminating any irritating join or bump in the fabric.
SHAFT: Also called the “body” or the “leg”, the shaft of the sock extends from the top of the foot to, or including, the cuff.
SHRINKAGE: Contraction of yarn and fibers, usually after they get wet and/or after being exposed to higher temperatures. Fibers like cotton and wool are particularly susceptible to shrinkage and care should be taken when laundering. However, it is used to an advantage in blocking, which can reduce the foot size of a stocking or sock, by dipping the foot in hot water then drying.
SHEER TO WAIST: Tights or leggings that have no delineation between the leg and the panty, continuing the texture or pattern from toe to waistband without interruption of reinforcing thigh band or solid panty area.
SILK FIBER: A natural fiber most obtained from the cocoons of the mulberry silkworm. It is prized for its breathability, strength, and smooth, soft texture.
SLEEVE: The term used for a simple tube, often with at least one finished end, that can be worn on either the legs or the arms. Most legwarmers are technically sleeves, though they are not often called that due to a larger circumference that can prevent them from being worn comfortably on the arms.
SLIPPER SOCKS: Designed to be worn inside and without a shoe, slipper socks are thickly knit or lined and have silicone or rubber grip patches or dots on the bottom to reduce slips.
SLUB: Also called a “nub”, it is a thick spot in a strand of yarn. When a slubby yarn is used in a knit, the highly textured result can vary, with patches of more and less opacity. Sometimes the slubs have another color in them, creating a confetti look of variegated color.
SOLE: The bottom of the sock or foot, extending from toe to heel, across the arch.
SPANDEX FIBER: An anagram of “expands”; spandex is a stretchy, popular, and versatile fiber. Frequently it is known by the brand name, LYCRA®.
SPATS: Originally called “spatterdashes”. Covering at least the instep and ankle, with an elastic band beneath the arch to keep them in place, they were worn at first for protection against spills or mud. Modern spats are mostly decorative, used for fashion and to dress up a pant or shoe.
STATIC: Accumulated negative or positive electricity on the surface of fabric or fibers that results in attracting or repelling them from nearby objects. It is most noticeable when the humidity is low. In clothing this static cling is often the result of friction from the clothes dryer and can be prevented with fabric softeners or dryer sheets.
STAY UP STOCKING: Strips of silicone are applied by the manufacturer within the cuff of a stocking, removing the need for garters or sock glue.
STIRRUP: A band of fabric that is worn under the arch of the foot.
- STIRRUP LEG WARMER: Using the stirrup to keep itself in place, ensuring warmer ankles. Also worn over heeled shoes, they can be reminiscent of spats.
- STIRRUP TIGHTS OR LEGGINGS: Something between regular tights and regular leggings, the absence of heel or toe keeps the legging from riding up without adding more bulk to the foot, so socks can be more comfortably layered. This style is also popular worn with heeled shoes and no socks, the absence of fabric on most of the foot allows for snugger-fitting dress shoes.
SWEATER KNIT: Though there is no exact definition, the description “sweater knit” tends to indicate a thicker, chunkier, or lower gauge knit than a standard flat knit, and often refers to styles with cables.
SYNTHETIC FIBER: Also called “man-made fibers” they are made by extruding fiber-forming materials such as synthesized polymers (nylon, acrylic and polyester), or modified natural polymers (rayon or viscose). Blended with natural fibers they add strength and durability.
TABI SOCKS: Also called “split-toe socks”, they have been worn in Japan since the sixteenth century, reaching their peak during the Edo period (1600-1868). Developed to wear with sandals & wooden clogs called geta, they have a separate section for the big toe, allowing sandals to be worn more easily. According to Shiatsu theory, wearing Tabi socks benefits the back, the spine, and the digestion due to the acupuncture meridians located between the toes. They are a good option for folks who want the benefits of toe socks, but cannot or do not want to deal with individual toe pockets.
TERRY: A looped texture that is both good at providing padding and at absorbing or wicking moisture.
THIGH HIGH: Socks and stockings that reach at least to the middle of the thigh. Some thigh highs can reach as high as the top of the leg. True thigh highs are difficult to find, as they require a combination of stretch and length not always achievable by manufacturers.
TIGHTS: Fitting from the waist to the tips of the toes, tights are more opaque than pantyhose and are often made of fibers other than nylon or rayon.
TROUSER SOCKS: A thinner sock, often a knee high that is designed to be worn with dress shoes or under work or school attire. Most trouser socks are tube style, allowing them to be worn by more sizes of feet.
TOELESS: A complete sock, with formed heel, that is open at the toes. This allows for more freedom of movement, which is a boon for improving balance and grip, or for showing off a pedicure. Some toe sock styles designed for dance and yoga are toeless, with the intent to strengthen the toes by separating them. Sometimes used when referring to half-toe socks.
TOE SOCK: Like gloves for the feet, they have individual spaces for each toe. Popular in the 1970s and a fad in the 1990s, they are now becoming widely accepted as a sock option for the additional comfort and cushioning the design provides to each toe and the added benefits in allowing the toes to spread for balance.
TUBE SOCKS: Unlike a sock with a formed heel, an empty tube sock looks like a tube that is closed on one end. Used for most sport and trouser sock styles, an advantage to the tube style sock is that there is no defined foot size. Larger feet will find that a tube sock ends lower on the leg than it would on a smaller foot and smaller feet will find that tube socks end higher on the leg.
TUTU: A short garment of layered tulle or net that projects out stiffly from the waistband.
VISCOSE FIBER: A type of rayon, viscose is also called “artificial silk” for its similar luster and drape.
WAISTBAND: Elastic that is sewn or knit at the top of tights and pantyhose, to keep them up and snug to the waist.
- COVERED WAISTBAND: No exposed elastic, the top of the tights are folded over to encase the waistband. Though often more comfortable, some people find them a little too bulky.
- ELASTIC WAISTBAND: Like the style of waistband seen on most underwear, the elastic is sewn into the top of the tights or pantyhose, allowing the waistband to lie flat against the skin.
- WOVEN WAISTBAND: With no defined elastic section, the woven waistband looks slightly thicker than the rest of the tights or pantyhose, rather as though the top edge was folded over. This may be the most unobtrusive waistband style, as there is often no seam, as the edges are woven back in.
WOOL FIBER: A natural fiber spun from the fleece of sheep and other fur-bearing animals. Water-resistant and breathable, it also can retain some anti-bacterial properties from lanolin.
- ALPACA FIBER: Technically a fleece, it is durable and silky. This lightweight is fiber harvested from alpacas. It is elastic, hypoallergenic, moisture wicking, keeps the wearer warm even when wet and is water resistant, making it a favorite for sport socks.
- ANGORA WOOL: Made from the thin and silky hollow fibers from the coat of angora rabbits, it is not as elastic as wool and is often blended with other fibers to make a stronger and more durable item. It is very warm and its thermal properties make it a favorite of those who have stiff or painful joints.
- CASHMERE WOOL: Strong, light and soft, it is produced from cashmere and other goats. It is not technically wool, but a hair.
- MERINO WOOL: Made specifically from merino sheep, it is very popular in sports socks and athletic wear, for its softness, wicking ability and temperature regulation.
- MOHAIR: The silk-like hair of the Angora goat, it is one of the oldest textile fibers still in use. The unique properties of the hair means it does not felt like wool does.
WOVEN TOE SEAM: When the toe-end of the sock are woven together instead of sewn, creating a seamless join. This is especially beneficial for folks with sensitive skin, who find the standard seam that runs along the toes irritating.
WRIST WARMER: Though also used when referring to arm warmers that are only wrist-length, it is more precisely a short, stretchy band worn on the wrist. Though often worn just for decoration, covering the pulse points in the wrist can do a great deal towards raising body temperature, without covering the hand or arm.