Tips and Tricks: Measuring!
One of the things we love to do is help folks find which socks will work best for them. That’s why we put as much information as we can into the Sizing Tips on each product page and try to give as much real-life testing as we can into the styles we carry. Sometimes you’ve got to scroll a little to see it, depending on your monitor size, but it’s there!
And if it isn’t, or you’ve had a different experience, let us know via email and we’ll make sure things are up to date! So many products we carry are wrapped up in packaging and sometimes things sneakily change in a way we don’t notice until you let us know.
So okay, the information is there, but you’re still unsure—or, you’ve got a particular fit issue or need and our Advanced Search isn’t helping? Then it’s time for our handy-dandy contact form! Select “Sizing Query” from the topic drop-down and make sure your email address is correct so we can get back to you.
Now for your question itself! Something we tell folks a lot is that “large”, “skinny”, “plus” or really most adjectives and dress sizes don’t mean much without context. Who knows what clothing sizes mean anymore (besides, they’re based on everything but the measurements we need)! If you write us saying you’ve got “tiny calves” and nothing stays up or you’ve got “curvy thighs” and stockings always roll, we can only give you the vaguest help. But we want to give you specific help! So here’s what you’ve gotta do for ultimate sock searching assistance: measure!
Even if you don’t sew, a tailors tape (or fabric measuring tape) is the best $2 tool to have. I use mine to measure weird spaces furniture needs to go as much as I do when sewing! But, if you don’t have one, don’t worry. The same ability to measure around stuff is just as easy to obtain with some yarn or string and a regular ol’ ruler.
You just wrap the yarn around what you’re measuring, then lay it out next to a ruler and BAM! Measurements.
In general, a good reference for where you need to measure for what coverage of sock is the image on the Measurements & Sizes page (shown below with common coverage highlighted for easy reference). We also like to know your shoe size, too, particularly if you have smaller or larger feet than the average sock you encounter.
But more information is always useful, so after the jump we’ve got some slightly more in-depth tips for measurements to send with your sizing question.
Ah knee highs, they’re probably the most commonly seen type of fun sock. The biggest concern with knee highs is: “Will this go over my calf?” I think knee highs are the easiest to measure for, because you have just one problem point to deal with. If you’re looking for a knee high that will work for you, all you’ve got to give us is the circumference of your calf at its widest point.
If the cuff of a knee high can easily stretch past that widest point, then you’re golden!
Over the Knees (OTKs)
Clearing the knee but not tall enough to be gartered, OTKs are a fun choice for transitional weather and legs that love longer socks until they totally don’t and need them to be double-cuffed down. Knowing your calf circumference can help find a good OTK, but even more important is knowing the measurement of where OTKs fall on you. More often than not, over the knee socks are supposed to end somewhere about a handbreadth above the kneecap, but that all varies on taste and how long your legs are.
This measurement is also useful to know if the thigh highs you’re eyeing don’t have enough stretch to go all the way up. Styles like the Long Cuffable Scrunchable Socks are still fabulous if they only just make it over your knee—but you’ve gotta know if they’ll make it over your knee first!
If they reliably go at least mid-thigh, then they’re thigh highs, though most will go right up to your butt (or past it, if you’d let ‘em!). Everybody curves a little different, so where the widest point of your thigh is varies, but that circumference measurement is something we absolutely need to help you find the right thigh high.
For bonus points, let us know your calf circumference too, it helps us figure out how well a sock will be truly thigh high for you (as things stretch more around, they often loose height to stretch up). But along with thigh circumference, finding thigh highs is also helped by:
Sure, you don’t need to know the measurement from crotch to heel for knee highs. That is silly. But it does help a lot if you know how tall a sock needs to be for it to be knee high on you. Particularly if you’ve found that most knee highs are too short, most thigh highs are too long, or you need to hit a particular OTK spot for the perfect cosplay, knowing how high up a sock needs to go is super useful.
This measurement is also useful if you’re skimming between two coverage styles. Letting us know your calf circumference AND your heel to knee height lets us know if a knee sock is going to be too tall for you (or if you can get away with a single cuff).
It can be helpful to have a friend assist you for actual inseam measurements, or figuring out thigh high height, but even the rough measurement you find on your own helps us help you.
Tights & Leggings
If you’re looking for tights and leggings then we need your hip measurement (the fullest part of your butt, really), thigh circumference and inseam. There are a lot of variables that happen between your toes and waist, but those three can make a big difference in finding styles that fit. The inseam is a huge help, because folks with long and full legs can often find their toes cramped in a size that is perfect for somebody with the same hip and thigh measurement, but a shorter inseam.
So many measurements! But it is probably the most useful thing to know when filling out your sock wardrobe. Knowing your measurements helps you navigate our Sizing Tips more easily and it gives us a big boost of info to better help you find what you need.
Now, if you’re buying socks as a surprise for somebody, getting their measurements without raising suspicion is tricky and we’ve got no tips for you. Using tight-fitting pants as a guide can help, but they’re not perfect. Well, at least there’s always gift cards!