Monday, 12 October 2015

Socks for men: Part I



Full disclosure here. I have started to write this piece twice now and each time I have deleted it. Why? Simply put, I have been trying to write a piece on knitting socks for men but each time I do it sounds trite and stereotypical. There is no average man any more than there is an average woman, and I would never dream of writing a piece on knitting socks for women.


That being said it does seem as though men are often under-served in the sock pattern department and that is one reason why I strive to ensure that the majority of my patterns are unisex. A quick whizz through the Ravelry search for 'Socks' shows 14,812 patterns (at the time of writing) and 209 pages.
Sock patterns by gender tag, Ravelry, October 2015


Of these only 1,848 (39 pages) have the 'male' tag as compared to the 'female' tag: 6,445 patterns (135 pages) or the 'unisex' tag: 6,519 patterns (136 pages).

Obviously some patterns, like many of mine are tagged with all three but whichever way you look at it is seems to be that men are getting a bit of a raw deal when it comes to choice for sock patterns.

As I started to think about knitting socks specifically for men, a number of common misconceptions started to occur to me:

There is an often perpetuated myth that men will only wear dark grey/black socks. Whilst that may be true in a corporate environment, the pattern pages on ravelry are full of men rocking more colourful socks and I know that my husband, whilst he does wear dark socks with business suits he loves to chill out in his hotel room or on the plane with a fab pair of handknit socks. He has even had cabin crew try to buy them off him before now. For every man who only wears dark, plain socks I'm sure there are several who will happily sport a bright self stripe.

Unisex patterns: Louise Tilbrook Designs 

Cables are generally a winner too as long as though don't add too much bulk when worn in shoes and aren't too "twiddly". This is my husband's technical term for cables which are deemed by him to be over-complicated.

Cables have the added advantage of making you look super clever. After all, not only can you knit amazingly warm and well fitting socks but you can move the stitches about and bend them to your will. You are a veritable sock ninja!

What do you look for in a good mens sock pattern? I'd love to know. Please do leave me a comment here or via social media.