A new style of sock appeared in the 1990s, the sport sock. This was the opposite of the tube sock in that there was no sock above the shoe, even the ankle is not covered. They appear to have been initially most popular with girls, but boys now also wear them. The style, however, seems to be worn more by young adults than children. A HBC reader asks if any research has been done on these socks with information on popularity, colors, ect. HBC has, however, little information on this style. The colors we have noted are mostly white. We have no detailed information on popularity. Based on casual pbservations in the 1990s they were worn by only a small number of boys, but became much more popular in the 2000s.
HBC is not positive what the socks were caled. HBC is under the impression that they were called "sport socks". Reders have mentioned other terms. He reports hereing them variously referred to as "quarter socks", "jogging socks", "low quarters," etc. but don't know which is which." A HBC reader reports that they are also known as quarter socks (quarter being the amount of sock at the ankle) and half-quarter socks (these are form-fitting without ankle coverage, does not rise above a normal shoe side). Some refer to them as "no show" socks.
This kind of very low sock is now very much worn by boys in both Britain and America. I'm less sure about other countries, but one reader notes seeing them in Europe as well. In America they seem especially popular on campuses (prep schools, colleges, universities, etc.) during the early 2000s. They also seemed especially popular in California. Subsequent reports suggest a more generlized fashion trend with teenagers.
I believe the low sock was originally invented for people playing golf
in shorts during the hot summer months who wanted to get their legs tanned all
the way to their ankles and wanted to appear on the course looking as though
they were wearing no socks at all. Then the style caught on for socks in
Sport socks are worn by both males and females. One reader believes that they were first were worn by male atheletes, but girls and women also now wear them. They now seem especially popular with young males. HBC first noted them being worn by young women so this needs to be investigated further.
We have no detailed information on popularity. Based on casual observatiions they are worn by only a small number of boys. A reader, however, in the 2000s reports seeing more and more boys wearing sport socks. They appear to have been initially most popular with girls, but boys now also wear them. The style, however, seems to be worn more by young adults than children. A HBC reader asks if any research has been done on these socks with information on popularity, colors, ect. One HBC reader reports from California that, "The idea of them, as I understand it, is that the wearer gets an even tan on his or her legs
without having to go sockless." This is important among teenagers in sunny California. HBC is less sure why these sport socks are proving popular in other areas. A teenager tells us, "The sport socks just look cool. I think they are popular because they just look good. we like the freedom it gives us, and its cool!"
Colors most seen are white and occasionally black. Most quarter socksare embroidered with a company's Logo. The colors we have noted are mostly white. We have not yet noted colored sport socks. Coloring would seem to be pointless as the socks are all covered by the shoes.
There are various styles of sport socks. The two most important are one style barely comes up to the anklebone, and the other is entirely hidden by the athletic shoes the socks are usually worn with.
HBC first noted these socks in the 1970s. At the time they were ly known as "booties" (worn by females; the back of the sock
originally had a pom-pom attached, circa late 1970's and 1980's. Originally worn by cheerleaders.
The shortened socks in the 1980s became popular with woman and girl's, probably cheer leaders wore them in the 1970s. This occurred before cycling (sport bicycling, i.e. Tour de France) and it's fashions (spandex shorts and short-sleeved shirts in myriad bright colors, created to make the cyclist more aero-dynamic), became trendy. Over the years, as the skateboarding culture proliferated, more and more boys began to assimilate the wardrobe of the skateboarding (extreme) culture (baggy shorts and cargo shorts, suede, Adidas style gym shoes (skeechers), logo T-shirts, baseball caps worn backwards, etc). During the same time period, Professional golfers and basketball players began to assimilate the youth culture, and soon more boys were wearing these quarter and low quarter sports socks.
Boys did not begin wearing this style of sock until the 1990s. It was the opposite of the tube sock in that there was no sock above the shoe, even the ankle is not covered.
We notice the socks being worn by British school children, but we doubt that they are being worn extensively as part of school uniforms. An American reader writes in 2007, "Ankle socks are being replaced by a shorter sock. the no show sock. I am a teenager and my friends and I wear them all the time. I know for a fact that the popularity of the no show and ankle sock have sky rocketed in the past few years. Us guys like the sockless look. I just went to an amusement park, and I would say that about 95 percent of the boys there (boys about 10-15) were wearing no show socks, or ankle socks." Another American reader confirms that the sports socks ny the mid-2000s had become very popular. He tells us, "Nowadays I see more sport socks ("quarter socks" and "no show" socks) than crew socks even on the youngest kids."
Younger boys, unless into the skateboard culture, usually do not wear quarter or low quarter socks, bucking the trend, as it were, and wearing crew socks. This could be a preference, or it could be that their parents haven't bought them any. I have witnessed that some boys and men will turn-down their crew socks to emulate quarter socks, however. Quarter socks and low quarters are most popular with young adults, college age boys, and adult men and woman. Girls and young adult females usually wear no discernible socks, wearing sandals and tennis shoes without socks.
These socks are worn with a variety of footwear. From sports sandals, closed toe sandals, low-top tennis shoes, high top basketball shoes, and boat (top-siders) shoes.
Some high school and professional athletes, wishing to stand out from the current trend, have begun to wear knee high tube athletic socks while on the basketball courts. A few high schools do prohibit low quarter socks, due to concerns for the student athlete's physical well being, since during heavy running, the quarter and low quarter socks may slip down one's foot, as well as concerns about blisters; most quarter and low quarters are not very thick, but thickness depends upon manufacturer.
Boys wearing short socks (quarter and foot socks) are often associated with the California Skateboard subculture. The socks are often worn with "Skateboard Shoes" - Van's and Airwalk seem to be the most popular brands. And even the
youngest boys who wear such socks and shoes wear their shoes a bit too big, loosely laced, and permanently tied so they can be slipped on and off easily. Mostly it is pre-teen and
teenage boys who wear such footwear, but quite a few younger boys in them too: as young as 5 - 6 and some possibly even younger.
One HBC reader writes, "I think these socks are really ugly. A kind of paradox here--the shorts have to be as long as possible (often to mid-calf) while the socks have almost to disappear beneath the tops of low-cut shoes."
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