Finding a sock that's the right height is hard. Most of us default to two different styles: crew and ankle (a.k.a. no-show). The former is iconic and fit for everyday wear; it sits above the ankle, but below the calf, and it's comfortable, classic and available everywhere. The latter is a little more ambitious, albeit sometimes invisible; ankle (or no-show) socks sit right where the sneaker collar ends, hiding beneath it so they don't show. They don't offer as much protection from blisters or rubbing, but hey, some folks think socks are eyesores, so they wear these.
There's another sock height you should consider, though: the quarter crew. And there's a Philadelphia-based brand that, although they didn't invent it, has certainly perfected it: American Trench. Founded by Jacob Hurwitz, the brand sells retro sportswear, made-to-order polos and sweaters, stylish accessories and tons of socks, both short and tall.
But it's the medium-height ones I've enjoyed most. Sewn from American-grown cotton in North Carolina, these socks are one-size-fits-all – 8.5 through 13 for men, 6 through 10 for women — but they stretch a fair amount. Plus, they boast enough cushion to feel comfortable, but not so much cushioning as to overcrowd already-tight footwear.
That being said, there are certain shoes the quarter crew socks shouldn't be worn with: specifically, high-tops and boots. Why? Well, because the socks aren't all that tall, but they're the perfect height for protection against a back heel that rubs or a collar that catches the skin below your ankle bone. They aren't too high to cause overheating or an unsavory tan line, but they also aren't invisible, either for folks who hate the feeling of a sock that's fallen down and bunched up in the arches.
American Trench's quarter crew socks are too tall to fall down like that, and I've never even experienced them slipping off once stretched out, either. Truthfully, they retain their shape pretty well, even for 100-percent cotton socks. (Socks like Bombas's, for example, are made from myriad materials — cotton, polyester, nylon, rubber and spandex, to be specific.)
No, American Trench's aren't performance-oriented, but the brand sells other athletic-focused socks. These are certainly casual, and they come in plenty of colors — white, gold, pink, olive, teal, navy, black and natural — to pair with your favorite kicks.
Get one pair for $13, three for $33 and six for $63.