1970s tube socks are back in the game. When it comes to streetwear fashion, adding a pair of old-school tube socks to your outfit could be all that’s needed to transform your style. Think retro, classic white tube socks with stripes – these old-school babies rock! Continue reading about what is so special about tube socks...
➔ Cushioned heel and toe
Provides better shock absorption; Helps prevent blisters; Improves comfort
➔ Arch support strap
Improves fit; Helps secure the sock to the foot
➔ Flat toe seam
Prevents skin irritation; Ensures maximum comfort in the toe area
➔ Soft cuff
Provides comfortable grip with just the right amount of pressure; Socks stay up
➔ Deep heel-pocket
Creates enough space for the heel; Provides enhanced fit as well as overall comfort
➔ Reinforced stress areas
Offers better resistance to tearing; Increases overall durability
Ensures much-needed skin protection. Promotes healthy microclimate and comfort for your feet
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What Is Tube Socks?
If you were to check the sock drawer of an average dude in the 1970s or ’80s, there is an excellent chance that you would have found in there a few pairs of white athletic socks with stripes at top, called tube socks. Yes, yes, these were the same white socks that you saw in that old photo from your Dad’s album where he proudly paired them with brief shorts. They were revolutionary! Back then, wearing white tube socks to occasions other than sports was not only normal but even kind of cool.
Today, after going away for a while, american tube socks are back in fashion and they are doing great. Everything new, as they say, is well-forgotten old.
A brief history of tube socks
The very first pair of tube socks was introduced in 1967 by the Nelson Knitting Company from Rockford, Illinois (USA) – the same company that decades earlier in 1932 designed the famous Rockford Red Heel socks, best known for their use in making the iconic sock monkey dolls (the company kept the patent for the true design of sock monkeys from 1955 till the the 1970s). The original athletic tube socks featured one-size design and didn’t have its heel and toe parts distinctively shaped, which gave the sock its tubular shaped and so the name. Such design was very practical. It simplified the production process and reduced costs. In just two years after the invention, the sales of Nelson Knitting’s white tube socks grew from just a few dozen to 125 thousands. It was a story of success.
Initially, tube socks were not intended to be an everyday attire item. They were marketed solely as a sportswear product. Many professional teams, particularly in football and basketball, liked the innovative design and made athletic tube socks part of their uniforms. Who would imagine a better advertisement? Being always under close observation of fans and media, sports superstars popularised basically everything they have touched. From sports, these mainly white tube socks rapidly penetrated the popular culture and turned into an attribute of casual clothing and urban style.
The 1970s, as we know, was an era of groovy things and activities – a booming time for roller skating and disco. The roller skates, previously thought as to be practiced only for sports, became the public obsession. Whether used for a recreational reason, entertainment or as a mean of transportation, it was a joyful activity that eventually grew into the whole new culture. Roller skating made an impact on various aspects of people’s lives, including music and fashion. Brief shorts paired with white tube socks with stripes was a look that was sort of typical for an average roller-skater.
The rise and success of roller skating helped another kind of street riding to come out of the shadow – skateboarding. Being more extreme and dangerous, skateboards attracted mostly the youth. The popularisation of skateboarding through films and music made it possible for this creative activity to become the worldwide phenomenon and influence the global popular culture.
Although skateboarding, compared to roller skating, asked for more comfortable and relaxed-fit clothing, athletic tube socks seamlessly fitted into that new, rebellious, carefree skater look. They even received another name – the skater socks.
What are tube socks used for?
1970s tube socks have had their days in the sun and now, after a long time of absence, they are back in the game and they are better than ever. According to Vogue magazine, not only the old-school socks with stripes, but the fashion aesthetics of the 70s in general came back into style. Brands like Gucci, Thom Browne, Dries Van Noten and many other high-end labels sought inspiration from the past trying to bring a hint of vintage to their collections.
Striped tube socks came out to become the biggest trend. Boldly paired old-school socks with shorts appeared to be a pleasant surprise to many. As The New York Times put it: “A look once typical of the style-challenged is suddenly fashionable”. The newspaper continued by quoting the fashion editor of GQ, G. Munce, who said: “It’s something new. It’s a little bit normcore, it’s a little bit skater.”
While it looked new in high fashion, in the world where most people live, combining those two pieces seemed to be very regular. But no matter what, it’s approved: men in old-school socks and shorts are cool.
And it’s not just the striped old-school socks and shorts thing. Bizarrely though old-school socks and sandals appear to be working too somehow; great even. Suddenly, what used to be considered as faux pas, becomes trendy.
Perfectly teamed up white old-school socks and sandals on the fashion runways by Valentino and Etam.
Selena Gomez rocking a pair of leggings and white crew socks? Sure!
Kendall Jenner attending Cannes Film Festival and showing up on a red carpet in the Giambattista Valli Haute Couture dress paired with socks and sandals? Not the old-school tube ones, but still, – the coolest and most unexpected thing many in fashion had seen that day.
Selena’s ex Justine Bieber has been spotted all over New York wearing tall tube socks with trainers (or occasionally slides).
Another famous citizen of New York, Gigi Hadid, wearing cut-off jeans with stripes and white sneakers that look like striped tube socks; talk about being a proud advocate of the latter.
Following on nicely from Gigi Hadid’ look we pick up with her younger sister Bella Hadid. Isabella, as she so often does, has translated this casual look into a high fashion one. How did she manage to do this we hear you ask? Well, the way that anyone would take some crew old-school socks and trainers and make them an absolutely ice cold, cool look. The model teamed them up with an oversize blazer, a mesh top and semi-sheer black tights.
Tube socks today
We have seen an evolution in the designs for the new tube socks worn today. Originally, they were made one-sized without heel pockets which gave them their tubular shape – a practical decision for the manufacturers; not for wearers. Lacking the form that would adjust to a foot, the one-sized tubular socks added bulk around the foot making it challenging to pull up snugly and have your shoe on with comfort. You can still find one-sized options today, however, as we always try to underline, – one-size socks do not fit all. If you need your socks to fit properly, try the ones that offer more than a single size option.
Although the 1970s and 80s tube socks’ classic design (white with two or three stripes) is still one of the most popular, there are many other options available. Coming in different lengths, from crew to over the calf, in various colors and designs, tube socks offer a wide range of choices that will help you coordinate the perfect look.
Good socks will also absorb the sweat from your feet, letting it evaporate instead of potentially irritating your skin. You are more comfortable when your foot stays dry. It is important, therefore, that you choose socks made of natural fabrics. Allow for a small amount of synthetics. Man-made fibers improve socks performance and let them last longer.
70s tube socks with stripes are back and ready to be mastered. Just go for it!
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