Confused by Quarter and Crew? Puzzled by Polyester? Let our glossary help refine your search and guide you to the best style of socks for your everyday and specialty needs.
Show your feet some love and find the perfect pair using the glossary below.
Word of the Day
Over the Calf
Toe Seam/Toe Closing
- Abrasion (or Blister) ResistanceThe degree to which a fabric is able to withstand rubbing and chaffing within the shoe. Many socks and sheer hosiery products are reinforced, usually with nylon to lengthen durability.
- AbsorptionThe attraction and retention of liquids within the pores of a fiber, yarn or fabric.
- AcrylicA manufactured fiber in which the fiber forming substance is any long-chain synthetic polymer composed of at least 85% by weight of acrylonitrile units.
- Air PermeabilityThe porosity or the ease with which air passes through a fabric.
- Anatomical FitSocks knit in an assymetrical pattern that accommodates a Left foot and a Right foot. The benefit of this left/right fit is an overall better fit as the cut, padding, and stitching have been completed in a way that complements the unique shape of each foot.
- Antibacterial FinishA treatment of a textile material to make it resistant to, or to retard growth of, bacteria.
- Arch Compression/Arch SupportA knitting technique in which the tension of stretch fibers are increased in order to generate greater compression for enhanced fit and support in the targeted arch area.
- ArikoolA one-way moisture transpotation system that utilizes a unique and patent pending knitting technique which interlaces a hydrophobic fiber to move moisture away from the foot and hydrophilic fibers to hold this moisture for evaporation for the purpose of keeping the foot dry.
- Athletic SocksThere’s a lot of variety in Athletic socks – multiple lengths are available (e.g. No Show, Crew, etc.), colors (typically white or white with color, but blacks and greys are also popular), and features (e.g. cushioning, arch support, moisture wicking, etc.). Choose what works for you and your activity.
- BleachingAny of several wet processes to remove the natural and artificial impurities in fabrics to obtain clear whites for finished fabric or in preparation for dyeing and finishing.
- BleedingLoss of color by a fabric or yarn when immersed in water, a solvent, or a similar liquid medium, as a result of improper dyeing or the use of dyes of poor quality.
- BlendA yarn obtained when two or more types of staple fiber are joined in the textile operation for producing spun yarns.
- BoardingA heat setting operation in which hosiery products are put on metal leg forms for a specific size and shape and set under heat, steam and or pressure.
- Casual SocksTypically a bit heavier than a Dress sock, mostly crew length but also available in shorter lengths. Great for Loafers, Moccasins, boots, and other Casual shoes
- ColorfastFabric with dye retention such that no significant change in shade takes place during the normal life of the sock.
- CombingA process by which natural fibers are sorted and straightened; a more refined treatment than carding.
- Comfort toe seam, smooth toe seam, rosso toe seamAn exceptionally smooth toe seam that eliminates bulkiness in order to reduce abrasion and prevent blisters and discomfort.
- Comfort TopA term being used to describe constructions in welts (also called "tops") that are constructed to provide a more comfortable less compressive fit attribute.
- CompressionA feeling of energizing support in certain areas of the sock created by unique fibers that offer high stretch and recovery attributes, allowing for a better fit.
- CoolmaxA branded polyester fiber made by Invista that allows for moisture wicking - moving moisture away from the skin and evaporating into the air.
- CottonA soft white, natural, fibrous substance that surrounds the seeds of a tropical and subtropical plant and is used as textile fiber and thread for sewing
- Cotton CountAn indirect yarn numbering system generally used for spun yarns on the cotton system. It is based on a unit length of 840 yards and the count of the yarn is equal to the number of an 840 yard skein required to weigh 1 pound. Under this type of "indirect" numbering system, the higher the number, the finer the actual yarn.
- CountA numerical designation of yarn size indicating the relationship of length to weight.
- CrewA sock silhouette or style that usually has a leg length between 6-10".
- CuffedSocks folded over at the top, usually just above the ankle.
- CushioningThe padding ability of a terry-surfaced sock, knitted into a ribbed or plain surface.
- DenierA weight per unit length measure of a textile fiber (i.e. linear density). Officially it is the number of unit weights of 0.05 grams per a 450 meter length. This is numerically equal to the weight in grams of a 9,000 meter skein reeling of a textile fiber. Denier is a "direct" numbering system in which the low number represents a finer fiber size versus a higher number referring to a thicker fiber size. In the U.S., the denier system is used for numbering filament fibers. In contrast, however, outside the U.S. the denier system has been replaced by the TEX system.
- Dimensional StabilityThe degree to which a fiber, yarn, or fabric retains its original shape and size after having been subjected to wear and wash experience.
- Dress SocksTypically a lighter weight, crew length sock worn with dressier shoes. Solid color, dark socks are traditional for dress socks, but fashion colors and patterns are available in dress socks as well
- DurabilityA relative term for the resistance of a material to loss of physical properties or appearance as a result of wear.
- DyeingThe permanent application of color to a yarn or fabric.
- Elastic RecoveryThe degree that a fiber or yarn will return to its original size and shape after deformation from stress.
- ElasticityThe ability of a strained material to recover its original size and shape immediately after removal of the stress that caused deformation.
- FastnessRefers to a resistance to fading (i.e. the property of a dye to retain its color when the dyed or printed textile material is exposed to conditions such as light, perspiration, atmospheric gases, or washing that can remove or destroy the color). A dyestuff may be reasonabley fast to one condition but only moderately fast to another. The degree of fastness of color is tested by standard procedures and many retailers require certain fastness standards for a particular use or condition.
- Finish1) A substance or combination of substances added to a textile to improve its properties. 2) A physical or chemical process applied to textile materials to alter their properties.
- FinishingAll the processes through which fabric is passed after bleaching, dyeing, or printing in preparation for the end use.
- Flat KnitIn the textile trade, the term flat-knit is used to refer only to weft knit fabric formed by a jersey stitches.
- Gauge1) A generic term for various measurement instruments such as pressure or thickness gauges. 2) The number of needles per given distance in a knitting machine. 3) The thickness of the knitting needle in the shank and the hook. 4) The number of wales per inch in a knit fabric. 5) On spinning or twisting frames, the distance from the center of one spindle to the center of the next spindle in the same row.
- Graduated CompressionA knitting technique utilizing special machinery which progressively changes the tension on high stretch fibers for the purpose of creating gradual decreases in leg compression from the ankle to the upper leg in order to facilitate increased blood flow up the leg, helping to increase circulation and energize the feet and legs.
- Greige1) The state of a fabric before a finsh has been applied. 2) A fabric just off a knitting machine ( i.e. in an unfinished state).
- HandThe "feel" of a fabric; the qualities that can be ascertained by touching it. The tactile qualities of a fabric (i.e. softness, fineness, resilience, and other qualities perceived by touch).
- HerringboneA fabric in which the pattern of weave resembles the skeletal structure of the herring. It is made with a broken twill weave that produces a balanced zigzag effect.
- HydrophobicWater repelling; having a low degree of moisture absorption or attraction.
- HydrophylicWater loving; having a high degree of moisture absorption or attraction.
- Hyperglide™Hyperglide is a Nylon reinforcement that helps reduce friction that can cause blisters and other discomfort.
- InspectionThe process of examining textiles for defects at any stage of the manufacturing process.
- Intimate BlendCombining two or more different fiber types into a uniform mixture before the single yarn is spun.
- JerseyA circular knit or flat knit fabric made with a plain stitch.
- Knee HighRefers to trouser socks or socks that are constructed to fit just below the knee utilizing a welt which contains spandex to hold the product in place versus the use of the garter from many years past.
- Knit FabricA fabric structure made by interlooping yarns. Knit fabrics may be warp (or vertical) knitting or weft (horizontal) knitting.
- LightfastnessThe degree of resistance of dyed textile materials to the color-destroying influence of sunlight. There are two methods of testing which can utilize 1) the exposure to sunlight, and/or 2) accelerated testing in a laboratory apparatus equipped with several types of artificial light sources.
- LinerAn ultra low sock silhouette or style that has a very low profile and typically cannot be seen outside of the shoe. Also known as, hidden liners, invisible socks, and loafer socks.
- Long StapleA long fiber. In reference to cotton, long staple indicates the fiber length of not less than 1 1/8 inches. In reference to Wool, the term indicates fiber lenghts of 3 to 4 inches in length.
- Low CutA sock silhouette or style that usually ends under the ankle bone and has little to no visibility above the heel of the shoe.
- LusterThe gloss, sheen, or shine of a fiber, yarn, or fabric.
- Lycra SpandexA registered trademark of the Dupont Campany (and later Invista Corp) for their spandex fiber, which is commonly used in sheer hosiery and tights, socks, and half-hose (called trouser socks) for its extensibility and modulus attributes, providing better fit and shape retention, comfort, and/or support.
- Man Made FiberThose fibers produced through chemical reactions controlled by man, as opposed to those fibers occuring naturally, such as cotton, wool, and silk.
- MercerizationA treatment applied to cotton yarn to improve the luster and increase the affinity of the fiber for dyes. The process causes the cotton fiber to permanently swell which increases luster, softens the fiber and increases tenacity.
- Merino WoolMerino wool is a natural, biodegradable and renewable premium sheep wool with superior benefits and a variety of uses, including soft and cozy sweaters, socks and undergarments.
- MeshOpen stitching designed for ventilation and breathability to manage moisture and provide comfort
- Moisture Wicking/ManagementThe action of dispersing or movement of moisture or liquid through the sock – allowing for evaporation, which keeps the feet dry and comfortable.
- Natural FiberFibers obtained in usuable form directly from animal, vegetable, or mineral origin.
- NeedleThe portion of a knitting machine used for intermeshing of the loops during the knitting function.
- No ShowA sock silhouette or style that usually ends under the ankle bone and has little to no visibility above the heel of the shoe.
- Nylon FiberA manufactured fiber in which the fiber-forming substance is any long-chain synthetic polyamide having recurring amide groups.
- Open-End SpinningThe production of yarns directly from sliver by opening the sliver and then re-assembling it in a spinning element to form the yarn in a single continuous operation.
- Over the CalfA sock silhouette that rises to just below the knee and covers the entire lower leg. This sock length is sometimes associated with compression socks that provide additional performance and support.
- PillA small accumulation of fibers on the surface of a fabric. Pills can develop during wear, are held to the fabric by an entanglement in the surface fibers of the material and are usually composed of the same fibers from which the fabric is made.
- PlaitingA sock knitting method in which two different yarns are combined by a process similar to braiding. In plaiting, one yarn becomes the outside of the sock and the other one the inside. Nylon of polyester reinforcement is often incorporated into socks by this process.
- PlyThe number of single yarns twisted together to form a plied yarn.
- Polyester FiberA man-made fiber produced exclusively utilizing chemical polymers made up of DiHydric Alcohol and Terephaletic Acid, which when combined form a strong, versatile threadline used heavily in the sock and textile apparel industry.
- Polypropylene FiberAn olefin fiber made of propylene monomer units.
- Protein FibersFibers made up of amino acids in various configuration. In textiles, protein fibers are naturally produced and grown from animal hair most noteably Wool used in all forms of hosiery products. Certain specialty fibers also include Cashmere and Angora.
- QuarterA sock silhouette or style that usually has a leg length between 3-6" and typically covers the entire ankle bone.
- Rayon FiberA manufactured fiber composed of regenerated cellulose as well as manufactured fibers composed of regenerated cellulose in which substituents have replaced not more than 15% of the hydrogen of the hydroxyl groups. Rayon fibers are made by the viscose process which is a wet spinning process implying extrusion into continuous filaments associated with man-made fibers. Rayon would be considered a hybrid fiber with cellulosic origins, extruded similary to a man-made fiber and later chopped and spun like other cellulose fibers as cotton.
- ReciprocatedThe term applied to hosiery made on machines which knit in a heel pocket utilizing a back and forth or reciprocated movement of the cylinder.
- ReinforcedThe process where high stress areas such as the toe and heel are strengthened with an additional yarn or a yarn of a heavier denier to add strength.
- Residual ShrinkageA term describing the amount of shrinkage remaining in a fabric after finishing, expressed as a percentage of the dimensions before finishing.
- ResiliencyThe ability of a fabric to return to its original shape after compressing, bending, or other deformation.
- Rib KnitKnit fabric with lengthwise ribs formed by wales alternativng between the top and bottom side of the fabric. As wales alternate between front and back the pattern is numerically depicted by numbers like 2 x 2 (spoken as 2 by 2). In socks, true rib stitches are formed on double cylinder knitting machines.
- Ring Spun YarnThe staple yarn spinning process prepared by drafting and twisting together individual fibers with the use of rings to achieve a desire yarn size.
- RubberA high stretch fiber synthetically created into a thread line which originate as a thick, gummy secretion from rubber plants. Rubber fibers possess high stretch and recovery charactistics needed for enhanced fit.
- S. Cafe®A branded, eco-friendly innovative fiber utilizing spent coffee grounds as a raw material to produce the S.Café yarn. The yarn, in addition to changing the normal shape of the filament also permanently provides functions such as fast drying, UV-protection and odor control.
- SeamlessSheer hosiery knit in one operation on circular machines (one continuous operation) so that no seaming is required up the back.
- SelvageOne of the long, finished edges of a bolt of fabric.
- ShrinkageWidthwise or lengthwise contraction of a fiber, yarn, or fabric usually after washing and redrying on exposure to elevated temperatures.
- SilkA continuous filament fiber formed by the silkworm or by larvae of certain other insects.
- Soft Spun PolyesterRefers to the Spinning or yarn production process of polyester in which modifications are made to enhance the softness of the yarn by changing the twist levels during production.
- Spandex FiberA manufactured fiber in which the fiber forming substance is a long chain synthetic polymer comprised of at least 85% segmented polyurethane. Spandex, invented by Dupont Corp under the brand name Lycra, inparts very unique attributes - extensibility and modulus. In other words, Spandex can extend great distance and recover practically to its original length with very little growth. However, the term modulus means the "power to resist deformation," meaning in the recoiling process spandex imparts a power of resistance which is very important in support hosiery and graduated compression socks/hosiery.
- SpinningThe process or processes used in the manufacture of staple yarns and the extrusion of filament yarns.
- SpliceA knitting action or technique where a second yarn is introduced along with a body yarn for reasons to include design enhancements or reinforcement for durability reasons.
- Spun YarnsShort lengths of fibers of various staple lengths that are twisted or "spun" together to form spun yarns.
- Stability FitA panel of tightly knit fabric created for the express purpose of offering enhanced support and stability in areas of the foot or leg.
- Staple FibersNatural fibers or cut-up lengths of continuous man-made fibers that are in short lengths varying from less than 1 inch up to several inches. The term staple is used in the textile industry to distinguish natural or cut length man-made fibers from continuous filament fibers.
- StaticAn accumulation of negative or positive electricity on the surface of fibers or fabrics because of inadequate electrical dissipation of during processing.
- Synthetic FibersA fiber made from chemicals that were never fibrous in form, more frequently referred to as "man-made" synthesized fiber.
- TabA sock silhouette or style that usually ends under the ankle bone and has no leg length, but includes a patch of fabric that comes up over the achilles in the back of the ankle. This Tab offers protection and helps keep the sock in place.
- Tensile StrengthThe maximum tensile stress required to rupture a fiber, expressed as pounds per square inch or grams per square centimer.
- Terry FabricFabric having uncut loops that have been formed by uniquing knitting machine parts. For socks, terry fabric is utilized for the purpose of creating a cushioning effect, particularly in the foot bottom.
- TexturingThe process of imparting crimp, loops, or other modifications to continuous filament yarns. Texturizing produces yarns with increased cover, resiliency, abrasion resistance, warmth, insulation properties, and moisture absorption.
- Thread CountThe number of wales and courses per inch in a knit fabric.
- Toe Seam/Toe ClosingAn operation in hosiery manufacturing where the toe opening is closed using manual operators or semi-automatated equipment.
- Tube SockA crew length sock knit without a heel pocket
- Virgin WoolNew wool that is made into yarns and fabrics for the first time.
- WashfastnessThe resistance of a dyed fabric to loss of color to home or commercial laundering.
- WeltRefer to the knit-in top of a sock which generally contains spandex for the purpose of providing the stay-up power on the leg or ankle.
- WickabilityThe property of a fiber that allows moisture to move rapidly along the fiber surface and pass quickly through the fabric.
- Work SocksTypically a heavier sock with cushion in a crew length or higher.
- WorstedA general term that applies to fabrics and yarns from combed wool.
- YarnA continuous strand of textile fibers, staple or filament, in a form suitable for knitting, weaving, or other method of intertwining to form a fabric.
- Zone CushioningThe padding ability of a terry-surfaced sock, knitted into a ribbed or plain surface - focused on certain areas of sock where the wearer experiences the highest impact.