Let’s state the obvious: men’s shooting socks and the garters that accompany them are the best kit for the field. Despite what people may believe, they are a current part of British society and don’t belong to just the 19th century! Although they’ve been used in ages gone by, they are still very much a part of every British gentleman’s attire - especially if he takes part in national pastimes of the UK, like hunting and shooting. Although your average pair of shooting breeks for men may be earthy or bland in colour, shooting socks are your opportunity to express your style! Shooting socks for men are the most fun items to shop for and guarantee to shake up a drab outfit (but your outfit doesn’t have to be drab - check out our men’s shooting jackets for confirmation) with their splashy colours.
Of course, these country chaps who participate in national pastimes require clothing from national treasures, which is why we love brands like House of Cheviot. Online shops like Equestrian Co.’s make it easy to buy your newest socks online, and if you’re a lady looking for something to buy your man, country gifts for him are not all you’ll find with us - pick up a pair for yourself by browsing our shooting socks for women!
Choosing the Best Shooting Socks & Garters for MenPut simply, when it comes to shooting socks, it all comes down to three factors: material, fit and colour. Once you have the first two down pat, then you can start thinking about patterning and design.
Shooting SocksShooting socks come in so many types of fabric:
- Merino wool
- A blend of merino wool and acrylic
- Various other types of yarn
However, while we know that advertising socks as “pure wool” might be better for marketing, we’re not about to lie to you and tell you that they are better for shooting. If you want your socks to last the season - and even seasons to come - invest in the warmth and wicking that wool provides but consider adding acrylic to the mix!
Acrylic fabric gives shooting socks more durability, longevity, ease of care and flexible fit than wool alone can achieve, so we recommend the acrylic-merino mix above all else.
Did you know there are subtle differences in the types of shooting socks? If you’re seeking comfort and warmth above all else, cushioned foot shooting socks are the way to go. For those macho men with larger calves, look for a brand that makes XL socks or ones specialised for a wide calf fitting.
GartersOf course, you don’t want to be bothered with buying garters separately - it is ideal to find shooting socks that already come with them.
Aside from the obvious convenience, this gives you the advantage of having garters that match the colour and quality of your socks!
Lastly, once you have your material and fit decided, you’ll need to make the hardest choice of all: what colour you prefer.
Socks may sound boring, but they are the items of clothing you can have the most fun with!
While the rest of men’s hunting gear tends to be muted so as not to attract attention, only the tops of shooting socks usually show, so you better make that sliver count!
There are bright knits and patterns to choose from, and we’ll run through the various choices in more detail when we explore style.
How to Wear Shooting SocksMost shooting socks are long, rising up to the knee, and are designed to be worn with plus twos or plus fours. For those of you new to shooting or wearing breeks in general, plus twos and plus fours are garments that finish either two or four inches below the knee, allowing for a wide range of leg movement while still keeping the outfit clean and streamlined.
When unfastened, a pair of plus twos will finish exactly four inches below the knee, thus giving a two-inch fold when fastened. Plus fours are a little less common than plus twos but follow the same design - eight inches of fabric below the knee fasten to provide four inches of calf coverage.
To prevent your socks from slipping down, it is highly recommended that you wear garters with them. Aside from keeping those socks upright and at attention, garters also help in keeping the seam between your breeks and socks guarded against the weather. With the right socks and garters, your lower half will be airtight against the wind and sleet!
To correctly wear shooting socks, first put on your breeks and fasten the buckle or strap around your calf - tight enough to hold, but don’t cut off circulation! Then put on your shooting socks right over the breeks - you’re already looking quite the handsome country man!
Tie your matching garters over your socks. They should lie above the fastening of your breeks but under your knee.
Lastly, roll the top bit of your socks down to your garters in such a way that the tassels of your garters can still be seen - they are the icing on the cake, after all. And voila, you’ve just prepared yourself for a game day - well, at least the lower half!
You can choose to either wear boots or shoes. Walking boots - especially Wellies - can’t be topped when it comes to rainy weather anywhere, what to speak of the wilderness, but look for some that provide some foot and ankle support! These classics protect your socks while still ensuring that the tassels of your garters peek over the top - which is the most important aspect of gameday aside from a successful hunt, right?
If you don’t opt for high boots, durable walking or hiking boots that provide ankle support are essential when covering uneven or soft ground. If you do go for ankle boots, a stitched bellow tongue will prevent water and debris from entering your boot, and leather is recommended due to its toughness and tear resistance. Unless you decide to wear gaiters or trousers, ankle boots will expose your socks to almost their full extent, so choose wisely!
While there is a technically correct way to wear socks with breeks, the rules become a little less stringent when it comes to choosing socks according to the occasion, and even less so when it comes to styling. Let’s explore when to choose certain socks overs others according to what you’ll be doing.
If you’re looking to go out in your everyday shooting attire and also compete in shooting competitions, you might be wondering if you need two completely different wardrobes for the different types of events.
Well, you’re in luck, because the answer - in short - is no. Always check the specific dress code of your competition, but in general, shooting competitions ask that you not wear military wear or camo, blue denim, torn articles of clothing, and unprofessional attire in general.
You probably would not dream of wearing anything less than the most dapper attire, so competition dress code still leaves you with many options. We recommend that you do opt for more subtle, formal colours when dressing for a competition - instead of waxed cotton, perhaps go with tweed for the day. Leather accessories are always a fine choice, as well.
When it comes to your socks, though, all hues are acceptable...just go for the earthier and subtler shades of each colour, instead of say, neon orange or the brightest of purples. So you don’t need to buy a set of socks just for competitions, but we do recommend wearing newer looking ones and choosing ones that complement the rest of your outfit. Even if you don’t snag the top spot at the competition after they see your dress, the officials might decide to hold an on-the-spot attire competition and crown you the winner!
Not going near the guns? You can still look the part, even while you’re traversing the city streets. If this is you, you have the luxury of not worrying about staying dry through hours in the wet wilderness and can choose boots (lace-up leather, anyone?) and accessories geared towards form over function. In any case, you can choose any colour of shooting socks that give some zest to your outfit, so have fun experimenting!
Most hunters and shooters tend to dress in a similar style of attire, but each man’s individual style shines when it comes to what they wear underneath those boots! Even if you’re not a shooter, that’s no reason to run from our fabulous selection of shooting socks - you still need something to wear under your rainy day Wellies, right?
Cable and knitted stockings are two of the most common types of shooting socks on the market. What’s the difference? Your wife will be impressed when you offer her your fabric knowledge at supper tonight: cable socks are named after their cable stitch along the sides, while knitted stockings are renowned for their comfort and warmth.
When they’re composed of wool and acrylics, these socks will draw moisture from your feet, keeping them dry, warm, and blister-free! Forget about having to wear two pairs of socks on colder shooting days - when you invest in a great pair of socks from companies like House of Cheviot, who combine traditional knitting techniques with the best modern knitting technology, you will stay cosy all day in just one pair of socks!
Now let’s talk about colour, patterning and design - this is where your options really come to life. Even within the same brand, the choices are endless, so make sure you’ve already chosen a well-reputed sock manufacturer before considering patterning.
If you’re a simple kind of fellow and prefer one colour through and through, go for a knitted scarba sock - we love mustard yellow if you’re feeling lively, but brick red and derby grey are also beautiful choices.
For you conservative gents looking for just a little pop of colour, look for something like House of Cheviot’s forest green Men's Shooting Estate Field Socks, which have just the smallest sliver of yellow where the garters sit. These types of socks are usually knitted in subtle colours, but the second splash of colour at the top really spices things up!
Of course, if you’re willing to go a walk out on a limb when it comes to hues, we absolutely love checkerboard designs and hand-crocheted looks. House of Cheviot’s colourful Angus design stand out as something special - they appear to be crocheted by hand, lending the sock a homey feel, but they are indeed machine produced (but still hand finished!), which makes them wallet-friendly.
Checkerboard designs are perfect for those looking for classic two-toned socks - we love the burgundy and moss combination, or perhaps the brack and burnt orange choice for those fashion-forward chaps looking for a bright, contrasting look.
And these are just a few of your options when it comes to colour! Whether you’re a colourful sock connoisseur, a fan of the woollen wonders, or a classic and simplistic kind of fellow, don’t let those old socks in your sock drawer let you down. It’s time to revitalise your defining piece of attire and upgrade your sock wardrobe - which is so easy to do when you’re in the market for high quality shooting socks.