Study Finds Heartbreak Can Inspire Men to Buy Socks

The men’s sock business is a big and growing opportunity for brands. Business clothing trends are moving away from formal ties, so more and more guys are seeking to express their personality through their legwear.

As proof, just keep a close eye on the ankles during any late-night talk show, or follow Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his epic sock game.

But what do regular men really think about what goes on their feet? Blacksocks US, a division of the Switzerland-based e-tailer, surveyed roughly 1,000 male customers across the States to find out how and why they shop, and what they like to wear.

The company found that athletic socks are the most popular styles purchased by men, with about 60 percent of votes. (That’s not surprising, given the rise of sportswear apparel and casual fashion sneakers. Nowadays, athletic socks can have a home anywhere, not just at the gym.) The second-most-popular sock category was dress (with 21 percent of votes), followed by wool styles and fuzzy looks. And the most popular length was calf, with an overwhelming 67 percent of votes.

As for why they make a purchase, the vast majority of men are inspired by practical reasons, such as when their socks wear out (75 percent) or when they buy a new pair of shoes (7 percent). However, at least 21 percent of the guys surveyed said they tend to buy new socks after losing a mate. After all, retail therapy can be a good cure for heartbreak.

But despite the growing attention to fashion socks, U.S. male customers remain fairly conservative in their shopping habits. About 75 percent said they still favor the traditional, basic black sock, and 80 percent said they buy socks only once per year.

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