Do Your Socks Stay Up? Over-the-Calf/Knee-High vs Mid-Calf/Trouser
Caveat Emptor Comparison Series: SOCK STAY-UP
Over-the-Calf/Knee-High vs Mid-Calf/Trouser
|By Alexander S. Kabbaz, Custom Clothier & Haberdasher|
|A sock's ability to stay up is primarily determined by two factors: its length and its elasticity. Simple physics dictate that an Over-the-Calf or Knee-High sock will stay up better than a Mid-Calf or Trouser sock. Picture the human calf in geometric terms. It is a cone with the point at the bottom which will push the top of your socks downward.|
|Let's analyze the geometry of human leg from the knee down. From the hard, bony area just below the kneecap to the top of the calf muscle, circumference of the leg increases. From the top of the calf muscle to its center, the circumference remains relatively constant. Here is where the pertinant change begins. From the center of the calf muscle down to the ankle is where the leg becomes radically smaller. The average decrease in circumference is 4"-6".|
|Now let's analyze the effect of these circumferential differences on socks. From the calf up to the knee area, circumference is decreasing. In order for the sock to fall downward from this area, the top elastic of the sock would have to enlarge - the exact opposite of elastic's function. Conversely, from the center of the calf down to the ankle, circumference is decreasing allowing the elastic to fulfill its goal of getting smaller. Thus the physical characteristics of the leg are pushing Upward on Over-the-Calf or Knee-High socks and Downward on Mid-Calf or Trouser socks.|
|The following three graphics offer visual renditions of the physics involved. Click each graphic to Enlarge:
The Magenta, Green, and Blue lines follow the curvature of the legs.
Note that the blue lines create a cone shape with the wider part at the top. With the top being of greater diameter than the bottom, the natural action is to push downward on the top of a sock.
|As you can see, the shape of the leg at each particular vertical point has an effect on the sock's ability to remain where you want it. You can choose to defy gravity by wearing Over-the-Calf or Knee-High socks. Or you can risk succumbing to gravity's force by wearing shorter socks. The choice is yours.
|Thank you for reading. Please don't hesitate to contact the author with questions or comments.|
|Copyright © 2018 Alexander Kabbaz. All rights reserved.|