While watching soccer players on actual games, the first thing that usually stands out are the socks …
… Simply because these are really long to the point where they usually covers the knees!
Most people who are not familiarized with the sport usually wonder why this is the case and whether this is a requirement for professional and semi-pro players!
This article provides you with all the information you need to know.
Why do soccer players wear long socks?
First and most important reason is to cover and hold shin guards!
Shin guards are an important part of soccer equipment and essential for ensuring the safety of players.
A shin guard must fit tightly around ankles and below the knee. Due to this, socks, more notably long socks, get an important role!
During soccer games, the shin guard must not fall off, or be uncomfortable for players. Socks keep them tight enough so they do not slip, but not too tight. When socks are too tight, they can prevent healthy blood circulation.
Soccer players want to wear long socks in order to keep their legs warm. This is extremely important during winter night games and late training sessions.
Appropriate leg temperature and blood circulation makes muscles more active and resistant to cold air, which reduces the chance of getting cramp in leg muscles.
Long socks are also a part of players’ style and appearance on the field. They wear them to match the colors of their team, and some players like to have some additional colors or detail on them in order to separate from others.
Long socks are also the result of rules and standards. According to Law 4 of FIFA Laws of the Game, regarding players’ equipment, it is stated that socks must cover shin guards.
As most players have quite longer shin guards that cover their legs below the knees, they need long socks to cover the entire surface of the shin guard.
Soccer players feel more comfortable with long socks. They feel tight and ready, so long socks can have a good impact on their performance in the game.
Materials that are used for making long socks aim to eliminate blisters and ensure enough friction so the foot is not loose inside the shoe.
Do they go above the knees?
Some players tend to wear their socks over their knees. It is entirely the player’s choice!
Some like wearing them high because of comfort. Shin guards are better covered that way and there is less chance for them to slip. This makes players feel relaxed and increases their performance. Soccer demands lots of running, so having socks above your knee is safer in case of falling down and after doing a sliding tackle.
They are quite helpful in those situations, so this is also the reason why some players decide to wear them this way. After all, there are players that like this style.
Thierry Henry was among the players wearing socks above the knees. Even more, this was actually his trademark.
It was a part of his style and something he was recognized for. That influenced many players to adopt this way of wearing socks.
Since then, high socks gained fashionable status today. Among others, Neymar is an example of an active player who wears them this way.
My favorite long soccer socks …
Adidas Unisex Rivalry socks (Check them Here on Amazon) are perfect choices for soccer players!
They are made of 93% polyester, which has better breathability and absorb less moisture than cotton socks.
That way, your feet are staying dry and cool. In addition, 2% of material is spandex, which helps them keep their shape from using.
Their ankle compression is useful while running, as it improves stability. The cushioned sole provides additional protection from potential impact.
What are they made from?
When it comes to long soccer socks materials, there are many different ones in use today. Choosing appropriate material is extremely important, as that influences feet comfort and provides enough protection.
Cotton socks are in wide use and this represents quite inexpensive material. These socks offer comfort and warmth.
However, there are many disadvantages of this material. Cotton socks have less breathability, as they absorb most of the moisture. In addition, due to its structure, these socks can lose their shape more frequently.
Better choice for soccer players than cotton socks are those made of synthetic fiber, such nylon, polyester and spandex.
Nylon socks are more durable and can handle more pulling and stretching. They absorb less moisture than cotton socks and provide much more breathability.
Polyester socks absorb more moisture than nylon socks, but your skin can actually breathe better.
Like nylon, polyester socks can handle pulling and tear. Spandex socks are the most durable socks of all synthetic socks and can handle the extreme tension.
This material helps socks maintain its shape and often are used in combination with other materials.
With all this being said, I would prefer to use Cotton socks simply because it is generally healthier for the skin, especially those that are allergic to synthetic fiber material!
Are longer socks mandatory in soccer?
According to FIFA Laws of the Game, Law 4 Player’s Equipment, mandatory parts of player’s equipment are jersey, shorts, socks, shin guards and footwear.
Here is stated that socks must cover shin guards. That ensures safe play as socks can handle shin guards in place during the game.
In order to effectively cover the entire surface of shin guards, long socks are actually necessary. They provide much needed stability and comfort.
Long socks are not actually mandatory, but are a product of the rule stating that they must cover shin guards.
Some players today tend to play with smaller and thinner shin guards, made from different, light material.
Having less surface, in this case players pull their socks down, in fact making them short, but long enough just to cover shin guards.
Why do they wear double socks sometimes?
Sometimes players wear double socks, and this is because of personal preference!
Main reason here is comfort, as many players have experienced that having two socks is more comfortable and prevents blisters.
Having two socks reduces friction between foot and the shoe, having friction happening between the socks. In most cases, one pair of socks is thinner.
Other players like the tight feeling they have when wearing two pairs of socks. This is especially the case if shoes are a bit bigger than they should.
Additional socks may fill the space inside the shoe and make them more comfortable, while players can have better control of their movement and better ball control.
There are also players who do not like the feeling of shin guards directly attached to their leg. Because of this, they will wear the first pair of socks, attach a shin guard over it, and then add another pair.
Why do soccer players cut their long socks?
Cutting the long socks has been a trend in the last decade! Material used can cause slipping, especially when wet from either sweat or water.
Some big sport companies have produced soccer socks with gripping pads on their sole, which are meant to increase friction, eliminating sliding feeling.
These pads go from toes to ankle level and are often shorter than regular soccer socks. Players have to wear their team socks, but wish to use the advantages of socks with grip enhancing areas.
That is the reason why they cut off their team sock below ankles, put on their feet socks with gripping pads, and then pull team socks over.
There is also the case of players cutting holes in their socks. Long soccer socks are quite tight in order to keep shin guards in place, and this bothers some players.
They feel less comfortable in them, which is especially the case with players having muscular calves. Therefore, players do what they can to ease the tension.
Cutting the holes in the back of the socks creates more space for calves and releases the pressure.
Final Thoughts: Any other sports where they wear long socks?
Football is another sport where players wear long socks. Like in soccer, also in football, players have shin guards that provide them safety. In order to keep them tight, the appropriate length of the socks is necessary.
Rules in the NFL are strict when it comes to this. NFL states in their Rules, “stockings must cover the entire area from shoe to bottom of the pants”.
Baseball players also tend to wear long socks, especially in the last years.
This is due to several factors. Players also wear shin guards and baseball includes a lot of sliding, which can hurt players’ legs. Due to this, they wear long socks, with shin guards and pants inside of it, making it tighter.
In basketball, there are no safety reasons to wear long socks. However, that is often the case. Here, we can say it is a matter of style and fashion.
Players peak to wear short or long socks, depending on their personal preferences.