Socks for living in, socks that look good absorb well and just plain feel damn good on your feet. Go wool blend all the way in a thicker weave than the traditional dress sock you find at the local department store. I go dancing nearly daily and my feet take a pounding. Cotton socks no matter how soft or specially made, no matter what cotton plant they came from or how treated in some odd way or another; cotton socks always end up sticking to my feet in some odd way, chafing my skin against the sidewalls of my shoes and leaving me cold footed at the end of the day, soggy and adjusting how they lie in my shoes. Cotton poly blend socks are better, sometimes by a lot and sometimes by a little. They are often too thin to take the beating that comes between the leather and my toes yet when given the choice between cotton and poly socks... in this case Poly blend socks with a bit of spandex wins hands down.Since those aren't the best feel to my feet either, when I can find them and they are priced right and in a great style I head for something made with a little more thickness than the traditional dress sock you find at the mall. Wool blended, better at wicking moisture and plenty of styles to choose from, wool blend socks take the cake whether running a conference or running on a treadmill for 30 minutes. I wear them in the summer. So who is the best? I used to swear by Ralph Lauren's winter wool socks. Awesome patterns and they just felt amazing. I'd go to the outlet in Camarillo where a gal would keep a bin handy whenever I came over, just to show me the ones that didn't sell for the season. I'd get them for a dollar a pair and that was marked down from 20 to 15 dollars at times. Argyles and stripes that looked like they came from the old Interwoven sock ads from the 30s. But they aren't the best... best for designs yes, but when it comes to feeling on the feet... it's Robert Talbott socks for the win. #1 Robert Talbott Socks Made in Italy and they are costly... around 35 bucks a pair unless of course you are lucky enough to find them at Burlington coat factory for a song. The patterns are fine, stripes argyles and in the right looking weave to be confused with vintage socks. They feel great and last forever. #2 Ralph Lauren socks Made in China and they are costly as well. Around 15 to 20 bucks a pair. I'd wear them continuously and are a close runner up for the feel of Robert Talbott socks.. I think they just wear out a bit faster than the Robert Talbott socks and they tend to have a lower wool content. #3 Brooks Brothers socks Made in China. Only the thicker ones they make with wool. They have some good designs yet they fall down too easily (and I hate sock garters). You can really feel the nylon in these ones and if they would ad a little spandex that might make a big difference. I think it's the blend and the thickness of the weave being thinner... but I tend to leave them behind regardless of the price... which is sometimes around 12 to 15 dollars. I feel more of the plastic in Brooks Brothers socks. Less cushion and absorption. They also are shorter than the competition, so that's another draw back. As for Gold Toe and Pantherella? Calvin klien has a better feeling weight to their socks with a seam that can't be felt. I just think Pantherella is too thin and I'm not too into their designs
I hear-tell Smartwool is going into dress socks... I'll see what that's all about soon enough.