How to wear hockey socks and keep them up

How To Wear Hockey Socks-Tips & Tricks

In the realm of hockey, the significance of hockey socks cannot be denied. Beyond their practical purpose of securing shin pads, they serve as the finishing touch to your team’s uniform, adding that extra touch of swagger that defines your presence on the ice.

Now, let’s talk about the quirks of these socks. They are intentionally designed to accommodate your shin pads and thighs with a loose fit. However, they occasionally engage in a dance of slipping down and bunching up around the ankles, which can disrupt your game.

The most prevalent approach to combat sagging socks is the use of hockey sock tape. Nevertheless, some hockey players opt for specially crafted gear that directly addresses this sock-sagging predicament. Read on to learn how to wear hockey socks.

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How to wear hockey socks- Marie-Philip Poulin
Photo by Courtney

How to wear hockey socks

Once you’ve got your shin pads securely placed on your lower legs, simply pull the hockey sock over your shin guard. Try to avoid contact with the Velcro straps on your shin guards.

To keep things neat and avoid a shin guard rebellion, bunch up the hockey sock and slide it over your foot.

Then, roll it up your leg until you hit your garter belt or the Velcro tabs on your compression pants.

Make sure you’ve got the right-sized hockey socks for your game. They come in various lengths and sizes, so it’s not a one-size-fits-all situation.

When hunting for the perfect fit, consider the extra space your shin guards take up. Better yet, bring those guards along for the ride when making a purchase.

What do you wear under hockey socks?

girl sitting on bench with hockey shin guard on, ready to put her hockey socks on
Gearing up, shin pad is secure with Velcro straps. Next step is to put on hockey sock.

First, you will be wearing your base layer compression pants, and jock. Your pants should be of a lightweight material and moisture-wicking.

Second, you will then put on your shin guards, by fastening the two Velcro straps around your calves to keep your shin pads in place.

Finally, you will wear your hockey socks over them. Make sure to leave enough room near your ankles for your hockey skates.

For proper fit, make sure your knee aligns with the kneecap of the shin guards.

The shin guards should extend down to your ankles, or one inch above, depending on whether you wear them over or under your skate tongues.

Types of hockey socks

3 hockey socks - all different styles
3 different styles of hockey socks

There are a couple of different types of socks available; there are the knit hockey socks as well as mesh socks.

Hockey socks made of knit fabric have been a traditional part of ice hockey uniforms. However, there is a new type of hockey sock has emerged in the market.

In order to wear knit socks, you’ll probably want a garter belt to keep them up. Although knit socks are affordable, they are made of a cotton and polyester blend, which makes them prone to tearing and fraying. Additionally, these socks tend to absorb more water.

Mesh socks are durable and also provide an ergonomic fit. They have Velcro tabs both on the front and back as well as elastic cuffs to hold them in place.

You can easily attach them to compression shorts or pants using the Velcro tabs.

The performance moisture-wicking material of the socks keeps you comfortable. In addition, some are also snag-resistant.

How to keep hockey socks up

After you have put on your socks correctly, keeping hockey socks up is the next priority. 

Here’s what you can do to master the art of rocking hockey socks!

Hockey sock tape

Since hockey socks are meant to go up to your mid thigh, they tend to easily fall down. Most players wrap hockey sock tape tightly around them to keep them in place.

Clear sock tape is an adhesive and is used to keep shin guards from moving during falls or when hit by pucks.

To tape your socks properly, begin by wrapping the hockey tape around your socks and shin pad just below the knee.

Wrap tape around your shin pads at least twice to ensure a proper fit.

Make sure it is snug, but not too tight.

Phil Kessel with hockey tape on his socks to keep them up
Photo by Michael Miller

Players commonly wrap the tape diagonally around their shins. This is called the barber pole tape job.

Extra wraps around the shins in various spots will help prevent their socks from falling down.

how to wear hockey socks
Barber pole tape job
The barber pole tape job.

Use Velcro tabs

2 hockey socks- the one on the right has velcro tabs that attach to jock
The hockey sock on the right has Velcro pads that attach to jock.

Hockey Players can also use the velcro tabs that are on the jock to fasten their hockey socks in place. There will be one velcro tab in the front and one in the back of the jock or jill to secure each sock.

Although the velcro might come undone due to a fall or physical contact, it is still a better option compared to having to constantly pull the socks up.

In addition to the velcro tabs, many hockey players use one or two wraps of sock tape to secure the shin pad.

Use a garter belt

Shock Doctor Hockey Garter Supporter Jock Strap with Cup Pocket (Cup Not Included)

This garter features adjustable length straps, and has a pocket to insert your cup.

The purpose of a hockey garter belt is to keep the hockey socks in place.

Put on a hockey garter belt by fastening it tightly around your waist. It will sit just above the waistband of your compression pants.

Alternatives to using sock tape

Nathan MacKinnon- How to wear hockey socks and keep them up
Photo by Quintin Soloviev

There are a few alternatives to using sock tape, in the long run using one of these methods will save you money and reduce waste.

Velcro straps

Reebok CCM Shin Guard Straps, Black, Senior

You can find inexpensive and reusable Velcro straps that can be used in place of tape. These items are an excellent eco-friendly substitute for tape.

However, they are quite visible and some teams do not permit their use, which explains why they are not as commonly seen.

Shin pad sleeves

These shin pad sleeves are designed to hold firmly in place without the need for expensive tape. They are simple to use and comfortable to wear.


How tight should hockey socks be?

Hockey socks should be tight enough to prevent movement, although, not be too tight as this can cause discomfort and impair performance.

It’s important to find a balance between ensuring the sock is secured in place but also comfortable whilst playing.

Why do hockey players use clear tape on hockey socks?

Calgary flames vs Seattle Kraken
photo by Jenn G

Sock tape is clear to ensure that during games your team’s colors are not obscured and everyone appears the same.

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