Why Socks Slide Down [10 Reasons Why and 10 Solutions]

Why Socks Slide Down (1)

I have had plenty of socks slide down on me. They look out of place and sometimes get pulled into my shoes. Then walking becomes uncomfortable, especially if you’re on a hike somewhere. Most of the socks I have purchased recently don’t slide down, and I think I know why.

Socks slide down because of many reasons. Loss of elasticity and the amount of space between the sock and the shoe are two of the most common reasons they slide down. Here’s a list of 10 reasons why socks slide down. 

  1. They are stretched out.
  2. They are too big or not tight enough.
  3. They are not pulled up high enough.
  4. Your socks get pulled into your shoe. 
  5. They are made with little elasticity. 
  6. They are washed in bleach, which can cause a loss of elasticity and stretching.
  7. They need extra grabbing power.
  8. Your feet are too dry.
  9. The socks are low-quality socks.
  10. Your shoes are too big.

Ankle-high and no-show socks seem to be the worst offenders when it comes to socks that slide down. I’ve had several ankle-high socks in the past that lost elasticity and slide down most of the time. Now, there are socks with silicon built in to help prevent slipping. 

10 Reasons Socks Fall Down and 10 Solutions

If you have socks that slide down, it can be inconvenient and look embarrassing, like you got dressed too fast in the morning. If you are doing a lot of hiking or running, it can be even more problematic because you may start to get blisters quickly. 

In this section, we’ll discuss how we can prevent socks from falling. One of the best solutions is just to buy new socks. Sometimes, this can be helpful, but not always, so we’ll see when you might need to and when not to. Here are 10 reasons and 10 solutions for your falling socks.

1. Stretched Out Socks

Shoes Too Big


When sock fibers are pulled apart over time, they start to lose their ability to stay tight. The knitting starts to relax, and the elastic material in the sock starts to be less effective. 

This happens to socks that are loose-knit socks more often and happens to socks that are cheaply made as well. 

In addition, older socks will start to see this problem occurring as they age. Washing and wearing your socks over a period of time naturally will loosen their fibers and materials. 


Buying high-quality tight-knit socks can help them stay up. If you look at the materials used and the general quality of the socks, this can be an indicator that the socks will stretch less in the future.

Look for high-density knitting and areas on the sock that provide extra support to prevent slipping. 

Try washing socks on the gentle cycle and with a gentle detergent. This should help them stay tightly knit for longer periods.

2. Socks That Are Too Big (or Not Tight)

Shoes Too Big


When you buy a sock that doesn’t quite fit right, it can’t sit close to your skin. The tension needed to stay up is too low. 

This happens when you buy socks that are too big, and it can occur if your socks’ fibers are loose in the first place. 

Some hand-knit socks are not tight enough to begin with. The fibers may be too loose, and the sock may not have any elastic material in it. 

Washing some socks, such as wool fiber socks, in a washing machine can cause the fibers to loosen. 


Buy socks that have stretchy material in them, such as spandex. If your socks have no stretchy material, they may lose their hold much quicker. 

Some socks come in small, medium, or large. Other socks say they fit a wide range of feet, such as feet between the range of 6 -12 inches.

Look for socks that fit a more specific range, such as 9-11 inches.

When buying wool socks and some other types of fibers, you may need to hand wash them to keep them tight.

3. Not Pulled Up High Enough

Socks Not High Enough


Many socks use an elastic band at the top of the sock. This ensures the sock stays better in place. If low pressure is applied to the band, the sock won’t have enough tension to stay up for long. 

I used to push my crew socks down around my ankles so they looked better with what I was wearing.

This works fine if the socks have enough tension around my feet and ankle, but if not my shoes tend to pull them down into the shoe itself. 


Pulling your sock as high as it is meant to go can help the elastic band in your sock have much better tension to keep your sock in place.  

Soccer socks are meant to go over the calf. This helps them stay up better because of the additional pressure and shape of the calf muscle.

Snug shoes will also help the socks stay in place better. Ensure your laces are snug so you have a good fit.

4. Socks Get Pulled into Shoe 

Shoes Too Big


Socks tend to stay in place inside your shoe if there isn’t anything to grab hold of.  

When socks are loose or low-cut socks like no-show socks, there is usually extra material for shoes to grab ahold of when you walk. 

If your shoes catch this material, your sock will start to slide down into your shoe. 

Loose shoes can also cause excessive rubbing and pull your socks down. 


Check your shoes to see if they are snug on your feet. This will help socks move less and allow socks to stay in place.

Check that your socks are snug and not loose. Snug socks hold better.

If you use no-show or ankle socks,  get ones with silicon around the heel area, a tab at the top of the collar, or ones with strong elastic compression, especially at the top collar of the sock.  

Some athletes use short compression socks, and these work well at staying in place as well. 

5. Sock With Little Elasticity 

Shoes Too Big


You have socks that have lost their elasticity or didn’t have much elasticity when purchased. 

These socks may have been stretched out due to being too small for your feet, being old, or having been washed too much.

These socks may be older socks you’ve had for years that were made before modern techniques were used to help socks stay up better.


Use no elastic socks for low-activity situations, such as wearing around the house.

You can try a DIY hack and try using a smooth, flat bead of glue from a hot glue gun on the inside of your sock at the back collar or glue a strip of silicone on the inside back collar to prevent slipping. 

Other fabric glues may also work because they have a rubbery texture when dry and should prevent socks from slipping. 

If you are hiking with low-elasticity wool socks, a sock liner can help prevent socks from moving much. 

6. Socks Washed in Bleach 

Shoes Too Big


You washed your socks with chlorine bleach. Bleach can damage rubber and spandex. Rubber and spandex are used to help socks keep their elastic properties.   

Bleach can also degrade polyester, which is used in most socks I use regularly. So, if you use bleach, avoid washing socks in it.

Older socks that you’ve had for years may lack the elasticity of modern socks. 


Avoid using chlorine bleach and use non-chlorine bleach. Chlorine can damage the elasticity and fibers in cotton, polyester, wool, and mohair.

The best way to clean socks is to use the gentle cycle and use cold water. Then, you can hang dry them if you want to prevent further wear from the dryer. 

If your socks smell bad, add some baking soda (1/2 cup) the next time you wash your clothes. 

7. Sock Just Don’t Grab Well

Shoes Too Big


You’re involved in activities that place a high demand on your socks. Your socks may slide down from excessive movement when hiking, running, sports, and other activities. 

Your socks may also tend to move inside your shoe, or your shoe is a bit big for your foot, so some rubbing occurs.


Try to wear two pairs of socks when hiking to keep your feet snug in your shoes and prevent socks from rubbing. 

Use non-slip socks and socks with silicon inside to help socks stay in place.

Use calf-length socks or compression socks to give you extra gripping power. These socks should help during more intense activity.  

8. Your Feet Are Too Dry

Shoes Too Big


Your feet are slippery because your skin is dry. Feet need to be moisturized if they are too dry. 

Socks may slide over your skin much easier if your skin is too dry. 

Shoes, socks, and skin will all play a part in how things turn out. Yet, dry skin may be one factor in pulling your socks into your shoe.


Keep your feet moisturized. If you are a runner or a hiker, you may have used a product such as BodyGlide to prevent rubbing from occurring. 

Conditioned skin grips better than dry skin. As you sweat, you want your feet to stay relatively dry so the fabric doesn’t cling to your skin.

A moisturizer or balm, along with a sock that can breathe and wicks away moisture, can help keep socks in position without moving much.  

9. You Have Low-Quality Socks


Shoes Too Big


You bought a multipack of socks thinking it was a good deal and then came to realize your socks weren’t very durable. 

This has happened to me on several occasions. I would wash my cheap sock several times, and the elasticity was soon almost gone.  

Now I look to see if they are made by a name brand and check reviews if I can find any. 


Even higher-priced socks might not last long, depending on the situation. It’s best to look for socks that have higher levels of spandex, ones with long fiber durability (some wools, nylon, polyester, bamboo, acrylic, polypropylene, Tencel), and that have a feature to help them stay up.

Cheap socks are made with less expensive materials and just don’t last as long. 

10. Shoes are Too Big

Shoes Too Big


If you have roomy shoes, they might be too loose for many socks. When your foot slips a bit in your shoes, you will start to get rubbing.

Rubbing can pull a sock into your shoe and cause the material to bunch up. 

Normally, it’s okay if the toes have plenty of room to wiggle, but the rest of the foot and heel should be snug.  


One solution is to get thicker socks to use in your large shoes. You can also do what hikers do and put on a sock liner and an outer sock layer to prevent rubbing. 

This could stop your socks from sliding down. 

Try adding a thicker insole or extra pad inside your shoes to see if your shoes feel snug as you walk.  

The Right Socks for Your Shoes

The right socks for the type of shoes you are wearing and the type of activity you are participating in can make a difference. 

For example, I have gone on long hikes without proper socks and have gotten blisters. Then, when I went hiking for even longer with proper socks, I didn’t have any blisters at all. My shoes fit snugly, I have two pairs of socks and hiking shoes, my socks stayed in place, and my feet were fine. 

You may need to invest in a new sock for the shoes you have right now or just come up with the right combination of socks and shoes. If you don’t have the right shoes for the activity you’re doing, I would also suggest getting some if you plan on doing the activity a lot. 

Stop Socks From Sliding Down

Ultimately, I’ve found that higher quality socks are the solution to keeping socks up in the long term. For running, get socks specifically for running. For hiking, get socks specifically for hiking. A general sock that is for all activities can be fine but don’t expect them to stay up if they aren’t meant to last.

I’ve found that stronger materials, more materials, and plenty of elasticity are factors in helping my socks stay up. My Underarmor (Amazon Link) running socks definitely stay in place and don’t move. They fit my feet very snuggly and are made out of material that will last.

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03/10/2024 10:25 pm GMT

Final Thoughts

I always prefer to get quality over quantity when buying socks, although I tend to want to get a good deal at the same time. If you’re looking for new socks, try looking at about 3 different ones within your budget and get the best ones you can find. 

Try to get rid of socks that you’re holding on to that no longer work well and recycle them or maybe reuse them as a rag. Then, only get socks that work well and have higher quality features to ensure they stay up during all the activities you are engaged in.

Thanks for visiting Helpshoe.com   


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I enjoy many types of outdoor activities including running, hiking, and walking. I was a former elementary school teacher for 17 years and now enjoy writing and sharing my love of the outdoors.

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