Over the Knee Socks


Insect armor for the legs

I was bothered by insect bites above my socks and beneath my trousers after doing yard work, until I remembered the British Army wore thick, knee-high socks in Africa during WWII as protection against fleabites. So I found a great source for extra long (“over-the-knee” or OTK) socks that I roll over into a cuff below the knee, as the British did. These are 85% cotton, 15% Lycra, so they do shrink, but there’s enough extra length in them that they will stay up even after going through a dryer.

These OTKs have proven effective for me and aren’t too hot to wear in the summer in Seattle, where it rarely goes above 90 and the humidity is low. Elsewhere, heat might be a problem. In cooler weather, I’ve found I appreciate the extra warmth, so I’ll stick with them when the buggy season ends.

Before finding these, I tried a variety of socks from several military clothing suppliers. I ordered five pairs of two different types of “boot socks,” a cheap three-pack ($2.60/pair) and a Kevlar sock ($5.95/pair). The problem was that all of these came only 3/4 or maybe 4/5 of the way up to the knee (before washing). I next tried $5 men’s “knee-highs” from Sock Dreams. They were effective at first, but shrank after going through the washer and dryer to two inches below my knee, so I still got bug bites above their tops (I’m 6’2″). If you are 5’8″ or less, the knee-highs should work.

Sock Dreams has no shipping charge, regardless of order size. They also offer an incredibly wide variety of colors, including plum and bubblegum; I went for navy and charcoal.

-- Roger Knights 08/2/07