"Hearst Magazines and Yahoo may earn commission or revenue on some items through these links."
THE FACT is, we all need socks. Yet, we seldom put much thought into purchasing them. That's a shame, since socks, like the best underwear, are the building blocks of your wardrobe, and can help you feel more comfortable every day.
If you need proof, look no further than Bombas. The New York-based knit company is on a mission to provide exceptionally comfortable socks and underwear for those who can afford it, and those who can’t. With every pair of socks and underwear that is sold, another pair is donated to someone in need through a nationwide network of more than 3,500 giving partners.
Our initial impression of the brand: it creates functional socks at fair prices. But to really kick its tires, we spent the past four months testing Bombas' most popular styles, and consulted with Men's Health editors who have also tried them. Here's what we found.
How Bombas Gives Back to the Community
When Bombas founders Randy Goldberg and David Heath learned that socks were the most requested item in homeless shelters nationwide, they decided to start a company to address this need. Beginning with an Indiegogo campaign in 2013, followed by a $1 million seed funding and an appearance on Shark Tank in 2014, the company has gone on to donate over one million items to those in need. For every item sold, an item is donated.
The items that are donated are not exactly the same as those sold to the public either. Donated items are produced in dark colors to disguise wear, given an antibacterial treatment to require less frequent washing, and fit looser to accommodate a wider range of body types. Though some public models are donated, like kids socks given to children aide programs and formal socks given to career assistance programs.
Originals Calf Socks
Bombas put more than two years of research and development into its OG design, and it shows. The Originals are not only the socks that started the brand, but also its bestselling model. Its deceptively simple appearance is actually loaded with little features that provide ample comfort. Before even putting them on, I could feel padding running from where the heel meets the ankle, all the way along the bottom panel and capping the toes with a seam that runs along the logo. Even more support is provided by the distinctive Honeycomb Arch Support System, which is a section of padded compression that wraps around the center of your foot.
During my initial wear, I was struck by how soft the 64% Supima cotton, 32% polyester, and 4% elastane blend fabric was. I’m used to cotton and polyester blend socks that are a little rough to the touch. The packaging touts “extra long staple cotton,” which is far softer than standard cotton used for most clothing. Along with the softness, I also noticed the padding and compression. These features normally only found in pricey athletic socks, but are also great for everyday socks. I felt like my feet was wrapped in soft blankets and stuck with me all day, and through multiple wears.
The Originals are great high ankle socks to wear with sneakers or any casual shoes. There is even enough padding to wear them with boots and not worry about blisters. With the Bombas bee logo displayed prominently on the ankle below two stripes, you can even rock them with shorts.
Solids Ankle Socks
The Solids Ankle Socks are a cropped version of the OG Calf Socks, featuring the same design from the shin-down. Padding runs from the heel, along the bottom panel, and up over the toes. Bombas’ Honeycomb Arch Support System provides compression and cushioning to fight arch soreness. All that padding and support makes these ankle socks exceptional for active guys. If you prefer a shorter sock for exercising, this is a great option, because the ankle tab protects from heel chafing while keeping the ankle as low as possible.
I’m a fan of the “no socks” look. However, most no-show socks just don’t stay in place and if they do, they wear out pretty quickly. I found that these ankle socks disappear with a mid-to-high profile sneaker. I wore them with a pair of New Balance 1400, and you could barely notice the tab sticking out of the back. When worn with a pair of running sneakers to the gym, I still got the no-show look with no discomfort whatsoever. These are great socks to transition from work to the gym and back.
I found that the Solids Ankle Socks complement the Originals Calf Socks perfectly because you get the same feel and performance with and without a high ankle. Sometimes you want a traditional sock and sometimes you want a low ankle sock, so this combo keeps you covered in all situations.
Running Quarter Socks
Like we said earlier, Bombas' socks are so useful because they incorporate performance features and apply them to everyday wear. That also makes them decent athletic socks. However, if you plan on running, I would go with the Running Quarter Socks. These bad boys are reinforced with extra padding in the toe and heel and tighter compression around the midfoot. Padding also runs all the way up the back of the heel to the top of the ankle band, fending off any chaffing spots on any sneakers. The top panel of the foot is a thin, super breathable material to help manage perspiration.
When I wore the Running Quarter Socks for a long distance run, I found the padding and compression in the ankle to be the most comforting part. Running socks often have lower ankles with minimal elastic pressure. Having light compression around the ankle felt almost like wearing an ankle wrap. The padding in the heel and toe provided noticeable cushioning in every stride.
This is one of the best running socks that I have ever tried out. The unique combination of compression spots and padding make your feet feel comfortable. There are even helpful “L” and “R” markings to indicate which sock goes in which foot to ensure that all the features lineup where they belong. However, that same compression means that these socks can get uncomfortable after a couple hours. So I recommend them as strictly workout socks.
Merino Wool Blend Sweater Calf Socks
I didn’t even have to take the Merino Wool Blend Sweater socks out of the package to be impressed. Merino wool is far softer than standard sheeps wool, with a feel closer to cashmere in some cases. That's why the fabric is almost always expensive, but not in this case. For $24, you won’t find a better bargain on merino wool socks that feel this soft. Even though they say “blend” in the name, the socks are still 90% merino wool. That makes me a little concerned about durability because merino wool isn’t as tough as standard wool. In the limited time that I had for this test, I saw no signs of wear, so any durability concerns are only speculation.
After my first time wearing it, I could tell that these socks are as comfortable as I thought they would be. Even though it isn’t as pronounced, there is still the same padding under panel running from the heel to over the toes. You also get a looser version of the compression panel around the midfoot. It is clear that Bombas applied the Originals template to a supple merino wool here, and the result is pure pampering for your feet.
The “Sweater” part of the title refers to the ribbed weave, which gives a classic dress sock look. This wool sock comes in four solid colors that work great for business and formalwear, complementing any type of dress shoe. There are also two seasonal fair isle-esque patterns that look great with slippers, moccasins, winter boots, or sneakers. Overall, I would classify the Merino Wool Blend Sweater socks as a great winter sock that can dress up your looks or keep them stay cozy and casual.
Bombas deserves all the hype that the brand receives and more. The prices are very fair for the quality you get, and the designs are innovative enough to stand out in an extremely crowded socks and underwear market. My favorite of the four has to be the Merino Wool Blend because of the cozy feel and value of the price. Maybe the recent drop in temperature outside has something to do with it, but I am not feeling inclined to take these socks off any time soon. All four styles come in multipacks, and you can even get variety packs that feature multiple styles, which is the best way to stock up next time you’re in the market. So support a great cause and treat your feet in the process.
Shop more of our favorite socks
You Might Also Like