If there's one project that is synonymous with knitters (and to a lesser degree crocheters), then it's got to be the classic sock! Socks are hugely popular with knitters, and while they are slightly less common you can make awesome crochet socks too! If you've never tried on a pair of hand-made socks before - believe us there's a world of difference to shop-bought socks! Because of the popularity of sock projects, there is correspondingly a wide range of sock yarns available, in all sorts of fibre combinations and dye effects!
What is sock yarn?
Sock yarns can come in a range of fibres, although the vast majority consist of merino wool. Many sock yarns will also blend in a small amount of polyamide or other synthetic fibres to give you an extra level of strength, to ensure your knitted or crochet socks will withstand the wear of everyday use. Some will blend nylon with merino, which will give your socks a bit of elasticity - so you don't have to keep pulling those socks up! Sock yarns come in a range of solid and variegated colours, as well as self-striping sock yarns and dye effects designed to compliment specific stitches.
What weight is sock yarn?
When it comes to sock yarn weight, there can be an element of confusion. Sock yarns normally fall into the 4ply/fingering weight category, although there can be a surprising amount of variation within this category (elements like fibres and dyes can all make a difference to the thickness and feel of a yarn). While 4ply yarns can be used for a variety of projects, some will specifically label themselves as 'sock yarn', which helps you to know that the yarn has been specifically designed with socks in mind. Many yarns labelled as 'sock yarn' will also design their balls/skeins to contain enough yarn to make a pair of socks, so keep an eye out for that!
The weight of yarn you choose for your socks will obviously determine the thickness and feel of your socks, a 2ply or even a lace weight yarn will give you a light thin sock, whereas a thicker 4ply will correspondingly give you a thicker warmer sock. We'd generally recommend yarns that fall into the fine/number 2 yarn weight symbol for socks, although you may find some within the super fine/number 1 category that will also be suitable (think more summer socks). Things get a little bit more confusing when the term 'sport weight' is used, which is effectively somewhere between a 4ply and dk thickness, so in theory these could also be used for slightly thicker socks. If you're ever in any doubt about yarn weights you can always check out our yarn weight conversion chart and beginners guide for loads of handy tips and advice.
If you would like some general inspiration for 4ply/fingering yarn, you can check out our pick of the best fingering yarns. In this article however, we're going to look specifically at the best sock yarns that have been designed with socks in mind!
Best sock yarns
Regia Schachenmayr 4ply sock yarn
Best self-striping sock yarn
Schachenmayr are a yarn brand that is popular all over Europe (and the world for that matter), thanks to them specialising in creating amazing self-striping sock yarns! Their Regia 4-fädig (or 4ply) yarn is a brilliant blend of 75% wool and 25% polyamide, giving your the natural softness of pure wool with the added strength of polyamide (after all no-one wants holes in their socks). But it's the amazing range of self-striping colours that really make this yarn stand out for us - you'll find everything from simple solid stripes, self-patterned and printed effects, and different variegations in both bright and muted colours. We've chosen to show you their Regia 4ply colour range which has an amazing 75 variations, but that's just the tip of the iceberg as you can also find solid colours, tweed and designer colour palettes all in their Regia 4ply yarn too! It comes as a 100g ball with 420m of yarn (enough to make a pair of mid-calf socks), plus it's machine washable at 40° and can be tumble-dried. And if you want that extra assurance that it's a top quality yarn, it also comes with the Regia 10 year quality assurance guarantee!
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Marriner Cosy Toes 4ply Sock yarn
Best budget sock yarn
If you're looking to save some pennies but still want a top quality yarn, then Marriner yarns are the perfect choice for you! Their cosy toes range gives you a brilliant sock yarn featuring a blend of 75% Merino wool and 25% Nylon, meaning you'll get a soft yet hard-wearing yarn with that stretchiness you need for a good pair of socks - after all you don't want them drooping down around your ankles! It comes in 5 colour variegations which all create fantastic stripes, although the effects do differ between each yarn - some have longer colour transitions that others! Each 100g ball comes with approx 400m on it, giving you enough yarn for a pair of socks, and it's machine washable at 40º.
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Paintbox yarns socks yarn
Best sock yarn for colour effects
The Paintbox Yarns Socks range is the perfect sock yarn for those of you who like to mix things up! This fabulous 4ply yarn comes in 3 fantastic variations - thick stripes, thin stripes and Fair Isle prints (the picture above is an example of this style), and there's 10 shades to choose from... although you could always mix and match for some really eye-popping colour effects! The yarn is a blend of 75% Wool and 25% Polyamide, and a 100g ball comes with approx 390m. It can be machine washed at 40°, ironed on a cool setting and can even be dry cleaned!
West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply yarn
Best UK sock yarn
When it comes to British yarn producers, we always make a beeline to one in particular - West Yorkshire Spinners! Their signature 4ply yarn is one of our favourites, consisting of 75% Wool and 25% Nylon, with 35% of the wool content coming from gorgeous Blue-faced Leicester sheep, giving it an extra layer of luxury! It's a yarn that very much still retains the natural feeling of wool, but without being rough or scratchy. Plus there's a huge range of colours and variations to choose from, so whether you're after solid colours or self-striping yarns, bright tones or warm rich colours, we think there's loads to fall in love with! You get 400m on a 100g ball and it's machine washable at 40°.
King Cole footsie 4ply yarn
Best vegan sock yarn
Maybe you're trying to avoid animal products or have allergies that mean you can't use real wool - well not too worry, this fabulous sock yarn from King Cole is made form 100% synthetic fibres! Made up of 97% Acrylic and 3% Polyester (PBT to be specific), it's been designed specifically to give your socks strength and structure. Oh and let's not forget about the colours - they're all a mix of a self-striping yarn with some added Fair-isle style print sections, and all of the shades are named after and inspired by fruits - we particularly love the watermelon shade! There's 430m on a 100g ball, machine washable at 40º and can be tumble dried!
If you're after more advice on your yarn purchases, we've got loads of helpful articles for you to check out, like our pick of the best hand-dyed yarns or the best British yarn producers, or alternatively find out the best chunky yarns or the best crochet thread and lace yarns!
Coop knits socks yeah! yarn
Best sock yarn for solid colours
If everything has been a bit too multi-coloured for you so far, then here's a sock yarn that is all about the sumptuous solid colours! The 'Socks Yeah!' yarn from CoopKnits is a fabulous blend of 75% Superwash Merino and 25% Nylon, and is super-popular with sock aficionado's! There's 35 stunning shades to choose from in total (this amount does differ between stockists), and we're particularly taken with the 5 eye-popping neons shades! It's machine wash at 30º, and come as a 50g skein with approx 212m on them - so bear in mind that you'll probably need 2 skeins for a pair of socks.
SchoppelWolle Zauerball 100 sock yarn
Best lightweight sock yarn
Ok we'll admit it - we're suckers for a Zauerball! These super-colourful sock yarns from German brand SchoppelWolle come with a range of colours in each ball (varying from complimentary to contrasting), with long smooth transitions with sections where the colours change within the twist (so you get nice two-tone sections). The original Zauerballs are a blend of Merino Wool and Nylon but these Zauerball 100 are made from 100% Superwash Merino yarn, meaning it's lightweight, super-soft and kind against skin! There's 30 fantastic colour options to choose from, it's machine washable at 30º and you get approx 400m on a 100g ball!
Elizabeth Pawle Soft Sock yarn
Best hand-dyed sock yarn
It's possible you may have seen that we've recommend the hand-dyed yarn of Elizabeth Pawle before, but can you blame us - just look at those colours! The Soft Sock range is made up of 75% Superwash and 25% Nylon yarns are all hand-dyed by Elizabeth, and are available in a range of solid colours, variegated shades and stunning speckles. We love the way her splashes of neon dyes really stand out, and it's recommended that you hand wash this yarn to preserve those amazing colours. Each 100g skein contains approx 425m, and you can see what Elzabeth is currently dying on her instagram at @elizabethpawle
AtticSpinDye Sock yarn Mini's set
Best sock yarn mini's
Self-striping yarns are great, but sometimes you want a bit more control over where the colour changes take place (this is especially so with crochet, as most self-striping yarns produce different results for knitting and crochet). That's where a mini-skein set comes in handy! Mini-Skeins normally come as 10g or 20g skeins, and these hand-dyed mini skeins from AtticSpinDye come in a range of colour combinations, from bright neons to muted naturals, complimentary variegations to contrasting speckles. There are different types of sets available, such as a 5 pack of 10g mini-skeins which gives you approx 200m, or a 5 pack of 20g mini-skeins giving you approx 425m - so you can pick the type to suit your project (or budget).
Mama Bear Yarns Sock set
Best sock yarn set
This sweet sock yarn set from MammaBearYarns comes with two skeins of yarn - one larger 50g skein for making the majority of the sock, as well as a 20g mini skein for making the heel and toe sections (although there are sets which differ, such as sets with two 50g skeins). This means you can make those classic contrasting sock sections, without needing to buy two different yarns separately! These hand-dyed sock sets come with enough yarn to generally make a pair of adult socks (although this obviously depends on your pattern), and while they're mostly a blend of Merino and Nylon there are some variations in fibres with certain sets. As usual with hand-dyed yarns it's best to hand wash them to preserve the colours.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our pick of the best sock yarns, don’t forget if you need any help with your crochet stitches you can always check out our crochet for beginners guide, and for knitters check out our knitting for beginners guide. And if you’re looking to treat yourself, check out our list of the best crochet hooks or the best knitting needles.
Matt Spiers is a crochet artist and designer who has been overseeing Gathered's crochet articles for over 2 years. He previously worked as Digital Assistant for Simply Crochet magazine and is our in house video editing pro. What started as a hobby a decade ago led to Matt developing a passion (and then a career) with crochet. As well as still regularly writing and designing for Simply Crochet magazine, Matt is a crochet artist in his own right, having displayed and created crochet installations at festivals and fibre events across the UK. You can keep up to date with Matt at @onemancrochet on Instagram.