Tennis players have a distinctive look when they are on the court. Throughout time, they are doing everything possible to stay as lightweight and comfortable as possible.
Since tennis is usually played outdoors, it can get very hot. Comfortable clothing is always necessary. It all starts with the feet, and that starts with the socks.
For a good amount of players, the ideal socks would be high, crew cut. Why do tennis players wear these heavier, bulkier options compared to low-cut or no-show socks? These are the seven top reasons why.
1. Skin Coverage
Not every tennis player wants to have skin exposure throughout a match. While it’s inevitable that some parts of the body will get a good amount of sun, more protection is usually better.
Players have occasionally gone beyond wearing just crew-cut socks. Going knee high, like Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the past as an example, can provide good skin coverage as well as make a fashion statement.
Tennis players are constantly checking to see if they have skin cancer or any other serious issues since they’re in the sun for so long. If a doctor recommends wearing a little bit more coverage, higher socks might be the way to go.
2. Clay Control
On clay courts, it’s very easy for loose clay to get inside of a player’s shoes. The last thing anybody wants is to wear around and play with clay moving around the foot.
A little bit will inevitably get inside of a shoe at times, but a higher sock will at least reduce the chances of too much falling in. Wearing short socks on clay courts is asking for clay to slip in.
Tennis style has stuck with longer crew socks for a long time. There are always exceptions to the rules, but nearly every male tennis player wears longer socks. They don’t care about tan lines or if other people think that it’s not as stylish.
On the women’s side, low-cut socks are a little more prominent. Not only does it show off the legs, but it reduces tan lines and looks better with outfits they pick.
Styles always come and go, but it doesn’t seem like tennis is willing to give up the longer sock look. If it’s still stylish, players are still going to wear them.
Clay courts will stain socks quite a bit, but players don’t seem to mind as long as it’s mostly on the outside. It’s pretty easy to see just how bad clay issues could become if not for longer socks.
4. Brand Deals
Just about every professional player has a brand deal with a sportswear company. In exchange for getting free clothes and sometimes getting paid millions of dollars per year, players must have the logo displayed as much as possible.
It does a company no good if a logo is hidden underneath a shoe. That’s why no-show socks would not provide much value for a tennis brand. If they are crew height, there’s an easy place to put the logo.
In most cases, a player’s sponsor for their socks is also the same as their shoes. This puts the logo prominently at the bottom of their feet during matches.
Even at recreational levels, some people are particular about matching their outfits. Wearing Adidas socks with Nike shoes doesn’t always look aesthetically pleasing, so people will invest in similar socks they see pros wear. The most prominent brands make socks that are thick and provide specific padding where tennis players need it most. They can get pretty costly, but they last a long time.
No player wants to mess around with how their entire foot area feels if they’ve grown up wearing high socks. It can be much more comfortable, for the simple fact that there’s no way that the shoe will come in contact with the skin directly.
No-show socks can fit perfectly, but there’s still a chance that a person bends their foot and they start to feel the outside edge of their shoe. It’s not something that any tennis player wants, as repeated rubbing could cause irritation or injury.
For even more coverage around the ankle area, players could wear two pairs of socks. Comfort is always a high priority for players. Thicker socks can provide some of the same value that a brace or cover could with proper protection.
If a player has had success wearing high socks in the past, they are going to stick to it. It’s just one of the many traditions or rituals that tennis players have. Athletes are hesitant to change anything that works for them.
Some players might consider switching up their look or setup if they aren’t playing the way they feel they should. That could mean sock length as well. Whatever works for a player to get over mental hurdles can pay off.
7. Better Shoe Fit
Many tennis players are very particular about the fit of their shoes. It makes sense, since they rely on shoes to be perfect the entire match. Thicker crew socks can make the shoe fit just right.
Some players will wear two pairs of socks so they have an even better fit. It’s all about getting things right and feeling comfortable on the court at all times. When a player finds something that works for them, they aren’t going to go anywhere else.
Will Tennis Crew Socks Ever Go Out of Style?
As long as they are getting the job done, it’s hard to see longer-length socks in tennis go away. Players on the women’s side don’t use them as much, but men seem very pleased with how they function. Brands have even found ways to make them stylish so that’s never a complaint.
When a piece of clothing is functional, looks great, provides protection, and keeps players healthy, there’s very little reason for them to go away. it’s also hard to imagine that anything new would come up out of nowhere and become an option. Look for tennis crew socks to stay in style for the foreseeable future.