My Sock Philosophy

My Sock Philosophy

 I have strong opinions about how to knit socks so they fit.  First of all, I like for socks to have a slight “negative ease”.  Negative ease means the socks will stretch to fit the feet, and that the socks look smaller than the feet when they’re not being worn.   If socks are larger than the feet they’re intended for (called “positive ease”), they’ll be floppy and your shoes will “eat” your socks.  In my experience, socks with negative ease wear longer (or else my family is not hard on socks). 

About heels, the heel encompasses 50% of the leg stitches, and the heel flap should be square before turning, as in the above sock.  If the heel is not long enough (too flattishly rectangular, if you will, instead of square) the leg will begin to sag, and you’ll forever be pulling your socks up, and that’s a pain.  I’ve noticed that the short row heel (the one without a flap, as shown in the entrelac sock below) is not a very deep heel and tends to pull down the back of the sock leg.  Had I been a better photographer, and laid the heel flat, it would look short and insubstantial.  But they’re in my daughter’s dorm room and out of reach for a better photo! 

Also, when I turn a heel, I try to get as many short rows after the heel flap as possible.  It looks more foot-like.  I’ll explain that in the Heel section of my sock patterns

6 thoughts on “My Sock Philosophy

  1. Not to dispute your philosophy, obviously it works for you, but some of us find a 55/45 heel a better fit then 50/50. It would be interesting to a survey of foot measurements and see how different proportions affect the fit.


    1. So are 45% of the stitches for the heel or the instep? I know feet come in many shapes and 50% seems to work for all of us around here. I’ll have to try your 45%/55% on a pair and see what the results are!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Nancy, I have a hard time with the regular 50% heel flap fitting my foot. Even with negative ease, it slips down in my shoe. I am anxious to begin wearing my Insouciant Sock to see how it fits. I think my instep/ankle area is just to big for a 60/62/64 stitch sock. I found with her measurements to fit that i had to increase to 72 stitches at that area. TTYL — Lea-Ann


  3. Hi Nancy, can you tell me the purpose in the last 2 rows of the heel turn….they are all knit. so you….to keep consistency and avoid having a ridge line in the heel turn why would you not purl…purl 2,p1 and then go on to knit the final row.


    1. Just a brief perusal of my patterns (I’m at work), it looks like on the 72-Stitch Sock Pattern, the row that says, “Slip 1st stitch, K18, SSK, K1, turn (0 stitches left)…that should say, “Slip 1st stitch, P18, P2tog, P1, turn (0)
      I hope that helps! I’ll correct it soon. Thanks!


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