Top designer sock sneakers; from Balenciaga to Nike and Adidas (+ lots of affordable alternatives)
Sock sneakers are an unusual breed of shoes, at least when compared to classic kicks.
With a stretch-knit, breathable fabric, sock sneakers are a hybrid shoe made – as the name suggests – to resemble a sock.
The look existed before, but when Balenciaga launched its version of sock sneaker in 2016, the style achieved a cult-like following fast.
A curiosity ten years ago, nowadays, sock sneakers are everywhere.
You see them on Instagram assorted by social media influencers with techwear brands to create a sophisticated look.
You see them on the front row at runways in London, NYC, and Paris, worn by celebrities and designers alike.
And even on top chart songs, as it was the case of Cardi B wearing Balenciaga’s chunky Triple-S in her song “I Like It.”
While fit sneaker silhouettes like Balenciaga’s Speed Trainer and Adidas NMD City Sock are highly recognizable and desirable, Nike and Reebok recover ground fast.
Launching knitted textiles shoes that compete with Balenciaga and Vetements, the number of brands making sock-like sneakers is on the rise.
Best Sock Sneakers Of 2021
In this article, I’ve curated the top 27 best sock sneakers you can buy right now.
I’ve selected these sock sneakers for their quality, look, comfort, and price, making sure I create an offering large enough for all tastes and budgets.
One more thing; with the advent of Flyknit, Primeknit, and other sustainable fashion materials, most sneaker kicks on my list are cruelty-free and eco-friendly as well.
Without further ado, these are the best 27 sock sneakers right now, in 2021 (ordered by price).
Sock-Style High Top Sneakers
Swap out your high-steppers for sock-like sneakers that feel like thick, cozy socks but with a sole.
With insoles made with ‘Starfit’ technology – a flexible technical polyurethane foam designed to offer greater comfort, these sneakers have a sock-effect elastic upper and a back pull tab.
An excellent price for a very versatile pair of sock sneakers comes in several colors to choose from.
Sock-Style High Top Sneakers (Black)
These high-top hybrid sock sneakers from Zara remind me somehow of the 5-Honor Sneaker from Sketchers.
Most likely is the price, as I’ve always considered Gowalk 5 Honor slip-on sneaker for women an ugly style, while these lightweight sneakers from Zara look great.
Anyway, these sock boots are made from a shimmery stretch upper fabric combined with other materials at the back and toe.
The sole offers ‘cushy comfort,’ and it has a contrasting color that can be matched with lots of outfits.
To top it up, these kicks come with a breathable walking slip and a back pull tab.
Sock Dart SE Premium Sneakers
The Nike Sock Dart sock sneaker style was originally released in 2004 as light gym workout shoes.
The sock sneaker was one of the first Nike shoes to feature knit uppers, and buyers’ opinions were split at the time.
However, Sock Dart returned in late 2014, and it’s been one of Nike’s most demanded sock sneakers ever since.
The new Nike Sock Dart SE Premium comes with top quality sock-like textile upper for extra cooling, complementing lightweight and comfortable foam cushioning.
Nike Sock Dart SE Premium is a low-top sock sneaker with a stylish translucent strap over the midfoot, personalized via NikeiD technology.
No wonder the ultra-comfortable and minimalist style of the Nike Sock Dart SE Premium is one of the most admired by sneakerheads.
Sock Runner Sneakers (Black)
RICK OWENS X VEJA
Rick Owens injects his signature style into the ecological sneaker brand Veja.
These low-top sock runner sneakers are crafted from a technical fabrication in a mesh-knit weave, featuring open mesh detail, lace-up fastening, and rubber sole.
Originals NMD C1 Sneakers
An Adidas Originals release, the NMC C1sock sneaker is one of the 2020 Spring / Summer Collection highlights.
The Adidas NMD — short for Nomad — is a popular casual sneaker that combines old design concepts with new technology, notably Boost cushioning and occasional Primeknit uppers.
The NMD Chukka is, as you’d expect, a chukka boot – with red and blue elements, laces, and eyelets kept to a minimum.
Lettie Knit Sock Sneakers
KURT GEIGER LONDON
Sitting atop a chunky sole with multicolored rubber inserts, the Lettie Knit sock sneakers from Kurt Geiger London use rainbow hues to illustrate the unifying values that the label stands for.
The knitted style is perfect for infusing off-duty looks with a sports-luxe appeal, making the pair a versatile addition to your collection.
The Lettie Sock from Kurt Geiger has a cutting-edge design and features a black sock-style upper, playful branding, and multicolored accents trimming the outsole.
All in all, this progressive knit sock sneaker style sends the chunky-profile trainer in a fresh new direction.
Sock Run R Print Sneakers
Reebok capitalizes on the sock sneaker craze that’s gripped the world recently with their rare Sock Run.R edition.
These beauties are featuring a knitted style, an ankle length, and a ridged rubber sole.
Take a walk on the wild side with these Run R print Sock sneakers from Reebok.
Dmx Trail Hydrex Marathon Running Sock Sneakers
The Reebok’s DMX Trail Hydrex Marathon sock sneakers feature exposed-seam detailing, round toe, a slip-on style, ankle-length, EVA midsole, and a chunky rubber sole.
The scuba-reminiscent uppers are green neoprene with black rubberized overlays providing an abstract take on Reebok’s Vector logo.
The entire assemblage is rounded up with a leather mudguard, toe cap, and heel reinforcement, while a lugged outsole with hints of yellow finalizes the look.
NMD City Sock Sneakers
ADIDAS X WHITE MOUNTAINEERING
These high-demand rarities come with an innovative and simple design that defines the White Mountaineering x Adidas NMD City Sneaker Sock.
It is also the first-ever three-stripes branding on an NMD City Sock to appear on the black Primeknit upper.
And, to top it up, the tongue and heel tape details are the icing on the cake.
The bootie-like silhouette features a striated black Primeknit upper adorned with three co-branded chevron taped seams.
Turquoise Knot Sock Sneakers
These turquoise Joshua Sanders Bow Detail Sock Sneakers are for the pretty lazy girl who needs to pull up her socks when it comes to the latest sneaker trends.
Crafted from stretchy spandex, they feature a comfortable foam rubber sole, pull-on, and have an oversized bow detailing the front.
Originals NMD_CS2 Primeknit Sneakers
I chose this navy and white cotton Adidas Originals NMD_CS2 Primeknit sneakers featuring a round toe, branded insole, and a rubber sole.
The pair has a super comfortable slip-on style and a pull tab at the rear for extra comfort.
Sock Sneakers (Blue)
Joshua Sanders developed his namesake line of signature skate sneakers as if it were an exercise in reinventing the wheel.
The designer combines the streetwear style of his home base of New York City with the traditional Italian craftsmanship expected of a luxury footwear brand.
Wielding a distinctive repertoire of modifications, from textural anomalies and iridescence to bold graphic prints, these sock sneakers with chunky soles are the perfect example of style and craftsmanship.
MM Logo Sock Sneakers
These are the new MM6 ankle sock-style sneakers from Maison Margiela.
The kicks come in black fabric, featuring the brand’s logo embellishment on the right shoe only.
The design of these breathable sneakers is almond toe, sitting on a solid, chunky rubber sole.
Red(V) Sock-Style High-Top Sneakers
Coming in black mesh, these sock-style sneakers from RED(V) feature mesh slip panels, a two-tone design, a pull tab at the rear, a round toe, and a chunky rubber sole.
Logo Knit Sock Sneakers
These rare Moschino sock sneakers are from the Italian luxury fashion house founded in 1983 by Franco Moschino.
Made in Italy, these knitted sock sneakers from Moschino feature a high-top silhouette, logo on front, and bear-shaped sole.
The bear-shaped sole made the Italian company change the sneaker name to ‘Teddy Shoes High Sock Sneakers’ after initially launching it as ‘Moschino Logo Knit Sock Sneakers.’
Classic Sock Runner Sneakers
VETEMENTS X REEBOK
Designed in collaboration with Reebok, these white Classic Sock Runner sneakers from Vetements offer a balance of form and function.
These shoes are made with stretchy, sock-like knit uppers and set on comfortable gum rubber soles.
Also, coming in two colorways, these black sneakers feature two contrasting red stripes on the ankle with white Vetements branding.
Both sneakers feature a Reebok logo on the sole and a blue ‘LEFT’ and ‘RIGHT’ on each foot, so you’ll never accidentally put them on the wrong shoe again.
Loop Sock Sneakers
Designing from ethically sourced and environmentally-friendly fabrics, Stella McCartney has made sustainable fashion sexy again.
These stylish Stella McCartney sock sneakers with rib-knit finish feature a round toe, a pull tab at the rear, a slip-on style, and a ridged white rubber sole.
From interning at Christian Lacroix at 16 to her role as Chloé’s Creative Director, Stella McCartney made a name for herself in the fashion industry well before launching her brand in 2001.
Since its inception, McCartney has remained dedicated to sustainability and taken an ethically-minded design approach.
She has never used leather, feathers, skin, or fur in her pieces and created some of the most iconic sustainable sneakers.
Raquel Sock Sneakers
Synonymous with fine craftsmanship, Salvatore Ferragamo is an Italian luxury fashion brand that has started its journey as a shoe company.
Made from stretchy fabric that contours the shape of your foot, Salvatore Ferragamo’s sock-style sneakers are far comfier than they look.
Moreover, the iconic Gancini hardware gives these sneakers a sleek touch, and it matches well the gunmetal hardware on your favorite vegan handbag.
High-Rise Loop Sneaker
The emergence of sock sneakers has seen many stylistic repetitions, most of them copying the classic Balenciaga sock sneakers.
Unfortunately, increased consumer demand for comfy AF Sock Sneakers let repetition become complacency, eventually turning into boring sneakers.
But, not with these bulky, oversize retro running-inspired sneakers from Stella, designed to make statements at a glimpse of an eye.
Light Jump Sock Sneakers
Giuseppe Zanotti brings together the expertise of Italian craftsmanship with urban designs.
Presented in crisp white, these Light Jump sneakers offer a new take on the high-top silhouette by showcasing its sock-style design, decorated with a logo patch to the front.
On top of that, the detail and craftsmanship across every inch are flawless, with no thread misplaced or stitching askew.
Speed Pull-On Sneakers
You can never go wrong with the OG of sock sneakers, Balenciaga.
This iteration of the brand’s iconic silhouette is sculpted with a thicker ankle cuff for added comfort and soft memory foam fabric that envelops your foot.
The iconic model comes with a fuss-free pull-on design, almond toe, ankle length, ribbed cuffs, a printed logo, and a thick rubber sole.
XY Knitted Sock Trainers
These black Prada sneakers are designed with a flexible rubber sole and tight, ribbed uppers.
The slip-on sock style is constructed to a mid-height with a pull tab for ease of fit.
So much so that every little step you take is as comfortable as walking around the house in your favorite socks.
Featuring a ridged sole and a lace-up accent, this pair is finished with contrasting branding to the upper.
Above all, this pair is considered by many sneaker experts as an excellent investment.
B-Bold High-top Sneakers
When your attire requires both style and comfort, you get Balmain’s B-Bold sock sneakers with air cushions.
B-bold’s sock-style ankle and bouncy chunky sole ensure you’ll be the center of attention, no matter the event you’re attending.
Logo Sock Sneaker
Apart from the lovely pink color, the Givenchy 3D logo detailed on the cuff of the tall sock knit makes these bad boys stand out from a mile.
Moreover, the ribbed upper comes in an aerodynamic design, mixing nicely with a chunky sole in a faceted and translucent cushioning set.
Fabric Sock Sneakers
Here’s something cool I bet you did not know; F is for the fire emoji.
Well, that’s what your friends will send you when you’re going to drop a picture of your new Fendi sock sneakers in your group chat. And yes, you’re welcome!
Fendi’s SS18 footwear’s Victorian-inspired line continues to impresses with its beautiful cuts, designed for the contemporary woman.
These black stretch fabric sneaker boots are crafted in Italy from metallic yarn and feature a sock-like upper with ribbed edging and horizontal stripes.
The knitted construction sits on a flat but comfy rubber sole, matched with decorative laces.
Chunky Lace-Up Sock Trainers
Designed in a subtle black, these rare Balenciaga Chunky Lace-up sock trainers come complete with a sizeable geometrical rubber sole and soft fabric construction for all-day comfort.
Speed 2.0 Sock-Style Sneakers
Following on the company’s global success with Balenciaga Speed sock lace-up sneakers and Balenciaga Speed sock-style sneakers, the Speed 2.0 takes it up a notch.
Designed with the same Technical 3D knit and sock-style construction as the originals, this iconic pair has been updated with an articulated molded sole, boasting extra flexibility while maintaining its strength.
It is what the experts call “the perfect upgrade.”
For my top 27 best sneaker sock selection, I’ve chosen the Balenciaga Speed.2 Sock-style in bright orange with the logo lettering on the side.
Moreover, these beauties come in some of the most extravagant colors you can imagine, so make sure you choose the one that suits your animal spirit best.
With advents like Nike Flyknit and Adidas Primeknit, kicks are cozier than ever, so get your pair of sock sneakers right now; you won’t regret it a bit.
The market is broad and ripe for any breed of shoe your heart desires: mesh sneakers, metallic sock sneakers, flat sock-style sneakers, floral neoprene sock sneakers – you name it, they have it.
And, with hopes you’ve enjoyed my top 27 best sock sneakers right now, here’s a final word.
In 2020 we saw a return to the early embroidered ankle sock sneakers, but now, in 2021, we see the emergence of abstract print sock sneakers.
If you didn’t know, now you know.
Now it’s your turn…
Which one of these sock sneakers is your favorite and why?
Are there any other sock sneakers you’ve tried and want to add to this list?
Comments below, please!