The Great Soccer Debate: Do socks go above the knee?

Ladies, gents, aspiring soccer players, soccer aficionados, and everyone else, this blog has one aim; to settle the big soccer debate, do socks go above the knee? So read on and find out our opinion on the topic. 

For those who are less familiar with the rules of the beautiful game, we say “opinion on the topic” because there is no rule that states whether the sock can or cannot be above the knee. The only rule stated is: “shin guards – these must be made of a suitable material to provide reasonable protection and covered by the socks” (International Football Association Board (IFAB), n.d.). 

Though we completely respect the IFAB’s (International Football Association Board) rules and regulations, we do think this debate needs to be settled. 

Here’s how we aim to tackle (pun intended) the debate at hand. Let’s discuss various players who have made it onto the pitch, making a big “soccer statement” regarding their socks. 

Exhibit A: Thierry Henry, socks over the knees (every time). 

Thierry Henry ensuring his signature ‘socks over the knee

Many have named Henry as the pioneer of the style (Roche, 2020), and he could be argued to be the individual who brought socks over the knee to the Premier League. Arriving there in 1999, he later revealed that he was bullied and nicknamed “a ballet dancer” when he arrived in the U.K for his choice of sock style. 

Little did he know, soon he’d become a global icon, club legend, and influence many across the globe to follow in his footsteps in the sock over the knee. 

In a recent live chat with fellow premier league player Kevin-Prince Boateng, Henry revealed his inspiration behind the look came from the one and only Sonny Anderson. Anderson arrived in Monaco to play for the team at the same time Henry was a youngster playing there. 

Exhibit B: Neymar, socks (very) high

Neymar JR ensuring his signature ‘socks over the knee’

 No matter the club nor the period of his career, Neymar has always pulled his socks up high (way higher than Henry, may we add). 

Unlike Henry’s confession of the high socks, we don’t actually have any word from the man himself (Neymar) as to why he chooses to wear his socks high! 

We’ll keep our opinions for the debate, however, NSS Sports did write an article claiming the reason behind the long socks is: “probably to appear more elegant and to affirm the status of ''heavy players''.” (NSS Sports, n.d.). As Brazil’s number 2 highest goal scorer of all time and ranked in the top 10 highest-paid athletes since 2018, we’re enticed to agree with them. 

Exhibit C: Jack Grealish (Manchester City’s midfielder, former Aston Villa Captain) 

The man is a little less known on this side of the pond, but he’s stirring things up on the other side. The main reason? His teeny-tiny shin pads and ankle-burner socks. 

Allow us to explain. 

Jack Grealish ensuring the small socks can be seen


There has been much speculation surrounding the player’s choice of shin pads and socks. June this year, Grealish sat down with GQ and finally told the world the truth behind his miniature shin pads and (really) low socks. 

He told GQ that it was something that he had always done (since the age of 15). Apparently, his socks used to always shrink in the wash (classic), thus they’d be worn below his calves. What happened? He played the season of his life and thanked the socks (Maoui, 2021)! 

Let’s settle it then.

Truth be told, how you wear your socks only really comes into play (pun intended) if you have a serious impact on the game. Two heavyweights of the beautiful game wore them over their knees but does that mean that you have to wear it over your socks to be that good? Absolutely not! Take the little magician- Lionel Messi, for example.

Is Messi worried about where his socks are in relation to his legs? Probably not. Next time someone asks you why you’re wearing your socks in a certain manner, you can tell him to “put a sock in it” which means ‘to be quiet’ in British English (you’re welcome!)

So, do low or high socks get a yellow card (or even the dreaded red) in your books? Let us know in the comments below!

Here we have linked you directly to our Soccer Socks range (there’s a pair for everyone). 


NSS Sports, n.d.. Tell me how you wear socks and I'll tell you what player you are. [Online]

Available at:

[Accessed 24 November 2021].

Roche, A. D., 2020. Thierry Henry explains the inspiration behind his iconic socks over knees and gloves look. [Online]

Available at:

[Accessed 24 November 2021].

International Football Association Board (IFAB), n.d.. LAW 4 THE PLAYERS' EQUIPMENT. [Online]

Available at:

[Accessed 24 November 2021].

Maoui, Z., 2021. Jack Grealish on why he's wearing low socks and tiny shin pads at the Euros. [Online]

Available at:

[Accessed 24 November 2021].


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