Newcomers to the amazing world of shooting can sometimes feel overwhelmed at the sheer number of things to learn about. Not only do you have an array of disciplines (and sub-disciplines) to choose from but on top of that, you must learn about safety, equipment, shotguns and then how to hit a few clays along the way! And your hunting gear should be planned well in advance for maximum comfort. Shooting socks are not to be forgotten.
In this guide, we’ll be addressing that last bit – how to choose the best shooting sock and how to wear your shooting socks for style and comfort. Lots of information will be shared about how to properly choose your pair of shooting sock according to your budget in mind.
How do you choose your shooting socks
For some people, comfort is of prime importance when selecting their shooting socks. If you’re spending all day out on the shooting field or grouse moor you need to be sure that your shooting socks are warm and comfortable.
However, for others, perhaps style and colour is of paramount importance. So, the big question then is, what do you co-ordinate shooting socks with? Should the colour of your socks match your shooting jacket or breeks? Or perhaps you should co-ordinate your shooting socks with your shooting tie? Shooting socks are now available in an array of colours. You can choose a simple plain pair of shooting socks, or shooting socks with a contrasting stripe, shooting socks with a pheasant emblem or, if you prefer, shooting socks with a vibrant pattern at the top.
Once you’ve resolved the question of which shooting socks to choose, you then move on to garters or flashes for your shooting socks. To wear or not to wear? They certainly add a finishing touch to your shooting outfit. Some people prefer flashes which simply thread on to an elastic garter. Others choose the more traditional garter which is wrapped once around the shooting sock to hold it in place, then tied with a square knot. The two ends of the garter then dangle below the top of the shooting sock. Generally, the top of the shooting sock is worn so that it overlaps the bottom of the breeks. This again is a matter of choice as some like to wear their breeks over the top of their shooting socks.
Patrick Galbraith, editor of Shooting Times commented: “‘The proper way of wearing shooting socks? For years I wore mine underneath my breeks until an old farmer in Shropshire took me aside and told me ‘it really wasn’t acceptable’ – for the most part, though, I’m just happy to find a matching pair.”
“So the proper way is with your socks over your breeks and with your garter then over the sock and the strap / buckle of your breeks. You then fold the top of the sock down over the garter which cover the bow and leaves the tassels showing a little bit. This is the only way.
“My tip is to get breeks that are long so that when you bend your knee when going over fences etc the breeks don’t pull away from your socks and show your legs. Obviously wrong. If the breeks are long then when you bend the knee it takes up the slack of the breeks that are dropping down around the knee. This is the correct way.”
Editor of Sporting Gun Matthew Clark advises: “I always wear mine over the cuffs of my breeks. I feel it looks smarter. My favourite pair of socks are the compression socks from Harkila because they reduce leg fatigue and look very smart. You don’t get the Nora Batty wrinkles at the ankles with these socks. Sadly they are no longer available. I would say always invest in a good pair of socks because they are part of the “comfort system” of your boots. It’s amazing the difference a quality pair of socks can make to the comfort of your feet.”
Countryside Alliance chief executive Tim Bonner comments that he wears his shooting socks: “Under my trousers. Breeks are strange garments which serve no useful purpose other than to drive sales of long, brightly coloured, expensive socks!”
If you have opted to wear breeks rather than trousers, then you will need to invest in a pair of shooting socks.
Your best bet is to also wear them with a pair of garters to stop them slipping down.
If you are new to the concept of garters, they are to be tied around the leg towards the top of the sock so that the sock can then be folded over the garter to only expose the tassels at the bottom.
Shooting socks are great for adding a splash of colour to your shooting outfit.
Our selection of shooting socks can be found here