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The Comeback of Leg Warmer Socks
Leg warmer socks, those colorful knitted tubes that keep calves and shins toasty, have made quite the comeback in recent years.
Originally a staple of 80s fashion, leg warmers enjoyed immense popularity at the time.
However, like all fashion trends, their fame eventually faded.
But thanks to a fresh wave of 80’s nostalgia combined with their practical benefits, leg warmer socks have found themselves back in the spotlight.
What are Leg Warmer Socks?
Leg warmer socks are a type of knitted sock designed to provide warmth to the lower legs, especially the calves and shins.
They function like sleeves for the legs, covering from the ankle up to just below the knee.
Leg warmers are usually made from cozy fabrics like wool, cotton, acrylic or nylon.
Their snug fit around the legs helps trap body heat and keep out cold drafts.
Leg warmer socks come in a wide variety of vibrant colors, textures and prints.
Part of their appeal is that they function as a fun fashion accessory while keeping legs nice and toasty.
Some feature eye-catching patterns or cute pom poms, fringes or bows attached at mid-calf height.
They can really add a dash of colorful flair to an outfit.
Not Just For 80s Workout Gear Anymore
The association between leg warmers and outdated 80’s fashion is understandable.
After all, the brightly-colored, loudly-patterned leg warmers of the 80s perfectly complimented the era’s penchant for neon spandex, leggings and unitards.
However, modern leg warmer socks have left behind garish prints and neon hues for more stylish, elegant options.
While some patterns and embellishments give leg warmers a place in goofy throwback outfits, many newer styles are perfectly fashionable today.
Neutrals like gray, cream and tan are quite popular.
And touches of texture from cables, ribs, knit and braids update their look wonderfully.
No longer reserved for just 80’s aerobics gear, today’s leg warmer socks can be worn just about anywhere.
Why Are Leg Warmer Socks Suddenly Popular Again?
Nostalgia Cycles Bring Back Retro Trends
Like shoulder pads, Stan Smith tennis shoes and mom jeans, leg warmers are just the latest retro trend to experience renewed interest among stylish trend-setters.
The cyclical nature of fashion means that older looks consistently gain appeal again 20 or 30 years later with a modern twist.
Millennials have sparked nostalgia for 90’s and early 00’s style.
Similarly, Gen Z has shown growing fondness for 80’s and 90’s fashion.
Alongside scrunchies and bike shorts, leg warmers have gotten a fresh wave of popularity thanks to youth thirsting after retro trends.
Minimalist Shoes Increase Need For Leg Warmth
In recent years, minimalist shoes offering barely-there coverage with thin soles have become more and more popular.
Brands like Allbirds, Vivobarefoot and Xero Shoes exemplify this trend toward lightweight, flexible footwear.
However, while these shoes provide excellent freedom of movement, they offer very little protection from cold temperatures.
This is where leg warmers come in very handy!
By keeping shins and calves covered and insulated, leg warmers perfectly complement minimalist footwear in chillier weather.
So for those committed to sporting minimalist kicks, leggings, tall boots or warm socks become a necessity during winter months.
cue the comeback of leg warmer socks!
Athleisure Fashion Calls For Multi-Purpose Accessories
As athleisure wear replacing jeans and sweaters as daily casual wear, consumers expect comfort, flexibility and performance from everyday clothing.
Leggings have become acceptable business casual attire.
Yoga pants are worn on errands and evenings out.
Sports bras double as crop tops.
In this context, leg warmer socks make perfect sense.
They seamlessly transition from warming up legs at the gym to adding warmth on the commute to supplementing a cute outfit.
Whatever the activity, leg warmers deliver useless alongside style.
Why Wear Leg Warmer Socks?
Now that we’ve covered why leg warmers are suddenly so on-trend again, let’s explore all the excellent reasons to wear them!
Warmth Without Bulk
Leggings, jeans and pants already add warmth to the legs.
So piling on multiple layers can quickly feel overly bulky and restrictive.
Legs warmers, on the other hand, provide insulation while maintaining a slim, streamlined silhouette.
By hugging the lower legs snugly, they trap warm air close to the skin without adding uncomfortable bulkiness.
Easy On/Off for Fluctuating Temperatures
Erratic temperatures from dashing in and outside can wreak havoc on maintaining comfort.
Rather than constantly removing jackets, sweaters and scarves, leg warmers preserve warmth while allowing quick temperature regulation.
Wearing them pushed down around the ankles easily warms legs back up after venturing out into the cold.
Versatility For Layering Outfits
Leggings with leg warmers tucked into boots combine the sleek lines of slim legs with additional warmth.
Leggings peeking out the top of leg warmer boots add visual interest and textures.
Leg warmers work well with shorter skirts and dresses to bridge the gap of exposed skin between hem and boots.
Opaque black leggings with colorful leg warmers make fun pattern pairing.
As outer or inner wear, leg warmers function well alongside nearly any other leg covering.
Their adaptability offers endless creative layering potential.
Ankle boots or strappy heels showcase leg warmers beautifully.
Whether subtly complementing muted neutrals or boldly contrasting vibrant colors, they becoming striking focal accessories.
Some leg warmers feature colorful patterns, cable knit textures and embellishments that grab attention on their own.
Leggings and tights get hidden underneath shoes for much of the winter.
But leg warmers on full display transform bare legs and feet into canvases to show off playful flair.
Preventing Cold Weather Injuries
When exercising, blood circulates more actively through muscle tissue and away from the skin’s surface.
This effect gets amplified in cold weather, resulting in easier straining or injuring of muscles and joints.
Tension and spasms from post-workout soreness also worsen in the cold.
Leg muscle injuries including shin splints, calf strains and hamstring pulls become increasingly common.
By insulating muscles and improving circulation, leg warmers provide excellent cold weather protection pre-and post-workout.
They also facilitate proper muscle warmups and cool-downs essential for injury prevention.
How to Style Leg Warmer Socks
Now that we’ve covered the many benefits of leg warmer socks, how does one pull them off fashionably?
Which outfits do these leg sleeves pair best with?
And what are some styling do’s and don’ts?
Below are useful leg warmer styling tips and suggested pairings!
Casual Daywear Looks
· Leggings or skinny jeans tucked into boots – Choose leggings or pants in neutral, dark colors.
Add colorful or textured leg warmers layered under or over them.
· Sweater dresses & leggings – Leggings in complementary colors peeking out from under knit sweater dresses.
· Skirts & dresses – Black opaque tights with neutral dresses or midi skirts.
Pop bright or patterned leg warmers on top.
· Oversized sweatshirt & leggings – Tuck leggings into leg warmer socks scrunched halfway up the calf for casual comfort.
· Sports bras or tanks with leggings – Leggings provide coverage during cold weather workouts while leg warmers add warmth.
· Yoga pants & hoodies – Contrast colored leg warmers layered under neutral yoga pants.
Sophisticated Evenings Out
· Mini skirts & dresses – Leg warmers fill the gap of exposed skin between hem and knee-high boots
· Midi skirts – Textured cable knit or solid colored leg warmers with elegant midi skirts and heels
· Jumpsuits – Streamline layered look of jumpsuits and heels with sleek leg warmers
Do’s & Don’ts
ü Do pick leg warmers snug enough to stay up without sliding or sagging
ü Do pair leg warmers thoughtfully with color schemes and proportions in mind
ü Do have fun mixing textures of knits, cables, ribs and patterns
ü Do use them functionally as warmth layers or decoratively as accessories
û Don’t overwhelm an outfit with overly bright, distracting leg warmers
û Don’t let leg warmers bunch up, twist or slip down around ankles
û Don’t overlook their usefulness simply because they seem like a silly trend
û Don’t assume leg warmers work only with certain styles or silhouettes
Where to Buy Leg Warmer Socks
Wondering where to find quality leg warmers socks offering both style and functionality?
Below are some top picks for stores selling the trendiest leg warmer styles this season!
HUE Leg Warmers – Available on Amazon and Zappos, HUE leg warmers come in solids and heathers pairing beautifully with their tights.
Made from cotton, polyester and spandex blends, they offer breathability alongside warmth and stretch.
Sock It To Me Leg Warmers – Funky, eye-catching graphic prints make Sock It To Me leg warmers true statement pieces.
Sold online and in select stores, their diverse colors and patterns complement the brand’s signature sock designs.
Urban Outfitters Leg Warmers – Several UO house brands like Out From Under and Kimchi Blue carry trendy leg warmers every winter.
Their acrylic or nylon construction provides softness and durability.
Forever 21 Leg Warmers – As a mecca fast fashion, Forever 21 stocks very affordable leg warmers in of-the-moment colors and textures like faux fur or thermal knits.
Their accessibility makes experimenting with bolder styles easy.
Nordstrom Zella Leg Warmers – For elevated athletic leg warmers, Zella’s moisture-wicking fabrications excel.
Nordstrom offers a range of their leg warmer socks in both neutral and brighter shades.
Caring for Your Leg Warmer Socks
With proper laundering and storage, your leg warmer socks should provide warmth and comfort for many winters before needing replacement.
Read Sock Labels – Check material labels for specific washing instructions.
Natural fibers like wool often require gentler cleaning methods than synthetic blends.
Wash in Cold Water – Hot water can damage elasticity and cause acrylic or wool socks to felt or shrink.
Use cold water for both the wash and rinse cycles.
Adding a cold water laundry detergent helps remove odors and dirt.
Air Dry – Avoid putting leg warmer socks of any material in the dryer, which can deform their shape over time.
Always allow them to air dry fully before storing.
Fold or Roll Gently – Rather than balling socks up, fold them or roll them gently to prevent creasing which can weaken fabric.
Store smoothed out as best as possible.
Store Properly – Keep leg warmer socks in cool, dry spots away from direct light which can fade colors over time.
Place them flat in shelves or stackable containers vs. crammed into dresser drawers.
Shop Different Styles – Rotate between multiple pairs of leg warmer socks rather than wearing the same one daily.
Allowing them a day or two to fully regain shape between wears extends their durability.
Repair Minor Damage – Mend small holes or runs immediately with matching yarn.
A professional knitter can also re-knit pills or snags in wool leg warmers.
By taking care of your leg warmer socks, you can get enjoyment from them for multiple seasons.
And with so many cozy, stylish designs available, you can always pick up a brand new set or two each winter!
Favorite Leg Warmer Sock Patterns, Textures and Styles
From classic argyle and Nordic designs to zigzags and stripes, leg warmer socks feature countless patterns and motifs.
Certain textures also add beautiful visual and tactile interest.
Here are some of the most beloved styles sure to inspire your winter sock collection.
Argyle – Multi-color diamond argyle patterns epitomize preppy style.
These vary from subtle light-on-dark prints to richly-hued gradients.
Cables – Mimicking the twist of ropes, woven cable motifs add ribbed texture running vertically on knit leg warmers.
Cable socks frequently incorporate earth tones and natural wool.
b – Adopted from traditional Scottish Isle knitting, Fair Isle patterns feature repeating abstract shapes in contrasting colors on a solid background.
Faux Fur – For ultimate cold weather luxury indoors or out, faux fur leg warmers envelop your entire lower leg in plush softness and warmth.
These socks typically consist of acrylic fleece.
Nordic – Nordic winter motifs like snowflakes, reindeer, trees and skiers bring seasonal charm to leg warmers.
These designs tend to utilize traditional red, white, green and navy blue color schemes.
Ribbed – Form-fitting leg warmers often incorporate vertical ribbed bands.
The raised ridges add texture and elastic flexibility to these socks.
Southwestern – Bright geometric patterns inspired by Native American art instantly grab attention.
Diamonds, arrows and zigzags intermix vibrant shades like turquoise, coral and lime green.
Stripes – Whether encircling horizontally or running vertically, stripes represent one of the most common yet chic leg warmer patterns.
Pair different colored stripes together or mix them with argyle or Fair Isle prints.
Textured Knits – From flecks to tweeds formed by varied knit stitches, textured leg warmers add subtle visual depth and tactile variety.
These nicely balance solid colored pieces or busy prints.
With the range of available patterns — from traditional to totally unique — you can amass quite a leg warmer collection to suit any taste or outfit.
Why stick with boring plain socks this winter when your legs can make such a fun style statement?
Get Your Legs Warm and Cozy All Winter Long!
Now that the secrets of leg warmer sock form, function and fashion are yours, it’s time to start shopping!
Build your collection across a spectrum of colors, prints, textures and lengths.
With proper care, these socks last for years of wear for endless winter outfit combinations.
Just think — while others are shivering in plain pants and tights, your legs will stay toasty warm and envy-inducing cute.
So embrace the cold weather in comfort and style with the magic of leg warmer socks!