More than hoodies, bomber jackets, or pieced-together blue jeans, perhaps the most unlikely item Vetements has managed to elevate to designer-price-tag level in recent seasons is the lowly tube sock. For Fall 2016, the brand sent out stretchy, athletic-sock-inspired boots resting atop Bic-lighter heels—inspiring legions of copycats in the process, despite not actually negating the need for, you know, actual socks.
Vetements’ was a very literal interpretation, but elsewhere, the trend is more about silhouette than anything else: Some of the buzziest styles this season are slightly longer than your typical bootie, hitting around the lower calf, and fitted around the ankle, mimicking the stretch and slouch of a sock.
You’ll find versions in leather, suede, cable-knit wool, and metallic jersey—though personally, I’m partial to the latter, in part because I’m currently wearing Zara’s silver version and they’re as disco-sparkly as I ever dreamed. While Chelsea boots aren’t going anywhere, this new trend has a few distinct advantages: For one, the longer shaft is ideal for pairing with cropped pants, extending the life of your new kick-flare jeans or wool culottes well into winter. Also, the slim-fit style is a feminine alternative to boots with buckles or laces, easily balancing out a chunkier (read: more comfortable) heel. The same concept can be applied to over-the-knee styles, too, subbing in for tights on chillier days.
In the gallery, shop 15 of the best sock boots to buy now, at prices ranging from under-$60 to $2,000-plus.