The fascinating sock market of Japan

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Jean Touitou the founder of A.P.C says that every outfit starts with some nice underwear and some nice socks. Especially men tend to be cheap on both. I personally didn’t care much about the former and the latter for myself until I got some colorful Happy Socks as a present someday. They’re not the best quality socks but made with interesting patterns and are pretty affordable. I liked them and got a little more interested in the whole sock thing. Discovering the Japanese brand White Mountaineering for me a couple of months ago I did what I always like to do when I discover something exciting: I get lost in research. Reddit is always one of my favorite sources even if I’m not an active user it’s just a great source of information. Mostly a pretty honest one where you can get a lot of different opinions without having to crawl through lots of commercial blogs and sponsored posts. Which are the majority when it comes to fashion (or so it seems to me). When people were discussing the White Mountaineering brand everybody seemed to love their socks. In fact most people only seemed to be interested in their socks at all.

And that was the time when I began to dig deeper into the Japanese sock market. There are a lot of quality sock brands out there in Japan. Chup, Anonymous Ism, JS Homestead, Kapital, White Mountaineering just to name a few who’re making amazing products for your feet.

If you’re visiting an Izakaya at night before you go out, you need to take your shoes off. Same goes when you’re visiting someone at home. I even had to take my shoes off in some changing rooms in stores. Considering all this socks are highly visible in Japan and that’s probably the reason why the Japanese sock market has a lot more to offer than Europe. It’s not something you wear solely for comfort anymore.

But now, let’s talk about some Japanese sock brands

chups Japanese socks

Chup – may be one of the more popular sock brands from Japan and definitely is one of the most beloved.  The name is an acronym for “Classical Human’s Universal Peace,” and refers to the sun, the moon and the stars in the sky. Some worldwide retailers specialized in high-end menswear carry it as well, like END or Heaven. Every pair can be seen as a limited edition because only a handful are made each day. Many recommend these for their stunning quality and the classic patterns.

Anonymous Ism – Specialized in creating one of the best socks out there (and most affordable ones among all those in the list) the Japanese brand offers a wide variety of different colors and patterns. What I especially like about this brand is that they’re not too hung up on patterns and make some plain socks as well. Like every brand here in this list Anonymous Ism is using different fabric mix for their socks. Always depends on your tastes but I prefer some Acryl/Polyester mixd into the wool. Gives the socks more longetivity in my opinion and they dry in a heartbeat.

Kapital – When I was first in Japan I thought kapital was just a random hippie store selling some used furniture and stuff – I took a picture of the store because it looked quite interesting from th outside and later learned that Kapital is a Japanese brand specialized in all things Denim. Named after Japan’s denim capital the brand also sports some neat quality socks from time to time. Their whole look is very americana inspired and not exactly m cup of tea. But if you’re into the whole visvim-vibe you might want to give these a shot. Great quality guaranteed.

white mountaineering socks

White Mountaineering – An incredible brand when it comes to highly technical but yet fashionable clothing. I bought myself a couple of items from the brand last October and was very pleased with the quality. They just know how to construct Gore Tex jackets and down vests. Like I already mentioned, White Mountaineering is pretty popular for their socks outside of Japan and that’s for a reason. Don’t forget you nearly pay double if you’re not ordering directly from Japan.

j.s. homestead socks japan

J.S. Homestead – The Journal Standard stores have a variety of own brands (like Beams) and J.S. Homestead is one of them. The line-up includes some pretty well knitted socks which are actually recommended among fashion savvy guys in Japan. And not only for their affordable price.

beamsplus socks
Beams+ – The Japanese fashion powerhouse, legendary not only because of their buyer (and designer of his own line) Motofumi “Poggy” Yogi. I never tried one of their socks but the slogan “walking and relaxing” alone gives them a certain edge over their sock-competitors.

Pictures via SCL / END / Haven

Maybe you have made some experiences with quality socks from Japan yourself or maybe you have some brand suggestions. Always happy to hear from you guys.

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  • Interesting article. I always admired the different types of socks my friends would wear to izakayas. I also always made note that I have never met a Japanese person with holes in their socks, with all the walking that is done over there socks really have to be well made. They seem to obtain that plus doing it in style haha. I really hate socks so I opt toward the noshow booties,I guess you could call them that; which I could hardly find in Japan. My friends would always give me a hard time about my socks being just big enough to cover my toes and heels haha. The quality is really what tempts me on long socks here; I always hated having long socks that have too much material in the toes. I think I will look into getting some white mountaineering socks since I too am a big fan of how well their clothing line is made, better said, crafted.

  • Ying

    Ich komme nicht umhin, hier nochmal zu schreiben… Sorry
    Ich liebe Socken! Wusste allerdings nicht, dass es so viel an Auswahl und Variationen gibt. Gekauft wurden diese, die überall in Tokio zu finden waren (habe Nudelsuppe-, Erdbeermilch-, Shinchansocken und viele andere haha ich konnte nicht wiedersehen) Allerdings gab es nur Einheitsgrössen. Wie teuer waren die Socken in deinem Bericht? Mein Bruder war sehr enttäuscht, dass ich ihm keine geholt habe (waren zu klein) Aber er liebte die von uniqlo :) die haben auch super Socken :3

    Sorry, es ist spät und ich wollte das mal loswerden :D (keine Sorge, ab morgen halte ich mich zurück und schreibe nicht überall einen Roman>. <)
    Liebe Grüße