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The Ankle vs. Crew Socks Debate

One of 2024’s biggest fashion crazes is The Gen Z and Millennial ankle versus crew socks debate. Learn more about the trend here!

Credit: Edward B. Webber

One of 2024’s most recent fashion debates stems from the divide between Gen Z and Millenials based on their preferred sock height. Essentially, the trend has assigned ankle socks as the Millennial fashion staple and crew socks as belonging to Gen Z.

While some embrace one style over the other, and in turn, the generation attributed to that style, others are on the fence about choosing between them. As with any fashion trend, you must consider what works best for you and your style, but if you are still interested in all the fuss, check out the details on the ankle versus crew socks debate below!

An overview of the ankle versus crew socks trend

It is not news that Gen Z and Millennials can be at odds about style and fashion choices. According to Buzzfeed, ankle socks are a “millennial giveaway,” both at the gym and in everyday fashion. So this new sock debate is yet another fashion staple that has the two generations in disagreement.

Gen Z deems ankle socks to be extremely aging. Yet, when Millennials try to stay “trendy” and wear younger styles, they sometimes receive disapproval.

This video shows that the debate over sock length is not always all or nothing. While the majority tends to stick with their original preferences, not everyone feels that they have to pick a side. Some Gen Zs find ankle socks fitting on on occasion, and some Millennials think that crew socks look better with certain outfits.

An article from Lad Bible discusses the divide between generations over the clothing items that supposedly show your age or do not. The article notes how most of us do not think twice about our sock choices. We typically choose socks based on our outfits and shoes and how they match both. However, with this trend, practicality is not the focus. By stating that a specific style belongs to a certain generation, the focus shifts to fashion stereotypes for each group.

The videos below show a variety of viewpoints on the debate.

The debate continues via TikTok

TikTok, a hub of trend-related content, has witnessed significant participation from both Millennials and Gen Z. The trend and its debate have not only been a source of discussion but have also produced a wave of humor, with a mixed range of videos being shared among a broad audience.

These users’ videos are perfect examples of poking fun at the fashion back-and-forth between the two generations:


The feeling you get as a millenial when you put on a pair of crew socks instead of ankle socks #millennial #millenialvsgenz

♬ Am I Too Old To Be Here – Max

The two videos show Millennials attempting to keep up with Gen Z style in a funny way.

This user’s video is reminiscent of the days when only one style was popular, and they did whatever had to be done to wear that style:


Gen z’s will never understand the discomfort of our millennial DIY ankle socks and how many blisters we were constantly left with #millennialsoftiktok #millenialvsgenz #crewsocks #anklesocks

♬ Dilemma – Nelly

This video shows why some Millennials might be opposed to the idea of crew socks, because they were not promoted as much then as they are now.

One Gen Z user’s video explained that the trend is not one hundred percent accurate since they still wear both sock styles:

As mentioned previously, both Millennial and Gen Z individuals have expressed that they do not have one style they prefer over the other but rather incorporate both into their wardrobe, so the trend is not completely definitive.

This user offers some history on Millennials’ experience with ankle socks:

The trend conveys that Millennials and Gen Z have differing views about each other’s style choices; however, this video offers context on why that might be. Since the generations grew up with different advertisements, they have different ideas of what looks best.

Lastly, this user expressed some practical concerns that come into play when debating which sock is best:


Sock tan lines are a betch to get rid of, ngl . . . . . *this is a joke, Gen-Zers. wear your crew socks all you want, don’t @ me #genzfashion #millennialfashion #noshowsocks #crewsocks #mensfashionblogger

♬ original sound – Danielle Aubin, LCSW 🍉

Especially for those who like to be outdoors, sock tans can be a concern when it comes to choosing between ankle and crew socks!

The compilation of TikTok videos represents how the trend has sparked considerable debate about people’s sock choices. Some have pointed out the ridiculousness of focusing on socks as an age-defining attribute, while others defend their style choices to the end.

Are you team ankle or team crew socks?

The fast-paced nature of fashion trends offers an intriguing glimpse into the unique preferences and style inclinations of different groups. As this trend shows, it is easy laugh at how extreme these fashion trends can be.

Overall, the trend seems to have mixed reviews. Some are willing to see the opposing view and try a new style, but others refuse to give up their well-loved and familiar looks. Even if people try to claim a particular style for a particular generation, there is still individuality in fashion choices, and everyone will wear what they feel is best. No matter where you fall on the ankle versus crew socks debate, it has certainly made for an interesting topic to consider, as well as a fun array of videos on social media!

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I am a senior English Major at the University of North Alabama. I am minoring in Creative Writing as well. I have a passion for writing and I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to write with TRILL!

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