I try to always keep a pair of over-the-calf socks in my gym bag, and these from Reebok are my favorite. If I’m repeatedly pulling a barbell from the ground (think cleans, deadlifts, and snatches), they save my shins from scrapes and bruises. They provide another layer of insulation during cold winter runs or snowy walks to the gym. And, since rope burns really hurt and I’ve seen guys with permanent scarring, I never attempt rope climbs without them. I’ll even wear them over pants or tights for additional protection.
My favorite pair should probably be in tatters by now, but they’ve held up against gritty workouts and dozens of washings. While Reebok definitely didn’t invent the knee-high athletic sock (there are plenty of cheaper alternatives out there), I find that generic socks lose their elasticity pretty quickly and eventually start to slouch during runs or plyometric moves. These have held their shape over time and still stay in place. And even though they’re made with a poly blend, they’re still breathable in the summer and don’t harbor any funky smells. Whether you’re getting in on the high-sock trend for aesthetic or protective reasons, these are a good place to start. [$23; reebok.com]