MamaLA: Teenaged Boys In Tall Socks—It’s a Thing

At $15 a pair, these aren’t grandpa’s stockings

This past year, we noticed a trend happening with our tweens and teens. Most noticeably, with tween boys. Socks. Yes, socks. And not just any socks. No, these are not your garden variety, $10 for a bag of five white pair at Target socks. We are talking about Nike Elite 2.0 Basketball Crew socks. At $14-15 a pair, these aren’t called elite for no reason.

At first blush, we were puzzled. We harkened back to the knee sock crazes of the ‘70s and ‘80s (or even grandpa’s black socks pulled up and worn with shorts look). Not a good look or trend. But when we asked Soraya’s daughter Siena, an 11-year-old emerging fashionista, what was trending with kids her age, Nike Elite socks—in an array of colors—were the first thing that came to mind.

Upon delving further into this trend, we were struck by several details. Since most of the wearers we observed were boys, we started thinking about how few ways there are for tween and teen boys to distinguish themselves with style. What do they have to work with? Shorts, pants or jeans, some sort of T-shirt, and shoes. It’s not much when stacked up against the myriad of choices available to girls to convey their individuality. At a time in their development when they are starting to push the boundaries, these boys appear to be expressing their own identities through socks. It’s pretty cool that Nike found a way to speak to them (albeit through their parents wallets). We were impressed to learn that the athletic sock industry grew from $1 billion in mid-2011 to $3 billion last year. It’s no surprise that Nike’s got the lion’s share of that revenue.

Curious, we spoke to some soon to be sixth graders about why they liked Nike Elite socks and here is what Noah Hanes, 11, had to say: “I like the designs, that they are made with padding, that they are perfect for sports, and they are soft and fit easily.”  Cole Drummond, also 11, said, “I like Nike Elite socks because they help me to play Basketball and have Dri Fit technology. I think it is entertaining to get all the different colors and styles.” So there is more to this trend than style alone. In fact, the socks were originally created for the ‘07 U.S. men’s basketball team and were later vetted by Brooklyn Nets guard Deron Williams, who called them “incredible.”  Enough said.

With seven children ranging in age from seven months to sixteen years between them, sisters and bloggers Yasmine Delawari Johnson and Soraya Delawari Dancsecs are experts at parenting in L.A. They take a break from PTA board meetings, cooking, and producing films to blog at CityThink each Thursday.