Crochet socks can be difficult to get just right. After all, it’s a known fact that no two people have the same feet and that most people do not have feet that fit the “standard” sizes given in many crochet sock patterns. For example, patterns for knit or crochet socks will often state general sizes, such as “fits woman’s size medium.” With a little guidance and the right information, it’s easy to make comfortable crochet socks that can be custom-fit to any foot.
Getting the Right Fit with Crochet Socks
When making socks, do not use only the length of the foot to determine the size of crochet sock you will make. A size 9 shoe doesn’t necessarily mean you have a wide foot; you may have a narrow- or medium-width foot. The circumference of your foot and leg should determine the size of the crochet sock you will make.
Using the foot illustration below as a guide, take the foot measurements of the sock recipient. For accuracy, if you are making crochet socks for yourself, have a crochet or knit buddy take your measurements.
Measure the circumference of the foot at A, measuring the widest portion around the heel and arch. Your sock cuff must be able to stretch enough to fit around the foot, heel, arch and ankle.
While the person is standing, measure up from the floor at the heel to the height of the sock leg listed in the pattern (or to the height you want your sock). At this height, measure the circumference of the leg, using this measurement to determine the circumference of the crochet sock leg.
Note: Do not use measurement B for kneesocks. This type of sock is measured differently and is normally shaped to fit the calf.
Measure around the ball of the foot at C to determine the circumference of the foot portion of the sock. This measurement should be about 1/2 inch narrower than the heel/arch measurement (A).
While the person is standing, measure the foot from the back of the heel to the longest toe (D). This will give you an accurate foot length measurement. You will make your crochet sock approximately 3/4 to 1 inch shorter than the actual foot length measurement.
Note: If there is a finished sock length given in your pattern, it should be used as a guide or suggested finished length.
For toe-up crochet socks, while the person is standing, measure the foot from the longest toe to just below and at the midpoint of the ankle (E) to determine when to begin the heel. For the best fit, toe-up socks should be tried on often while being crocheted to ensure a proper foot and heel fit.
Choosing Your Size for Crochet Socks
Final measurements in sock patterns are normally given for the foot circumference of the leg and foot with the narrowest size listed first, and each additional width from medium to the widest width in brackets. Once you have your measurements, pick the leg and foot circumference measurements given in the pattern that fit closest to your measurements. Follow the instructions for that size.
What if the sock recipient isn’t present, or you want your crochet socks to be a surprise? This is where the Pattern Sizing chart comes in. If you do not have the sock recipient present, find out their shoe size, including width. Following the chart for the width size, use the appropriate circumference in the pattern to fit the person’s shoe width. Then, use the chart based on standardized shoe sizing as a guide for the length of the sock.
Regardless of whether you use actual foot measurements or the chart, remember to take into account that crochet socks stretch in both width and length. Your finished sock should be slightly narrower and shorter than your actual foot.
Making Adjustments to Crochet Socks
You may find that your leg is narrower than your foot. Or you might have a wider leg with a narrower foot. To have your socks fit correctly, you would follow the numbers in the pattern that best fit your leg circumference, and then make adjustments to be able to follow the numbers in the pattern that best fit your foot circumference.
Example: Your leg is a medium but your foot measures to the narrow width. Work the leg of the sock to the medium-width numbers; then decrease the gusset down to the narrow size and use those numbers, not the mediumsize numbers. If you are working a short-row heel, once the heel is complete, decrease stitches on the foot section to meet the narrow numbers of the pattern.
If the measurement at point A is more than 1 inch larger than the measurement at point B, you may have to use a wider size for the cuff portion, adding elastic thread to your cuff. When the cuff is completed, evenly space decreases around the base of the cuff until you have the number of stitches required for the leg pattern. After you’ve worked approximately half an inch into the leg, drop the elastic thread.
No matter what size you are making, if possible, try the sock on often to make sure of the fit. Ease or inch the sock up and over the foot. Do not yank or pull the sock on by the cuff. Each time you try the sock on, it will stretch the stitches and your gauge will change. Always squeeze the sock back down into shape and then continue crocheting.
Take time to make a gauge swatch, and do it in the round. The last thing you want is not to meet gauge. Adjust your hook size accordingly to obtain the gauge given in your pattern. If you’re making a 7-inch circumference and your gauge is off, you may end up with socks that fit either a fashion doll or the Big Bird float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade®.
If you have too many stitches per inch, try a larger hook. If there are too few stitches per inch, try a smaller hook. Most crochet sock patterns do not consider rounds per inch important unless there is a special patterning involved.
However, you may still need to adjust your gauge in this area. If your rounds are slightly short, try loosening up your tension; if you are slightly higher in rounds per inch, try tightening up your tension.
By determining the best size to comfortably fit your foot, and then matching gauge to achieve that size, your sock-making experience should be an enjoyable one with an outcome to your liking.
Pattern Sizing for Crochet Socks
The measurements listed in the following charts are based on standardized measurements for men’s and women’s shoe widths and shoe sizes.
Considering Shoe Width
Approximate foot circumference at ball of foot (C on diagram above)