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23 Dec 2009

Christmas S(t)ockings: extra large socks for the extra tall man

peter jones large striped sock from hj hall

Christmas this year was supposed to be spent somewhere warm, involving a beach and strolling barefoot on warm sands with a cool drink. Assorted reasons forced a change of plan, and the week before Christmas I was hiking in, of all places, Southern Germany. Instead of walking barefoot on warm sands, I was trudging through inches of picturesque but slushy snow. So it was lucky that the town of Baden-Baden had the biggest collection of extra large socks I have seen in a long time.

I realised years ago that size 9-12 socks did not last long on my size 12 feet. But finding large socks, especially pure cotton or wool, is not an easy task. So I was surprised when I was able (with help from a bored sales assistant) to find at least three styles of socks in sizes 12 through 15. Two of these were size 12-15 socks from Marc O'Polo and Tommy Hilfiger in 70% cotton and black or dark blue. Nothing exciting, but good 'all-rounders'.

The others were 'Harvard' socks from Falke, which came in the colours that extra large socks usually do - dull browns, blues and black. Still, they were thick pure cotton socks ideal for the time of year. Falke, a German brand, is one of my favorites for large socks. In particular I find their Firenze fine cotton socks excellent for smart business wear in summer when something cool is called for. Falke are unusual in having pure cotton and wool socks in large sizes; either size 47-48 (UK 11.5-12.5 / US 12.5-13.5) or 47-50 (up to UK 14 / US 15). Their online shop only delivers only to Germany and Austria, but some of their socks are available from Freshpair (US & abroad) or Socksfox (UK & Europe):

Falke are now the producer of the traditional Burlington brand argyle socks, and have recently produced some rather stylish striped socks. These however, seem to be very hard to get hold of in large sizes. A British company specialising in large socks has stepped in here, and HJ Hall provide a range of striped socks for shoe sizes 11-14 named after Peter Jones, an entrepreneur from the UK TV series "Dragon's Den" known for his flamboyant taste in socks. Peter Jones socks are currently available in the UK at High & Mighty.

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