On of the great things about the NFL is that there is a lot of room for creativity. Even if you don’t like what the new NFL uniforms have given us, we can all agree that the designs are creative. But as we have seen over the years, there is one element of the design that appears to be fading away. And it’s a shame too because it is a distinct part of the NFL’s history.
Whatever happened to stripes on socks?
In today’s NFL, the design of socks, for the most part is pretty boring. Teams usually stick with one solid color and leave it at that. In fact, teams that used to have stripes on their socks have since opted to go with a solid color. Even teams that haven’t made any major changes to their team uniform design have opted to go with the solid sock.
So what’s the future look like for the NFL? As the Rams and Browns are expected to make uniform changes for next season, could they continue the trend? Let’s take a look at the current state of the NFL’s hosiery situation.
Teams that feature striped socks for both their home and road uniforms:
Teams that feature one singular stripe as a divider of color:
Teams that feature striped socks on one of their sets:
Only four NFL teams have fully embraced stripes on their socks whereas four others only see it fit for half of their set. The single stripe seems like a cop out of fully embracing the striped identity.
Regardless, it’s a shame that he striped socks are fading away. Of the five new uniforms that Nike has overhauled since taking over in 2012, only the Dolphins (road) design features a non-solid sock. Instead it’s just two solid colors and it was only worn once twice last year since it is only paired with their aqua pants. I doubt it will be a mainstay of their featured look.
What we have in the NFL is players opting to wear leggings instead of socks. The crackdown on it stemmed when players started to wear bicycle shorts for their pants. This forced the NFL to enforce knee pads for all players. But the only reason why players opted for the leggings is because socks were one solid color. It was easy to wear a solid color legging versus leggings that had to feature stripes.
And with the solid socks in the NFL, we get a leotard look that is very unpleasant to look at. Teams like the Saints, Ravens and Browns pair their stripeless pants with their stripeless socks, giving us a very visually unpleasing design.
Out of the 20 NFL teams that I did not list, 17 of them used to wear striped socks but now wear solid socks. There are only three team (Jaguars, Panthers, Texans) that have never had striped socks in their history.
But as the teams are moving forward with new innovative designs to their uniform, you have to wonder if these designs will continue the trend of solid socks. I would like to think so but as you can see, it’s started to lessen as the years go by. There may be a chance that a classic team like the Browns or Rams could make it a full-time look with their supposed new designs. But if the recent trend is any indication, we might be lucky to see them even consider it.