Skip to Content
The Pitch is Ours is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Read more

Why Do Soccer Players Cut Their Socks? 4 Main Reason

Why Do Soccer Players Cut Their Socks? 4 Main Reason

Soccer players are known for starting strange trends—from wrapping tapes around their wrists to wearing bras.

Interestingly, most soccer fans copy these trends because they look cool without knowing the real reason behind these trends. One of such trends is soccer players cutting their socks.

About a decade ago, the practice of players cutting their socks was not in existence. From a spectators’ point of view, ripping holes in new kits is simply absurd. Why not simply dash the socks out to some college soccer kid who would be more than happy to wear them as they are.

19 PRO Hacks Tested ⚽ Soccer Player's Tricks

While the practice of cutting holes in socks is still practiced by a handful of players, it’s obvious that they must have a strong reason for doing so. They can’t possibly be lunatics, are they?

Soccer players cut different areas of their socks and they are all symbolic. Today, we are going to take a deep dive to tell you all the reasons why soccer players cut their socks.

adidas Rivalry Soccer Socks (2-Pair), Black/White, X-Small
  • Moisture-wicking yarn keeps your feet cool and dry.
  • Arch and ankle compression for added stability.
  • Cushioned foot provides protection from impact. Smooth flat-knit leg

Last update on 2023-11-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Why do soccer players cut their socks?

Soccer jerseys have evolved over the past decade. Soccer kit manufacturers like Nike are making jerseys that are more form-fitting using DRI-FIT technology that helps to keep players drier so that they can keep playing for longer periods without feeling burnt out.

Soccer socks are no exemptions. They have become tighter and more form-fitting too—although the material has remained fairly the same. When some of the socks become wet, they can make the player’s foot become slippery.

Most soccer players cut their socks to make them more comfortable but there are other reasons too. Interestingly, since soccer players wear a new kit for every game, they will have to perform this ritual week-in, week-out.

a soccer player is taking pictures with the new kit

Below are the major reasons why soccer players cut their socks and the pros and cons of doing so.

1. To improve grip

Soccer players must appear on the pitch fully kitted in the kits handed to them. They are not allowed to replace the kit with a custom-made alternative—not even the socks. Sadly, the socks that mostly come with soccer kits tend to become slippery when they are wet.

To overcome the restrictions, soccer players often resort to wearing double socks. The player will first wear a pair of socks with grippy bottoms (which usually rest just above the ankle or mid-shin) on the inside and wear the one provided by their kit manufacturer on the outside.

a soccer player in the yellows is kicking the ball

Then, they cut the bottom of their kit socks to expose a large part of their grippy inner socks. They can now enjoy the improved grip of their inner socks in their boots. This helps them to maintain their balance throughout the game.

On the downside, cutting holes on the toe of your socks creates an uneven feel which can make the player less comfortable—especially if they are doing it for the first time.

Try wearing a pair of socks with a gaping cut on the toe area and you will understand the level of discomfort that comes with it.

The foot with the sock that is torn is blocking a ball

2. For sponsorship purpose

While some soccer players cut their socks to improve performance, others simply do it for sponsorship reasons. Soccer brings thousands of fans together and kit manufacturers tend to seize these opportunities to advertise their products.

Socks makers often pay players to advertise their products. However, since soccer players are not allowed to openly advertise products on the soccer pitch (besides their official sponsors), they wear the sponsored socks on the inside and strategically cut holes on the outer socks to expose the inner brand.

Why do pro footballers wear their socks like this?

In this case, the soccer player will cross their fingers that one of the numerous cameras in the stadium will capture the brand logo on the inner socks and create a buzz around it—and they mostly do. Players can get into trouble for wearing a kit from a brand that is not their official sponsor. However, for the right amount, some players are always willing to take the risk.

England was fined £53,000 by FIFA after Dele Alli, Raheem Sterling, and Eric Dier were caught wearing TruSox. The players cut their official kit to wear the gear that stops their feet from slipping in the boots. FIFA called it “ambush marketing” because Adidas was the only official partner of FIFA.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup: Nike And Adidas Face Off

3. Improve comfort and fittingness

Modern soccer socks are usually very tight and some soccer players have really huge calf muscles. Therefore, when they wear the socks, they are so tight that they press on the calves and make them uncomfortable. 

In some cases, it feels like the socks are cutting blood circulation to their legs and this can increase the risk of injuries like contractures.

Therefore, some soccer players cut holes on their socks (mostly at the back) to relieve tension in the calves. This prevents pain in the latter periods of the game.

some players with tight calves standing on the field

Also, it prevents the players from experiencing muscle cramps or fatigue that occur when there is a shortage of oxygen supply to the muscles.

England national team and Manchester City defender Kyle Walker is often spotted wearing ripped socks. Other soccer players that have been spotted wearing socks with cuts are West Ham defender Arthur Masuaku and England and Watford defender Danny Rose.

During hot seasons, cutting holes in the socks improves air circulation and allows the players to stay cooler throughout the entire game. However, for players that are not wearing double socks, it exposes their skin to bruising and infection as they come in contact with other players.

Danny Rose had holes in his socks for a very good reason as England took on Belgium at World

4. Just another weird trend

Soccer players are known for creating and following trends. For example, Paul Pogba has become an inspiration for other soccer players and fans when it comes to haircuts. Likewise, the cutting of holes in socks started and spread.

Surprisingly, there is no scientific study to back the claim that cutting the holes on soccer socks helps to relieve pressure. After some players (including Welsh international Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale) realized that the practice is nothing but a placebo, he stopped punching holes in his socks.

What is the penalty for cutting holes in socks?

adidas Copa Zone Cushion 4 Soccer Socks for Boys, Girls, Men and Women (1-Pair), Argentina Blue/White, X-Small
  • This product is made with recycled content as part of our ambition to end plastic waste.
  • Moisture-wicking yarn keeps your feet dry from sweat.
  • Classic 3-stripe finish at the welt and a centerfront badge of sport logo.

Last update on 2023-11-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Association football Governing body, FIFA, frowns at the practice of players cutting holes in their socks—especially to wear products that are not from official partners of the association. FIFA has fined a couple of players and threatened others for this practice.

Also, referees are beginning to clamp down on players that cut their socks. For example, Ezequiel Garay, a Valencia player was told by the referee to change his ripped socks to a clean pair before he was allowed to feature in a game.

Top 5 football sock life hacks


While some players openly cut their socks or wear socks from other brands to enhance their performance, there are others who choose to play it safe. For the latter, they cut their socks, wear the desired pair of socks that is the same color as the team socks, and cover it up with sock tape.

While some of the reasons why soccer players cut their socks appear to be unscientific, soccer is often a psychological game. Soccer players need to feel good about their appearance to give their best. Whatever it takes to get soccer players to perform optimally is always welcomed by the team and coaches—even if it is a placebo.