American English term for socks that don't show

theartichoke

Senior Member
English - Canada
Hello all,

There's a debate on the Italian-English forum about what these are called in English: http://www.ebay.com/itm/WOMENS-BOND...LADIES-STOCKING-SOCKS-SOCKETTES-/221299321692

The British English term seems to be "invisible socks," but we're trying to reach a consensus on what American English speakers call them. I personally would say "footlets," but I'm not sure how widespread that is. (And if there are BE speakers who disagree with "invisible socks," feel free to chime in:)).
 
  • cyberpedant

    Senior Member
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    They're called "footlets" on the page you've cited and although I've not seen that word before, I'd have to accept it. "Invisible socks" is too long a phrase for advertising copy. ;)
     

    Mahantongo

    Senior Member
    English (U.S.)
    Fifty years ago, I remember hearing my mother refer to them as "peds". I don't know whether that was a brand name that she was using generically.
     

    theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    Footlets is precisely what they are in the US today. See this Google page for many sources.

    I was thinking the same thing, but if you look closely at the hits on that page, you'll see that most of the pages are from the UK and Australia. A search on "sockettes" produces the same thing: Australia, the UK, New Zealand, and an ad from the Canadian Hudson's Bay store. Is it the same thing for you, Parla, when you do the search using a computer located in the US?

    A search on "footies," on the other hand, brings up US shops and sites, so maybe Kate's term is the more common one?
     

    MuttQuad

    Senior Member
    English - AmE
    Fifty years ago, I remember hearing my mother refer to them as "peds". I don't know whether that was a brand name that she was using generically.

    Peds were/are sheer disposable abbreviated socks used when trying on shoes for sanitary reasons if the prospective customer has no socks of his/her own on.
     

    JustKate

    Senior Member
    Peds were/are sheer disposable abbreviated socks used when trying on shoes for sanitary reasons if the prospective customer has no socks of his/her own on.
    Not to my mother, and apparently not to Mahantongo's mother either. Peds was (and maybe still is - I'll have to ask her) my mother's word for things that looked exactly like this.
     

    theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    Not to my mother, and apparently not to Mahantongo's mother either. Peds was (and maybe still is - I'll have to ask her) my mother's word for things that looked exactly like this.

    "Peds" seems to be the name of a hosiery company, so I'm guessing you're right about it being a brand name your mother was using generically.

    "No-show socks" sound to me like socks that never arrived, and almost as funny as "invisible socks.":D
     

    Language Hound

    Senior Member
    American English
    "Peds" is (was?) a term used in American shoe stores much like Kleenex, i.e, a brand name used as a generic trademark.
    That's the word that popped into my mind as soon as I read the thread title.
    The image of the light-colored ones that can be seen by clicking on the link in post #1 are just what I remember "peds" to be.
    I never saw a need to actually own any.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    According to my resident expert, these are 'shoe-liners'. She dismissed 'invisible socks'. I didn't dare ask her if they were ankle socks because we all know what those are and I didn't want to appear more of an idiot than I did already.
     

    Language Hound

    Senior Member
    American English
    "Shoe liners" to me are not socks but rather these (see image below), which are described as
    "wool blend shoe liners. Absorbent non-woven fabric keeps feet dry and eliminates embarrassing smacking sounds. Simply trim to fit the size of your shoe and peel off the backing. Adhesive adheres to your shoes without leaving a sticky residue. Each step will feel like you're walking on soft carpet."
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    "Shoe liners" to me are not socks but rather these (see image below), which are described as
    "wool blend shoe liners. Absorbent non-woven fabric keeps feet dry and eliminates embarrassing smacking sounds. Simply trim to fit the size of your shoe and peel off the backing. Adhesive adheres to your shoes without leaving a sticky residue. Each step will feel like you're walking on soft carpet."
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    I'd call them "insoles"...
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    She just popped in to say they are also called 'sockettes'.
    Language Hound's picture shows insoles.
    ... as Paulfromitaly managed to post just before I got there.
     

    Language Hound

    Senior Member
    American English
    I'd call them "insoles" as well.
    My point was that if someone used the term "shoe liners," I would think "insoles" not socks.

    EDITED to add: "Shoe liner" is used informally in AE to refer to "insoles" (apparently some people must think "insoles" sounds too technical!).
    It is also apparently used even by some American footwear companies to refer to their insoles.
     

    wildan1

    Moderando ma non troppo (French-English, CC Mod)
    English - USA
    The OP's question was about AE terms, so here is the distinction I make (others may not):

    Insoles are already in the shoes when you buy them.

    Shoe liners are an extra layer you can purchase and add into the shoes--often for more cushion to the sole, or if treated with special ingredients, possibly to eliminate foot odor. (The commercial brand in the US for the latter is called "Odor-Eaters".)
     

    Language Hound

    Senior Member
    American English
    Shoe liners are an extra layer you can purchase and add into the shoes--often for more cushion to the sole, or if treated with special ingredients, possibly to eliminate foot odor. (The commercial brand in the US for the latter is called "Odor-Eaters".)
    They can be an extra layer, yes, especially when they serve to help eliminate foot odor or provide extra cushioning.
    However, my experience is that, "shoe liners" is used not only to refer to something you can buy to place on top of the existing insoles
    but also to personal insoles you use to replace the insoles the shoes came with.

    Most of the shoes I buy in the U.S., especially athletic and casual shoes, come with removeable insoles. This allows you to remove the insoles the shoes came with and replace them with your own personal insoles or shoe liners or shoe inserts or even orthotics. Again, in my experience, "shoe liners" is often used interchangeably with "shoe insoles" when referring to the ones you buy separately to replace the removeable insoles in your shoes.
    And here is an example from a commercial website of what I would call (odor-eating) shoe liners being called insoles (highlighting theirs, not mine):
    Finally X X [brand name] are here! These chic, absorbent open shoe insoles - in both a suede insole - "Suede Softness" and a wool insole - "Ultra Absorbent"- stop sweaty feet from being the cute summer sandal killer. These chic fabric strips are pure heaven!...These innersoles are easy to use. Just peel and stick; instantly you'll give new, long life to your open shoes-to help sweaty feet. There's no need to purchase different sizes- in either the wool style insoles or the suede shoe inserts, one size fits all.

    To return to the question of what to call the socks in AE, I just found a picture quite similar to the OP's picture of the item in question.
    It's on an American department store's website. The socks are referred to as "cotton liner socks."
     

    MuttQuad

    Senior Member
    English - AmE
    "Peds" is (was?) a term used in American shoe stores much like Kleenex, i.e, a brand name used as a generic trademark.
    That's the word that popped into my mind as soon as I read the thread title.
    The image of the light-colored ones that can be seen by clicking on the link in post #1 are just what I remember "peds" to be.
    I never saw a need to actually own any.

    They were not usually purchased by consumers but generally offered (or required) for customers' use by the shoe stores. Those were definitely disposables.
     

    MuttQuad

    Senior Member
    English - AmE
    Not to my mother, and apparently not to Mahantongo's mother either. Peds was (and maybe still is - I'll have to ask her) my mother's word for things that looked exactly like this.

    Maybe it's a regional thing, but I remember -- from many shopping trips with my mother -- that they were supplied by the shoe store, were always "flesh"color and were disposable. Mostly for women, as in those days men almost always wore socks when going to try on shoes.

    Of course, what I remember dates back well over a half-century.
     

    Mrs JJJ

    Senior Member
    USA
    English (British)
    Many American footwear companies and stores call them "no-show socks."

    That's what I see on displays of them in the stores in my part of California. I also entered it as a search term on the web sites of two national clothing stores and that brought up lots of examples of them.

    I think no-show socks are the sort of thing that people wear with sneakers (BE trainers). I also have a pair of things that have "Sheer liners" on the packet label. They are more like the things that MuttQuad recalls, which women sometimes use for trying on shoes. Mine are designed for wearing with more dressy shoes - high heels, for example - to make them more comfortable, now that few women wear pantyhose (BE tights). They are smaller and cover only the ends of the toes, not the bit of my foot that's on the top and between my toes and my ankle. Some are thicker than the material used for pantyhose (BE tights) and some are almost as thin. (I don't find them helpful, which is why the pair I have is still in its original packet!)

    When searching for such vocabulary in other languages, I have often found it helpful to use store web sites. To find the web sites, I sometimes use a relevant word I DO know in the language, together with the currency symbol for the language. (And I often use Google's "Advanced Search" feature, to bring up results only from a specific country.)

    So if I'd been looking for this word, I'd probably have started by entering this in the search box: socks +$. Then I'd have noticed that not all the sites were US-based :) and would have used Google's Advanced Search feature, to limit the results to US-based web sites.
     
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    Mrs JJJ

    Senior Member
    USA
    English (British)
    I don't see a rule stating that it is not permissible to mention specific stores, But just in case it isn't, I'm using a separate message for this.

    Two very well-known national clothing stores in the USA are Macy's and Kohl's. Searches using their names should quickly lead you to their web sites, where you'll be able to browse the various departments, in search of new clothing vocabulary. :)
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I am reliably informed by an expert that the footwear displayed in london calling's post (#27) are 'trainer socks'.
    Ankle socks are at least an inch higher and should cover your ankle.
     

    fiercediva

    Senior Member
    American English
    Maybe it's a regional thing, but I remember -- from many shopping trips with my mother -- that they were supplied by the shoe store, were always "flesh"color and were disposable. Mostly for women, as in those days men almost always wore socks when going to try on shoes.

    Of course, what I remember dates back well over a half-century.

    They still use these in womens' shoe stores, but they are not real "peds". They are usually hacked-up pantyhose and knee-high nylon stockings - the feet are cut off to be repurposed as protection for trying on shoes. Peds are sewn to a pattern to cover toes and heel to avoid blisters when wearing low-cut womens' shoes and they are always nylon/lycra or cotton, sometimes with pads on the balls of the foot. The socks the OP asked about are the low-cut ones that one could wear with sneakers and shoes - peds would be too flimsy for that.
     

    Copperknickers

    Senior Member
    Scotland - Scots and English
    Ankle socks (photo) are different from invisible socks/trainer liners, in my view:

    Champion-Womens-White-Performance-Ankle-Socks-Pack-of-6-L14112806.jpg

    If you say so. In fairness, I am not an expert on socks, I have worn odd socks for the past 6 years so I probably shouldn't be considered any kind of an authority on them.
     

    Hildy1

    Senior Member
    English - US and Canada
    I agree with Parla: footlets they are. That word was used when I was a child, and it appears from Parla's link that it is still used frequently today.
     

    duvija

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Uruguay
    As a wearer of Peds (brand name) they are called 'footies' around here.
    And no, they aren't disposable. Those are not the ones you get at shoe stores, which are basically little tubes with one seam on the toes. The footies/peds are shaped for toes and heels.
     
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