The NBA is no stranger to great accessories: Kareem put Rec Specs on the map, headbands have stayed popular for decades, and Allen Iverson introduced sleeves that do nothing. Despite the increasing flashiness of socks made by athletic companies since 2010, the NBA stood pat in its rule that game socks must either be all white or all black. This season, that awful Berlin Wall of a rule came crumbling down when the NBA made Stance the official sock partner of the NBA.
Creating unique designs for 30 NBA teams is a daunting task, but Stance handled it well. Most of these look great on the court with the jerseys, many translate well for the average NBA fan to wear during pickup, and a few are just…interesting. Suit & Nut presents a ranking of all the Stance Core socks from worst to first, based on how well the socks fit with the uniform, if they translate well for fans to wear in public, and uniqueness.
TEAMS 26-30: SOCK ME IN THE FACE.
30. Houston ROCKETS
SUIT: Shitty jerseys warrant shitty socks.
NUT: Nothing says Houston like wavy, pinkish lines. Except maybe anything else.
As mentioned in our jersey rankings last year, the Rockets have the worst jerseys in the NBA, so it’s fitting that they have the worst socks too. Stance cannot be put entirely at fault here, but nothing about these socks is exciting. The thick red bar surrounded by thinner, wavy red lines just looks strange. It would’ve been nice to incorporate the Rockets’ Asian-inspired lettering, or even the exhaust of a rocket ship. But as-is, even the Yao meme face is cooler.
29. Brooklyn NETS
SUIT: Given nothing to work with, Stance at least tried something new
NUT: Very minimal and cleaned out, much like the Nets’ roster.
Black is cool, right? Well…not when it’s the ultimate symbol of an empty void of a franchise. It’s unseen in the picture, but there is a vertical grey stripe on the front that at least brings uniqueness to the design. Even so, most people wouldn’t notice you were wearing these. In Stance’s defense, the Nets have ultra-simplistic jerseys and a boring team name, so there wasn’t much to work with here. It’s okay, most people in Brooklyn don’t notice the Nets anyway.
28. Los Angeles CLIPPERS
SUIT: As bad as the rebrand.
NUT: If you wore this to a pickup game I would think you were cosplaying as boredom.
Like the Rockets, the Clippers
have no soul let Stance down with their widely hated rebranding. Had they given the fans a cool nautical-themed redesign, we could be looking at socks with anchors, or maybe choppy waves on them. Instead, we get one thick red stripe and one thin blue stripe. How balanced and classic! These socks are about as aesthetically pleasing as DeAndre’s free throw shooting.
27. Chicago BULLS
SUIT: Chicago’s iconic uniforms deserved better.
NUT: Of all the socks, maybe this is the one that no one needs to buy.
The biggest issue with these socks is that they are entirely too white. The Bulls’ red and black color combination is one of the most recognizable in the league, so it’s a huge shame that Stance held back. Adding more color to the mix — maybe even replicating the black and red pinstripes — would have been ideal. But if you wear these socks, no one will guess which team you’re even repping.
26. Dallas MAVERICKS
SUIT: Every bit as flashy as Zaza Pachulia.
NUT: And like Zaza, this sock could have belonged to about fifteen NBA teams.
Dallas’ sock falls short by being simple to a fault. The evenly spaced pattern incorporating the blue-and-gray color scheme is fine, but it cuts off awkwardly just about halfway down the sock, making the sock look incomplete. Giving up halfway through is so Rondo-era anyway.
TEAMS 21-25: HEEL NO.
25. Atlanta HAWKS
SUIT: So much potential wasted.
NUT: What do we want? Neon green! Where do we want it? Where it will be hidden by almost any shoe.
The Hawks unveiled incredibly divisive uniforms this year, and whether you love them or hate them (we are huge fans), Stance had an amazing opportunity to play off Atlanta’s new triangle motif. Instead, the Hawks were given a sock that is mostly white and has no clear design direction. The pattern only covers the back portion of the sock, and mysteriously features a red pyramid made up of lines with uneven thicknesses. Overall, these socks are perfect if you’re too embarrassed to show anyone standing in front of you that you’re wearing Hawks socks.
24. Detroit PISTONS
SUIT: Shitty enough to be confused with the Clippers
NUT: You know these socks make me think of? Delicious Crest Toothpaste, sponsored by ChodeLeague.com!
These socks don’t scream DEEETROOIITTT BAAASKETBAAALLLLL by any means, but at least the pattern looks clean and simple. Stance isn’t really at fault since the Pistons lack anything distinctive about their current uniforms (why not add patches of shoulder hair?), but the end result is still mostly underwhelming.
23. Boston CELTICS
SUIT: Sadly, no clovers in the atmosphere.
NUT: It’s green alright, but that’s hardly an accomplishment in a world so lushly full of other green objects, like grass or trees or better socks.
Looks like Boston’s luck o’ the Irish fell short here. A three-leaf clover design seems like the obvious design choice for Celtics socks, but instead Boston was given, uh…green stripes. That’s it? Not even a hint of gold?
22. Philadelphia 76ERS
SUIT: It has stars. Woohoo?
NUT: The 76ers have no stars, so this sock doesn’t match the team’s culture.
Bonus points for going with stars over more red, white, and blue stripes, but that’s really all this sock has going for it. Overall, the sock is a bit bland and does not translate well to wearing in pickup. It would have been cool to see something with a 7 on one sock and a 6 on the other. Or maybe lottery balls.
21. Orlando MAGIC
SUIT: Perfect match for the jersey, but don’t wear them in public.
NUT: I hate these fucking socks and, metaphors aside, having pregnant feet doesn’t look cool.
Like the team itself, the socks subtly mirror the stretchmarks of a franchise swollen with potential. The pinstripes are distinctly reminiscent of the pinstripes on Orlando’s jerseys, and can work as part of that look. But wearing these in public would look silly, so please don’t.
TEAMS 16-20: A LEG TO STAND ON.
20. Los Angeles LAKERS
SUIT: Why so white? What is this, The Oscars?
NUT: Why do the yellow lines go up and down like a square wave? That’s not Lakery, that’s fakery.
The Lakers have one of the most iconic jerseys in the entire league. Sadly, these socks are only semi-identifiable as a Lakers sock. L.A. is clearly identified as “Purple and Gold,” but once you put on shoes, these socks are significantly lacking in the purple department. Why not try adding the 16 championship stars in their center court logo, or some other stylish touch? How about you make it clear that these socks belong to one of the most famous franchises in all of sports? These socks are nice, but they aren’t Showtime yet.
19. Indiana PACERS
SUIT: Nice design, but when did grey become their primary color?
NUT: Pro: looks cool. Con: doesn’t look like the Pacers.
The two arrows are a nice play on the traditional horizontal stripe pattern seen on most of these socks. However, the overall grayness of the sock looks a bit bland, which somehow reminds me of C.J. Miles. Ugh, I didn’t want to think about him. The Pacers’ color scheme is navy and gold, so why not feature those colors more prominently?
18. Milwaukee BUCKS
SUIT: Meshes well with the color scheme, but that’s about it.
NUT: This sock is as dull as my grandmother I don’t visit.
These socks do a fantastic job of capturing the Bucks’ fresh new color scheme: primarily green and cream, with accents of black and blue. Unfortunately, they also represent Milwaukee well by being incredibly drab and boring. They’re not exciting socks, but they work well enough for a city best-known for having indoor tunnels connecting all its buildings.
17. Toronto RAPTORS
SUIT: BRING BACK THE PURPLE.
NUT: If you wore these to a pickup game I would guess you had mixed them up in the wash. Or maybe the trash?
The Raptors ditched purple much like Carter ditched the team, and what an enduring mistake. These socks aren’t bad, but just remind us of what could have been. Sigh.
16. San Antonio SPURS
SUIT: I guess it matches the boring jerseys?
NUT: Well, I know it does.
The Spurs already have a boring color scheme and boring jerseys, so it only makes sense to throw in boring socks as well! But really, the world needs San Antonio to embrace the teal, pink, and orange again. Even Kawhi couldn’t look bored in that. And can you imagine this sock with three colorful fiesta stripes? Now that would be a sock as beautiful as Spurs basketball.
TEAMS 11-15: NOT CALF BAD.
15. Utah JAZZ
SUIT: Are the diagonals a mountain? They should be a mountain.
NUT: The white diagonal stripes weird me out, like when spaces on a page of a novel line up.
An ideal sock for the Jazz would have somehow captured that classic mountain range logo we’ve come to associate with losing the Finals in heart-breaking fashion. Instead, we are left with what I think are crop circles? It’s hard to tell what’s going on with all the white in this sock, but they still look nice.
14. SacramenToe KINGS
SUIT: Cool colors, confusing design.
NUT: In this cool throwback sock, the Sacramento Kings pay homage to gladiator sandals from the 204-205 A.D. season.
The diagonal zigzags are unique, and the purple and black make for a solidly recognizable combination. That being said, the design itself is a bit confusing. Why not arrange the zigzags to form the Kings crown, and pay homage to the logo? That would be fun. Meh, must be Vivek’s fault.
13. Minnesota TIMBERWOLVES
SUIT: Awesome design, but needs more colors. Hey, so do the Wolves.
NUT: Con: drawing angel wings on the back won’t make you dunk any higher.
Not only do these socks semi-recognizably incorporate the logo of the Timberwolves, but they also arrange the logo such that the full picture spans both socks. It’s an interesting choice. It…kinda doesn’t work, mainly due to all the white space. We wouldn’t wear these outside.
12. Memphis GRIZZLIES
SUIT: So fresh, but why so grey?
NUT: Looks like Derek Fisher isn’t the only one fucking over the Grizzlies this year.
The pattern on these socks is actually really nice and beautifully simplistic. The problem with this pair is the overuse of gray on both the stripes and the ankle panels. It’s a bit too much. Swap out yellow for either one of those, and Memphis’ socks would have a much-needed punch of color. But enough about punches.
11. Phoenix SUNS
SUIT: The Suns need to bring back purple so Stance can make a better version.
NUT: This is my 258th highest priority if I’m running the 2015-16 Phoenix Suns. And at this point, I might as well be.
The gradually-thinning stripes are a nice breath of fresh air in Stance’s sock line, and honestly the orange itself is pretty nice. As much as we’d like to penalize them for omitting purple from the design, we can’t. Recently, the Suns have been making a (foolishly) concerted effort to remove purple from their color scheme. And also to remove all talent from their roster. Anyway, a purple-and-orange remix of these next year would be incredible. Pretty please?
TEAMS 6-10: A STEP UP.
10. Oklahoma City THUNDER
SUIT: They look great with the jersey, but are the jerseys that great?
NUT: Why was that a question?
Nothing too creative, but these flow with the OKC uniforms so well. Though the Thunder’s color scheme may not be everyone’s favorite, it is certainly distinctive, and these socks make it very clear which team they belong to. That’s honestly all you were looking for in a $26 sock — you wanted to own the only piece of art in Oklahoma.
9. Cleveland CAVALIERS
NUT: Pro: no white. Con: no Wade or Bosh.Fuck the Cavs, we all miss the Heatles. For all its talent, this team is still weirdly boring. We’re done talking about these socks, even though they’re kinda fresh.
8. Miami HEAT
SUIT: Distinctly Miami. Dale.
NUT: A slick look for the NBA’s cocky villains. Or rather, Goran Dragic to wear when he fucks up again.
This sock reflects both the color scheme and overall design of the Heat jerseys very well. Yellow for the ankle panels would’ve made for a nice pop of color, but there isn’t much yellow in the Heat’s jerseys, so that’s okay. Everything just makes sense here, and these socks even translate well to everyday use, so we give these a full green light for pickup.
7. New York KNICKS
SUIT: Kristaps Porzingis #NBAVote
NUT: The orange waves are weird. The amount of gray is weird. The Knicks fans are weird. Perfect sock for them.
Porzingis Porzingis Porzingis Porzingis Porzingis Porzingis Porzingis these socks look cool Porzingis Porzingis Porzingis Porzingis Porzingis Porzingis Porzingis Porzingis.
6. New Orleans PELICANS
SUIT: Makes their color scheme look sweet: a pleasant surprise.
NUT: Doesn’t remind me of birds, 0/10.
When the Pelicans didn’t throw caution to the wind and make their color scheme a purple, green, and gold Mardi Gras celebration, many NBA fans were disappointed at the loss of what could have been. Well, we were disappointed. But put all that aside! These socks really showcase the potential of the color palette that New Orleans did choose. The deep navy, gold, and shock red look classy together, creating a color combo not only rarely seen in the NBA, but also in everyday basketball clothes. These should translate seamlessly to the gym, unlike your unibrow.
TEAMS 1-5: TOETALLY TUBULAR.
5. Washington WIZARDS
SUIT: Somehow managed to make a simple two-stripe sock scream Wizards.
NUT: Somehow managed to make a simple Eastern Conference schedule scream losing.
Many teams in the NBA have a red, white, and blue color scheme, and many of Stance’s socks for these teams could be interchangeable. However, these socks are so distinctly Washington it’s hard to believe. The Wizards’ uniforms have just a few characteristically-wide stripes, and these socks match perfectly. Well done, Stance.
4. Golden State WARRIORS
SUIT: Simple, but understandably so.
NUT: This one uses open white space effectively, much like the Warriors do while spacing the floor.
As mentioned in our jersey rankings last year, the Warriors clearly have the best uniforms in the league. Thus, creating a great sock for them would only require making something that flowed well with the jersey. Stance did just that. It’s a bit safe, but it makes for a nice-looking sock for both pros and everyday ballers. Wear these and heave up idiot threes to your heart’s content.
3. Portland TRAIL BLAZERS
SUIT: In two stripes, these socks perfectly represent the Blazers.
NUT: Though to be fair, no one has fucked this up in thirty years.
The Blazers have always done an incredible job of turning their fantastic logo into a very recognizable aspect of their jerseys. Every Portland jersey since the formation of the team has followed the same general theme, and by now the striped look is downright iconic. Fortunately, Stance continued things perfectly with these socks. They are simple yet elegant, and compliment the Blazers’ uniforms flawlessly.
2. Charlotte HORNETS
SUIT: On their own, fresh. When paired with the jersey, incredible.
NUT: These are viable for a wedding or bar mitzvah. It’s so weird that Michael Jordan’s team has turned fashionable on him.
Easily the best use of a nonspecific pattern for a team sock. Charlotte has one of the boldest color schemes in the league, and Stance used it to its fullest potential in these socks. The narrow stripe pattern is very modern, which works incredibly well with the Hornets’ futuristic jersey design. Even better, these socks look fantastic in general, so fans would only look out of place wearing these in a trailer home.
1. Denver NUGGETS
SUIT: This is what every sock should strive to be.
NUT: The Platonic Form of a regionally-distinctive athletic sock
Without a doubt, these are the best socks that Stance has made for the NBA. They perfectly represent the Nuggets’ logo without being too busy or distracting. The color scheme is fully represented, and the socks look great from every angle. Stance has mentioned that sock designs will be changed for next season, so hopefully more team logos can be expanded into the socks like this (imagine a Heat flame sock, or a Suns sunburst sock.) These socks celebrate the Nuggets in the best way, and they are simply beautiful.
There you have it, another definitive list that will anger many and confuse most as to why we care about socks so much. All in all, we’re just glad that the NBA added some style to the game by partnering with Stance. The Core socks and Logo socks both look dope, and the special event socks such as Christmas and MLK Day were beyond fresh. Keep it up, Stance. We’re excited to see what you bring out in the future.