Why Do Soccer Players Cut Their Socks?

Every now and then, soccer players, and athletes from other sports too, try to come up with new ideas and concepts that they think might improve their performance in the sports that they participate in.

For example, some Football players and Baseball players in the United States wear eye blacks believing that it reduces the negative effects of the sun glare while they are playing the game.

While eye blacks have not been adopted yet in soccer, other concepts and ideas have been adopted by some soccer players, and one of them is cutting the jersey’s socks.

Since you are here, you have most probably already seen some soccer players that have cut off the feet of their socks, or players that have cut holes inside their socks.

But why exactly do they do that? Here are the reasons behind each one of these actions.

Why do soccer players cut the feet of their socks?

Some Soccer players cut the feet of their jersey’s socks in order to replace them with more grippy socks that aid them during the game. These soccer players wear what remains of their jersey socks to cover their shin guard, and they also wear extra “grippy” and short socks to replace the part that they have cut off.

So it’s all about making changes to their socks in hopes of being able to perform better on the field.

After all, the players want the cleats that they are wearing to feel as if they are part of their body, and having a strong friction between their socks and their cleats might help them achieve that.

Grippy socks may also be a little bit more helpful during rainy days. The water can reduce the friction between the socks and the cleats of the soccer players, and having socks with an extra grip can make some difference.

But the question is, how much of a difference does cutting the socks really make on the performances of the players? Is it a very minimal difference? Or does it really have an impact?

Well, there are some people that just view this “cut socks” thing as nothing but a fashion trend, and some people are even against it.

For example, Harry Redknapp, who was the manager of Tottenham when this trend started, wasn’t very happy with his players adopting the new “cutting the socks” practice in the early 2010s.

But if I were to state my own opinion here, I would say that even if the more grippy socks end up not having a very noticeable difference physically on the players, it might have a positive impact on the players’ mental readiness for the games.

If the players believe that cutting the feet of their socks to use more grippy socks improves their performance, then why not do it?

After all, the mental readiness of a soccer player is as important as their physical readiness, if not even more important.

You may ask, well then why not make long grippy socks in the first place?

That’s a very valid question to ask. If the players have to cut the feet of their long socks before every game they play just to be able to use the short grippy socks, why don’t they just wear long socks with grippy feet instead?

One of the reasons could be that these types of socks are just not available for them to use at the moment.

Many of the big soccer clubs around the world have contracts in place with clothing brands like Nike, Adidas, and others.

This means that the players of these big clubs are required to wear the jerseys as made by these brands. In other words, they do not really have a lot of options when it comes to what they can wear for the game.

For that reason, the players resort to the trick of cutting the feet of their jersey’s sock, and replacing it with the sock that they prefer to use. 

Many of these players try to match the color of the different socks that they are using just to avoid any conflicts with the referees. Some of them also use tape to cover the gap between the 2 socks.

Maybe if enough players demand a change in the socks that are made for their team jerseys, then the brands creating these socks might consider making the requested changes. But until then, players will have to resort to tricks when it comes to this matter.

Why do some soccer players cut holes in their socks?

There is another trend that has been seen among soccer players that also involves cutting socks. But this time, it’s cutting holes inside the back side of the socks instead of cutting the feet of the socks.

Why is this exactly a thing? Well, some of the players who have done it claim that they did it to reduce the pressure on their calves and to make sure that the blood flows better.

In other words, they do it to reduce the injury risks in their calves. Gareth Bale is one of the players who have tried this practice hoping that it would help him reduce his recurring calf injuries.

Again, does it really work? Well, the linked article about Gareth Bale mentions that they contacted medical resources and these resources said that the benefits are most likely psychological rather than physical.

Is cutting your socks allowed in soccer?

We’ve been talking about soccer players cutting their socks all day, but what do the soccer laws say about this?

The soccer laws can’t just have a specific rule for every new trend that comes up every now and then. 

However, what they can do is give the referee the full authority to decide what is allowed and what is not allowed when it comes to matters that are not specifically covered by the laws of the game.

So in other words, it’s all up to the referee of the match to decide whether a player can wear socks with cuts in them or not.

For this reason, players try their best to make sure that they do not grab the attention of the referee a lot when they decide to cut the feet of their jersey’s socks to replace them with other socks. 

They do that by using socks with similar colors and by using tape to cover the gaps as mentioned before.

As for the holes in the socks, these are hard to miss, and the referee will most probably notice them. Some referees have asked players to change their torn socks while others just didn’t make a big deal out of it.

With that in mind, if you are planning to make cuts in your soccer socks, then make sure to ask your coach first, and the referees too if that is an option.

It would be a big disappointment If you do cut your socks, and it turns out that the referee won’t allow you to use them during a game, so make sure to ask first just to be on the safe side.