Knowing the right way of wearing shooting socks is a key part of shooting etiquette. So should you wear them over the cuff of your breeks or under? Which way will show you know what’s what when you’re out in the field? We asked some keen Shots for their tips and advice.
Sam Adams of the British Game Alliance out in the field
Over not under
Sam Adams, shoot account manager at the British Game Alliance recommends: “A shooting sock should always be worn over the breeks, even if the breeks have a buckle in place. The sock should be brought up to knee height where a garter should be tied neatly and the sock folded back down on itself. There should be about 4-5 inches of garter shown outside of the sock.”
Mark Heath, head shooting instructor at West London Shooting School advises: “I always think that socks should be worn over the cuffs of breeks and correct tying of the sock garter is important. A quick bow with the garter consequently dragging along the ground is quite a sight to behold and the subject of much amusement. If you don’t know how to tie them have a quiet word with someone who does and get them to show you. The added benefit is that they will look smart for the whole day without your socks dropping to your ankles.”
Socks add a splash of colour
Liam Bell, chairman of the National Gamekeepers Organisation and Shooting Times contributor says: ” Being very much a traditionalist, the incorrect wearing of shooting socks irks me somewhat, when really it shouldn’t. The stocking should always be worn over the plus- two , plus- four or shooting breek, regardless of whether it has a buckle, a Velcro strap or an elasticated bottom. The stocking should be held in place by a garter, neatly tied above the breek fastener with just an inch or two of the flash showing, then folded down. Any knit, any colour, any style, just so long as they are worn properly.”
Pull your shooting socks over the cuff of your breeks
Alexandra Doubleday of Le Chameau comments: “Shooting socks should be worn over your plus- two/fours, or shooting breeks with the knit design fully displayed at the top of your boot. The sock should be pulled up to the knee and rolled over below the knee to show off a few inches of the knit design.
If you have a garter, tie this around your calf with the knot on the outer side of your leg before turning over the top of the sock. Don’t forget to allow your breeks enough slack to not slide up when bending your knee. This will stop your breeks from pulling away from your socks.”
Not really acceptable
Patrick Galbraith, editor of Shooting Times says: “‘The proper way of wearing shooting socks? For years I wore mine underneath my breeks until an old farmer in Shropshire took me aside and told me ‘it really wasn’t acceptable’ – for the most part, though, I’m just happy to find a matching pair.”
“I always wear mine over the cuffs of the breeks” says Tim Woodward, Chief Executive Of The Country Food Trust.
Rob Fenwick, managing director of EJ Churchill replied to the question from a grouse moor: “So the proper way is with your socks over your breeks and with your garter then over the sock and the strap/buckle of your breeks. You then fold the top of the sock down over the garter which covers the bow and leaves the tassels showing a little bit. This is the only way.
“My tip is to get breeks that are long, so that when you bend your knee when going over fences and the like the breeks don’t pull away from your socks and show your legs. Obviously wrong. If the breeks are long, then when you bend the knee it takes up the slack of the breeks that are dropping down around the knee. This is the correct way.”
“A shooting sock is a fantastic way to add a touch of colour to your shooting outfit. The sock should always be worn over the shooting breeks, plus-twos or plus-fours, to prevent seeing the knee,” comments shooter Lucy Brice of Schöffel Country.
Always over the cuff
Invest in socks
Editor of Sporting Gun Matthew Clark advises: “I always wear mine over the cuffs of my breeks. I feel it looks smarter. I would say always invest in a good pair of socks because they are part of the “comfort system” of your boots. It’s amazing the difference a quality pair of socks can make to the comfort of your feet.”
Countryside Alliance chief executive Tim Bonner isn’t a fan of shooting breeks however, commenting that he wears his shooting socks: “Under my trousers. Breeks are strange garments which serve no useful purpose other than to drive sales of long, brightly coloured, expensive socks!”
Campbell’s of Beauly plus-fours
But John Sugden, who heads up Royal Warrant holders Campbells of Beauly
wouldn’t be without his: “If I’m stalking I always wear longer plus-fours, and I pull the sock up and buckle the plus-four on top of the sock. I also like a comfortable cushion foot sock for extra comfort on the long walk.
“When on the peg, I tend to wear breeks. The shorter breek allows for a fancy cuff sock to be worn and seen, and the sock is worn over the buckle of the breeks this time. I really like the chess board cuffs, preferably in a bright colour. I’m going for purple at the moment. “
Garters should be tied at the side
Order of the garter
Keen Shot Jayne Ireland, founder of Tom Lane, has some tips on finishing touches to wearing shooting socks. “I really love the look of garters with shooting socks so they are a must for me. Not only are they more practical as they keep everything in the right place, but garters also look really smart and add the perfect finishing touch to your shooting look. I would recommend wearing your socks and garters over your breeks, rather than under, though I know there are conflicting views. Ultimately the fundamental thing to consider for your shooting attire is comfort.”