Soldiers to Army: Give Us Black PT Socks!


My colleague Matt Cox has published a news story on detailing the results of the U.S. Army uniform survey released by Sergeant Major of the Army Dan Dailey.

As we’ve touched on in a previous post, most respondents favored such proposals as the “Ike” jacket, gender-neutral headgear such as the “smokey” drill sergeant hat and blue service cap, and black socks with the new PT uniform.

I thought it was interesting, though, that the proposal with one of the highest percentages of support was the last one — black PT socks.

As Cox writes:

Nearly 70 percent of soldiers who participated in an Army uniform survey said the service should authorize males and females to wear black socks in lieu of white socks with the Army Physical Fitness Uniform. … The current uniform policy authorized soldiers to wear calf-length or ankle-length, plain white socks with the APFU.

Scrapping the beret I can see — it’s had a checkered past going back to when then-Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki ordered soldiers to wear it as the standard headgear.

But why the surge of interest in black PT socks? Are the white ones, shown in the images above and below, out of style?






About the Author

Brendan McGarry
Brendan McGarry is the managing editor of He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @Brendan_McGarry.
  • JohnD

    What is the difference? Does it make you run faster, jump higher or be more fashionable? Good running shoes and a good PT program that enhances abilities but is less damaging to the body is the best thing!

  • guest

    Black socks for PT. This is some kind of sick joke, right?

    • guest

      Let’s see how things have changed. Back in my youth as a 80’s Batt Boy we were proud of our Ranger Panties.
      Due to the fashion trend of the 90’s Big Army went to at the knee shorts. Bottom line….. no one anywhere wears filppin white socks anymore. It’s time to make that change. This is the first SMA I’ve respected in a while.

  • Guest

    I can see any advantage. Won’t show dirt stains.

  • snuffy

    You don’t actually think that a uniform requires you to wear specific items of clothing?

  • guest

    Whites socks say sweat, honest PT and effort. Black socks shout out NERD.

  • Wood splitter

    Check out what the pro & college football players are wearing at practice and in ads. Black socks. I don’t like the look, but recently my teenage daughter suggested that I change my white for black.

  • bruce

    Black socks (or green) accelerate the onset of athletes foot and other fungus. I had to get a profile just to be allowed to wear white socks all the time after developing a severe case. It is a problem that persists to this day 20+ years later

    • Mike in Fort Worth

      Actually the color has nothing to do with it. It’s the type of material the socks are made of. The colored socks you wore when you got athletes foot were probably synthetic material that didn’t breathe well and retained moisture. That’s the key. Wearing a sock that wicks moisture away from your skin is what helped. The white cotton socks you wore worked because it absorbed the moisture away from your feet and eventually dried. The other socks were probably staying damp. I wear dark, wool socks all the time when I work out and I have no issues with my feet. Wool is a natural fiber that wicks the moisture away from your skin and dries quickly.

    • SAM

      I have treated quite a few patients over the last 15 years for the blacksock=foot problem issues.

  • SAM

    I do not know anyone who wants to wear black socks. This is a really stupid issue. These are the type of people who will pull an “occupy” style movement. I can see the T-shirts already that say “Black socks matter”.

  • guest

    If black socks were acceptable for PT, people wouldn’t have to buy two different colored socks. You can’t wear white socks with camouflage, and you can only wear white socks during PT… As much fun as having a drawer full of black, white and green socks, this is one of those simple issues that would simplify a simple problem… seems pretty simple in my book.

  • lexicon5

    Back in the day…60s that is, it wasn’t the material, it was the dye that was at issue….
    Old Wives Tale? Don’t know…I never got athletes foot while wearing whites socks cause I cleaned my feet AND dried them totally before putting my socks and shoes on. Thats a fungus…wouldnt matter what you wore…it you stepped on a funky floor and didn’t wash properly and DRY completely, you’ll get AF.
    Seriously….you’ll look like a dork. Might as well wear black socks with sandals. and pants pulled up to your underarms and live in Florida…

  • galloglas

    White shows up dirt and must be clean, black can be dirty from last PT or the last week for that matter and no one the wiser.
    It’s more about not having to be clean and wear clean clothes while being a scuzzy body than anything else.
    Overall, who cares?

  • Pete

    For whatever it’s worth, I’m in my thirties and the only reason I even own white socks is for wear with the APFT. Yes it’s a silly fashion thing, but white athletic socks went out in the nineties. Is it really necessary? No, but allowing black socks would eliminate one more unnecessary item of clothing cluttering up my drawers. I’m all for it.

  • IAC

    Why a black fleece cap ?
    The green one is better afield !

  • IAC

    My USMC PT gear in 84-88-
    A yellow t-shirt w/red USMC on front over Lil red shorts; and old fashioned Rocky – style gray sweat shirt/pants.
    Low tech and cheap, but it worked from the California dessert through the Carolinas, onto Okinawa!