Why do hockey players tape their socks? (Explained)

Tape. It’s not just for sticks. Many hockey players choose to use a clear hockey tape to wrap around their socks, but why do they do this?

Let’s take a look.

Hockey players tape their socks to prevent their shin guards and socks from shifting around during a game. Hockey shin guards typically come with two velcro straps used to keep them from shifting around, but many players find this isn’t enough, and so they tape around their hockey socks a few times to keep everything in place.

Why is it always clear hockey tape?

Typically, the tape you will see hockey players wrapping around their socks is clear hockey tape, and this is for a few reasons:

  1. Clear hockey tape comes off of the cloth material of socks without leaving glue residue sticking to everything like other tapes do
  2. It’s much easier to put on and take off
  3. Does a good job of holding its shape, leading to fewer tangles and mess at the end of the game
  4. Clear tape is clear, it doesn’t interfere with the colors of your jersey (duh)
  5. Tape balls. No hockey tape makes as good of a tape ball as clear hockey tape. Any hockey player will tell you that.
clear hockey tape ball
Image source: Twitter

Hockey garter belt vs Velcro

Not everyone likes using clear tape for their socks, but luckily there are a few alternatives.

Garter belt

Garter belts have been around in hockey forever, it’s essentially a belt that goes around your waist with dangling metal clips which clamp on to your socks in order to hold them up.

The one I use is actually my jockstrap and a garter belt in one. It has four clips that stretch down and clamp to my socks to keep them up all game.


Today, most players tend to gravitate to wearing compression shorts that duo as a jock strap and a gater, but with velcro tabs which you can use to attach strips of velcro from your socks to your shorts instead of metal clamps.

Some people prefer velcro because they don’t like the feel of metal clamps rubbing against their legs as they are skating.

I have never found this to be an issue.

What this comes down to is personal preference.

Both the garter belt and velcro shorts work just as well as each other to hold your socks up, in my opinion.

Your best bet is to head to a local pro shop and try both out to see which you prefer before committing to purchase.

Keep in mind, neither of these will help keep your shin guards in place and are meant to just keep your socks from moving around.

If you want to keep your shin guards stiff and prevent them from shifting all over the place when you’re skating, I still suggest clear hockey tape. It’s the best.