How to figure out if the sock is knitting or printing

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People who don’t know about sock design often confuse jacquard with print.

Why we should know the difference between two technologies

However,  there’s a big difference between the two processes. If you can know this in advance, you will be able to have a general judgment on the price when negotiating with the suppliers. Also, it will help you avoid some minefields when designing the sock pattern, thus saving time.

Besides, the two different processes affect the stretching of the socks, which in turn affects the consumer wearing experience. So, it is necessary for you to understand the difference between printing and jacquard.

Today I will teach you a few simple ways to identify two different processes.

What is jacquard/ knitting socks

First we need to know what is jacquard/ printing. Jacquard is a pattern knitted directly on top of the socks. Before the socks are produced, the engineer will design the pattern on the computer in advance. The pattern drawn on the computer draft is close to the vector drawing, as shown in the picture below. After that, the set pattern is input to the sock machine, and the socks can be manufactured directly according to the program. Knowing this, you can also try to draw your own pattern in this way and see if it comes out suitable to be made with jacquard. If it is not suitable you need to change it to a printed one.

Pattern Drawing

Printing is the transfer of patterns onto socks by color ink at high temperatures. While there’re certain restrictions on the raw materials, 100% polyester mostly, or polyester-cotton. Because polyester is more resistant to high temperature, and the coloring effect is better than others. So, most printed socks are made of polyester. And the disadvantage is it’s less breathable, and the elastic fiber is destroyed at high temperatures, so the elasticity is not much good.

Printing Socks 2

How to figure out the difference

If you have the socks on hand, the easiest way is to turn the socks inside out. There’s threads inside the jacquard socks. If not, then it’s printed.


If you can only judge by the picture, then you should zoom it. Since the design is made pixel by pixel, which means one pixel is one stitch, just like the vector photo. For example, attached a zoomed sock photo. You can find that the lines of the pattern are not very smooth, and there will be some jagged lines on the edges.


But complex patterns are usually done by printing. Below picture  is an example, and you can see that the lines of the pattern are very smooth. Therefore, we can judge that this is a printed sock.


As shown above, particularly complex patterns can be printed. But to a certain extent at the expense of the degree of stretch. Simple patterns are recommended to use jacquard knitting, which costs less with more comfort.

If you want to know more about material, here’s an article we wrote for a reference.

Any question/ inquiry on socks, don’t hesitate to contact us!

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