2 Paul Smith, pounds 16.50 Paul Smith is unusual in being able to produce novelty socks that are also tasteful. These may be the exception. They're decorated with the kind of nonsense epithets - "Slide Shows on Travel themes" - normally found on Japanese T-shirts. But they are a generous fit and pleasantly cool; in 60 per cent cotton but it feels more. Otherwise try the black ones with cameras. From Paul Smith, 41 Floral St, London WC2, Rackhams in Birmingham, Kendals in Manchester. More stockists on 0171-379 7133
3 Sock Shop, pounds 4.99 The kind of present which, if given for Father's Day, would drive you straight down the pub. Unless you are the type who seeks to compensate for a sense of humour deficit by wearing cheery footwear. The cricket-playing Rupert design is not only fearful to look at, the loose ends of embroidery needed to create it make the inside of the sock an assault course for unwary toe-nails. Other designs include Flintsones and Zebedee. Made from 55 per cent cotton, 42 per cent nylon. From Sock Shop stores nationwide.
4 Harvey Rothschild, pounds 10.95 "An intimate blend of lambswool, cotton and silk." Interesting, that "intimate blend", makes you wonder on which part of the body you should wear them. Easily the most comfortable socks, however: the ones that feel as though you are buying something special for a hefty price tag. The only drawback is the cold porridge colour. From Harrods and Palmer, as before.
5Achile, pounds 10.95 Fetchingly finished in Michael Ryan memorial camouflage for the action man in your life. Though if you wore such short, thin and impractical items on manoeuvres you would be invalided out with frostbite. Big sellers though. Other popular Achile designs include farm animals, teddy bears, sailor boys. In fact, you name it. From Harrods, Liberty, Regent Street, London W1, Palmer, 125C Northcote Road, London SW11 and Mottoo, 12 Duke Street, Brighton
6Ralph Lauren, pounds 10 Thick and ostentatious, a Paul Gascoigne of a sock. The price is explained by the polo player logo. This is only printed on one side, which will present no dilemma for Ralph Lauren fanciers: they will obviously wear them with the logo facing outwards. Or try their blue and ecru, or red and black, stripy wool socks, at pounds 15. From Polo Ralph Lauren, 143 Bond Street, London W1 and selected major department stores nationwide.