Action man heel

My dear friend Jack bought me a yarn voucher for my birthday last year and I promised myself that I’d make him a pair of socks from the yarn I bought. I’ve known Jack since college and one thing he’s always seemed to have is holy socks so I feel his feet deserve to have a lovely pair of thick socks to keep him warm.

I chose a manly khaki colour and decided on a rib pattern. However, as I’ve knit them up they look exactly like the sweater my brother’s action man had when we were kids, hence the name. It’s also a friendly dig at Jack who is many things but definitely not an “Action Man”!

I really hope you enjoy knitting this sock pattern for men’s socks!

As I know Jack wears his socks out, I decided on a super enforced heel that keeps the rib pattern.

Using Sock weight wool of your choosing and 2.5mm CO 72 sts and split across 4 needles (18 per needle) – this can be amended providing it’s a multiple of 6.


Action man heel

Knit 4, Purl 2 – repeat to end of round
Continue pattern until cuff is desired length

Action Man Heel close up

Heel Flap

With 36 sts
1st row: Sl1, K1, Sl1, K1, Sl1 purl wise (with yarn in front), P1 – repeat until last st, P tbl
2nd row: Sl1, K1, P4, K2, P4 – repeat until last st, Ktbl
Repeat these rows 17 more times

Turning the heel

1st row: K21, ssk, k1, turn
2nd row: Sl1 purlwise, P8, p2tog, p1, turn
3rd row: Sl1, K until 1 st before gap, ssk, k1, turn
4th row: Sl1 purlwise, P until 1 st before gap, p2tog, p1, turn
Continue in this manner until all heel sts are worked.


pick up 18sts along heel flap, continue rib pattern across top 36 sts, pick up 18sts along other side of heel flap
Next and every other round until back to 72sts: K heel sts until 3 sts away from front 36 sts, k2tog, k1, knit 36 top sts in rib pattern, k1, ssk of other side
Round 2: Knit all heel sts, rib 36 top sts

Continue until 72sts in total (36 top of foot sts in rib, 36 bottom sts in stocking stitch)

Next round: Increase ribbing down each side of foot by purling 2 sts before top 36 and k4, p2 on first 6 sts after 36 sts – this creates a more attractive integrated ribbing on the top of the foot. Continue in pattern until around 2.5 inches from the end.

Toe Decrease

As these are for a man with fairly long toes, I did the first 3 decrease rounds over 9 rounds rather than 6.
First round (with sts split equally over the needles with split in the middle of the sock and at the exact edges) Needle 1 is left hand side of bottom of sock
Needle 1: knit to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1
Needle 2: k1, ssk, knit to end
Needle 3: knit to last 2 sts, k2tog, k1
Needle 4: k1, ssk, knit to end
Next 2 rounds: Knit all stitches
Repeat twice more
After this, continue decrease round every other round until 18 sts are left on the front of the sock and 18 sts left on the bottom.
Finish in Kitchener stitch

Action Man

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33 thoughts on “Action Man socks

  1. Thanks for sharing this pattern. I want to make a pair for my son-in-law. I don’t see a needle size listed. What did you use?

  2. I learned to knit socks this winter and am working on my 6th sock. I love knitting socks! Overall, your sock instructions on your Action Man socks seemed clear enough except for the Gusset instructions. The grammar wasn’t right, capitals in the wrong place and partial sentences. Would you please clerafy the gusset instructions for me please? Many thanks! Kay in Arizona

  3. Awesome sock! I want to use this pattern for a couple pairs for my husband birthday. Can you tell me what size shoe the guy you made these for wears? Also, do you mind if I link to you and include the bottom pic in my blog?



  4. Apologies for my delay in replying – the site was drowning in spam comments and I hadn’t seen any of yours!
    Dale – I used 2.5mm needles
    Kay – let me look into that, it’s often a WP glitch the upsets my formatting!
    Chelsye – I think he has a UK size 9 or 10 so not really big feet but not small either! And of course! Feel free to link from your blog etc, happy to share!

  5. I finally had success making a sock with this pattern. I cut the number of stitches down and used fingerling sock yarn and a circular needle that is between a 2 and a 3. I am well on my way on the second sock. Thank you so much. Norie

  6. I have been knitting less than a year and am trying your pattern for my son. I am almost done with my first sock. I found the directions very easy to follow. I may be hooked. Thanks Marcie

  7. Sorry, meant to write “when using 2.5mm needles, what is the gauge size?” Also Norie refers to using circular needles, does one follow the same instructions for dpn when using circulars?

  8. hi i am trying to knit socks for my grandson who is in afganistan in the army. he asked for knitted socks as it gets so cold of a night. i just cannot work out the turning of the heel. what does ssk stand for . do i just use the 36 stitches and go back and forth for turning the heel . i must be thick as most people seem to have found this easy to do. thanks

  9. Apologies for taking so long to reply!
    ssk can be used in the same was as Knit 2 together thru the back loop, so if that’s the decrease you prefer for stitches to lean that way then by all means use it instead

  10. I’m trying this pattern as a start. Looks easy enough. I’ll let you know. Thanks for providing the pattern.

  11. I think I posted further up the comments that I don’t do gauge I’m afraid as they’re socks and it’s pretty standard.
    Feel free to dive in and have a go, this is a very straight forward pattern!

  12. I did some reading to day and with a sock yarn the gauge should be between 28-30 stitches for 4″ on 2-3mm needles. Hope this helps.

  13. Glad you’ve found a gauge
    I’m not a gauge knitter and don’t really feel the need with socks – understand it for bigger items but sock patterns are more recipes than anything, you shouldn’t have too much difficulty!

  14. This is my first pair of socks I’m at the “turning of the heel” and you say to knit until all stitches are worked. I’m down to 3. Now what?

  15. Hi LaNita!
    Do you mean you have 3 heel sts left to process or just three sts in total? You should have around 20sts left.
    Are you on a knit row, or a purl row?
    Feel free to email me and we can discuss the tricky bit in more detail sarah @

  16. Sarah – Thanks for posting this! My husband asks me every night if he can wear them now! I’m up to the Gusset and I’m wondering how my needles should be set? I have 22 stitches of the heel flap and turned heel on one needle, and the remaining 36 stitches split evenly over two needles. My intuition says to start the gusset with one needle, combine the top 36 on one, do the other side of the gusset on needle #3 then the heel on #4? Thanks for your help!


  17. Hi, I hope you can help me figure out sizing on Bungee yarn that says to use us #3 needles and i7 tst inch. The socks turn out too small for a musculize 12 foot. Thanks

  18. Hi Darla
    I don’t really understand your problem as I’ve not used this yarn before.
    I’m not a gauge knitter I’m afraid!

  19. A couple of corrections are required.

    Turning the heel should initially be K21 otherwise you end up with 3 spare to process on the purl side and a slightly wonky heel.

    Gusset decrease should be k2tog, k1, rib 36… The k1 was left out.

    Thanks for this pattern, it is taking me a very long time (this is only my third project, first pair of socks!!) but I am sure the recipient will love them.

  20. Thanks for these corrections, I’ve amended the pattern accordingly.
    Glad you liked the pattern – would love to see pics, if you’re on Ravelry, please link to the pattern on there!

  21. Will do, I joined Ravelry this week and will post a picture soon. Mine are a little wonky looking though, before this I had only knitted a scarf 🙂

  22. Hi Sarah,

    Completed my first pair and, my gosh, are they gorgeous. My husband is in the South African army and he loves them for parades, and day to day wear. I am busy on my second pair. Now trying my had at doing them in cotton (nice and absorbent in the boot). Wish me luck. This is such an easy pattern to follow (this is only my second pair of socks). Thank you for taking the time to write them up and thanks so much for the share.

  23. Your “turning the heel” portion is confusing. If you do the 3rd row you end up on a “gap”. Then on the 4th row how do you end up on that same “gap” too? Do you mean a “gap” that you are not currently working (like on one of the two needles that are left hanging & are not of the original 36 stitches set aside as the heel)? If so are you saying (at the end when I have purled all but 1) that I need to P2 together incorporating one of the other needles of stitches? Or do you mean the “gap” in between the to needles that you are using to make the heel. If so how do you end on the “gap” with the yarn on the gap then turn & purl in the opposite direction & end on the “gap” that you started with (without turning around or making a complete round)?

  24. Also (4th row(purl)) when you say to “turn” there are only 21 stitches left (if you knit to the end of the needle) as you are working from (i assume) the center “gap”. So how then do I start the process over? How can you K21 then ssk K1 & turn unless you incorporate the other needles? Am I supposed to be decreasing on the edge or the center?

  25. I just finished making socks for my husband for xmas. He’s going to love them! He’ll wear them bc they’ve got a manly name ;). Thanks so much! Just one thing, unless I did something wrong, it seems like there’s a missing step. I got down to 72 stitches soon after the heel and the sock was only a couple of inches long. So I just kept stitching the 72 until right before where his toes start. Thanks again!

  26. Hi Becky
    Only just seen your comment and you’re right, it does miss the ‘continue to knit until’ line – I’ve now amended that.
    Glad your husband likes them!

  27. Hi, Thanks for the pattern, I will try it for my husband. My question is, do you think it will work with superfine? Will I need to change needle size? Also will I be able to use 3 needles instead of 4? Thanks

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