What is the Football Sock Tape Rule?

Every football kit bag needs a roll of sock tape, and every footballer needs to be wearing some. Unless you fancy dancing down the wing, looking like a prime George Best, with your shin pads flapping around like your opposition’s over-eager linesman’s flag.

So once the use of Football Sock Tape started trending, footballers used whatever colour they could lay their hands on. After a while referees supposedly found it difficult to determine which player the ball came off last if the tape was the same colour as the opposition socks. Thus the matching colour rule was introduced.

What are the official rules?

According to the FA official rulebook, the laws are as follows:

  • “shinguards – these must be made of a suitable material to provide reasonable protection and covered by the socks”
  • “socks – tape or any material applied or worn externally must be the same colour as that part of the sock it is applied to or covers”

But what if you have multiple colours, or hoops/stripes?

The law states ‘the tape must be the same colour as the main kit colour. In striped or hooped cases, one colour must be chosen and all players must wear the same colour’.

So there we have it. Turns out, above the ankle you can only wear ‘equipment’ the same colour as your kit. However, below the ankle – aka your boot choice – can be any colour combination you can possibly think of.