We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Sock Hop?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseTour is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseTour, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A sock hop is a dance, often held for teens, that first became popular in the 1950s, when the term was coined. Since dances were often held in school gymnasiums, dancers would often kick of their shoes and dance in their socks or stockings to avoid marking up gym floors and to get better slide in dances like the Twist, the Mashed Potato, and others. Dances held might simply be referred to as sock hops, since the practice was so common.

Several 1950s songs mention this type of dance. Little Richard’s tune Ready Teddy talks about the “sock hop ball,” for example. The most specific reference is the very popular 1958 Danny and the Juniors song At the Hop, describing the regular sock hop scene. Many movies depict these dances as well, most particularly the 1973 George Lucas film American Graffiti.

What differentiates a sock hop from other dances for teens is that they are informal. They are different from homecoming dances or proms because they’re less dressy and more common events. Dancers didn’t necessarily attend with a partner, unless they were dating someone, and instead they showed up to dance to either live or recorded music. The dance didn’t even have to be held in evening hours, but could instead be held as an afternoon, early evening, or after school event.

American Graffiti depicts such a dance in 1962, but as the '60s closed, the practice became much less common. By the 1970s, they were replaced by “dances,” still relatively informal events, but ones where dancers kept their shoes on. Dance styles changed to reflect much different music. First in the late 1960s and early 1970s, much of the psychedelic rock or standard rock of the time were popular choices, and then later the disco music of the mid 1970s to early 1980s reintroduced the partner dance for many tunes, and often required women to dance in heels.

The sock hop didn’t completely die, however, and the tradition of having informal dances especially for younger kids in grade school or middle school was once again embraced in the 1990s. Many school administrators and parents hoped to discourage kids from viewing dances as “romantic” events, but they still wanted to let kids enjoy dancing to music.

Music played at a modern sock hop can range from anything modern to anything dating well back to the 1950s, and kids are encouraged not to bring dates, but to come alone. Some elementary schools even hold family-oriented dances. This strips them of any romantic or sexual elements because kids attend with their families and there are chaperones in every direction. While some kids might complain about excessive adult supervision, it does give children an opportunity to giggle at their parents, who frequently love to participate in these dances just as much as their kids do.

WiseTour is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseTour contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

Discussion Comments

By Charlie89 — On Oct 28, 2010

What are some good sock hop themes for younger teenagers? My son's junior high school is holding a sock hop for their kids, and I'm in charge of the sock hop decorations.

They said they want it to be a little different from the normal 50s sock hop, but not extreme or adult in nature.

You have to be careful with junior high kids -- they'll either stand on the corners and not dance at all, or you end up with a ton of drama. Most usually both. And we don't want to exacerbate that with the theme.

For instance, we're afraid that if we do just a classic 50s sock hop then nobody will want to dance, but if we make it too outre, then parents get upset and kids get all hormonal.

So what would be some innovative, yet not adult, sock hop themes?

Any ideas, fellow wisegeekers?

By TunaLine — On Oct 28, 2010

One thing that can be kind of fun if you are tired of the regular 50s sock hop is to hold a sock hop with a weird theme.

For instance, why not hold an alien sock hop? Your guests will crack up seeing the alien costumes combined with the iconic socks.

Or if you want to get creative for Halloween, why not hold a zombie sock hop? You could have people come in the normal sock hop clothes, but with zombified makeup and hair. The contrast of the pristine poodle skirts and saddle shoes with zombie people makes for great laughs.

So don't be shy when it comes to sock hop ideas -- there are tons of ways to spice up any dance, and a sock hop is by no means an exception.

By gregg1956 — On Oct 28, 2010

I know a lot of younger people don't know this, but sock hop parties used to get pretty crazy. It was all in good fun of course, but back in the day if you didn't get the latest sock hop invitation, well, you were just a square.

And although those sock hop costumes that they sell today do look vaguely like what we wore, they're kind of stereotyped. Real sock hop dress was both calmer and wilder than that -- though the skirts weren't as short, the socks were definitely more colorful than most costumes mention.

So if you really want to get a good sock hop outfit, then raid your parents (or grandparents -- gosh that makes me feel old!) closet. You will be the bees knees!

Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen


With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseTour contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
WiseTour, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseTour, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.