The comparison below is for socks stretched by the same amount as when they are on my (normal, average sized) leg worn over normal cuffless chino pants. This picture loads slowly to show you necessary detail.
Clearly the athletic and hiking socks will not stop a nymph or a small adult. Polypropylene hiking sock liners, available at many sporting goods or outdoors specialty shops are fine and relatively inexpensive. They will stop most nymphs, but not larvae. Spraying the socks with bug repellent may help, but on the other hand may not stop a hungry tick. Using permethrin treated socks are very effective, see link #2 to Insectshield. The “Rynoskin” sock appears to be able to stop all stages of ticks. See www.rynoskin.com/
The new Wigwam “Thermax” sock liner also looks good to stop nymphs and larger, and maybe larvae. I found this sock locally in a sporting goods store for $6.50. Here’s a link to their site. Note: several sock liners are show, the sample in the image is the only one examined. http://www.wigwam.com/
These links do not constitute an endorsement of any kind by LDASEPA or the web master, nor does this information represent any guarantee that you won't get bitten..