5 Times President George HW Bush’s Socks Took Center Stage

The 41st U.S. President was known for his bold and meaningful footwear.

Former U.S. presidents (L-R) Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and President Barack Obama pose at the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas
Paul Morse/George W. Bush Presidential Center / Getty Images

The 41st U.S. President was known for his bold and meaningful footwear.

President George HW Bush was a self-proclaimed sock man, and his penchant for wearing colorful and patterned socks to suit every occasion was legendary. After being diagnosed with vascular Parkinsonism in 2007, the former President made the most of his visible ankles when using wheelchairs and scooters by picking bold and meaningful socks from his vast collection of statement footwear.

In a 2014 fundraising email from the Republican National Committee, Bush wrote, “I’m a self-proclaimed sock man. The louder, the brighter, the crazier the pattern – the better,” per NPR.

The 41st U.S. President, who passed away on November 30 at age 94, will now be carried to his final resting place wearing socks that honor his service in the Navy. It will be a fitting final pair of socks for a commander-in-chief, who gave so much to his country after starting out as an aviator in the U.S. Navy when he was 18 years old. Bush family spokesperson Jim McGrath tweeted a photo of the socks ahead of the former President’s funeral in Washington on Wednesday.

In the five years before his death, President Bush took his love for socks to a new level, even wearing a pair of socks emblazoned with his own face on them when he accepted the Lyndon B. Johnson Foundation award for his public service in 2013.

On April 25, 2013, at the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Bush Sr. wore a pair of bright pink polka-dotted socks. The former president made headlines for his wild footwear choice as he posed with Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and George W. Bush at the ceremony.

For his 89th birthday in 2013, President Bush went into superhero mode. While he celebrated with his family in Kennebunkport, Maine, Bush Sr. wore a pair of Superman-themed socks as he kicked off his final year as an octogenarian.

In early 2014, George HW Bush headed to a meeting with then-new Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien wearing socks with the football team’s official logo on it. The Texans superfan described himself a “perfectly attired” for the occasion.

Even on one of the saddest days of his life—the funeral of his wife, Barbara—the former president used his love of socks to subtly honor the love of his life. In April, Bush honored his late wife by wearing socks with pictures of books on them to her funeral services in Houston. The former First Lady, who formed the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy in 1989, was a champion for reading, and President Bush paid tribute to his wife of 73 years by wearing socks representing her commitment to literacy programs, according to USA Today.

The socks were a gift to President Bush from John’s Crazy Socks. The company now donates 100 percent of the book-themed socks’ proceeds to the Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation.

And one of George HW Bush’s sweetest sock tributes came in August, just a few months before his death. The former president posed with his beloved service dog, Sully, as he wore light blue socks with the two-year-old yellow Labrador’s face on them.