Scouting Forums

Can we get rid of the color bands on the socks?

I’d like for BSA to ditch the color bands on the top of the blue Cub Scout socks. It doesn’t make sense that you have one sock only for first grade and another sock only for second and third grades. Also, yellow currently has no specific meaning for the Wolf or Bear programs.

Just do a blue sock. That may reduce waste and allow use of the single, blue-only sock across K - 3 (and 4 - 5 for those keeping the blue uniform).

Well, let me backpedal: it makes sense in light of how the program leadership is structured at national offices and how the Tiger program evolved, but it is only through that insider knowledge that it makes sense.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a cub wear the “official” socks. My kids usually wear smartwool hiking socks. I’m all for the uniform, but in reality the socks are probably something that don’t need to stay “official” they’re very expensive. We own some, but neither of my kids will wear them because they say they’re too hot.

My daughter wears official socks. She wore Tiger socks with an orange band last program year. They’re just about too small for her, and she has switched to Cub Scout socks with the yellow band.

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Wearing non-BSA socks and stockings with protective clothing

When I was a Scout in cold (think snow) and wet (think flooding) weather I did not wear Scout stockings with certain types of boots. If I am out in the snow I want to be wearing thick wool stockings which BSA does not sell.

Compression stockings may not be available in BSA colors

Socks are also an issue for Scouts and Scouters that have to wear compression socks for medical reasons.

It can get complicated and expensive ($40-$50 a pair, or more) if you have different size feet, need special shoes ($200 or more), or a particular calf length for stockings.

A Scout or Scouter may have limited color choices (which do not include BSA uniform colors) for athletic (and other types of) compression stockings.

Wearing two pairs of socks may have pressure, heat and moisture side-effects (including fungus infection).

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As a Scout and now Scouter, I do my best to be 100% compliant with the uniform. I find it to be a challenge to do it right (with the right info) and hold back my own desires to do it wrong (even if I disagree with official).

I have continued that same philosophy with my daughters (last year tiger, bear, Webelos, this year one step forward).

I drew the line at the tiger socks (went with cub socks) and the different cub belt buckles (we with the classic wolf style). These items “broke” me.

I agree with the all blue. While the yellow is still the primary secondary cub color, all blue would be fine and eliminate the abomination that is the current tiger sock.

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I have to honestly admit that the uniform police need to find a hobby. I was a scout in the1970’s and took great pride in my uniform. I was in the army and had no choice but take pride in the uniform not withstanding the $1 per tie tied deal I worked out. Yes a nice clean well appointed and well worn uniform is fantastic it is but one of the methods of scouting. Just my personal opinion and no doubt likely to have me exiled from scouting :slight_smile:
But seriously the sock part of the uniform we left optional. They tend to run tight and for some kids it is annoying.



I agree with your sentiment that it is over the top. I bought my daughter Tiger socks figuring whatever socks I bought her would likely be too small a year later. They actually started feeling small to her in April, so I was right.

It doesn’t make sense that Tigers have their own socks, but Lions wear the same ones Wolves wear.

My daughter’s belt came with a Wolf buckle, and I bought her a Tiger buckle. I (erroneously) asked her to put the Wolf buckle in a safe place. Wherever she chose is so safe that the Wolf buckle is in absolutely no danger of being worn.

One buckle should be enough for an entire Cub Scout career. An observer needs to look very closely to discern the difference anyway. So what’s the point of having different buckles.


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The point of different buckles, like the point of different socks, is to generate income for the National Supply Group.


The point of different buckles, like the point of different socks, is to generate income for the National Supply Group.

I think it’s actually due to lack of coordination between groups at BSA national. If my understanding is correct, these programs have separate leadership, and I am not clear on how they collaborate:

  • Lion
  • Tiger
  • Wolf and Bear
  • Webelos (includes Arrow of Light)

If that is true, it may sufficiently explain the weirdness.

I’ve heard secondhand info to suggest that the National Supply Group mainly covers its own costs and is not a significant revenue generator for BSA. I am open to other views!

That said, I could see where reduced sales could have an impact on NSG. I am uncertain how sustainable their model is, running boutique shops in the Amazon era. This goes into another tangent, but my pack has 137 kids of varying economic backgrounds. The uniforming costs are a sting on all families! Anything we can do to reduce the costs without disrupting the integrity or quality of the uniform is urgently needed.


Many units are basically “waist up” units when it comes to the uniform. The unit doesn’t care if the Scout wears BSA pants, belt or socks as long as the Scout is neat.

Remember, the uniform is just one method of Scouting. No youth should ever be turned away due to lack of uniform. I would rather have the youth participate in street clothes than not participate at all.


In reply to:

I agree with you. Even better, if the unit can provide a neckerchief and slide the youth can have a feeling of belong.

Lets remember per “The Neckerchief” part of the Guide to Awards and Insignia, 2018 printing, section 1, Special Regulations, page 13:

When engaged in Scouting activities, members may wear the neckerchief with appropriate nonuniform clothing to identify them as Scouts.

See also:


I am fortunate. My pack has a reasonably stocked uniform bank, and we also have council funds for additional uniform assistance. I am not sure most councils have this.

My council accepts used uniform donations. For at least the last year uniforms have been going to Scouting families that were affected by wild fires in California.

When I went to donate some of my uniforms that were to big for me, they were not accepting socks since someone else was proving new socks to affected families. I do not know if official BSA socks were included. This might be case where Scouts and Scouters could not afford to have separate official BSA socks.

In reply to:

The unit practices and discussion about uniforms are not new
See: Open for debate: What’s your Scout unit’s uniform policy?, June 17, 2011, by Bryan Wendell, Scouting magazine Bryan on Scouting blog article.


It isn’t that we can’t afford official socks, it is that there are tiger, cub, and scout socks. Can we cut out the tiger socks? The other idea is to make the cub socks blue.

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In reply to:

  1. Having one solid color for socks for each program should reduce production costs.
  2. My understanding is that the National Executive Board has to approve uniform changes. I am not sure what the best way to submit a request is. I suspect requests will need to be submitted via one of the council key-3 leaders (Council President, Council Commissioner and/or council Scout Executive.)
  3. After that the Supply Division buyer have a part in ordering the product(s).
  4. I suspect we can speed the process by draft the design of the socks and stockings. Material? Color? Sizes?’
  5. There are standard BSA program colors defined in document(s) at the BSA Brand Center. Do they apply? Is there an existing clothing color that can be used?
  6. I suspect the supply division will want to sell the stock of existing products before releasing new ones for sale.

That could be trivial: keep the existing socks the same in every way, except keep the color blue for all parts. No yellow or orange tops.

Another trivial option: extend the extant olive socks to smaller sizes and use blue instead.


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