Pom Pom Peds

Remember Tretorn tennis sneakers? The canvas ones with the bright colored little arch on the side? And remember how you had to wear them with the little peds with pom poms on the cuff?

In the mid-70's Chris Evert rocked the classic combo. The pom pom was probably meant to keep the sock from slipping down into the the sneaker. Such a whimsical solution to such a practical problem!

A decade later The Official Preppy Handbook ordained Tretorns with Pom Pom Peds a "must-have". In Connecticut, the hypocenter of preppy behavior, where the Handbook was barely satirical, we all competed to have the newest Tretorns, the most pom pom socks, the best color combinations. Sick stuff, but, man, I loved wearing those socks!

Now, two decades later, I'm loving making these socks! They reduce sock making to the most fun parts, to the action of the sock: the heel, the gusset, the toe. And so many color possibilities, I could fill a drawer... -Whitney


  • 2 skeins of Hand Jive's Nature's Palette 100% merino wool. These colors are Coral and Walnut. Please note that to make 2 pairs of socks you will probably need all 185 yards of these skeins, so be careful substituting...

UPDATE August 18, 2011:  Since Nature's Palette is no longer available, we have redone our pom pom peds in Anzula's Squishy(click here).  One skein each in two colors of Squishy makes 4 pairs of socks!



8 stitches = 1 inch in stockinette stitch (See our Circular Gauge Tutorial for tips on knitting an accurate gauge for in-the-round projects.)

Finished Size

Fit most women: 7 1/2 inches in circumference and adjustable length


The how-to photos in this pattern are from our original Pom Pom Peds post which used a yarn that is no longer available. So, don't mind the unexpected color!

The Cuff

With the Contrast Color, cast on 60 stitches to three double pointed needles.

Round 1: *K1, p1, repeat from * to end of round.

Repeat Round 1 five more times.

Change to the Main Color and knit 3 rounds.

The Heel Flap

Knit 15 stitches and turn the work so the purl side of the fabric is facing you.


Purl 30 stitches. (The 30 stitches that you just purled are the beginning of the heel flap. For this section, you will be working back and forth on just these 30 stitches.)

Arrange the stitches so that the 30 heel flap stitches are on one needle. Put the remaining stitches on hold on two needles (15 stitches each).


(Again, work the following rows back and forth, turning the work between each row.)

Row 1 (right side): *Slip 1 purlwise, k1, repeat from * to end of 30 stitches.

Row 2 (wrong side): Slip 1 purlwise, purl to end of 30 stitches.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 fifteen more times.


Turning the Heel

Still just working the heel flap stitches:

Row 1 (right side): K17, ssk, k1, turn the work so the wrong side is facing you and there are 19 stitches on the left needle and 10 stitches on the right needle.

Row 2 (wrong side): Slip 1 purlwise, p5, p2tog, p1, turn the work. (18 stitches on the left needle and 10 stitches on the right needle)

Row 3: Slip 1 purlwise, knit to 1 stitch before the gap, ssk (with the stitch before the gap and the stitch after the gap), k1, turn.

Here's the so-called "gap":


Row 4: Slip 1 purlwise, purl to 1 stitch before the gap, p2tog, p1, turn.

Repeat Rows 3 and 4 until all the heel stitches have been worked and 18 stitches remain on the needle.



The Gusset

Knit across the 18 heel stitches.

With the same needle (now called "needle #1"), pick up 17 stitches along the heel flap. (35 stitches)


With a new needle (needle #2), knit across the 30 stitches that have been on hold.


With a new needle (needle #3), pick up 17 stitches along the other side of the heel flap.


Still with needle #3, knit 9 stitches from needle #1.

Now there are 26 stitches on needle #1, 30 stitches on needle #2, and 26 stitches on needle #3. Needle #1 is the beginning of the round (at the middle of the heel).


Round 1: Needle #1 - knit to last 3 stitches, k2tog, k1. Needle #2 - knit all the stitches. Needle #3 - k1, ssk, knit to end.

Round 2: Knit.

Repeat Rounds 1 and 2 until 60 total stitches remain (15 stitches on Needle #1, 30 stitches on Needle #2, and 15 stitches on Needle #3).


The Foot

Maintaining 15 stitches on Needles #1 and #3 and 30 stitches on Needle #2, knit evenly until the piece measures 2 inches less than the desired final length, measuring from the back edge of the heel.


Here's a guideline for final sock lengths:

US size 6 shoe (European 37) = 9 inches

US size 7 shoe (38) = 9 1/4 inches

US size 8 shoe (39) = 9 5/8 inches

US size 9 shoe (40) = 10 inches

I'm making socks to fit a size 7 shoe, so I knit the foot until it measures 7 1/4 inches (9 1/4 inches - 2 inches).

The Toe

Round 1: Needle #1 - knit to last 3 stitches, k2tog, k1. Needle #2 - K1, ssk, knit to last 3 stitches, k2tog, k1. Needle #3 - k1, ssk, knit to end.

Round 2: Knit.

Repeat Rounds 1 and 2 until 32 total stitches remain.

Then, repeat Round 1 until 12 total stitches remain.

With Needle #3, knit the 3 stitches from Needle #1 so that there are 6 stitches on each of two needles.


Use the Kitchener Stitch to close the toe.


The Pom Poms

I used the Susan Bates Pom Pom Maker to make the smallest size pom poms. (Please visit our Pom Pom Tutorial if you need help with your pom pom maker.)


When you tie the pom pom in half leave generous tails so that you can use them to sew the pom pom to the top back of the ped. Bring the tails to the inside of the ped, tie a knot (yes, a knot!), and very thoroughly weave the ends in to the cuff.


Now switch the colors and make another pair!



Click here to add a comment

23 Responses to Pom Pom Peds

  1. bili says:

    Изумительные носочки! Да и все, что вы делаете, очень красиво!

  2. enenaro says:

    I love this pattern. I’ll try to make it and send you pictures. Thank you very much. Regards.

  3. Donna says:

    I absolutely love these and can not find instructions anywhere for a Magic Loop version… Do you have these written up for magic loop, or could you break it down for me? I get confused when it says needle numbers?

    Thank you,

  4. purl bee says:

    Hi Donna,

    I would recommend using a marker at the points where this pattern indicates the end of a double pointed needle. So, for example, once you've picked up for the gusset and you have 26 stitches on needle #1, 30 stitches on needle #2, and 26 stitches on needle #3, I would place a marker after the 26th and 56th stitches (the final marker, after the 82nd stitch, would be the beginning of the round).

    I hope this helps! Please let us know if you have any other questions!


  5. Michelle says:

    I love the look of these and am looking for my first sock project. Is there any hope of a pattern for these for toddler/child? I'd love to make them for my niece!

  6. purl bee says:

    Hi Michelle-

    This pattern is not available in a child/ toddler size but we do have another great sock pattern that might fit the bill here:

    Thank you for your question!


  7. Sue says:

    Do you wear these in hot summer weather? Wool seems so hot, but I've been wanting to try knitting some socks.

  8. purl bee says:

    Hi Sue-

    We don't necessarily wear these on the hottest days but socks are a great summer knitting project because they are so portable and small. And they would be great to wear on a cooler summer night around the house.

    Thank you for your question!

  9. Jenm says:

    I still wear tretorns and have been looking for a pattern just like this. I don't like wearing socks, so it's ped's or nothing. Thank you so much

  10. Marie-Claude says:

    I've spotted this pattern months ago and now I'm ready to knit my first pair of socks.
    Is this pattern recommanded for a person who's going to knit socks for the first time ?
    Reading the instructions, it seems easy… Thank you

  11. purl bee says:

    Hi Marie-Claude-

    Yes, this is a great first sock pattern.

    Thanks for your question!

  12. Melyssa says:

    This is my first attempt at socks and so far the pattern is great, but I am getting hung up on the toe section…I have 20 sts on each needle (60 total) but as I follow the decreases needle #2 ends up with a lot fewer sts. So for example, when I get to having 32 sts left, I have 13 on needle #1, 6 on needle #2, and 13 on needle #3. I know I'm doing something wrong, but I think I followed the decreases as written (1 decrease at the end of the first needle, 1 decrease at the beginning and end of the 2nd needle and one decrease at the beginning of the 3rd needle). Help! I really want to finish my sock!

  13. purl bee says:

    Hi Melyssa,

    The problem is that you should have finished the Gusset section with 15 stitches on Needles #1 and #3 and 30 stitches on Needle #2, and you should have left them that way.

    I just edited the pattern a bit to make that more obvious! I'm so sorry for your likely frustration and I hope this sets you on the right path!


  14. Annie says:

    What a great pattern and I love the detailed instructions. I have a question. What would I need to do to increase the size? Thanks for any help you can provide.

  15. purl bee says:

    HI Annie,

    The easiest way to make anything bigger is to use bigger yarn and/or to work at a bigger gauge. Other than that, it's a pretty complicated thing to alter the size of a sock pattern, and unfortunately, we just don't have the resources to do that right now.

    Thanks so much for asking, though!


  16. CGW says:

    Ah! I'm in love with these socks. I was just thinking that I was officially finished with sock knitting when I saw this pattern. Purl Bee does it again!

  17. CGW says:

    Ah! I'm in love with these socks. I was just thinking that I was officially finished with sock knitting when I saw this pattern. Purl Bee does it again!

  18. Molly says:

    I'd love to make these for my mom for Mother's Day, but she is allergic to wool. Have you made these socks with a cotton or other non-animal fiber yarn? Just wondering if there is anything you would recommend. Thanks!

  19. Rhonda Wilcox says:

    I just finished my first footie and I had to let you know that I love this pattern. It was very well written and worked out wonderfully. Thanks for offering it for free. I'll be making lots of them. Happy Knitting!

  20. Jenny says:

    I have almost finished mine in self striping flag lookin' yarn, red and white stripes a mixed blue and white field of stars area, and I can't wait to do the Pom poms, maybe one red and one blue and white, and I have to get some Birkenstocks to wear them with when it gets "cold" thanks for the nice pattern. Wish I had done the solid color as in your photo. It's cuter.

  21. Liesl says:

    This pattern is my first attempt at sock knitting and it has me hooked! Thank you so much for sharing!

  22. Michelle says:

    Hi there :-) I love these socks and am trying this pattern as my first attempt at anything other than a scarf… When the pattern says to knit 15 then turn the work and purl 30, I am confused. Can you help me? After turning the work, the yarn is on the left instead of the right and I am not sure how to proceed.
    Thanks so much! I love your site and am excited to build my skills with your projects. :-)

    • Whitney from the Purl Bee says:

      Hi Michelle,

      When you go to purl those 30 stitches just try to imagine you’re at the beginning of a row. After all, when you start a row the working yarn is also on the left needle! It’s the same thing!

      I hope this helps… Please let us know if you have any other questions and thanks for this one!


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