What's the difference? The dictionary says both mean socks or stockings. If they really refer to the same thing, what's the regional usage for Mexico and Latin America in general?

  • The movie Robin Hood: Men in Tights was translated as Robin Hood: Hombres en Calzas Maybe this helps.
    – enxaneta
    Commented Dec 28, 2018 at 21:41

8 Answers 8


I'm from Colombia (Bogotá D.C) and I only know that calzas are a short term for calzas dentales:

Below, a example:

¿Tiene cita odontológica?

Si, vengo a que me pongan unas calzas.

Searching a little on internet, the word also be applicable to socks, however I only use the word medias.


I was hesitating about posting an answer because you are asking for the usage in Mexico specifically, and my Spanish is castilian, but in case it helps and until you get a better and more complete answer...

My understanding is that 'calcetines' is what we use in a daily basis and 'calzas' would designate larger 'socks', like the ones soccer players (among others) may use for sports (calzas deportivas). The word also designates an old fashioned piece of clothing (something between socks and pants. Check this "calzas" and this other one to get an idea of what it was).

Seems they can also be a woman piece of clothing (but in castilian Spanish the word used for them is the anglicism leggings).

No idea about the use in Mexico, but I hope this helps until someones posts a more accurate answer.

  • So you guys don't use medias in Spain?
    – TheLearner
    Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 16:43
  • 2
    Medias can be used to refer to sportwear too, but mainly they refer clothing (stocking of different lengths) women use: google.com/…
    – Diego
    Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 16:54
  • @Diego I heard the word leggings for female lightweight pants my own definition instead a sock used for cover their feets before put shoes. Google Translator says: tight-fitting stretch pants worn by women and children. Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 17:42
  • medias for women's stockings with an s. Castillian takes a capital c in English. :)
    – Lambie
    Commented Oct 7, 2023 at 18:23

In Chile, "medias" has two meanings. The first is not important in this question, is the sport socks, used by both sexes. With a minimal difference are the same as "calcetas".

The second "medias" refers to a type of lingerie, only wear by women. Is a set of panties with legs and which must necessarily be closed on the feet. That is: a trouser with socks, all together, and with "intimate" features. It can be transparent or opaque. In other countries it said "pantimedias".

"Calzas" are outer garment. Are similar to trousers made with thin and flexible material, and with open feet. Are also known as "leggins".

In real life of a man, there is little difference between medias and calzas, the main thing is that enclose a foot and others do not. If they are fully transparent, are medias, and should take more clothes on (unfortunately). But it would be feasible to tell a lady, "qué lindas tus calzas" and she will answer you: "Son medias". It would be nice.

  • This answer reflects the usage for these words in Guatemalan Spanish. Only exception being that calzas is not used and they're simply referred to as leggings.
    – clinch
    Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 20:14
  • 1
    @Rodrigo In Colombia, the definition of medias and pantimedias are very different for female and male genders. Both can buy and use socks (medias), but only females buys and uses pantimedias. Commented Nov 28, 2014 at 13:35
  • medias as you describe are called tights in English. You many want to amend your answer...aka pantihose, it depends.
    – Lambie
    Commented Oct 7, 2023 at 18:22

Here in Argentina, same as @Rodrigo said about Chile.


The word "medias" in Spanish, according to my Mexican-American upbringing in California, means "stockings", but like the see through kind that women wear. You can buy them in a box at any store. They're see through and come in transparent or black colors. I hope this helps.

  • Yes, it does mean that too.
    – Lambie
    Commented Oct 7, 2023 at 18:21

I learned Spanish while living in Puerto Rico for 5 years. We used "medias" for socks. I live in Dallas, Tx now and the Mexicans call socks "calcetines".

Very interesting how the Spanish language has so many different words for things in different countries. I love learning. So I'll keep my ears open and learn more.

  • In Spain, calcetines.
    – Lambie
    Commented Oct 7, 2023 at 18:20

it depends the geographical region of Mexico, for example

  • Central and south regions: the common term is: calcetines and medias refers to a thin cloth used by women when they wear dresses and it covers both legs

  • In north region: the common term is medias and it doesn't matter who uses them(women and men)

For example in mexican central region if you say esta zapato me calza bien it means shoes are of your size and you can use them perfectly


In the northwest of Mexico, we hardly ever use the word calzas to refer to any kind of sock but instead it has the following meanings:

  • synonym of calzador
  • the wedge used to prevent doors to move
  • an object used to level tables

For sport socks we use calcetín deportivo, calcetas o medias. Medias is also the generic word for women's hosing.

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