Normally I just go with whatever fits, but the pattern I'm doing now has a cable pattern and since I know it will pull in significantly, trying to really get it right.
My foot circumference is around 10-1/2 inches at largest (yes, my feet are that wide blech, so fun to knit for!)
However, when I make socks to fit that (minus 10% for negative ease) they are HUUUUUUUUUGE on me. I most recently finished a sock at 7 sts/inch with 60 stitches, which is just around 8-1/2 inches, and it fits me perfectly. I then took that same pattern and went DOWN a needle size, got 8 sts/inch, still 60 stitches, which is more like 7-1/2 inches, and they still fit me just fine, definitely felt snugger than the 7 st/inch one, but still perfectly comfortable.
The gauge for this cabled sock is 8 st/inch, so I'm good there with this yarn/needle combo, but I am puzzled as to what size to make. It's 56[64,72] stitches to start, increased to 70 [80, 90] to accommodate the cables and fit circumference: 7.5 [8.0, 8.5] inches.
Being that the 60-stitch socks fit me, I'm inclined to make the medium, but obviously that's nowhere near what I should be making according to my foot measurements and then I'm thinking maybe with the cable pulling, I should do the largest size.
So I guess what my question is, how are handknit socks SUPPOSED to fit? I've only actually completed a couple of pairs, and they are always snug, but not tight (except for an attempt at fair isle where I couldn't even get the sock past the ball of my foot,) and I can't imagine wanting it much looser, but it would seem that my finished socks shouldn't be more than 9" around based on measurement and negative ease.
Any input would be much appreciated!