1. Treppenviertel Socks by Nicola Susen : not a free pattern (costs 2.5 Euro or about CAD$4), but I've knit this one three times, and I'm planning on at least a couple more. I do them toe-up so that I can make them longer (the pattern is a little on the short side, especially for men). It's an easy pattern involving nothing but knits and purls, is easily scaled to accomodate larger and smaller sizes, and can take any kind of heel you like. It looks very classy when finished, best done in a solid yarn with no halo (ie. not fuzzy or wooly). Self-striping, marled, or heathered yarns tend to kill the design.
[Treppenviertel socks, image copyright Nicolor on Ravelry]
2. Porthos by Caoua Coffee : this one's free (as are all of Caoua's patterns), so what is not to love?? This pattern eats yarn, so watch out. I've knit it twice and again am planning a few more iterations. I do it toe-up so I don't run out of yarn. It's nicely elastic and looks very complicated, but is actually nothing but knits and purls. The only downside is that it doesn't resize easily because of the pattern repeat, and I find it too big for me - it fits men beautifully though. Again, this looks fantastic in a solid yarn with no fuzziness. Not suitable for stripes, heathered, or marled yarns, IMO.
3. Wedge Sock by Cookie A. : this one is pretty pricey at US$6.5, but you might find it in her book called Knit.Sock.Love. in your local library. It's interesting enough done in plain yarn, but turns absolutely super-fantastic when done in a self-striping yarn, especially if you take care to "edit" the yarn to enhance the contrast between the stockinette and garter sections. Of course, this makes for some wild 'n' crazy socks! The pattern is very difficult to do 2AAT because it requires back-and-forth knitting. It's also hard to translate into toe-up. I don't use her instructions for the toe; instead I do a standard wedge toe in garter (K1 row, P1 row in the round). While not the easiest of patterns, it looks so amazing in basically any Schoppel Zauberball colourway that it simply flies off the needles. I've knit it