Because I mostly knit socks in public, this is a question I get asked a lot. Last time I made an attempt to calculate this, I was working on only my second pair of socks ever, and got an answer of about 30hrs. I’ve been aware for a while that this figure would not be representative of my current speed. I’ve just started sock pair #26*. So I knitted a pattern repeat on that as fast as I could. It took me 25min including a bit of simple lace work , with a few quickly fixed mistakes in the mix. The socks I have on happen to be 27cm long. The pattern repeat is 2cm. Adding in a couple of repeats to allow for the heel**, I work it out to be 13hrs to knit a pair. A tiny bit faster without lace knitting, obviously a longer sock would take more time and a shorter one less. This doesn’t allow for major mistakes needing frogging and rework. Also doesn’t allow for design work or yarn preparation. So the answer does depend a bit on various factors including who is asking, but at least I have a new estimate. Oh, and of course that is not 13hrs elapsed, but 13hrs focused working. I sure can’t knit that long all in one stretch. About 30min in one go is as much as my arm will let me do.
*not pictured. These are sock pairs #6 and #15 of my knitting.
*my current favourite slip stitch heel is better for high arches, more complex and more yarn hungry than those pictured.