Socks….a small article of clothing that you may think doesn’t make a difference in your life. They are very easy to look over and are a staple item in your wardrobe. They don’t change with the fads or trends and have you really given any thought to the type of socks you wear? Probably not. I never thought about the sock that I wore until I began working at Harry’s Army Surplus. I then learned very quickly that they type of sock you were can make a huge difference in your daily comfort level.
I’m willing to bet that most of you wear cotton socks. They are the most common type of sock found in stores and cotton is the most widely used fabric in clothing. Cotton has many great qualities that make it the go to fiber to use in apparel, but is it good to be used in a sock? I’m not here to bash cotton so I’ll point out the benefits first. Cotton is natural and people are moving away from synthetics to go back to natural fibers to be more eco friendly. Cotton is comfortable. It’s breathable, versatile, and soft, all qualities that we like to have in clothing. Cotton can hold its shape and can stretch without warping also adding to the comfort level. Finally cotton is low maintenance. It’s easy to clean, really durable, and readily available. So, all that sounds great right? We love comfort, but there’s one other feature to think about, cotton is absorbent. Companies often try to play this off as a benefit of items made of cotton and we never question it. “Oh cotton is so absorbent, what a great feature!” but why is that good? Maybe if you are in the market for for dish rags then that would be a good option but when you break it down, absorbency is not a great feature for socks. Cotton absorbs moisture…and then hangs on to it, so your sock will stay moist. Moisture means your feet will be uncomfortable and can lead to painful blisters when combined with friction. Now that you’ve read the pros and cons for cotton, let’s move on to wool.
When you hear someone say wool socks you mind automatically starts to think of the
heavy knit wool socks used during winter that were around ages ago. Those same socks you’re thinking of also lost their shape or even shrunk if they were not cared for in the proper way. Now let’s fast forward to the 21st century. The wool socks of today are nothing like the socks of the past. These wool socks are not 100% wool and are made of blends using wool and usually acrylic. This blend allows for easier care so you can wash and dry them without them changing shape. Another great benefit of a wool blend is that they aren’t ichy! Wool socks are also not just for winter! My favorite brand, Wigwam, makes a variety of wool socks in different thickness ranging from the Hiker which is great for year round wear to far thicker socks made for extreme cold (Wigwam socks are also made is the USA!). Now what really sets them apart from socks made of other fibers is that wool itself is naturally moisture wicking. The means that the fibers draw moisture away from your foot unlike the cotton fibers that just absorb it and let the moisture sit there. Wool also has natural anti-odor properties making the perfect boot sock.
All in all the sock you wear is your choice. If you have never worn wool socks before, I highly recommend that you try a pair out to see the difference. Once you go wool, you never go back…