Socks: Everything You Need to Know About
Do your shoes feel uncomfortable or too tight? Do you suffer from poor blood flow to your legs? The problem could be the socks you’re wearing. We take socks for granted and assume they’re all the same. But that is not the case, and the types of socks you wear have bearing on how comfortable your footwear get.
This guide was prepared specifically for this purpose. As you will see, there are a lot of factors that you have to consider. If you have never given socks much of a second thought, the following will demonstrate how varied your options are.
Why Wear Socks
Prevent Shoe and Foot Odor
Socks absorb sweat, and without it your shoes and feet will smell. A good pair of socks also protects your feet from bacteria that could trigger a disease or injury. Whether you’re wearing dress shoes or sneakers, socks help prevent odor.
Prevent Shoes from Changing Color
The pressure of your bare feet will take its toll on your shoes. The pressure, along with sweat and dirt, leads to discoloration on the shoes’ interior. You can prevent this by wearing socks.
Avoid Mold Buildup
Mold thrives in dark, damp environments. As your feet sweats, moisture gets trapped in your shoe. Over time, mold will build up, characterized by a greenish color. This won’t just damage your shoes but also be unhealthy for your feet.
A comfortable pair of shoes may make it seem like socks are unnecessary. But running or walking on hard, hot surfaces will take its toll on your feet. Not wearing socks also increases the possibility you will develop blisters, which can be very painful.
Makes Feet More Comfortable
Socks act as extra cushion inside footwear for your feet. Even with a good pair of insoles, socks will put your feet at ease. Walking or running with sweaty feet is uncomfortable, so a good pair of socks will definitely help.
Makes Shoes a Better Fit
You are positive you picked the right size for your shoes but they’re too big. What do you do? Wear your favorite socks and those shoes should fit better now. We sometimes make the mistake of trying shoes without socks, making it seem like they’re too large when in fact they’re a good fit.
Keeps Feet Warm
This keep your feet warm as leg warmers. Shoes can feel cold especially if it is raining. By wearing socks, your feet receive protection. If you have to go out during the rain or cold weather, a thick pair of socks will be necessary.
Foot Pain Prevention
These protect your feet from sharp or hard objects that you may step on, preventing injury.
What People Wore Before Socks
Farmers in Ancient Greece (700 BCE) wore felted wool around their boots for insulation. The Romans also wore something called udones under their boots, while hoses began to appear in the Middle Ages. By the 17th century, knitted stockings were already popular all over Europe.
Type of Socks:
By Age and Gender
Men’s sizes are usually:
Men’s socks are available in different styles including mid-calf length and over the calf.
Ladies products are sold in an assortment of sizes.
Children’s socks sizes are divided into these categories:
Types by Use
- Athletic Socks: These socks and sleeves have support bands and moisture wicking properties. They’re available for men and women and come in five styles: tube sock, crew length, quarter length, low-cut and no-show.
- Specialty: These are socks that have been custom designed for specific uses like football, diabetic and heavy duty.
- Nylon/Knit: Designed for women, these socks come in three styles: peep-toe no-shows, ultra low cut and low cut.
Types by Length
- Ankle Length: Suitable for men and women, ankle length socks are ideal for yoga, sports activities, running and workouts.
- Quarter Length: For men and women, these socks are often worn by men to work. Women can wear these for work and leisure.
- Crew Length: This is a unisex style and is appropriate for hiking, sports, business and casual looks.
- Mid-Calf Length: Women can wear these socks with dresses, skirts and for work. Men usually don these for a casual look.
- Calf Length: Men wear these socks to work, while women wear these with their dresses and skirts. It is ideal for a casual style for both men and women.
- Knee Length : This unisex style is ideal for the winter, running, work and casual. Women often wear this with boots.
- Thigh High : These look great on women when paired with a skirt. The look is further complemented by sandals, boots or high heels. This style is for women only.
Types by Fabric
- Cotton: Cotton socks are inexpensive, light, comfortable and absorb moisture. They’re durable, easy to wash and breathable too. Cotton is often combined with nylon to keep moisture off your feet. Note that unless the socks are labeled preshrunk cotton, it’s going to sink when washed in a hot dryer cycle.
- Polyester: Polyester Socks are different from other types of socks listed here. They are very good to use in hot conditions.
- Cashmere: Obtained from the hair of a cashmere goat, it is light and has a solid and luxurious feel.
- Acrylic: Acrylic is a synthetic fiber that provides warmth without being too heavy. Socks with acrylic are durable and display colors more vividly.
- Bamboo: With bamboo properties are breathable and softer than cotton. The surface has a nice sheen. The texture is similar to silk and cashmere, and they’re durable and hypoallergenic.
- Elastic: Elastic is either spandex or rubber, encased in nylon for superior stretching.
- Flax: Socks with flax fibers are flexible, soft and have a lustrous feel. It is less elastic than cotton but stronger.
- Lurex: Lurex combines a metallic thread with synthetic fibers.
- Nylon: Nylon is strong, versatile and durable. Nylon socks can be bulky and thick or silky and thin. It is often combined with other fabrics to strengthen your pair.
Socks come in all colors, and it’s always a matter of personal preference. The general rule however, is to wear socks that have the same color as your pants.
Use as Medical Help
Top Compression socks provide relief for those who spend a lot of time standing or sitting. Compression socks improve blood circulation by reducing distended veins’ diameter, boosting blood flow and velocity.
These compression socks provide relief from thrombosis, edema and leg swelling. These socks also prevent blood clots and lower leg ulcers. While it may be a bit uncomfortable at first, the tightening in the areas around the muscles, arteries and surface veins, forces blood to move in narrower channels.
Compression socks is a great and most effective solution to those who have planter fasciitis.
This leads to an increase in arterial pressure, allowing more blood to go to the heart. Other conditions that will benefit from compression socks are those with lymphedema, post-thrombotic syndrome, varicose veins and heavy legs.
Even if you don’t suffer any serious leg conditions, you will notice the difference when it comes to reduce aches and pains brought about by fatigue. If you walk or stand a lot, compression help.
Compression socks also very much important for frequent fliers. Long flight causes a lot of feet problems. Same case happened with pregnancy. There can be many complications related to your feet during pregnancy. Compression socks help extra ordinarily in case of travel and pregnancy.
What If You Do Not Want to Wear Socks?
There are some people who don’t like to wear them at all. But it’s better if you do because it keeps your feet from absorbing sweat. As we have noted earlier, sweaty feet causes shoes to smell and make them prone to bacteria.
Tips to Care
- Washing: Separate all the socks you’re going to wash. Arrange them in pairs and turn each one inside out. Turn the washing machine on and wash the socks in cold water. Make certain the cycle is set to gentle and only mild detergents are used. Turn right side out and let them dry.
The ideal temperature is 30 degrees Celsius, though as long as the water is cold your socks should be fine. For odor control and antibacterial socks, it is especially important not to use harsh bleaches or chemicals. Do not dry clean or iron them. Just wash them as described here. Lukewarm water is fine for some , but avoid hot water as it causes shrinkage. The full process is here.
- Drying: Once you’re done washing, squeeze the socks and hang to dry. Don’t wring the socks as they could get damaged
- Folding: Lay the matching pairs one on top of the other. Grab one of the cuffs and fold above the other. Repeat this with your other socks. Do this and you will never have a problem finding the right pair. This might take time, but at least you’ll never end up with mismatched socks. Check the top 3 methods of folding socks.
One Pair Per Day
You should wear one pair only one day. Wash them after use before wearing again. Even if the socks don’t have any smell, it’s better to replace them. Wearing a new pair of socks reduces the possibility of getting bacteria infecting your feet.
Best 5 Brands of Socks
- Copper: Copper is known for their compression socks that reduce swelling and fatigue. Their socks are also designed for use at home, work and travel. Whatever type of socks you want to wear, Copper has one for you.
- Wigwam: This company is known for durable socks that can be used for hiking and other outdoor adventures. Their products are also comfortable and have moisture control for convenience.
- Strassburg: Strassburg makes items for different people, and they’re renowned for being easy to use and provide relief from heel spurs.
- Darn Tough: As the name implies, the company makes very durable. Aside from durability, their ones also have a lifetime guarantee, an indication of how good they are.
- Stance: Stance makes several high quality items for all genders and ages. Their socks are known for being easy to fit and with proper venting and seamless design.
Socks Problems and Solutions
Quickly Wear Out
Wash your socks in cold water. Do not wring them when drying as you could damage the fabric.
Never wear socks if they’re wet even if they are waterproof ones, and make sure to wash them after every use. Also, don’t store socks until they’re completely dry.
Holes and Tears
Short of buying a new pair, you can always sew it up. You can also prevent this by keeping your socks away from sharp objects.
Harsh detergents and chemicals are the most likely culprit. As we have pointed out, you should only use mild detergents so the colors don’t fade.
A few more reminders:
- Take care of your socks the way you take care of your other clothes.
- Wash them on a regular basis and they’ll be fine.
- If you can buy several pairs of socks, it’ll keep them from wearing out.
Frequently Asked Questions
Buying socks is so easy that we take them for granted. But the truth is there are a lot of things that you need to mull over to make sure they fit right. If you take the time to go over these points, you will have a comfortable pair ready to wear.