Fall is here and our summer shoes are now tucked away and dreaming of warmer days. This season brings back warmer clothes into our wardrobe and we will soon be digging through the sock drawer to find warmer, thicker socks for the cool days ahead.
There are many different types of socks on the market today, and you’ll find them in just about every clothing store that you enter. You may think socks are a simple staple that you put on every morning, but we’re here to differentiate between the different types of socks and ones that may work better for you. A good pair of socks will keep your feet warm and dry in the winter, and cool and moisture-free in the summer.
Choose the Best Sock Material for Your Needs
One of the factors in the vast variety of socks on the market is the material and fibres that socks are made from. Whereas socks have been classically made from cotton and wool, there are dozens of other natural, synthetic and blended materials on today’s sock market.
Synthetic fabrics (polyester) and natural fabrics (bamboo, merino wool) work to wick moisture from the foot and help with temperature regulation and moisture management in any weather and for any activity.
Is Cotton the Best Material for Socks?
A common misconception is that cotton is the best choice when choosing sock materials. However, cotton absorbs moisture, keeping it closer to your feet, and offers poor insulation when wet.
Picking the Right Sock Length
Generally you’ll find that socks come in 4 different lengths:
- Ankle cut
- Crew cut (slightly above the ankle)
- Calf length (to the knee).
Each style of sock and length will serve a different purpose and can be more fashion forward or be geared towards an activity/ technical focus. Ankle and crew cut socks are great for activities while wearing shoes that hit below the ankle (walking, running, tennis, etc.), while socks that are mid-calf cut are great for higher cut footwear (hiking and work boots).
How Should a Sock Fit?
You’ve decided on the right material and length, so how should a sock fit? Ideally, you want the socks to provide a snug fit against your foot, allowing room for your toes. Although it should be snug, the socks should not cramp or curl the toes, and should fit snugly at the heel. Turn the sock inside out to look at seam construction and particular areas of cushioning. The seams should all be flat. Look for any areas that may cause irritation.
Choosing a Sock that Best Fits Your Activity
Fabric choice is especially important when choosing socks for different activities. For example, the socks that you wear for winter activities (cross country skiing, snowshoeing, walking) will likely be different than the athletic sock that you wear to the gym. Although both socks ideally will have moisture wicking properties, the athletic socks that you wear to the gym will likely be thinner for comfort, ease of wearing them with your athletic footwear, and ensuring that your feet are better thermo-regulated.
Socks for Medical Conditions
Compression socks can be very beneficial if used correctly. There are different levels of compression on the market, ranging from a low level of compression (found at most pharmacies and sporting good stores) to a high level of compression, which must be prescribed by a medical practitioner. Compression socks have a variety of uses, including:
- Mild to severe swelling
- Maternity wear
- Varicose veins
- Extended traveling.
If you have questions about compression stockings or think you might be a candidate, contact your SoleScience pedorthist or medical practitioner to discuss if they would be a viable part of your treatment plan.
Already wearing compression? Check out our compression sock selection.
If you have diabetes, maintaining your foot health is important. In addition to checking your feet each day, checking your socks should be a key part of your daily routine. When purchasing new socks, look for ones that are seamless, including at the toes, heels, and at the top of the sock. Socks that do not have cuffs at the tops ensure that circulation continues through the lower leg and foot, without swelling occurring at the top of the sock. When putting on a pair of socks, turn the socks inside out to ensure that there are no seams, or areas that may cause irritation. If you are unsure what sock is right for you, your SoleScience Pedorthist can help you choose socks that can help keep your feet comfortable and healthy.
While getting ready for the day, it is important to account for the activities that you will be doing and the footwear you will be using in choosing an appropriate sock and ensuring your comfort throughout the day. We’re particular about the socks we bring in to ensure that they are both high quality and will support you through your activities – shop our collection of diabetic socks online.
Questions about which sock is right for you? Reach out to your SoleScience pedorthist who will be happy to assist and provide suggestions or come visit us – we’d love to see you in store!