Function for Fashion
Initially made only for people of luxury, socks find their use today as a functional fashion piece that keeps our feet dry and blister-free throughout the day. More than just the comfort and style, socks provide the protective layer that absorbs moisture that keeps sweat from spilling over to our shoes. When warmth and moisture come together, they provide an optimal environment for bacterial growth.
Over the years, our mastery of fabric technology has led to more discoveries on how to make our socks work better in their moisture-wicking role. Materials such as wool have been great for this function for many years. Recently, newer materials have come to the industry such as polyester and bamboo.
Which Type of Material Works Best for Sweaty Feet?
The main factor to consider when selecting socks for active use is if they are made from a moisture wicking material. Moisture wicking socks are excellent for sweaty feet and will pull the moisture away from the foot, bringing it to the exterior layer of the sock. This allows the sweat to evaporate faster and keeps your foot dry. Thinner or thicker socks are not always better, but a balance of cushion and fit is what’s most important to maximize sock performance.
Why are Cotton Socks Bad for Sweaty Feet?
Cotton is one of the most common materials that socks are made from. Unfortunately, cotton does not contain moisture wicking properties and will not help sweaty feet. Cotton socks are great for casual wear but when dealing with activities that make your feet sweat a lot, cotton holds on to the moisture it absorbs. This can eventually lead to a foul odor and even blistering.
The Classic Wool
Wool absorbs moisture but it dries faster than cotton. This is why you will find wool used in socks designed for active use. Compared to cotton, it also has a sturdier structure and is less prone to tearing or degrading despite heavy impact inside the shoe. Wool socks provide better insulation than cotton socks in colder climates, too.
One common misconception about wool is that it is always itchy. When looking for wool socks for active use, consider finding Merino Wool. This is a subcategory of wool that isn’t itchy while still providing the same great benefits.
For wearers who prefer a material not derived from animals, wool is not considered vegan as it comes from sheep. Furthermore, wool can be expensive. In the race for price, synthetic fibres were born out of a need for a cheaper option.
Though the raw materials of polyester are derived from nature itself, the treatment and manufacturing are done through a chemical process which makes it a “synthetic” material. It is indeed vegan because it does not use any animal-based ingredients. Polyester is often cheaper than wool which is why you are beginning to see more and more polyester socks on the shelf.
Synthetic socks also have their downfalls. The durability of polyester fibres has become a problem when it comes to waste. Users who prefer a naturally biodegrading material will often choose wool over polyester. Synthetic fibres can take up to a thousand years before it degrades completely.
Plant fibers have always been an option for fabrics, but the use of bamboo has recently become more popular due to the grass’s large role in carbon-sequestration to battle climate-change. Bamboo is the fastest growing grass in the world and its abundance and affordability makes it a choice material in making several products today. Because it is organic and will degrade naturally, it is also a choice for eco-friendly consumers.
Choosing green doesn’t mean you have to compromise the function of your socks. Bamboo fibers have a hollow structure that make it super-absorbent, moisture-wicking, and they are naturally antibacterial as well. Hypoallergenic and smooth like polyester, bamboo socks are great for your skin.
Wonder how to make your moisture-wicking socks last longer? Here’s one little secret: don’t put them in the dryer. That’s right, if you just air dry your socks you will find that they maintain the structural integrity for much longer.
Every Sock for The Occasion
There is no one absolute material that you should choose from because each wearer will have their own needs. Some prefer a thicker wool sock that keeps them warm over winter. Some may prefer a polyester or bamboo sock for durability or sustainability. Ultimately, it all boils down to what fits well for you and is most comfortable.