You'll learn everything about socks and choosing the right sock for you.
You're one step closer to knowledge that will lead to all sorts of long-term benefits.
Let’s get to it.
This guide will teach how to choose the right sock, period.
It’s got all sorts of tidbits and handy insights we’ve learned while building our sock brand over the last 3 years.
Anyhow, this guide is short and it’s intended to give you the information you need to find the right sock for you - at the drop of a hat.
It’s organized into sections - like shape, length, type, size, material, color, patterns etc. We’ll offer the best uses for different kinds of socks.
A good sock addresses common problems that we all experience; like odor, wet feet, cold feet, blisters etc.
No, not all socks are the same but, you’ll learn what you need for that 49er, Powder Day, if you’re a ‘true blue’ cowboy, a weekend of Fly Fishing or a couple of sets on tennis on a Sunday.
Most manufacturers have been focused on the mass market. So that means: low prices, the same products with the same weave and fabric, and low performance socks.
As a general rule of thumb, we want to match the activity you’re doing with the appropriate sock.
The socks industry has changed big time…
The days of wearing the same old sock is over. Brands are using the latest technology to design their socks.
Now, we have socks that can be personalized. And that makes sense right?
Advanced textiles, built-in compression, fabrics etc. is much more simple than you may think.
There are systems that allow you to find the right sock.
After reading this guide, you'll have much more clarity and focus in how you approach choosing the right sock.
You can also take other things into consideration like odor, moisture, blisters, warmth, comfort to find the best sock for you.
Here's a breakdown of what you can expect:
Overview of Socks
An Overview of Socks:
We can describe socks by their shape, length. type and size.
These are examples of what we’ll need to look for when finding the right sock.
It’s not that these are universal names but, they give us an idea of what they are.
Some of them may seem unclear so we’ve made a diagram that you can refer back to.
Standard socks are called:
Full-length socks are called:
- half-length socks
- Quarter-length socks
Formal attire traditionally requires long/dress socks (to prevent any flashes of visible skin, and because they're less prone to bunching/falling).
Every brand gives its sock heights different names, but we’ve found these terms to be the most common. Illustration: Ryan Hines
Unseen Socks, also known as ‘No Show’ Socks
Just like the term implies - unseen socks cannot be seen. We like to use the term ‘hidden’ socks.
Watch yourself here...
Socks that can’t be seen have all sorts of names. People call them whatever makes sense. So here are some examples:
No show - can cover the sole of the foot or it can reach up to the ankle bone in some brands. Socks that you can’t see really have no naming standards.
Here are some alternatives, liner, loafer, invisible, low, footie sock, ped or hidden sock as I mentioned earlier.
How do you pick a material? Wool is comfy and provides the most support right?
Well, sometimes. Wool is moisture wicking ~ keeps the feet dry. The ‘proof of the pudding is in the eating’. You’ll notice that you have fairly good control of the temperature.
Our socks allow you to stand in cold water for up to 3 hours no problem.
And this is great for Fly Fisherman for example. Wool’s also got that durability.
Synthetic socks work the best for a variety of situations. We’ll look at the different materials available and their strengths and weaknesses in a minute.
What about the itch and stuff?
Look for a blend like an AlPaca and Merino blend. Now we’re talkin’ It will feel smooth and not give you the urge to scratch yourself like. Another option is to get a high quality fine wool.
Usually the socks that itch are the older socks, perhaps something that’s been handed down. You know, been in the basement since the move.
Cotton! ‘Get a good pair of cotton socks’. Cotton is not something we recommend. The problem is that cotton absorbs moisture like a sponge. You want something that helps to impede or stop the build up of moisture.
When your feet sweat and some of us have issues around excessive sweating; the sock should perform by moisture wicking.
The smell that results from sweating can be squashed with a good anti-bacterial sock. Careful some socks have harmful metals in them that can leach into the skin.
Overall, cotton is not as durable - head for the hills when it comes to cheap cotton socks. Their weave is also pretty bad. One company uses what they call a ‘whorl’-like pattern, which basically means it has no structure. When socks are made the weave, fabric, shape and other properties are big considerations.
There are several strategies that a sock engineer uses to make a sock. Voided yarns, different approaches to weaves, fabrics, material selection ~ you name it.
When it comes to materials, a socks performance can be enhanced. Some Engineers consider the use, along with human anatomy to determine the best approaches. Material choice can affect how the sock stretches across ‘hot zones’ over the foot, ‘half-life’ or how long the sock lasts, how it manages moisture and odor.
Different examples of materials are:
Acrylic - warm and lightweight, maintains its shape and wicks sweat away from the feet. It’s also resilient, soft, less shrinkage and holds its color nicely
Cotton - soft and resistant to heat but, absorbs sweat from the feet. Also good for absorbing shock. This is why you’ll see diabetics wearing them - they tend to bang their feet.
Linen - strong, durable and lightweight. It also absorbs moisture
Polyester -quick drying, washes well.
Nylon - known for its strength, abrasion resistance, dimensional stability and elasticity as well as easy washing + quick drying. Durable, shrink resistant fiber often used in blends to add stretch and strength to socks.
Silk - silk is soft, lightweight and adds shine
Wool -warmth, durability. It has excellent insulating properties. Some wool socks have a built in gradient that allows moisture to dissipate, leaving the foot drier.
Rayon -absorbs moisture, washable and can dyed with ease
I like acrylic and a wool blend.
Many hikers and outdoor enthusiasts use a boot liner. It serves as an inner layer to protect against friction. No show liners are another name for a type of sock and these are different from a boot liner.
Color ~ Patterns
The only thing that I can say here is to stay clear of white socks with black shoes and black pants.
Rules for colors:
Loud socks? If that’s you. I wouldn’t care what people think.
If you like to express yourself by wearing a fun, loud colored sock go for it.
For work: Black, Brown, Dark Blue and Dark Gray work well.
Now where getting interesting
Choose a pair of socks that makes sense for you.
For fishing h
By the way, they look out of this world.
An all black sock would be ideal. It’s comfortable, you’ll be within uniform requirements. Trail runner? Wear no shows, 3 or 6” socks.
Refer to our sock chart to see the different uses of socks and more on choosing the best sock for you.
Sizing is important because the sock can fall down, fit too tightly around the calf. You want a snug, comfortable fit so the sock can do its job.
A good way to wash socks is to:
Machine wash in cold water while using GENTLE cycles.
Do not bleach, warm iron as needed, tumble dry on low and please don’t dry clean. You can also hang dry your socks.
Always read the label before washing. (Most fall into the "Machine-wash warm, Tumble-dry medium" category.
Tumble-dry with heat destroys the elastic, and deforms the knit. For a longer life and durability : hand wash, and always hang dry.
Will Wool Shrink?
Modern Wool socks are made with Merino Wool. Some are blends and this will help to prevent shrinkage.
Folding or Rolling, is better than stretching the cuff over itself.
For dry and clean feet..
Avoid wearing the same pair of shoes for two days in a row. Air your shoes out every few days. Try wool (moisture-wicking) or (moisture-absorbent) insoles.
Wash them regularly...
Try a light daily dusting of goldbond foot powder (but beware barefoot footprints, and dust-out regularly).
Try an unvarnished-cedar shoe-tree.
To prevent blisters:
Break-in stiff/new shoes with socks (by walking around your home). Moisture is the culprit so look for a sock that manages moisture. Traditional socks don’t wick moisture.
What does a moisture wicking sock look like in terms of performance? What does it mean for the wearer? The products remain drier, the body stays cooler on warm days.
On cooler days it stays warmer...
Here is where we introduce the concept of multi-wear: you'll have to change less between activities and as the environment changes.
Furthermore, from the standpoint of reduction and prevention. We don’t want to make false promises.
Firstly, blistering can be reduced as a direct result of creating a low-friction superior moisture management, and contoured-fit.
As a result, a micro-environment is created within the sock. It’s created by the structure of the sock. Almost like a pocket, or a part of the body that performs a function.
This environment within the product allows for less friction and less blistering or chaffing. In the end you’re more relaxed and ready to keep moving.
What about padding?
Look for a sock with thickened toe pads and heel pads. You can also get an insole. Bulky does not mean better. Some socks are thinner but, just as or even warmer than bulky wool. I would recommend a medium or heavy.
You can also get an insole for more support.
Choose socks that are higher quality. Go back and look at how you're washing them. Try not to tumble dry with heat because you’re destroying the structure (elasticity of the sock).
Pay close attention to the yarn or fiber used and it’s construction. A really good fit can result from how the sock is made. In some socks, the internal structure has been changed so that it lasts longer and can undergo many washings. Other benefits of a great construction is less ‘friction’.
Some socks are designed while considering friction. You need friction at the right time and the right place.
Taking off a tight boot or sliding across a wooden floor can be accomplished by a sock that understands it’s owner.
When do I go sockless or wear the hidden socks?
People have preferences. I have seen people hiking and running on trails, wearing shorts casually, at the beach, summer, fishing etc.
What are the benefits of multi-wear?
Clothing has changed. And the way that people think about clothing has also changed.
Nowadays, it's important that clothing is multi-functional. We call it multi-wear. People are working at home, stepping out for a workout, heading over to the market for a bag of nourishment.
Multi-wear is a good investment. It saves money because you can wear something in both casual and formal settings.
I used to go to the gym a lot. I remember constantly changing so that I would have the right sock on for the right workout or activity - trust me, it will save a fortune.
You'll also have a small selection of socks. Let's fuss, less hassle and more simple.
If your socks fit into any situation, and perform as well, you'll have turbo-charged legs and feet.
All in all, what you get out of a sock is determined by many factors. For you, some of the concepts mentioned in this guide may be slightly different. But, for most people following you’ll have more full experiences.
Our legs and feet, how much we sweat, odor etc. differs between individuals. In this case, you may want something that really hones in on your needs.
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