Industry Terms for Materials Socks are Made From | Care Remote

Industry Terms for Materials Socks are Made From


Material Selection

How do you choose 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’, 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. 

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. 

This short article is an excerpt from our Guide to Socks. Subscribe on our homepage to receive the guide: