When it comes to choosing socks, aside from the length, we always consider the fabric material. Most socks are made of a variety of fabrics that have different characteristics and levels of comfort. Different fabrics are appropriate for different seasons, especially winter and summer. Knowing more about the materials used will help you make an informed decision.
Cotton is considered one of the best fabrics for socks because of its light weight and ability to absorb moisture easily. It comes from the fibers of a cotton plant which is one of the most expensive materials in the market. Cotton is breathable, durable, and easy to wash by machine or by hand. On one hand, wearing cotton for a long time while wet can lead to skin irritation.
Cotton socks are better for daily use with sneakers or casual wear, but if you intend on doing any physical activities that would make you sweat, particularly your feet, cotton socks should be avoided. However, combining cotton with other fabrics such as polyester will make the socks more moisture resistant, making them suitable for all activities.
Wool is the second most popular material used in socks, after cotton. It is a natural fiber obtained from sheep that is soft, and one of the best fabrics available in the market. Each fiber is made up of coiled springs that bounce back to their original shape when stretched. Wool socks are breathable and resistant to wrinkles. It’s also used to make bulky, soft socks that are suitable for wear during winter. This fabric is an excellent insulator, absorbing moisture and keeping the feet warm in the winter. It is good for the skin and is water-resistant. It is ideal for adventure activities such as hiking.
On the other hand, some lower-quality wool socks may be itchy. They’re also difficult to clean and not machine washable. When purchasing wool socks, premium quality is preferable because they last longer and provide more comfort.
Bamboo fiber socks are becoming more common because they are made from the pulp of the bamboo grass, which grows rapidly and requires little water, making them more environmentally friendly. Bamboo absorbs moisture more easily than cotton, keeping the skin dry, thanks to capillary action, which attracts moisture to the fabric’s outer surface.
Bamboo also contains an antibacterial agent known as “bamboo kun,” which prevents bacteria and odor. It’s soft, lightweight, and breathable. It acts as a thermal regulator, keeping the feet warm on cold days and cool on hot days. If you have delicate skin, bamboo fiber is the ideal material.
Bamboo is one of the finest sock materials available. It can provide almost all of the benefits of both cotton and wool socks when combined. It is designed for use in any activity – from regular to physical ones.
Nylon is a synthetic fiber that is often used in socks due to its durability. It is created by using an acid to initiate the chemical reaction that results in crystallized substances. The crystallized substances produced are then heated and formed into nylon fibers. Nylon is lightweight and is extremely stretchable. It is also versatile since the manufacturer can make it thin or thick, depending on the desired quality.
Nylon is abrasion-resistant and does not absorb moisture, trapping sweat against the skin that creates a breeding ground for odor and other potential fungal infections on the feet. Nylon is best when combined with other fabrics as they remove the negative attributes and retain the good ones, such as elasticity and durability.
Polyester is somehow similar to nylon but is less expensive. It is a strong synthetic fiber that can withstand wear and tear. Since it is man-made, it is more robust and durable. Polyester also lasts longer and fades slower than cotton.
Polyester absorbs moisture poorly and can cause sweaty feet to stink. It is not recommended for use during the summer or if you want to engage in physical activity. Compared to other fabrics, polyester has poor quality and is harmful to the environment because it never decomposes. Pure polyester is not as highly recommended as other fabrics such as cotton and wool unless it is combined with other fabrics.
It’s important to remember that socks are often made of a variety of fabrics. When selecting the right socks, it’s crucial to understand the benefits and drawbacks of each fabric. Buy socks that are fit for your desired activity. Trust me, this will make a big difference.