Aug 30, 2021 /
What Are Socks For & Why Are They So Important?
Socks: your shoe’s underrated partner. If shoes were Batman, socks would be Robin. They do a great deal more for you and your feet than you probably know. That’s why we’re putting the spotlight on socks for a change, just to highlight how important they really are.
The Benefits of a Good Pair of Socks
How do you know you’ve got good quality socks? Whether they’re men’s socks or women’s socks, good socks will:
1. Be Comfortable
If you’ve never worn quality socks, you’re missing out in the comfort department. Quality socks offer superior comfort for three reasons: their shape, construction, & specialized materials.
There are many different styles and heights of socks. Whether you are wondering “what are crew socks” or “should I be using an ankle sock at my workplace” they all have one thing in common: shape! Like this pair from Thorlos, well-made socks are typically shaped like a real human foot, with a designated toe, heel, and arch—unlike those shapeless tube socks you wore back in high school gym class! Quality-made socks like these are the best socks for work boots because this makes them less likely to bunch at the instep or ankle, which causes uncomfortable wrinkles that can be potentially dangerous for people with blood circulation problems.
When socks aren’t shaped like your foot, they can become overly stretched in areas like the heel, ball, and toes, lessening their cushioning benefits and sometimes creating a tight, restrictive section of the sock that causes discomfort.
Quality socks are also designed with an invisible toe seam to avoid the irritating friction from the seam rubbing on your toes. This means that your toes will feel as if they were barefoot—no restrictions or discomfort.
Thorlos stands out in this department by making their own yarns for improved wicking, fit, and durability. This impressive material also reduces friction, keeping you comfortable all day long with no worries of blisters.
These might seem like minor issues, but they actually make a world of difference in terms of comfort.
2. Improve the Fit of Your Shoe
When a sock isn’t distorted or shapeless and the pattern, knit, and yarns have been designed intelligently, it will not only improve foot comfort, but also the fit of any shoe. Think of how comfortable a great fitting, tailor-made pair of pants is compared to an inexpensive pair that you bought off the rack; the same goes for socks.
That also means that one-sock-does-not-fit-all. You should have a variety of socks that fit your feet and your shoes. Athletic shoes, winter boots, work boots, and loafers are all shaped differently and handle sweat differently, and thus require the right sock to ensure the right fit and performance. If you’re wearing slip-resistant work shoes for women or men, the right sock is crucial to ensure your shoes fit well so they can provide the intended traction to keep you safe.
3. Improve Foot Health
Feet are crucial to physical health, and they require special attention for health problems like diabetes. Wearing the wrong sock with the right shoe can trap your foot in a dangerous, wet environment, leading to conditions like athlete’s foot.
A quality sock is designed to wick moisture from the inside of the shoe away from the foot, venting out the top of the shoe. Your feet will feel fresher and cooler thanks to the evaporation process. In other words, efficient moisture-wicking socks help your moisture-wicking shoe do its job.
Cotton or Moisture Wicking Socks?
There are generally two types of socks to choose from: cotton or moisture wicking.
Cotton socks are soft and absorbent. They tend to wear and lose shape quicker than performance moisture wicking socks. Cotton socks may not be the right choice if your feet sweat a lot or you’re working in tough environments.
Moisture wicking socks, whether they’re made of wool or synthetic fibers, carry moisture away from the foot. This makes them ideal for heavy work or athletic use.
Both have their pros and cons. So how do you decide which one to get?
Ultimately, it comes down to whether your feet feel wet all day, leaving them blistered and smelly.
Did you know that your feet have 250,000 sweat glands and excrete half a pint of sweat each day? If your feet squish throughout the day, it may be time to upgrade to moisture wicking socks.
Socks: Just as Important as a Good Shoe
The benefits of socks are undeniable. While quality shoes like our men’s steel toe shoes and lace-up work boots are important, quality socks also play a vital role in ensuring the health of your feet and should be treated as more than an afterthought – your feet will thank you.
So, save those shapeless tube socks for your kid’s puppet show and invest in a high-quality sock to pair with your new shoe or boots.
For more expert fit tips and complimentary footwear consultations, come in and see us at any of our stores or contact us online at [email protected]
Ed Stone brings over 45 years of footwear knowledge and passion to his role as President of Boot World, a family-owned company and an industry leader in safety and occupational footwear. A second generation "shoe dog” Ed's footwear knowledge is unparalleled, serving as an informal advisor for some of the worlds largest footwear brands including Wolverine, Timberland PRO, and Reebok Works.
A lifelong Southern California resident, and ardent conservationist, Ed enjoys hiking and open water swimming.