Aug 18, 2021 /
What are the Best Socks for Work Boots?
When it comes to keeping your feet comfortable on the job, finding a quality work boot is only half of the battle. Believe it or not, your socks have as much to do with how your work boots fit and feel like the shape and size of the boot itself.
A work boot that is worn with improper socks will feel like a nuisance to your feet, whereas the right pair of socks will have your foot feeling snug and secure inside your daily use work boots.
But what are socks for, and what is the correct sock for a work boot?
Contrary to popular belief, not every sock that simply fits your foot is the right sock for the job. In fact, socks worn with work boots have to cover a much wider range of conditions and restrictions than a pair of socks worn with a casual pair of tennis shoes or loafers. The ideal socks for a work boot need to keep the foot safe, secure, and snug so that you can confidently take the steps you need to complete the job at hand.
This article will convert the most essential criteria for choosing the right socks for your work boots and to help you determine the best possible sock for your needs.
Let's dive into some of the most important jobs a sock does while inside the shoe.
The Importance Of Moisture Wicking
A wet foot is a foot in peril. Socks, especially socks that are put through their paces on a daily basis, have a long history of causing wet feet. Whether you’re prone to having a sweaty foot (the most common reason for wet feet in a work boot), constantly in wet conditions, retain moisture due to cold weather, or have beat-up leaky work boots, your socks are the last line of defense for keeping your feet dry on the job.
There are types of materials used in making socks for work boots. This includes natural fibers, cotton and polyester / synthetic fiber blend, or synthetic material like spandex which is a well-known moisture wicking material. One brand, Thorlo, actually makes their own yarns (a type of acrylic they call "Thorlon") with attention to the shape and surfaces of the thread/yarn itself to aid in wicking moisture.
On the other hand, those made with fancier materials are reserved for dress socks that are not moisture wicking like merino wool socks .
Here are some of the negative outcomes of a wet foot stuck in a work boot:
- Foot Rot
- Foot Odor
- Athlete's Foot
- Fungal Infection
- Ingrown Toe-nails
- Trench foot or foot fatigue
The best way to avoid wet feet is to have a solid pair of weatherproof/waterproof work boots. The second best way to ensure your feet stay dry inside your work boot is to employ the help of moisture-wicking socks. While moisture-wicking socks cannot stop your foot from getting wet if you're wading around in pools of water, they can keep your feet dry under normal daily circumstances.
Moisture-wicking is a term that describes a material or fabric that draws out (i.e., wicks) moisture away from the foot. The common misconception regarding moisture-wicking fabrics, especially socks, is that the fabric itself remains dry. This is not the case. Moisture-wicking material helps keep skin dry by drawing moisture off of the skin and into the fabric.
It is not uncommon for your moisture-wicking socks to be damp or even a little wet at the end of the day, but what you will find under that damp sock is a foot that is bone dry and well cared for. When it comes to choosing an appropriate sock for your work boot, a sock that is moisture-wicking is an absolute must.
A Sock Is More Than It(s) Seams
Seams play a pivotal role in how a sock interacts with your foot, your boot, and the way it wears on a day-to-day basis. Seams should never be noticeable on your foot while you're wearing a work boot. If you can feel the seam on your foot, that means it will rub against the skin, potentially causing irritations, chafing, and minor abrasions.
For anyone who is required to be on their feet all day, foot injuries, even minor ones, are simply unacceptable. That is why finding thick socks with a well-placed, and well-incorporated seam is so important.
The best work boot sock should have well-integrated seams that are almost impossible to distinguish or feel while the sock is on your foot. A Well-integrated stitching and a smooth toe seam will prevent rubbing and chaffing, keeping your foot safe from minor injury while also making for a more comfortable fit throughout the day.
Finding The Right Fit
Do your socks have you throwing a tantrum because they're slightly too big or just a bit too snug? Unfortunately, most socks are made for a range of foot sizes meaning if you are on the border of a size chart, there's no good answer for your foot. Chances are, if you are between sizes, a sock will either be too loose or too tight. While these types of socks may do well for casual use, the best socks for a work boot are not a one-size-fits-all type of proposition.
It may take some experimentation on your part, but finding the right casual sock that truly fits your foot is crucial for keeping your foot dry and secure inside of your work boot. Typically sock shape plays a pivotal role for a snug fit, and we'll get to shape in just a moment.
Ideally, you want your foot to sit in the sock’s reinforced heel so that there is proper cushioning and there is no excess fabric in the toe. If you have to pull your sock in such a way that the sock feels stretched, or worse, so that the heel indentation is up around your ankle, you need to find a better fit.
Most individuals have a brand that is right in their wheelhouse, so you may need to do some experimentation. You can choose to buy a sock with reinforced toe or sole to protect your foot. There's no need to do anything crazy like buy custom-made comfortable socks, just understanding how a sock is supposed to fit is a huge advantage in finding the right sock for your work boot.
How Sock Shape Makes or Breaks Your Day
Have you ever had a sock bunch up on you in the middle of the day? It's the worst! Let's face it, in an environment where you need to wear a work boot isn't going to be an environment where you can quickly take off your shoe and straighten out your sock, let alone performing that chore multiple times throughout the course of the day. You need a sock that is going to stay put.
Sock shape is one of the biggest determining factors for how your foot will fit into your work boot. For example, a tube sock (which is not fitted at all) is very likely to bunch up inside the shoe. With no contour for the sole of the foot, or the heel, a tube sock often slips throughout the day, wreaking havoc inside your boots.
The best sock for a work boot needs to be contoured to fit your foot. At the very least, the socks you choose to wear inside your work boot should look like a foot. The very best socks are those specifically designed to hug your foot in all the right places like the arch, the heel, and the ankle. A tighter fit in these areas will ensure that your sock doesn't slide around on your foot but stays put, allowing your foot to move comfortably inside the shoe itself.
Sock Length (and some examples)
When it comes to a work boot, the no-show is a no-go. This is a sock designed to be worn with a pair of loafers or boat shoes. Unless you're trading in your work boots for a pair of sperrys, leave these socks in the drawer on workdays.
Similar to the no-show sock, ankle socks don’t do much for the working man/woman's foot and are usually the cut used for an athletic sock. While certain occupations that allow safety tennis shoes may call for an ankle-cut sock, any foot that is stuck in a work boot needs a higher cut sock.
The ankle cut sock simply does not offer enough fabric up the shin to protect from debris, water, and anything else that is trying to get in your shoe during the workday.
This is closer to what we're going for, but it may not be the best sock for everyone. Also referred to as the "quarter length crew," If your work boots are lower cut than a shorter crew sock may work for your purposes, especially if you don't like folding the extra fabric of the casual socks down over itself.
With that said, a short crew sock may allow loose debris to get inside the shoe, or worse, inside the sock itself. The more fabric your work sock has, the more of a barrier there is between the natural elements of your work environment and your bare feet.
Now we're getting somewhere! So, what are crew socks? Well, the crew sock is the ideal sock for a work boot. A crew sock traditionally sits about halfway up the calf, meaning they can be worn to extend past the upper of your work boot or folded down to meet the line where the top of the upper hits your low calf.
The versatility of the crew sock is crucial for anyone who wears a work boot or cowboy boot as most crew socks are thick while still being breathable and tall, without being a nuisance.
For a crew sock that’s as tough as the work boot it’s made for, try Wolverine 4 Pack Black Crew Socks. These crew socks are made for long days of being on your feet with a full cotton cushion, wear resistant design, and ribbed uppers for solid grip.
Looking for something a little beefier from your crew sock? The Thorlos Safety Toe Sock is a crew sock designed for keeping your feet safe and secure. Designed for high activity with an extra layer of fabric around the toe, these socks keep your feet comfortable while wearing steel or safety toe boots!
Over The Calf
This style of sock is predominantly for business/formal attire. While you can certainly find socks that are made for a more industrial purpose in this length, typically, socks made in an "over-the-calf" length will be more luxurious materials made to sit beneath slacks and slip inside of dress shoes.
If you really want more fabric up the calf, look for an over-the-calf sock or knee high socks in breathable cotton designed for work boots and similar applications.
If you look at all of our earlier qualifications for what makes a sock a good choice for a work boot, a very particular picture begins to take shape. Very simply, the best sock for a work boot is a properly fitted, breathable cotton socks that are moisture-wicking with well-integrated seams.
Slip Into The Perfect Sock
So there you have it! You now have all of the qualifications, specifications, and general sock knowledge you need to find your ideal work boot sock. For something so simple and basic, it's hard to believe that there are so many stipulations for buying socks. The truth is that socks are an afterthought for most people, but for those of us who love our feet, socks can be just as important as the boot we slip them into.