Do you only consider the colours, patterns and designs of the socks you buy or do you also pay attention to the fabric socks are made of? If you haven’t been doing the latter, it’s definitely time you did.
Socks are made from a variety of fabrics, including wool, polyester, cotton, nylon and silk. Each fabric has its pros and cons, and are suited for specific climates and requirements. It’s important to understand these facts prior to purchasing socks so that they will provide maximum comfort and durability.
Wool – wool yarn tends to be bulkier than its counterparts. It traps air, making it the ideal insulator and the best option to keep feet snug and warm through the harshest winter. Wool absorbs as much as 30% of its own weight in moisture before it begins to feel damp, which means it can keep sweaty feet drier for longer. This makes it the most suitable type of socks to wear on a hike.
Polyester – Polyester is a petroleum-based synthetic fibre. Polyester may dry out faster than most fabrics and even retain colour for longer, but it is not a friend of the environment, as it doesn’t break down well in soil. It’s also not very breathable, and therefore is not suited for tropical climates.
Cotton – Cotton is natural, making it perfect for those who have sensitive skin. It’s very soft – especially if it’s combed cotton – and is very breathable, making it the ideal choice for warm weather and tropical climes. Cotton also retains colour pretty well, ensuring the durability of your socks.
Nylon – Nylon is a strong, hard-wearing fibre that is usually blended with other fibres to add elasticity and stretch to socks.
Silk – silk is very smooth and soft but comes at a much higher price. A pair of silk socks would be most suited to wear with a tuxedo for a very formal occasion.
Cotton is the clear winner for socks that are worn in tropical countries like Sri Lanka. It’s also ideal for funky socks, as it will retain vibrant colours for longer, allowing you to make the most of your favourite designs.