Human feet sweat heavily, and a covering of cloth, hair, or hide helps absorb that sweat and draw it out toward the air, where it can evaporate.
Whether you use the socks while you are walking the dog, catching the subway to work on a freezing cold morning, or hiking up up a snow-capped mountain in the Colorado wilderness, high-quality winter socks can offer you the comfort you need to get through the winter season.
There is a multitude of winter socks available and they come in different lengths: Ankle and calf length socks are ideal for shoes and knee-length socks are ideal for wearing boots. They can be made from a mix of different materials, synthetic and natural fibers, and they can offer different levels of support, depending on whether they are designed for everyday use or engineered for a particular outdoor activity like snowboarding or hiking. The first thing to consider when you are looking for the perfect pair of winter socks is the material that they are made out of.
Winter socks can be made out of a mix of synthetic materials like nylon and elastane, or a blend of natural fibers like Merino wool and nylon. Synthetic materials like Nylon can be combined with Lycra or Elastane in certain areas of the sock, like around the calf area, which is designed to give you better support and cushioning.
In particular, Lyra or Elastane stretches to conform to the shape of your foot. The downside of using synthetic fibers is that this kind of material may feel less comfortable in hot conditions and provide less insulation when it gets wet, it does not breath very well and can get very smelly.
Avoid cotton at all costs when you are looking for winter socks. Cotton socks absorb sweat or moisture quickly and dry slowly, which can cause blisters. Wool, and in particular, Merino wool, is one of the best materials for keeping your feet warm and dry, and the higher percentage of wool that is contained in the sock means a higher level of thermal protection. But as the wool fiber is not strong enough to withstand the constant abrasion against the inside of your shoes or boots, the manufacturer will mix the wool with nylon or some other synthetic fabric.
The wool fiber is also thermostatic, which means it can regulate its own temperature, so your feet will stay warm in winter and cool in summer. The other attractive feature of Merino wool is that it does not itch like Ragg wool. Ragg wool is sometimes used in inferior and cheaply made woolen socks. The downside of using Merino wool is that it dries slower than synthetic material, but to get the best protection and comfort, wool is the best fiber for a winter sock.
There are a lot of winter socks that have extra cushioning on the heel and ball, which makes the sock extra comfortable. Extra padding or cushioning is created either by increasing the density of the weave in the heel or ball of the sock or by weaving in other materials like acrylic into these areas. This extra cushioning can be very useful for when you are wearing hiking boots and for walking over rough terrain or engaging in sporting activities.
Some winter socks offer a tight, reinforced weave in the arch to improve support. This is especially helpful if you have high arches. Cushioning can also make a regular shoe feel tight, especially if the sock is made out of thick wool, so if you are not going to be standing for long periods or engaging in a lot of physical activity, choose a sock that does not have extra cushioning or a brand that is made from a lower percentage of wool fibre.
Sock sizes can differ from person to person and not all feet conform to standard sizing. To find your perfect fit have a look at the size chart that is provided by the manufacturer. The size chart will include standard shoe sizes and the corresponding sock size. The height of the sock is also important. If a sock is too long, it will bunch up over your toes and if the sock is too short it will slide down your calf into your shoe or boot.
Although most people find that winter socks provide them with very good warmth and comfort during the harsh winter, some people are more sensitive to cold temperatures and find that wool socks are just not enough on their own.
A sock liner can give you the extra warmth you need. The sock liner is also a great choice if you are going to be engaging in strenuous activities during the winter months like cycling, hiking or skiing. They provide an extra layer of support for when you are wearing boots, but they can make your regular shoes too tight, so if this happens you may have to opt for a thicker wool sock on its own. If you are going to be hiking in Arctic temperatures, then a sock liner is a handy item to add to your camping gear.
As well as adding an extra layer of insulation to keep your feet warm, sock liners have two other benefits. Toe socks are usually made from synthetic material and are ideal for active users, for running, hiking or winter sports. As well as the material that the sock is made from and the level of warmth and support it can provide, the care of your winter socks is also important. The Icelandic socks are designed to keep your feet warm and dry in the most extreme weather conditions up to degrees, so they are ideal for skiing or snowboarding.
As they come up to your knee, the socks may not be ideal for shoes as the material can slip down, but they are the perfect choice for boots, as the single band of elastic at the top of the sock helps to keep them in place.
The loose fitting cuff makes the socks easy to put on, and the reinforced heel and the X-HI full cushion support gives you extra comfort. The Icelandic socks are available for both men and women and come in a two-pack and you can choose from a range of attractive colors. The high wool content combined with Carhartt's FastDry Technology means the material is able to regulate itself according to your body temperature, while also cushioning your feet and helping to eliminate any nasty odors.
As the socks are designed to be worn with boots, the stretchy material, and the non-terry vent reduces any bulk to give the socks a very good fit, and the reinforced heel and toe can resist any abrasion inside your footwear, after long periods of activity. For situations where a little more playfulness is permissible, socks that match the trousers are still fine, but carefully-selected contrasting socks are an acceptable alternative. That comes from the days when exposed skin was considered not just unsightly but downright scandalous.
Tastes have relaxed quite a bit — but not so far that anyone wants to see a scraggly bit of hair-covered ankle sticking out between the top of the sock and the cuff of the trousers.
A good sock for business dress and other high-formality purposes should come at least midway up the calf. All the way to the lower edge of the knee is great, if you find that comfortable, but at least halfway up the calf should be your minimum.
Much lower than that and certain positions one foot flat while seated with the other slung up and across the knee, for example risk exposing a flash of skin that will clash with your sock and your trousers, looking very unsightly indeed. Since the cost of manufacturing socks comes mostly from the material, length is where a lot of brands look to save.
Save those lengths for your light, summertime socks worn with casual trousers, and hunt around until you find proper over-the-calf socks for dress occasions. Specialized menswear stores and the more upscale department store sections are more likely to fit your needs here than Target, Walmart, and other big-box retailers.
Last but by no means least, the stuff the sock is actually made out of has a huge impact on its performance. Common base materials include cotton, wool, nylon, polyester, and a whole range of other synthetics, some trademarked and others known simply by their chemical names.
Wool , unlike cotton, breathes easily and lets wetness evaporate, and it offers much more warmth in cold conditions. Synthetics have been the answer for most manufacturers. Acrylic, olefin, polyester, and polyethylene can all be shaped into fibers that encourage wicking. On their own, these materials are thin and provide little cushioning or snugness, but they can be blended with thicker and stretchier materials to make an excellent sock. There is no one right answer, and a lot of companies will use their own trademarked blend, the exact properties of which are secret.
But a good dress sock might look something like this:. Click here to check out Blacksocks — a company I personally recommend. If those are your only options, cotton will be more comfortable in hot weather and wool in cold, but it will likely be worth your while to go a little further afield and find a blended sock in the dress color you need. Most socks are not sized like shoes although at the very upper end of options you will find some individually sized socks, and even the opportunity to have them custom made.
A wool sock with a little extra padding is perfect for shoes that are a touch too big, but murder in shoes that were already tight enough to pinch. Beware of sport socks with plain black tops and colorful, patterned padding on the foot itself.
So how do you take all that information and turn it into a really good sock shopping experience? Do you need padding? Ideally your sock will provide all the creature comforts, but be prepared to prioritize. If your feet are getting wet, you need better wicking.
Outside of the strictest dress situations board meetings, business presentations, funerals, etc.
Quality Socks for Men. Our quality men’s socks are made from the finest materials. Choose from plains, to stripes, to bicycle patterned socks and other quirky designs. Perfect as a special treat for you or as a gift. The idea of black dress socks evolved from an easier but less-attractive rule: matching the color of the sock to the color of the shoe, which for most men in business dress is black. That works, in a pinch. We talked to experts to find the best men’s socks, whether for work or casual, patterned or no-show, in “I recently started wearing these high-quality socks from this .