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May 24, 2017


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Tips on Buying Socks

Crew socks, dress socks, fashion socks, fun socks, knee socks, ankle socks, sport-specific socks, and compression socks—there are all kinds of socks available in the marketplace. Wearing socks can make the feet look colorful and beautiful. But, there are also functional reasons for wearing socks. Wearing socks provide protection and warmth. The selection of appropriate socks is an important consideration in maintaining healthy foot care. Wearing the right socks with the right shoes can prevent many problems relating to our feet, as the body ages. Below are some general reasons for wearing athletic socks:

  • Comfort — Socks can prevent foot blisters.
  • Warmth — Extra foot insulation from wearing socks can help to keep feet warm
  • Foot Protection - Socks help keep the feet soft, which can prevent cracking.
  • Support — Extra cushioning and spandex in socks can provide compression for the foot and leg. Sock support can also minimize foot pain caused by various foot ailments.
  • Abrasion Resistance — Socks ease chafing between the foot and footwear.
  • Moisture Management — Moves the sweat away from the foot to the surface of the sock, where it can evaporate.
  • Odor Control — Foot odor is caused by bacteria (fungi), which is the result of old skin flaking off the surface of the foot. Socks prevent this old skin from getting into your shoes, and the washing of socks gets rid of the old skin.

General Considerations in Selecting Athletic Socks

  • Type of Fiber Contained in the Sock
  • Types of Knit Constructions Used in the Sock
  • Cushioning in the Sock
  • Type of Shoes to be Worn with the Athletic Socks
  • Wearing the Appropriate Sport Specific Sock Must be Right for the Chosen Activity
    • Running Socks
    • Trainer Socks
    • Ski Socks
    • Sport Socks
    • Walking/Hiking
  • Select Athletic Socks with moisture management qualities to avoid potential problems with fungus growth. A warm, moist, and dark environment for you feet promotes fungus growth. It’s important in sports activities to keep the feet cool and dry.

Cotton Socks

    Advantages
  • Soft
  • Easy to Clean
  • Affordable
    Concerns
  • Retains moisture when feet perspire. This can leave the feet feeling clammy, which can lead to foot blisters and infections.
  • Cotton socks also tend to lose their shape and stretch when wet.

Wool Socks

    Advantages
  • Provide warmth during cold-weather exercise
  • Retains heat when wet
  • Can be blended with manufactured fibers to keep feet dry and provide insulation
    Concerns
  • Retains moisture
  • Long drying time

Socks with Moisture Management Qualities

    Advantages
  • Made of hydrophobic fibers (i.e. nylon, polyester, acrylic), which are manufactured fibers that repel moisture
  • Have channels that wick moisture or sweat away form the feet to the outside of the sock where it can evaporate
  • Retain their shape
  • Don't stretch or bunch up inside shoes
  • Machine washable and dryable
  • Shrink resistant
    Concerns
  • Must also wear shoes with moisture management qualities in order to take advantage of the moisture management qualities of the socks. This will allow the sweat from the feet to escape to the surface of the shoe, where it can evaporate. Wearing a moisture management socks inside shoes that don't breathe will keep the moisture close to the foot and will defeat the purpose of using moisture management socks.
  • Prices on socks with moisture management qualities are usually higher than cotton or wool socks
  • Wearing the wrong socks for a specific sport activity may cause discomfort.

Knit Constructions for Sport Specific Athletic Socks

  • A tight, dense knit pattern create more cushioning in the sock
  • Cushioning is important around the toe and heel area to provide extra protection and comfort.
  • The use of spandex in a blended yarn can make the socks fit better and feel more comfortable.

Types of Sport Specific Socks Available at Athletic Stores

  • Running Socks
    • Made with built-in cushioning to improve comfort and increases foot support.
    • Made with moisture management fibers and yarns to direct the sweat away from the foot
  • Trainer Socks
    • Same as Ankle Socks
    • Some prefer the Trainer Socks, because they don’t have excess fabric above the Trainer Shoes
  • Ski Socks
    • For skiing, warm socks are very important to protect the feet from cold weather
    • Need to be very durable and provide cushioning to keep the feet comfortable under ski boots
    • Thick ski socks can prevent rubbing and blistering
  • Sport Socks
    • General Sport Socks are suitable for a variety of normal sports activities.
    • These socks are slightly thicker than regular socks.
  • Walking/Hiking Socks
    • These socks are made for walking or hiking long distances, and are thicker than regular socks.
    • These socks have added support around the ankle, and protective seams over the toes.
    • High quality Walking/Hiking Socks are important to provide foot and ankle support, as well as to maintain foot comfort.
 


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