We spend most of our lives on our feet, and we tend to think about the comfort of our shoes before we consider the one thing that stands between our feet and the shoes – our socks. A comfortable sock matters just as much as a comfortable shoe does! If you truly want to enjoy a cozy foot environment, you have to choose the right pair of socks. The comfort of the sock is decided by many factors, but mostly the construction, the materials, and the features the sock has.
You have to consider the way your socks are made before everything else. You probably noticed that plenty of athletic socks have seamless construction and very precise stitching. The reason why is very simple. Seams that are thick and bumpy rub against your feet when you walk, creating friction. That friction then creates hot spots or blisters, and they are the complete opposite of comfort. Socks that slide around our footwear spell disaster too, which is why a high-quality sock has to be non-slip. No show socks and ankle socks are the ones who most often slide into your shoes, but crew socks can be guilty of this too. They might not slither all the way into the sneakers, but they can bunch up and create friction. The best measure to prevent this from happening is a tight top band. The top band should hold the sock in place without cutting off your circulation. If the sock has compressive elements, they will help the socks stay in place as well. A tight top band will also keep dirt outside of the socks, so there won’t be anything in the socks left to irritate you.
The padding can also affect the level of comfort. Some socks are fully padded, while other socks have strategically placed cushions meant for specific socks. Some socks have no padding at all, and those are best for everyday wear, or for shoes that are already generously padded. The amount of padding you need will depend on the purpose of the sock. If you want to run, the toes and heels are the areas that should have cushions, because they suffer the most from the impact when your foot makes contact with the ground. Hiking socks should be padded even more, and the padding can even extend above the heels to guard your Achilles tendon. If you just want a crew sock to wear indoors, the padding doesn’t matter, and you can choose whatever you like. Finally, if you need a pair of crew socks for the gym, try to get socks with little to no padding. When you lift, you need to have a stable, firm surface to support your feet as you drive your heels into the ground, and cushions can disrupt that, resulting in poor form and injuries.
And last but not least, the compression also affects comfort. Compression socks are a very popular clothing item, and they are used by athletes, nurses, pregnant women, and people who suffer from circulation issues. The compression found in socks is usually graduated, meaning that the intensity of the squeezing changes throughout the sock. It’s usually the tightest around your arches, offering them support, and it gradually weakens as it nears the toes and the heels. It’s also relatively weak around the calves, while the top band remains firm to keep the socks in place. Compression can reduce swelling, fatigue, and muscle vibrations, increasing comfort as a result. It also improves circulation and aids recovery and healing!