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Why Cotton Socks Are Not Your Friends

August 16, 2021 2 min read

Why Cotton Socks Are Not Your Friends

When it comes to performance sock materials, not all fibers are created equal. While cotton socks can be a nostalgic nod to our childhood, they can cause a lot of discomfort when worn for athletic pursuits. Here are a few reasons you should trade your cotton socks for synthetic or Merino wool socks to level up your performance and comfort.

1. Cotton Socks Hold Moisture

Since your feet are bound to get sweaty while you’re out chasing adventure, your socks are going to get wet. Traditional cotton socks hold that moisture in - a lot of it. This keeps wet fabric next to your skin instead of wicking it away from your foot. That moisture causes blisters and hot spots that can ruin an adventure. Modern materials allow for moisture to move away from your skin and to evaporate away, keeping your skin dry and comfortable.

2. Wet Cotton Gets Cold

Instead of insulating your feet like more advanced materials, cotton stops insulating when wet - causing your feet to get cold. Nobody wants cold toes on mile 5 of a 12-mile day, so choose a synthetic or Merino wool fabric to keep your feet insulated and comfortable.

3. Cotton Socks Cause Friction

Cotton used to be the gold standard of socks, but we now have more comfortable materials that don’t rub and cause friction in key areas. Friction, when added to moisture and heat, can be the main cause of sores and blisters that plague adventurers. Plus, modern socks are constructed without toe box seams, avoiding the extra bulk and friction around your toes. Sorry cotton, you’re just not the go-to material anymore.

4. Odors Arise With Cotton

As almost every athlete knows, sweaty feet can get stinky. Cotton socks can become a haven for the bacteria that causes foot odors - leaving your running buddies less than pleased. Choose a sock fiber with antimicrobial properties (like Merino wool) to keep the smelly feet at bay.

5. Cotton Socks Lack Support

Another issue with cotton socks is that they lose shape and stretch out over time, depriving your feet of support where they need it most. With synthetic fibers, performance socks can now be constructed with support structures that hug, stabilize, and maintain shape for years and years.

So what kind of materials should you choose in your athletic socks? We recommend socks that include Olefin or natural Merino wool for advanced moisture wicking to keep your adventures going mile after mile.

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