While we’re all familiar with the term “cotton socks” – they’ve become increasingly rare in the shops as manufacturers opt to blend cotton with synthetic fabrics to create more durable, stretchy, and moisture-wicking options. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be found, and there are a few brands that focus on the production of pure cotton socks to ensure you have a fresh pair in your drawer at all times.
As the popularity of sustainable and organic clothing increases, we’re seeing a return to more natural materials in many garments including socks. However, it’s important to understand the differences in performance between different types of socks - especially when choosing an all-natural option. Socks are about as utilitarian as clothing gets, and the subtle details in design, material, and construction can greatly impact how your feet feel. We put our favorite pairs of socks to the test, spending long days on trails and in the office in an attempt to find the best pair for you.
When it comes to socks, cotton is one of the main culprits for sweaty, smelly feet. This is because cotton fibers don’t allow for water vapor to evaporate which can trap moisture against your skin, leading to bacteria and odour. Luckily, synthetic cotton fibers are much better at wicking moisture and allowing it to evaporate, which can make your socks far less stinky.
Despite this, cotton is still the most common sock material available on the market today.
While it’s not ideal for use with athletic shoes, it’s great for everyday wear and is suitable for most casual footwear. It’s also quick to dry and can retain color well over time, so your cotton socks
can last longer.
The only downside to cotton is that it tends to shrink with washing, which can cause them to feel tighter than when you bought them. To prevent this, we recommend washing your cotton socks in cold to warm water and then putting them on to air dry or on a radiator for a few hours before wearing them. It’s also important to avoid over-dyeing your cotton socks as this can lead to them fading over time.
These both have a thicker construction than the other contenders in our tests
and were found to be the most durable when it comes to enduring a long day on the trail. Although they aren’t as soft as the other pairs we tested, they are incredibly comfortable to wear and come in a wide variety of colors to suit your style. They’re also made of 100% certified organic cotton which is environmentally friendly and sustainable. Plus, you can recycle your old socks with several companies that specialize in recycling textiles in an eco-friendly way.