You need to keep the following factors in mind while choosing work socks:
There are four fabrics which are mostly used in socks – either alone or in combination with the other three. They include Merino Wool, Acrylic, Cotton, Nylon, and Spandex. Starting with the Merino wool – while its thickness makes it a perfect antidote to winter – its breathability means you can also use Merino Wool in summer conditions. Mostly, hikers and backpackers prefer Merino Wool.
Acrylic, meanwhile, is less expensive than Merino Wool, dries quickly, and provides brilliant cushioning to ensure greater comfort. As for cotton, it is simply a NO-GO fabric if you are looking for work socks. For, cotton socks are known for accumulating sweat, which means they might cause blisters when combined with friction.
Moving on, Nylon is very rarely used without combination with other fabrics, with most work sock fabrics containing, at most, 50% nylon. Like acrylic, it dries quickly and gives strength to the socks. Finally, we have Spandex which makes the sock stretchable and easy to fit.
Just like Sock fabric, you get socks of four different heights on the market. They include ankle socks, quarter socks, crew socks, and over-the-calf socks. Both the ankle socks, which are the shortest, as well as the quarter socks – which are slightly taller – are recommended for biking, running, and for wearing with low-top shoes.
However, if you’re wearing taller boots or going on hiking or backpacking, choose crew socks. Lastly, if your work involves skiing, go for over-the-calf socks.
The thicker the sock, the heavier it will be, and the greater the cushioning it would provide. That said, while additional cushioning adds to their comfort, it also reduces their breathability. It means that thicker socks are poor at getting rid of sweat.
Therefore, if you’re working in summer – or your work involves bigger boots, make sure you select a sock with medium thickness. Remember, even before you check a sock’s weight for its thickness, check its fabric. For, socks with a high wool content tend to be thicker, while those with Spandex tend to be less so.
It goes without saying that socks should provide a good fit. However, better fit should not be achieved at the cost of wrinkles, friction, and toe cramping. At the same time, the heel of your sock should encapsulate snugly your heel.
More importantly, the seams of the sock – especially on the toe area – should be flat. Also, it shouldn’t rub against or pin any other part of your foot.
If you want to protect your feet from your footwear’s inner material, make sure your sock has cushioning loops. They help absorb moisture, keep sweat at bay, and also protect your feet from the inner materials of your footwear.
Also, at the heel, the sock should provide extra cushioning because it is the most high-impact area of your foot. Then comes the toe area, around which the seams of your sock should be totally flat, otherwise they might cause irritation and blisters.
Sock Sole and Cuff
The bottom part of your sock is known as its sole. It should be provided with the necessary padding so that it evenly distributes your weight throughout the sock. At the same time, it should be durable to withstand pressure.
As for the cuff, it is that part of the sock which you stretch to pull your sock towards the leg. It shouldn’t contain any padding, instead, the cuff should be as elastic as possible. Otherwise, after repeated stretching, it might break down.
Odor and Abrasion Resistant
At the cost of sounding too technical, modern works socks are treated with technology that makes them odor-resistant. As a result, the sock resists odor by killing bacteria and keeps your feet fresh throughout the day.
As for abrasion, it may occur when the sock is too tight to wear, hence causing friction between itself, your shoes, and feet. Therefore, just like the case with odor, go for a sock with mentioned abrasion resistant properties.