Top 5 Tips to Help Your Socks Last

Top 5 Tips to Help Your Socks Last

Sick of socks that wear out? Don't waste your money again, with our top 5 tips to help your socks last.


1. Match your socks to your shoe-style and avoid wearing socks on rough floors: You can spend serious money on the best high-tech socks, but shoes and boots can be sock destroyers. Shoes will make months or years of difference in the life of a sock. Like a great marriage, the union of quality shoes, well-fitted and matched to the correct thickness of socks, is the key to getting wear after wear out of your socks. Added to that the common blister and sore feet problem, it is worth getting this shoe/sock combination right.


Ideally, you want to create as little movement as possible within your shoe to avoid the sock rubbing against the shoe. So, if your shoe is quite loosely-fitted you should opt for a thicker sock. Or, if your shoe is snug, you should be opting for a finer sock.


Like many, we love to wear socks around the house, especially in winter. But, carpets and rough-textured tiles inside, or splintery wooden flooring and abrasive concrete when you quickly pop outside the house, can easily snag or wear holes in socks over time.



2. Check the heel angle and depth: The key to getting socks to last longer is to minimise movement within your footwear. More movement means more friction, which has potential to cause blisters, and it also starts to pull fibers apart. A well-shaped heel is a major factor in minimising movement, as it effectively anchors socks into place on your feet.


Modern knitting has become very time-efficient, however, following the angles of your feet and legs doesn’t seem to be high on the priority list in many cases.


While it takes more time and effort, our vintage machinery allows us to knit a well-shaped, deep heel, as close as possible to 90 degrees. Most people find that when they lay socks flat, the socks are quite often nearly straight.  


The L shape from leg to foot is a rare thing, but when you start walking and your socks start to get eaten by your shoes, you realise the heel shape has a lot to answer for.



3. Consider the yarn quality and composition: Pilling, worn out patches, holes, shrinkage, and bagginess - all of these things (and more) can be attributed to the material used. And generally speaking, the better the fiber composition, the longer your socks will last, and the more comfortable they will be.


While socks made mostly from synthetics like polyester, nylon, spandex or acrylic rate high on the durability scale, you're not going to want to have them on your feet for too long. Synthetic fibers tend to trap heat and moisture, which can make your feet feel hot and sweaty.


Natural fibers, like wool, provide greater insulation, breathability, moisture-wicking, and comfort for your feet. But not all wool is created equal!


Starting from the farm, the selection and processing of natural fibers has a huge impact on your feet and the longevity of your socks. Fibers that are not too fine, but that combine strength and comfort are the best for socks. We look for a fibre diameter that is strong enough to produce hard-wearing socks, yet soft enough that it doesn’t cause itchiness or discomfort. 


In processing wool, there are different techniques utilised to create different attributes for the yarn as required. Non-worsted, or woollen spun yarn, refers to the technique that allows pockets of air within the spun yarn to increase insulation. This has great applications for warm and snuggly jumpers, scarves and blankets, however it is more prone to pilling and felting, and it lacks the strength and durability required for long-lasting socks. Worsted yarn spinning ensures that all fibres are aligned parallel and a twist is applied to the fibers after they are brought together. This results in a smooth and strong yarn that is perfect for knitting high quality socks.  


As mentioned, for the skin, natural materials like merino or cotton are best kept pure. But, due to the heavy demands of wearing and washing socks, when other fibres like nylon, polyester, elastane or silk are added as the yarn is spun, or as the socks are knitted, it helps strengthen them for better fit and durability. We have found that a proportion of 75% natural fiber to 25% nylon is the optimum balance between resilience and moisture control. We avoid elastane as too many socks become bags around your feet once the elastane looses its stretchiness.



4. Pick a knit style to shape your foot: Even though modern machines have evolved to do some amazing things we believe that the traditional rib knitting our machines achieve has an important role to play.


The socks that our grandparents may have knitted by hand were usually ribbed, and it’s the older patterns and ribs that actually perform a great function of shaping to the form of our feet. Add the deep heel angle and shape, and you have socks with a snug fit.  


Even knitted without elastic our Loose Top Socks don’t fall down because they hug your leg. A well-fitting sock means less movement and friction on the yarn fibers, fewer worn patches and holes, and a pair will last long enough to become old favourites.



5. Avoid over-washing: In our modern life, throwing clothes into the machine is just another task that takes up too much of our busy lives. With the over-use of synthetics, smelly feet and tinea become common and familiar problems, so it’s part of routine to get our socks into the wash after a few hours of wear. But, get into wearing a high-end merino sock and things are a little different. Natural fibers like merino wool are expert at wicking away sweat and moisture, which means you don't have to wash them as frequently. If the content of merino fiber is a truly high percentage, then socks of 60% content to 100% pure wool can actually be air-dried overnight for a number of wears without any smell or problems.   


Over-washing or using harsh detergents or softeners can quickly break down natural materials, so keep this in mind when caring for your socks. 



And two bonus points for keen readers and sock enthusiasts:


1. Toenails:Trim them. Frequently.

2. Mysterious Laundry Disappearances:We can’t help you here. It's one of life’s great mysteries and likely never to be solved!


If you have any further questions, please contact us - we love talking about socks!


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