Why Everyone Should Be Wearing Wool Socks This Winter
In cold, wet weather, cotton athletic socks just won't cut it. When it gets wet, cotton loses all insulating properties, so you may as well not be wearing anything on your feet at all.
And it doesn't matter how warm your winter boots are. If you're wearing cotton socks, your feet will perspire, and you will end up with cold, damp feet.
The solution is to invest in some quality wool socks. Wool, especially super-soft merino wool, offers several unique advantages over cotton that make it the fabric of choice for winter wear.
Unlike cotton, wool is an excellent insulator. When it's cold out your feet will be toasty and warm in your wool socks.
Wool can absorb a significant amount of moisture - much more than cotton. Wool can actually hold a third of its weight in moisture before it even starts to feel "wet."
Wool keeps its insulating properties even while wet, which is perfect for sweaty feet.
Not only that, but wool also dries much more quickly than cotton or other synthetics.
Wool fibers are naturally anti-bacterial and, therefore, odor resistant....
...which means they don't have to be washed every time you wear them. Indeed, they can be worn multiple times before washing.
However, the world of wool is not all unicorns, rainbows, and warm, toasty feet. There are some downsides to wool.
They're not super convenient to wear all the time. Most manufacturers advise against machine washing their socks, so hand washing and laying flat to dry is most often recommended. This is tiresome and annoying, even if you don't have to do it every single time the socks are worn. (Some companies use wool blends that enable the socks to take the beating of the machine, however. Check the label before purchase.)
It's also inadvisable to wear wool socks for prolonged periods while walking on a carpet since the fiber friction isn't good for the socks' longevity.
Also, if you buy low-grade non-merino wool socks, be prepared for some itchiness. Merino wool doesn't itch at all, but lower grade quality wool definitely does. No one likes itchy feet.
As for brands, both SmartWool and Wigwam make excellent socks. Every year Wigwam also makes a sock for Costco released under the Kirkland Signature brand that are highly regarded - I personally swear by them. Look out for them next fall, because they're long sold out this year.
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