Choosing The Right Socks
In This Article:
- Consider Your Type Of Walking Locations
- Sock Materials
- Cushioning Of The Sock
- Support Materials
Your choice of walking socks while out on the hill can have a huge impact on the overall comfort factor for your feet. We have therefore put together some simple guidelines to get you through the huge range of luxurious socks available to you on the Webtogs site. Check out the range by Bridgedale, Brasher and Icebreaker we currently stock.
As with your choice of footwear, choose wisely, and your feet will love you long-time!
Consider Your Type Of Walking Location
Walking socks are primarily designed to provide, cushioning, warmth and to help reduce the chances of blistering in a variety of walking environments and conditions. Choosing the right sock will depend on the conditions you may encounter in your chosen walking location. Check out our chart here:
- Sock Liners – liners are the base layer for your feet and are designed to wick moisture away from the skin to keep you comfortable and should be worn under other socks.
- Lightweight Walking Socks – Are designed for warm climates and easy trails and can be worn next to the skin as normal, emphasizing on comfort rather than warmth. These socks are thicker than liners but are suitable for warm weather climates without overheating, but should the need arise they can be worn with a liner – no problem.
- Midweight Walking Socks – These socks are designed to provide the user with a greater degree of cushioning and warmth in moderate to cold climates. Generally, Midweight socks will have extra padding built into the high-impact areas of the design such as the ball and the heel of the foot for maximum comfort. Again, wear with a sock liner if necessary to up the insulation level.
- Mountaineering socks – These are the thickest, warmest and the most cushioned of the socks available to the hill walker. Over-kill for most users and are designed specifically for the toughest terrain and coldest temperatures. Should be worn with a sock liner.
- Wool – Wool is a very popular and natural material in the manufacturing of socks as it retains heat when wet. Generally though, wool is used in conjunction with other synthetic fabrics as on its own will not dry out easily and has a tendency to wear out quickly, that said, Merino wool eliminates the itchy feel and other negatives usually associated with wool socks.
- Synthetic Insulating Materials – These materials are designed to help structure, insulate, and wick moisture in conjunction with wool, but with added abrasion resistance and far greater drying and comfort levels. Available in various thicknesses and designs, Synthetic materials offer the bulk of material options available for the walker or mountaineer.
- Silk – Silk is one of natures wonder materials and is an excellent insulator. Comfortable and extremely lightweight, silk can be found mixed in with the best liners and lightweight walking socks.
- Synthetic Wicking Materials – Coolmax and Polypropylene are two of the more popular wicking materials found in both liners and walking socks designed to enhance wicking performance.
- Cotton – On its own, cotton is a non-starter in sock manufacturing; cotton absorbs sweat and offers no insulation when wet leading to great discomfort and possible blistering of the feet. Notwithstanding these issues, cotton is very comfortable and when combined with wool or man-made fibres can be an excellent choice for lightweight summer walking.
Cushioning Of The Sock
Heavier duty walking and mountaineering socks will have extra cushioning built into the design around the ball, heel and toe areas to increase the comfort and protection levels around the high impact zones of the foot. This is done by increasing the density of the weave in these areas and may also introduce a longer lasting fabric such as acrylic into the weave.
The vast majority of hill walking and mountaineering socks will include a small element of Lycra or stretch nylon into the weave. These elastic fibres ensure the socks retain their shape and prevent them from wrinkling or bunching up.