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All About Socks

You may be surprised to learn that today’s socks do much more than just keep your feet warm. Socks can provide comfort, support, compression and even help keep Athlete’s Foot at bay.

Here is a primer on comfort-enhancing sock features to help you figure out what kind will serve you best.

  • Sock Seams

    The seam is where the toe of the socks is closed. Seams can rub against your toes and feet and cause chafing, blisters and calluses. Aim to look for socks with no or low seams (there is no seam over you toes.) Low seam socks have a seam that is almost flat and less likely to irritate your toes. Also, if you have diabetes, make sure to look for socks without seams to prevent irritation to your feet. This will ensure maximum comfort and make sure that your feet stay healthy.

  • Sock Shapes

    Socks should have a contoured foot and heel so that the sock is the same shape as your foot. This will give you a much better fit and make you far less likely to experience bunching around your toes or your ankle. Plus, contoured socks will not move as you walk.

  • Sock Sizes

    Socks that are too small can cause blisters and aggravate conditions like bunions and hammertoes. They can also bind around your ankles. Socks that are too big can cause blisters, calluses and other skin irritations. Whenever possible you should look for socks with a small size range. For example, many women’s socks available in department stores come in a standard one-size-fits-all. However, if you select socks closer to your specific size, for example: 6 to 8 1/2, you will be wearing a sock that is less likely to bunch, bind or slide on your foot.

    In addition, if you have wide feet or wide calves, choose socks that will fit you properly. For wide feet, simply look for wide sizing on your socks, just as you would with your shoes. If you have wide calves, you should look for socks that are non-binding and have extra stretch in the calf.

  • Sock Stretchability

    Your socks should stretch both long and wide. Socks need to stretch long because feet flatten out and lengthen as we walk. They should stretch wide because feet swell as the day wears on. If your socks do not have stretch, they can bind and cause blisters and other irritations to your feet. Socks that contain spandex will give you an excellent stretch while maintaining their size and shape.

  • Other Features

    • Antimicrobial / Antifungal Socks

      Socks with an antimicrobial and/or an antifungal treatment are great options for those who are active, perspire heavily or have sensitive feet. These treatments can help keep your feet healthy and reduce odor causing bacteria.

    • Moisture-Wicking Socks 

      If you exercise or perspire heavily, then you will want to consider a moisture wicking sock. Moisture Wicking socks help keep your feet stay cool and move moisture away from your skin. This is an important featurewhen socks get wet they flatten out and rub against feet. This can cause major and minor irritations to the feet, as well as encourage fungal infections like athlete’s foot. Moisture-wicking socks are designed to carry sweat away from your skin and into the surface of the fabric where it evaporates. A dry foot is warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. The socks will retain their shape and are less likely to cause irritation.

    • Cushioning Socks

      The average person's foots absorb 40 pounds of strike force plus his/her weight with every step. That weight starts at the heel of your foot and spreads all the way to your toes. If you experience heel pain or ball-of-foot pain, a sock with extra cushioning will help protect your feet against this shock. Cushioning provides extra support that softens each step and offers comfort. You can select socks with extra cushioning just at the heel, at the ball of the foot, or over the entire bottom of your foot.

      Cushioning can make your socks a little bit thicker, so make sure you wear them when trying on new shoes and/or tie your shoes a little bit looser than normal to accommodate them.

    • Non-binding Socks for Better Circulation

      If you have sensitive feet or poor circulation, you should look for non-binding socks. They are designed to fit your feet, ankle and calf without adding any extra pressure. Plus you don't have to worry about getting lines around your ankles. Be on the look-out for elastic-free socks that stay up without restricting circulation.

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