Good health starts from the ground up and that's starting with our feet. They're two parts of our anatomy that are often taken for granted and it's worth asking the question, are the socks you wear good for your feet?
Should we keep putting our feet in traditional socks or are toe socks healthier? let's find out.
And yes, we may be a little biased, being self proclaimed toe sock fanatics, but we'll do our best to just give you the facts!
Are toe sock healthier?
What do we need to boost good foot health?
- Dry feet
- low friction
Let's break down why those factors are needed and if toe socks are up to the task.
Moisture is not something we want hanging around our feet for too long! Soggy feet, damp skin and moist conditions lead to a great place for bacteria and especially fungus to proliferate (think athletes foot).
What's the big thing then for keeping your skin as dry as possible? The main thing that we can control for dry-feel socks is not the type of sock but the fabric they are made form.
Petroleum fibers such as polyamide and coolmax are hydrophobic (moisture hating) fibers that help pull moisture through between the fibers to be evaporated so are a good option. Another common fiber is cotton, which is ideal at times as it absorbs moisture quite well but can only absorb so much and results in moist fabric against your skin - not ideal!
Our favorite is a combination merino yarn and polyamide or nylon. Merino wool in socks gives us the best of both by absorbing up to 1/3 of it's weight in moisture while the outer part of the fiber stays dry, helping draw moisture form the skin and keeping a dry feel.
Combine a great fabric combination with toe socks and you have a greater surface area of fabric to wick moisture AND less skin-on-skin contact.
*Bonus: By drawing moisture into the middle of the fiber, merino yarn also locks away smell molecules until they are washed, meaning they don't smell as much!
Air flow is crucial! For this we can buy socks that have a few components. Those to look for are mesh ventilation panels, often on the top of the foot as well as socks that aren't too thick. Thick socks really stifle airflow and encourage hot feet and irritated skin. Looking for socks that aren't too thick can really help.
And are toe socks healthier in this respect? Yes, they add an extra component of breathability as mentioned above by allowing your toes to spread, improving airflow potential as well as getting moisture wicking , breathable fabric between your wrigglers.
When it comes to our skin, too much friction is not ideal, to say the least. Are toe socks healthier when it comes to reducing friction? You betcha!
Toe socks create a lightweight membrane around your toes thanks to the separate toe sleeves, stopping toe blisters and hot spots in their tracks.
Keep in mind when it comes to friction and toe socks in general that there is a few caveats. Not all toe socks and socks in general are created equal - You want to look for toe socks with seamless toe sleeves. That means the is no internal sleeves to cause irritation and discomfort and the socks are knitted so that the minimal seam is on the outer. To add to that, different fabric changes the quality, functions and durability of a sock and can mean a wide range socks suited to different conditions and different feet.
- Any lightweight socks + socks with a merino blend are great for keeping your feet feeling dry
- Breathability is socks is key. Not too thick, mesh ventilation + separate toes lead to much healthier feet
- Two things help create a low friction and happy feet. Low friction fibers such as merino as well as minimizing skin on skin contact with separate toe sleeves
All in all, are toe socks healthier? Yes, they increase breathability and reduce hot spot causing friction and when they're made with great seamless stitching and quality merino blend yarn, you are on to a winner with healthy feet that's last all day.