(NC) Socks may peak out from the bottom of a pair of pants or be hidden entirely within a pair of shoes, but foot experts say they are an important part of our wardrobe and that we should choose our socks carefully.
“When it comes to sock shopping, people typically fall into two categories. They either pick up whatever brands are on sale or they thoughtfully select colours and designs to reinforce their sense of fashion,” says Kevin Fraser, president of the Pedorthic Association of Canada and a certified pedorthist. “Both of these approaches are wrong.”
Fraser says socks play an important role in injury prevention so individuals should choose their socks according to the activity they will be doing. The right pair of socks will keep feet warm and dry and prevent rubs, blisters and infections, while the wrong ones can actually create injuries.
When it comes to sock selection, fabric is key. Although inexpensive and widely available, cotton socks absorb sweat and dry slowly which can lead to blisters, fungus and cold feet. If you are participating in a sport or will be spending a long day on your feet it’s best to leave your cotton socks in your drawer.
Durable and quick drying, socks made from synthetic blends are a great choice for sports but Fraser says to avoid them on a cold, wet day as they can lose their insulating properties when they get wet. Wool socks are ideal for the cold and the wet as wool is warm and repels water which will keep your feet comfortable and dry. The downside of wool is it is more expensive than cotton and dries slower than synthetics.
Here are a few additional tips to help you choose socks that will provide you with the protection you need:
• When it comes to socks one size does not fit all – make sure you buy the right size for your feet.
• Check the thread count – socks with a higher thread count provide greater protection.
• Whether you are a weekend warrior or a serious athlete buy sport-specific socks. If you play multiple sports, purchase socks for each sport.
• If you are living with diabetes, look for seamless, moisture wicking socks. They will keep your feet dry and warm and reduce possible irritations.
• If you have neuropathy, white plain socks are a good choice. You’ll quickly see any blood or fluid stains so you will know immediately if you have developed a sore even if you cannot feel it.
Socks will only provide the protective barrier your feet need if you wear the right ones for your activity. To keep costs down, Fraser recommends purchasing one or two pairs of good wool socks for active, outdoor activities and wear less expensive synthetic socks for your other activities.
More information on appropriate sock and footwear choices can be found at www.pedorthic.ca.