Guide to the Best Sock Materials: Cotton, Bamboo, Silk and Merino Wool
Choosing the right fabrics for socks can make a huge difference in your everyday life as they are the first line of protection for your feet. Socks do much more than prevent your shoes from rubbing and blisters from forming on your feet. They keep our toes feeling dry and warm in cold weather and protected from germs and bacteria whenever we slide our shoes on; they provide a moisture barrier and they reduce stress and friction on your feet when you walk or play sports.
Not all socks will be right for every occasion. So, whether you’re out hiking, lounging at home, going to the office or afternoon tea, read on to find out the best sock material for you.
Cotton is the most popular material for socks. It is most known for its combination of comfort and versatility. Produced from the fibres of the cotton plant, socks made of cotton are extremely durable, long-lasting and will not fall apart easily. Furthermore, cotton is easy to wash and will never lose its durability, in fact, cotton becomes much stronger when wet as the hydrogen atoms in the water creates extra bonds with those of the cotton cellulose.
- Naturally absorbent, breathable and lightweight
- Durable and natural fabric
- Holds colour well
- Good for cushioning
- Holds moisture for longer
- Can shrink if heated too much during washing
- Pure cotton socks are great for every day wear, but if you are planning on doing sports, other serious physical activity or your feet are just prone to getting sweaty, cotton may not be the best choice for you.
Pure cotton when combined with bamboo produces superb quality, more durable and much softer socks. The blend of these two natural fabrics provides the durability of cotton combined with the softness of bamboo.
Bamboo-cotton socks are kind to skin and naturally hypoallergenic. Unlike synthetic materials, bamboo is a highly renewable resource making it a more sustainable choice than other materials.
- Durable and long lasting
- Naturally hypoallergenic with anti-fungal properties.
- Utterly soft, great for sensitive skin
- Bamboo is more likely to shrink in the wash compared to linen or other tough fabrics, so it’s best to wash bamboo on a delicate wash and follow the care instructions on the label
- Bamboo fabric is slow to dry
- Bamboo is more expensive than cotton
Our bamboo-cotton socks come in a wide range of different styles and colours so you are guaranteed to find ones that suit you. They are natural, high quality and do not compromise on style. Our Bamboo-cotton consist of bamboo, cotton and spandex.
Silk is a widely loved fabric but you may not know that it makes superb quality socks. It is known for being smooth, soft, lightweight and absorbent while still being durable. Silk socks are considered a luxury due to their benefits. They feel soft against the skin and produce a light sheen. They are breathable meaning that your feet will not over heat in them.
Silk socks are great because just like other natural fibres, they are absorbent and fast drying. It can absorb up to 30% of its weight in moisture without leaving your feet feeling damp. It can easily wick away moisture from the skin leaving you dry and comfortable all day long. As they do not trap moisture, silk socks have amazing defence against the fungus and bacteria caused by damp environments.
All Patra silk socks are created with comfort and affordability in mind. We offer a thicker blend of Noil Silk Socks, Pure Silk and Silk Stretch Socks. Our specially designed range of seamless silk socks prevent rubbing and sore spots. Our noil silk and pure silk socks are suitable for those with any skin allergies or sensitivities and our silk stretch socks are designed for extra comfort and support throughout the day. They help to prevent excess fluid build-up in the legs and aid circulation – and are also great support when travelling!
- Soft and smooth, perfect for sensitive skin
- Strong, elastic and flexible
- Breathable, absorbent and fast drying
- Naturally hypoallergenic, antifungal and antibacterial
- Because of their luxurious properties, silk socks are more expensive than other options.
- Cannot be washed at high temperatures.
As silk is great for dyeing and printing, silk socks come in a range of beautiful, vivid colours. They are also an ideal luxury gift to treat your loved ones.
Merino wool is grown by merino sheep which first originated in Spain. They are also commonly found in Australia and New Zealand and therefore these countries are the largest producers of merino wool.
Merino sheep wool has much finer individual fibres than most standard types of wool, meaning that it has a softer texture that reduces itchiness and maximises comfort.
Wool socks are normally thicker and warmer. They are perfect for keeping your feet warm during the colder seasons and are great for lounging, camping and outdoors.
They offer benefits like being odour resistant, moisture wicking and temperature regulating. This means that after longer wears, merino wool socks will end up smelling better than socks made from other materials.
- Soft and never become itchy
- Warm keeping your feet feeling fresh and dry
- Repels sweaty odours by preventing sweat and bacteria build up.
- Natural and biodegradable
- More expensive than other type of wool
- Requires special care and maintenance to stay looking and feel its best.
- With excessive use and over-washing, holes can sometimes form.
Why you shouldn’t wear synthetics socks
Fibres such as nylon and polyester are never a good option for clothing, especially underwear items that cone into direct contact with your skin such as socks.
Synthetic socks are made from plastic based materials like nylon and polyester: they are less breathable and absorbent creating damp environments that breed fungi and bacteria. Synthetic fabrics may be highly flammable and therefore are not recommended for camping.
Socks made of Silk, Cotton, Bamboo or Wool offer the perfect balance of comfort and safety for those with skin sensitivities. They help keep body temperature perfectly regulated avoid over-heating.
The impact of synthetic fabrics in the environment
it is important to keep in mind that more than 60% of our clothes are made with synthetic textiles derived from oil — textiles like acrylic, nylon and polyester. Producing these synthetic fibres has a profound impact on our climate and is a source of global warming. Choosing natural fabrics helps to reduce this impact. They are more eco-friendly and able to break down and compost while the synthetic fibres of polyester socks cannot. Natural fabrics will decompose harmlessly in the environment without leaving a negative impact.
So, what is the best sock material for you?
The overall answer depends on your lifestyle and what you will be doing in them. For a well-rounded and breathable option, we would suggest bamboo-cotton socks. They are durable, breathable and comfortable and will take you through every day use with no issue. They are ideal for both warmer and cooler weather and they come in many different styles and patterns to suit you. Marino wool is perfect for warmth and comfort whereas silk is also great for physical activity.
Our socks come in a range of different fabrics, styles and designs, from footsies designed not to show or slip down, longer length socks for support and our best-selling rolled edge socks that are great for circulation and provide extra comfort around the ankles.