The Three Types of Natural Socks

Cotton – A lightweight, moisture absorbing fiber. No other fabric offers the comfort and feel of nature’s own fibre. It’s breathable, washable and biodegradable too. Generally though 100% cotton is not recommended as a sock material for walking. Cotton absorbs sweat, dries slowly, providing no insulation when wet and this may lead to discomfort and blisters. However, cotton is extremely comfortable and when combined with wool or other wicking and insulating fibres, cotton blends can be a great choice for light walking in summer. In my personal experience, don’t wear cotton unless you can change into a clean pair that night. It also feels really gross when put them on after trying to wash them on the trail.

Silk – A very smooth, soft and moisture absorbing fibre. It boasts a high tensile strength and acts as a natural thermal retainer that does not conduct heat. Although comfortable and lightweight it lacks durability and is mostly used in liner socks for it’s wicking ability. I really like silk for sleeping at night in the summer. It isn’t that warm, and if you stick your foot out in your sleep, is helps stop mosquitoes.

Wool – The original, easy care fibre. Each wool fibre is made up of millions of “coiled springs,” that stretch in use, but coil back to their original positions. It features inherent qualities such as warmth when wet, cushioning, shape recovery (resiliency) and it breathes with your body. It can be knit in various weights to provide increasing levels of insulation for every temperature. Wool yarn, when knit into a thicker sock, tends to be bulky and lofty. Air becomes entrapped and it becomes an ideal insulator. Wool socks also keep feet drier because wool absorbs as much as 30% of its own weight before it begins to feel damp.

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