As moisture builds up in your shoes, your feet sweat! We’ve all experienced the feeling of uncomfortable and smelly feet at the end of a long work day, after a hike or after heading out in the summer heat. By pulling (or wicking) moisture away from your foot and towards the sock’s surface, where moisture can evaporate more quickly, moisture-wicking socks keep your feet dry and sweat-free.
Aside from preventing sweat, why invest in moisture-wicking socks? Sweat can cause more problems than just discomfort and smells. It can also be the cause of blisters and play a role in developing conditions such as athlete’s foot. Preventing sweating in your socks and shoes can be a game-changer for preventing other unwanted infections.
What are Moisture Wicking Socks made from?
A few different fabrics are typically used to create moisture-wicking socks. These fabrics are highly effective at pulling moisture away from the skin and helping to keep feet dry.
Some of the best options include:
- Polyester: This synthetic fabric is everywhere! It’s lightweight and quick-drying, making it a good choice for moisture-wicking socks.
- Nylon: Similar to polyester, this lightweight and quick-drying fabric is a synthetic fabric often used for socks and outdoor clothing.
- Merino wool: Merino wool is a popular choice of material for the creation of moisture-wicking outdoor clothing. It is a natural fibre that is highly absorbent and can hold up to 30% of its weight in moisture without feeling wet! It is also naturally antimicrobial, which helps to reduce odour and keeps clean for longer.
- Coolmax: This synthetic fabric was explicitly designed for moisture-wicking and is made from a blend of polyester, nylon, and other fibres.
- Acrylic – This fabric is excellent at locking in moisture and traps odours, making it ideal for making socks!
How do these fabrics wick away moisture?
There are a few different mechanisms that can contribute to the moisture-wicking properties of a fabric:
- Capillary action: Capillary action is a process by which liquid moves through a porous material, such as fabric. The liquid attracts the solid surfaces of the pores, which causes the liquid to move. In moisture-wicking fabrics, the pores are large enough to allow sweat and moisture to pass through but small enough that liquid cannot flow back the other way.
- Absorbency: Different fabrics have different abilities to absorb sweat and moisture. Merino wool is an excellent example of a fabric that can hold a lot of water without feeling wet, which helps to remove sweat and humidity from the skin.
- Breathability: Moisture-wicking fabrics are typically highly breathable, allowing air to flow through them easily. This helps to evaporate any sweat or moisture on the fabric’s surface, which helps to keep feet dry.
So, next time you head out shopping for new socks, consider purchasing some moisture-wicking socks for added comfort and infection prevention!