Having a good pair of wool socks will make all the difference when you’re hiking or running down trails. But what exactly are the benefits of wearing wool socks? Why should you wear them?
Wool socks are best used for keeping your feet warm during colder months, especially if there’s a possibility of getting wet. When compared to cotton, wool socks are far more capable of holding high amounts of moisture and not losing their insulative properties. The durability of wool also makes it great for hiking.
That’s not all though! Wool socks have plenty more benefits you can learn by simply reading below.
Your feet are in constant motion. Protecting their health lets you continue to enjoy all of your outdoor activities. Wool socks will provide your feet with insulation.
The process of turning raw wool into yarn creates crimping of the fibers. Within the final product of wool yarn are pockets of air. These breathing spaces in the yarn function as insulation. This keeps your body heat next to your skin.
When hiking, sometimes you’ll have to cross a stream, or maybe you’ll end up in a muddy section of the woods. No problem if you’re wearing wool.
Most of the other materials used for socks cannot insulate your feet once they are wet. Wool is different. Your feet will stay protected and warm.
Wool is a hydrophobic material, so it repels water. If water seeps into your hiking boots or shoes, your wool socks will repel the water. This will keep your socks and more importantly, your feet dry. Wool can hold one-third of its weight in moisture before your feet will feel any wetness.
Picture the sheep in the meadow on a rainy day. They are not bothered at all by the precipitation. Their wool coatings keep them dry, just like your socks will.
Cotton, unlike wool, absorbs wetness. Once cotton socks are wet, your feet are no longer protected. Image your cotton dish towel after you dry your pots and pans. Cotton socks soak up moisture in the same manner.
Sweaty feet? No problem with wool socks. They wick moisture or sweat away from your body as a vapor. This evaporation process keeps your feet dry from your own sweat. The socks are not absorbing the sweat, so your feet do not get that cold damp feeling that happens with other materials.
Wool has often been associated with scratchiness and itchiness. So, the thought of wearing wool socks has some people literally rubbing their feet in anticipation of misery. However, today’s wool socks are much different than decades ago. There are more options for several types of wool as well.
Merino wool is considered one of the highest quality wools available. Fibers from merino sheep are fine. The extremely small diameter of each strand creates a soft and flexible fiber. Since these strands, a third of the thickness of human hair, are so thin, they are subtle and itch-free.
Socks made from other materials do not fit your feet as well as wool socks. With other synthetic or cotton socks, frequently, your socks shift and bunch in your boots. That clumping of socks can lead to blisters. Blisters, besides being uncomfortable, can become infected. Infections on your feet are hard to cure since we are always needing to walk or move about.
To eliminate these blisters and infections, wear wool. With these fine strands of wool woven together for yarn, wool socks meld to your feet. Without wrinkles in your socks, your hike will be much more enjoyable.
Another benefit of wool for you and your companions is that wool has antibacterial attributes. Sheep have natural lanolin, which resists odors. Merino wool has natural compounds that create a coating on the strands of the yarn.
This impedes the growth of bacteria. So, your wool socks will not emit the same strong odors that other worn socks will. This is a plus for you and your hiking companions.
Wool socks create a barrier between your feet and the temperature. Wearing wool, your feet will retain a fairly stable temperature. Wool socks hold a thin layer of air between themselves and your feet, which acts as insulation. In the cold weather, this helps your feet retain their warmth.
In the warmer weather, this layer assists in keeping the heat away from your feet adding to the comfort provided by wool socks.
With the durability of the fiber strands of wool, these socks are long-lasting. Before wool fiber strands break, they can be bent more than 20,000 times. On the other hand, strands of fiber used to produce cotton socks can only bend about 3,000 times.
There are many more miles of hiking that can be comfortably done in wool than cotton. While wool socks might cost a bit more on the initial purchase, they can be worn for much longer.
A property of wool that contributes to its durability is its elasticity. Within one strand of wool, there are over a million coiled springs. These springs give the wool its elasticity, which permits the fibers to bounce back to their original shape. The inner core of the cells of the wool creates a resilient material that can manage significant wear and tear.
When you are outdoors and hiking you need socks that can perform. They need to withstand the sweating and miles of hiking. Wool socks will not suddenly sprout a hole. Since they are designed to last longer, they are more dependable.
Merino sheep are originally from Spain. Now, you can find merino sheep all around the world. There are a number of different varieties of sheep. They are shorn at least twice a year.
When the farmers shear their flocks, it does not harm the animals. Shearing the sheep is for their well-being in addition to harvesting their fleece for yarn. The process does not involve chemicals or machinery that emits carbon dioxide.
Usually, the breed lives for over a decade. Therefore, they are a renewable product. The sheep need to live in open space, which is another plus for their benefit to the environment. Woolgrowers work to protect the natural grazing fields that sheep depend upon.
Wool is also a biodegradable material. When it decomposes, the wool secretes nutrients back into the soil. When compared to other synthetic materials used to make socks, it disintegrates more rapidly.
Lastly, wool has a long-life span. It can be readily recycled and reused. Some well-known manufacturers of wool socks and other products have even begun collecting old socks.
They achieve this by setting up bins at popular retailers or by informing customers that they can ask for a recycling bag online. The socks are shredded and repurposed to make other materials with the goal of reducing the number of socks sent to landfills.