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Cotton or wool? You should wear outdoor socks like this

Update:29 May 2020

Although socks are easily overlooked in equipment, they play a key role in the overall comfort and happiness of the outdoors.

Socks are as important for injury prevention as comfortable shoes. So, what do you need to consider when buying a pair of socks?

There are many choices just for changes in temperature. Choose different socks for different seasons and activities to ensure proper comfort.


Spring is the wettest season, so wearing fast-drying socks and maintaining heat when wet are essential. Spring has melting snow, swollen streams and muddy trails, so socks need to be warm and dry.

Mixing materials is the best strategy. Synthetic wool socks can keep your feet warm and dry, thinner or thicker, depending on the temperature of the day. It is recommended to prepare more socks in a backpack or dry bag for replacement Bring waterproof shoes.


The warm breeze, the clear lake water, and a stone mountaintop waiting for you. This is the best time of year to go outdoors and try new equipment! Summer is the time for running, hiking, cycling and water sports. A good summer sock will provide the right amount of cushioning while cooling your feet properly in hot temperatures.

The socks made of fiber fabric are very suitable and have good air permeability, which allows the moisture to evaporate while keeping the footsteps dry.


When the leaves start to change color and the temperature slowly drops, it's time to change your sock choice. Autumn is to find a balance to keep your feet warm, not to overheat them.

Remember that socks are thicker than summer, and do n’t wear thin summer socks to make your toes tremble in the cold.


Winter socks are thicker and contain excellent insulation materials to keep your feet in a comfortable temperature range. Whether hiking, snowshoeing, snowboarding or cross-country skiing, the right socks ensure a pleasant experience, not numbness or frostbite.

The wool material is usually selected and paired with a thin, sweat-wicking sock lining. Lining socks serve as moisture wicking components, while wool outer socks provide the necessary insulation and cushioning.

Of course, in different environments, outdoor socks with different structures and different materials should be used in conjunction, so as to better protect your feet from injury. What are the common outdoor sock materials?


Cotton is a traditional natural fiber, and it is also a textile material with a high degree of comfort. It is still widely used today. However, for the requirements of sports, especially outdoor sports, the performance of cotton itself has great limitations. Cotton fiber has good hygroscopicity, and the rate of moisture absorption is very fast, but moisture removal will not work. After the cotton fiber is wet, it will dry very slowly. Therefore, if there is no good logistic supply, try not to wear pure cotton socks in outdoor activities, especially in rainy summer for many days, cotton socks will be very dangerous after soaking.


Wool is also a traditional natural fiber. It is known for its good thermal insulation. However, ordinary wool is not suitable for socks. You must choose higher-quality wool, such as: Australian MERINO WOOL (merino wool ), NEW WOOL (new wool), etc., are good materials for underwear and socks. However, many people will find that it is very rare to use wool directly for personal clothing. Even if it is available, the price is relatively expensive, which is mainly determined by the structural characteristics of the wool itself. Under the microscope, you can see that there are many scales of wool fibers, arranged a bit like bamboo shoot leaves, and the top of each scale has a horny tip. This horny tip is easy to cause adhesion between wool fibers, also known as Sticky, at the same time, this horny tip makes the wool feel itchy when it is close to the body, so if you choose wool material for personal clothing such as socks, you must remove this horny tip. The relatively high cost is one of the main reasons why the product is expensive. The characteristic of wool itself is to keep warm. At the same time, its moisture absorption and moisture removal are poor. After being blended or woven with other fibers, it can be made into a good winter warm sock.
Lycra, spandex and rubber

Lycra, spandex and rubber bands are all elastic materials. Lycra is a registered trademark of DuPont in the United States, and it is actually a type of spandex, so it is also called Lycra spandex, but it is much better to handle than ordinary spandex. Its stretchability and resilience are quite good, and it is not easy to age. Now , Many outdoor brand socks use Lycra as the elastic material. The rubber band is actually a rubber band. Of course, the socks are much thinner, as thin as the yarn. They are woven into the socks during the manufacturing process. The rubber bands are easy to age, after being corroded by sweat or after the severe cold in winter. It will be easy to lose the original extension and reanimation. For more expensive socks such as professional sports socks for outdoor sports, this feature makes it less economical. However, there is now an elastic band in Japan. I heard that the durability is very good, and it is still in the promotion stage.


For sports socks, especially professional sports socks with strong professional outdoor sports, there must be some special fibers added to highlight its professional functionality. Among them, COOLMAX is often used. COOLMAX is a patented fiber product of DuPont in the United States. It is also called four-pipe shaped polyester fiber in textiles. Ordinary fiber cross-sections are mostly solid circular or elliptical, and COOLMAX fibers are hollow, with a cross-section of ten sub-types, just like four tubes juxtaposed together. This structure increases the contact area between the fiber and the air, and also ensures a lot of gaps between the fabrics. In this way, the fiber of COOLMAX is guaranteed to have strong hygroscopicity and moisture removal. It is mixed with COOLMAX fiber. The fabric has good breathability. It should be noted that COOLMAX is a functional fiber that absorbs moisture, guides sweat, and breathes. It is not a thermal fiber. It is just a warm environment that keeps moisture out and keeps it as dry as possible.


THERMOLITE is a special thermal fiber. THERMOLITE is also a patented fiber product of DuPont. It is polyester fiber like COOLMAX, and the structure is also hollow. According to reports, THERMOLITE was inspired by the structure of the polar bear's hair. Its cross-section is round and the middle is empty, like a tube, which can improve the bulkiness of the fiber and achieve The effect of keeping warm is similar to that of down. The thermal insulation effect of THERMOLITE is very good, and it also has a good effect of perspiration. It is an ideal material for warm socks in winter. (To explain here, when used as a sock material, COOLMAX and THERMOLITE mainly use short fibers. During the wearing process, the pilling phenomenon is inevitable. The tighter the sock structure, the less pilling. Use COOLMAX And THERMOLITE long fiber will not pilling, but it feels that the socks are hard, not suitable for thick socks, and the thin single-function socks work well.)


Some ingredient labels are also called nylon, which is specially strengthened in outdoor sports socks. Why does the addition of nylon extend the life of socks, and is not easy to damage.

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