Saturday, 13 February 2016

In Defence of a good pair of socks.

I am a classic guys-guy. I like cars and motorcycles, the outdoors and hockey. My closet is a veritable cornucopia of basic tee-shirts and well-worn jeans.  Until very recently I owned only one suit (Now I own two, but I’m not really sure what to use the other one for. Hiking maybe?). 

You would expect, then, that my sock drawer would be full-to-bursting with a stable of well-worn and trusty sports socks. All in a shade of white directly proportionate to how long they have been in service. Most with a hole in the toe, or heel. But you’d be wrong.

I like top-shelf, well made socks and I’m happy to pay more for them.

A good pair of socks can make, or break my day – whatever it is that I’m doing. Pick the right socks and I can forget about them. My feet are happy and I can get on with things. Pick the wrong ones and I (and probably anyone around me as well) are in for a world of smelly-footed misery. Do you like smelly-footed Misery? I don’t. This is why picking the right pair of socks is essential.

So let’s just get this out of the way: Tube Socks? No. Always, and forever, NO.

Classic, well made cotton sports socks do have a place.  That place is in a sneaker, running or casual shoe as I calmly go about my day in a temperate climate. Even then, I get nice ones!  Ones with a little cushion on the bottom and some nice quality knitting that will keep them in place and make my feet happy.

But here’s the thing about Cotton. It likes water. It likes moisture. It holds on to it. Moisture makes my feet cold, smelly, prone to blisters and just generally gross feeling.

Which means that ironically, cotton sport socks are not really good at sports.  If I’m hitting the Gym or skating or doing any active sport, I slip on a pair of socks built to keep my feet cool, dry and blister free. They take the abuse better and last longer than my cotton socks would, and specialized athletic socks tend to be a little on the flashy side, so it looks like my feet are going fast – even when I’m not (admittedly, most of the time)

My go-to sock of choice when the weather turns chilly and the boots come out are a good pair of merino wool hikers. These do not have to be heavy-duty, but they DO need to manage moisture, cushion my feet and give a bit of insulation from the cold. My current favorites are a nice pair of Wigwam Merino Hikers.  If wool is not your thing, try a synthetic blend, but wool is awesome because it will warm OR cool, and does not collect microbes that cause the foot stank. I’m happier, as is everyone around me!

At the end of the day? My tees and jeans may be basic, but my socks are top-notch! They'll last longer, keep my feet more comfortable and less… odiferous.  And speaking of the end of the day, nothing says ‘relax’ like a pair of super-cozy cotton work socks, a book and a hot cup of tea.

Treat your feets, they (and your friends) will thank you!