Choosing Athlete’s Socks – Points You Should Remember

When it comes to sports, it’s important to take care of your feet because they should be in good health so as to let you enjoy your favourite sport and offer you its maximum health benefits.

And when it comes to your feet, your socks too are as important as your shoes.

the New York City Marathon, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2009. (AP Photo/Henny Ray Abrams)

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They offer you cushioning and protection, and distribute the pressure of the shoe on the foot, and also enhance or hinder the drift of moisture off the foot.

A damp foot cannot be a healthy foot and cotton socks pose the risk of making your feet surrounded by the moisture they absorb.

While doing a physical activity that lasts longer than half an hour, it’s wise to wear a sock made of a material that is unfriendly to water (dampness) and friendlier to your foot and more capable of transmitting moisture.

Cotton absorbs moisture very efficiently. But cotton socks absorb it, swell and don’t leave it so as to surround your feet with wetness.

On the other hand, socks made of synthetic hydrophilic materials with channels that wick the moisture off your feet can keep your feet dry. Therefore, in most cases, it’s the ideal material for athletic socks.


Wicking means the transmission of moisture from one part to the other.

A wicking gradient makes it possible to transfer the moisture or sweat from your feet to the outside of your shoes through porous socks.

This needs a non-cotton sock and a shoe made from a material like breathable nylon mesh that lets water vapour move through it.

The sock’s weave too has a role to play in its ability to carry moisture. E.g. a thicker weave offers more air pockets which can get filled with water, compressed and later have the moisture squeezed out of them.


Your feet are bound to get soaked while you are playing a sport because the level of sweating increases tremendously to help your body in cooling.

This perspiration is generated so fast that it doesn’t get time to be evaporated and remains collected in your socks. The soles of the feet have between 250,000 and 300,000 sweat glands.


Corns, blisters, irritations, athlete’s foot, infections etc. can all happen due to bad fitting socks made of incorrectly chosen materials.

Another issue is pitted keratolysis that can occur in your feet if they are surrounded by excessive sweat and occlusion, usually along with an increased surface pH.

You can get rid of these issues with treatments like toenail fungus treatment from ModPod Podiatry. But getting rid of the moisture can minimise these issues in the first place.

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Merino Wool

With the word ‘wool’, people often think of winter. However, merino wool is extremely breathable and so, you can wear merino wool socks year round.

This wool is collected from merino sheep that mainly live in New Zealand and Australia, and is extremely soft, itch-free, odour-free and highly durable. It has got high wicking ability and it evapourates moisture quickly.

This material is costlier than others but has got the best performance.


Cheaper than merino wool, acrylic is a versatile material and is comfortable, offers good cushioning and dries quite quickly.


Nylon is mixed with other materials and forms 20% to 50% of the socks’ fabric. It dries quickly and adds strength to the fabric.


As mentioned earlier, cotton is the worst material for socks while doing athletic activities, though it’s the cheapest material and is fine for casual wear.

How High Should Your Socks Be?

This depends on your personal preference, though some sports require socks of a standard size. Crew socks are used for running, tennis, golf and racquetball, while over the calf socks are used in soccer, skiing etc.

Take advice of the professionals at sports podiatry Sydney such as ModPod Podiatry for choosing the perfect socks that will keep your feet comfortable and problem-free while you enjoy playing your favourite sport.


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