It’s winter, and it’s cold. It’s time to re-think the entire wardrobe, including socks. If you searching for warm socks, perhaps you’ve come across wool socks and wondering how they stack up against other types of socks. Are wool socks warm and good for winter cold weather?
Yes, wool socks are warm and very good for winter cold weather. Wool is widely considered to be among the warmest materials used for socks. Wool socks are very good at trapping heat because wool fibers have natural bends and twists that help pocket and trap your body heat better than other materials. There are, however, a few drawbacks to consider about wearing wool socks (see those drawbacks).
In this article let’s take a closer look at what makes wool socks warm, and compare wool socks to other types of socks so you can be sure you are choosing the right socks for your winter needs.
How Warm are Wool Socks?
In general, wool socks are widely considered to be one of the warmest sock options you can wear during winter cold weather. However, the warmth of your wool socks will be dependent on several factors, for example:
- How thick are the wool socks?
- Do the socks use premium wool?
- Are there other materials added to the wool?
- What type of wool is used?
- How long are the socks?
What make wool warm?
Wool has some amazing physical properties that make it one of the best material for winter clothing, including socks.
- Traps Heat – Wool fibers have natural bends and twists that actually help trap and contain the heat released by your body. Most other materials don’t trap heat near as effectively as wool.
- Doesn’t Absorb Heat – Yikes, this almost sound bad, right? But believe me, it’s not. One strength of wool is it doesn’t absorb heat like other types of materials. This means you retain your body heat and the wool doesn’t absorb it away from your skin.
- Moisture Wicking – Wool is a moisture wicking material. Why is this important? Well, this means if you get warm and sweaty inside your socks, the wool fabric is designed to wick sweat away, preventing the socks from getting soaked.
- Naturally Water-Resistant – Wool is also naturally water-resistant, meaning if you are outside in winter wet weather, wool helps shed light precipitation. Of course, this is a bit more important for wool jackets and hats than it is for wool socks.
- Insulates When Damp – One great quality about premium wool is it has the ability to hold its insulating properties even when it gets damp. This can be particularly important in nasty winter weather.
Again, the amount of insulating qualities you get will be dependent on the type of wool you choose. For example, certain types of wool blend may not be as warm and may not have all the important qualities listed above.
Alternatives to Wool Socks for Winter
Cotton is another popular material for socks. Cotton socks are breathable and lightweight, but if you sweat a lot, they’ll get wet fast because the material absorbs moisture easily.
However, lots of people prefer cotton socks because they color well and are machine-washable. Nevertheless, if you’re looking for maximum warmth, wool socks still win. Cotton socks are not a great option for winter weather.
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, nylon socks will be excellent. These socks are lightweight, stretchy, and comfy.
However, they’re not the warmest and not that breathable. In most cases, nylon fibers are added to cotton and wool fibers to decrease the cost of production and make the material lighter or more stretchy.
Most athletes prefer polyester socks, especially when the material is blended with other natural fibers because polyester is quite durable. In addition, it’s quite cheap and comes in various colors.
Polyester socks are made of stain-resistant and quick-drying synthetic fibers. However, they don’t absorb moisture well, leading to the growth of fungi and bacteria when worn for long hours while your feet are wet.
Polypropylene socks are lightweight, breathable, and stretchy, so they’ll work for you if you work out a lot. The material is stain-resistant and easy to wash.
Since polypropylene is made of plastic, the material will melt if you wash it or dry it at a high temperature. You shouldn’t also leave these socks in the sun for too long, as they can change shape.
Drawbacks to Wearing Wool Socks for Winter
Wool socks can be more costly than cotton socks. In general, most types of wool socks are long-lasting, so the cost should balance out.
Wool socks are thicker than cotton socks. This can be an issue if it causes your feet to feel cramped inside your boots or shoes. If this is a possible concern, merino wool may be a better option. It is thinner than regular wool, but still good at trapping heat.
Wool Socks Can Be Itchy
To provide warm and comfortable socks, socks manufacturers use premium yarns to produce a warm material that you can wear for hours. However, some warm wool socks can be uncomfortable to wear because wool can be itchy.
Many types of wool socks may max in other material to make the socks much more comfortable to wear.
Socks manufacturers use various types of wool yarn to provide customers with comfortable and cozy socks. Some of these fibers are more expensive because of their origin or the mechanism used to produce them. Yet, there are several types of affordable wool socks that you can find.
Which Wool Socks are the Softest?
Merino wool is the most valued and softest wool fiber in the world, and it represents only 1% of the wool material used in the apparel industry. This wool comes from the Merino sheep breed that originally comes from Spain, although most of today’s production comes from Australia.
It outlasts different types of wool fibers, which is important since you tend to wear socks regularly. Also, Merino wool isn’t as thick as regular wool, which makes for thinner socks.
Cashmere wool is another cool option if you want warm yet soft and cozy winter socks. Just like merino wool, cashmere provides warmth and moisture-wicking properties.
Cashmere socks are excellent for those who have sweaty feet because they hold almost 30% of their weight in moisture without feeling wet. However, they’re quite expensive as the undercoat of two goats is enough to produce a single sweater.
Angora wool is extremely soft, but it’s also delicate. So, most angora wool manufacturers combine it with other materials to increase its durability. This process also lowers the prices of angora apparel.
Shetland wool is extremely popular because it comes from the sheep that live in the cold climate in Scotland. As a result, the fibers provide maximum warmth in the worst weather.
However, these fibers can be a little itchy. Therefore, manufacturers usually combine them with other fibers to reduce their itchiness and make them more comfortable to wear.