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All about socks

A brief history of socks

Protective foot coverings have existed for centuries. Some of the earliest known socks and foot coverings were made from animal furs and skins. As technology began to advance, ancient civilizations began to weave materials together to make fabrics, including socks. Eventually, knitted materials were developed, and in the last century, synthetic materials such as nylon were developed. Over the last three decades, advanced technologies in fabric have led to weather and sport-specific applications leading to socks for activities ranging from running to skiing and beyond.

The United States military, in particular, has been instrumental in the development of socks in an effort to reduce foot complaints and injuries among soldiers. The military has sponsored research to determine the best materials, construction methods, and applications to reduce friction and blisters when marching or running. Along with advances in the materials used to make socks, the construction of socks has also evolved allowing for better fit, greater comfort, and more.

Sock construction

Like shoes, socks have several parts beyond simply the toe and heel. They also come in a variety of styles. Regardless of style and special attributes, it is important to select socks with a square rather than round heel to prevent the sock from slipping under the arch of the foot. A ribbed band around the top of the sock will also help prevent the sock from sliding down the leg. High-quality socks will also have extra cushioning or reinforcement in the heel and toe. The toe and heel should have thicker threads, and the reinforced area should cover the toes completely. Reinforcement over the toes and heel help to prevent rubbing and chafing in areas of the foot that are most susceptible to blistering and other friction injuries.

Proper sock fit

Most of us know when a pair of socks fit well. The socks are comfortable, stay put on the feet, and keep the feet dry and protected. However, for socks to truly fit well and provide the greatest benefit, they should be snug enough to stay put, but loose enough around the toes to allow for comfortable movement. Ideally, look for socks without a toe seam, as toe seams may cause rubbing and friction against the toes. Toe seams may also cause you to wear the socks slightly improperly to avoid rubbing against the seams, thus increasing the likelihood of blisters or chafing. Socks should also fit so that they stay in place on the foot, but not so tight that they cut off circulation.

To learn more about proper sock or shoe fit, and about how to keep your feet as healthy as possible, please call Kansas City Foot Specialists today at (913) 338-4440. Keeping you on your feet is our pleasure.