“The U.S. Army is especially interested in socks. Troops suffer horrendous blister problems from their months of marching and training in boots. In recent years, the problem got so bad that the army commissioned studies comparing their traditional cotton/wool socks with acrylic and CoolMax socks. The results showed such a reduction in blisters from the synthetic socks that the army has now switched.”
~ Leslie Sansone in Walk Away the Pounds
I’ve always considered quality socks a good gift. For others… I tend to go cheap with my socks and shoes. My husband has preached the gospel of good shoes for years. I’m ready to begin my repentance with socks.
Were you surprised to see that synthetic beat cotton and wool in the above paragraph?
I’m very curious now and eager to learn more about socks.
Since the study is based upon the soldier’s point of view, I am not surprised. I, for one, had horrible athlete’s foot as a youngster and was admonished to wear only natural fibers because they were more absorbent. But the synthetic would take longer to wear a hole, and therefore, provide padding for longer, and therefore, reduce blisters. That’s my take.As far as wearing substantial socks and supportive shoes for walking and exercising, I am a BIG believer 🙂 Hope your daily treks are rewarding. Frankly, just walking the hills in my neighborhood get me to huffing and puffing every time. And that’s only a 45-minute jaunt.
I’m with Curt on this one! I go to the Rockport outlet store about every other year and stock up on their shoes, which normally run around $85-100/pr. but I get them for about $30-40 (plus if you buy 2 pr., you get one free, so I almost always walk out with at least 3 pr.!). Also, the best socks I ever got and loved were from a Canadian company called Northern Reflections, which used to have stores here in the U.S. I believe you can still buy clothing/socks from them online. But most of their stuff is 100% cotton…so what do I know?
an interesting topic – i’m looking forward to all the responses! my only knowledge of socks: they enter the washing machine in pairs and exit in single file…
I would have picked natural over synthetic any day. I wonder if this was only tested in hot/tropical climates? I can’t believe that synthetic is warmer than wool, soldiers stationed in cold/arctic areas may have to skew the evidence to keep their feet warm!
I am totally amazed that anything synthetic would be better than its natural counterpart. Is this based on more than just the one study?
I am a little confused. In 11 years in the military they never gave me anything but cotton and wool socks. They must have made a switch since 1995. I have marched 100s if not 1000s of miles in wool socks and Army boots and have to say the best socks are designer hiking socks from Eddie Bauer or some similar store and non-military issue boots from Danner. As a teacher, on my feet all day, high end Rockports and Wolverines are worth every penny, last two to three times as long while staying comfortable and look good too.
@Wallig – Curt wore Rockports when he taught too. I remember chocking at the cost of them, but Curt insisted that he have good shoes to stand in. The book was written in 2005. Suprised me too!
Actually, I’m not surprised, but only because I’ve been reading about synthetics lately! Compared to 20th century synthetics, (doesn’t that sound like modernistic snobbery??) what we’ve got going now is different. Those wonderful hiking socks, some brands, have synthetics. The kind of sythetics that come to mind to us absolutely prevented water and air from any movement, which is why we never liked them, and is also why pantyhose (nylons) has changed from the way they were made. During chemo I was given some of the most wonderful always-stayed-soft socks. They breathed, they stayed in shape… alas, because they were socks, I only have one left. That being said, I still prefer the cotton and wool, but then I’m not out camping every weekend either!