Why Do We Wear Socks? Everything You Need to Know

What Are Socks For?

You aren't the first person to ask this question. You may hate the feeling of wearing socks, and wonder in frustration why you even have to bother with them. Or you're just inquisitive, like Curious George. Why do people wear socks? Why are socks so important? These small pieces of fabric on your feet are an essential technology that humankind has used for thousands of yearsThe next time you're slipping into your Sperrys or a pair of flats and wonder, should I wear socks, consider these areas where socks are the champ.

Wear Socks for Anti-Perspiration, Anti-Stink

In the wonderment over why wear socks, sweat and stink may have been some of the first factors to have crossed your mind. When we’re exercising or moving around throughout the day, it usually feels like the main culprit for sweat is our underarmsbut did you know that the foot produces the most sweat of any area in the body? A single foot can produce 0.25 pints of perspiration each day!  

Socks are vital players in mediating and managing this physiological function. You can think about the technical action of socks in this way: socks absorb sweat, divert it away from the foot and send it off to where it can evaporate. 

Wear Socks to Stay Warm

Socks are designed to keep your feet toasty. Why do we wear socks? Because, in the most extreme climates and outdoor activities, socks are constructed to minimize the risk of frostbite. So if you like your toes, you can thank socks in the winter.

Socks protect your feet from the cold through useful moisture-wicking capabilities, guaranteeing that your foot and the material don’t retain sweat. Instead, the sweat evaporates, leaving you to perform in comfort and at your best. Thermal socks are fantastic for sports like skiing, snowboarding, skating and snowshoeing. 

Wool is one of the warmest and coziest materials for socks. Your feet will love a wool sock when you’re walking the dog in the chill of the morning or relaxing on the couch with a mug of tea on a Saturday afternoon. While coziness isn't as imperative as warmth, a good pair of socks will give you both.   

Wear Socks for Joint Cushioning

Feet take the stress of our daily activity and exercise. Though we depend on our feet to take the jarring impact of our routine and endeavours, we don’t often take the time to give back to these precious parts of our body. Anyone who spends a lot of time walking, working out, or who suffers from arthritis pain knows the difference a good sock can make in the way that the body feels at the end of the day. 

Maybe you haven’t even identified what it is that makes you feel better, but if you analyze the factors, it just may be that quality socks are the difference. Why do we wear socks? Because In the foot, there are 33 joints that can be affected by arthritis pain. If you begin by addressing the foot, the effects of arthritis are mitigated higher up in the body. A well-padded sock can make the difference between feeling sore and swollen from your activity as opposed to energized toward the next pursuit.

Wear Socks for Medical Benefits

Not only does cushioning alleviate symptoms but breathable, sweat-wicking socks can prevent corns, calluses and blisters. If you've ever gone barefoot in a pair of sneakers to run around and do errands, only to find an angry blister on your heel after, you know what we're talking about. 

Compression socks are a specialty variety of sock that applies pressure to the lower leg. These socks have the effect of increasing blood flow and decreasing swelling and pain. Doctors prescribe them for mild to severe vascular conditions, such as edema and swollen veins. Compression socks are highly recommended for anyone who spends much of the day on their feet, like nurses and hospitality workers.

Socks with a mild compression gradient are recommended for people who sit all day or travel frequently, to prevent blood from pooling in the legs. A life-threatening condition known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) can occur on airplanes, during which blood clots form in the legs. Why do we wear socks? For some of us, they can be life saving. Learn more about compression socks in our ultimate guide.

Wear Socks to Match Your Mood

Sometimes you wake up in a certain mood or wanting to show off a side of your personality. Fun socks can let people know that you're feeling silly or playful. You can show everyone how festive you are with holiday socks. They also afford the opportunity to highlight a theme that's been running through your mind like the love of bacon and eggs, a heart when you’re feeling romantic, or beer when you’re going out with the guys.

Why do we wear socks? They're a convenient way to express ourselves without making too large a splash. They peek through the bottom of your pants or the top of your shoes and give a glimpse into your inner world. Socks with sayings can help you grab hold of the day. If you have a pair of lucky socks, pull them out for that day when you need an extra bit of confidence or the motivation to perform your best. 

How to Wear Socks to Express Yourself

Socks

Occasions

Holiday socks

The month before a holiday or occasion.

Weekday socks

You know the drill, stick with the right day!

Socks with sayings

When you wake up with something on your mind.

Lucky socks

When you’re optimistic, down or just plain hopeful.

Patterned socks

To highlight your creativity and boldness.

Colored socks

To bring brightness and flair to a day.

Socks with themes

To share your passions or spark a conversation.

Wear Socks for Relaxation

Why do we wear socks? Because socks can take us to the highest possible point of chill. If you haven’t started your Sunday with a pair of slipper socks and ended the day with a pair of reading socks, you’re in for a treat. Slipper socks and reading socks are the ultimate luxuries. 

With their anti-slip grip, slipper socks are practical. Their comfortable material is supporting and grounding. If you have your slipper socks on during the day, you can do your house cleaning at the height of comfort. In the evening, you can pour a glass of wine, crank the tunes and dance in the kitchen without any risk of slipping. Slipper socks will help you conquer the mundane to the motivated, helping you to feel the right balance between relaxation and drive.

Often made from a combination of warm, cozy and fuzzy materials, reading socks will set the mood for leisure. Fleece-lined for ultra comfort and extending up to the knee for added warmth, reading socks trigger your brain to let down its guard and enjoy the small and pure pleasures of life. As soon as you tug your socks on, you’ll feel a calming sensation come over you and the desire to turn off your electronic devices, pull out your herbal tea selection and crack open a book. 

Wear Socks for Athletic Performance 

For an athlete, a sock is a partner to their pursuit. It supports the body during its fluctuations in temperature and offers comfort in the face of jarring, jolting and repetitive movements. It is important for any athlete to have protection and cushioning while they're training. In a race or competition, such support is imperative. Socks allow for ultimate comfort as well as preventing any discomfort, which can act as a source of distraction. There are even socks designed to be antibacterial and antimicrobial, reducing the risk of infections like athlete's foot.

Athletic socks can also be a statement of style, an expression of unique character and a way to stand out on the field. When you’re running in the dark, a neon sock can keep you safe from oncoming traffic. On the sports field, a bright team sock can unite players and help coaches and referees to differentiate between sides. Finally you’ll be able to truthfully nod when your kid gloats, having seen that goal he made in the second half of the game! Why do we wear socks? If you're an athlete, socks will take you to your peak performance.

Wear Socks to Heighten Your Style

Why do we wear socks? Let’s get the facts straight, once and for all—an outfit is not complete without the right pair of socks. Here are some simple hacks to help you pair the perfect pair of socks with your ensemble.

How to Style and Wear Women’s Socks

Sock Style

Complementary Outfit

Long socks

Short skirt, knitted sweater and boots

Over the knee socks 

Shorts, tucked in t-shirt and boots with a heel

Bunched crew socks

Cuffed boyfriend jeans

Mid-calf tucked in socks 

Skinny jeans and ankle boots

Ankle socks 

Cropped leggings, sneakers and an athletic top

No-show socks

Booties and a dress

Patterned socks

Black dress pants, a neutral blouse and blazer

Holiday socks

Full-length leggings and a sweatshirt

Sock slippers 

Pyjamas

Reading socks

Sweatpants and cozy sweater

Compression socks

Scrubs


How to Style and Wear Men’s Socks

Sock Style

Complementary Outfit

No-show socks

Jeans and slip ons

Ankle socks

Limit usage to the gym

Mid-calf socks

Sneakers, loafers, dress shoes and boots

Over the calf socks

Under any pant, but not with shorts!

Dark socks

A classic look with suit pants or for dressy occasions

Ribbed socks

Suit pants, trousers or chinos

Bold socks

Liven up any pant

Stripes, polka dots, argyle

Jeans or suit pants

Novelty socks

Suit pants or jeans

So, why do we wear socks? The answer is different for every person. From health and wellness, to style and relaxation, socks provide benefits that carry into all aspects of our lives. Whether you're soaring through the clouds in a plane, tearing through a cross country trail, or padding around the house—socks make our lives better, safer, and more comfortable than only our feet ever could.