Thoughts on Socks

When it comes to technological change in the past decade, socks rank right up there with computers, cameras, and digital music, but there is something suspicious about high tech socks with seven different zones, each tailored to the specific needs of the portion of your foot it touches.

Can a thing be suspicious? Maybe not. But I am! From a pure performance angle, high tech socks made with a pinch of wool and a shovelful of science fabrics are unbeatable. They hug and cushion your foot, keep it dry, and wear like iron. They're everywhere you look, too.

Pure wool socks, in comparison, feel much better, hug enough, cushion fine, and last long enough, and are nearly impossible to find in any clothing or sporting goods store in the United States. What's wrong with wearing out a pair of socks? If you're a hobo you may want your one pair of socks to last a year, but if you're in a sock rotation program, socks that feel like wool are more important than socks that wear like iron. I like the idea of wearing socks whose fabric and technology haven't changed ten percent in a thousand years, and my feet don't suffer for it. My all-wool sox get me through everything I ever do with them, and I always do everything I do with them. I've never wished for less wool and more nylon or anything else. This year, buy one pair of 100 percent wool socks and see how they go for you.

Don't overthink them when you get them. Don't chart your usage. Just wear them and don't think about them, and over time they may become your favorites. That's what I'd bet on. Socks are just about the greatest article of clothing on earth. True, you can get by without them, but pushing your foot into a nice pair of socks is always a treat.

Socks make nice fun cheap gifts, too, because everybody likes a fresh new pair, and most people don't get around to buying new socks until they need them. Here's a sock test: If you can't take your socks off without using your hands, the socks are too tight. Tight socks = no good. Socks should have some slop in them. Some people wear their socks inside out, so the toe seam is on the outside, not next to their foot. That sounds extreme to me, but if your toes are sensitive you might want to consider it. I don't have that problem, myself, but I've heard of it.