Seriously – who went and flipped the winter switch?
It seems like yesterday we were stripping down to the bare essentials and soaking up the all-too fleeting summer sunshine. A far cry from what’s happening outdoors right now, particularly with the clocks going back and darkening our days.
Still, the Great British winter is not completely without its charms. There’s something undeniably pleasant about cosying up indoors, when venturing outdoors is the last thing on your mind.
But when the time comes to head out and about, cosy toes can be tricky to maintain. Winter boots are all well and good, but are basically redundant without the right pair of socks.
And by the ‘right’ pair of socks, we mean socks that keep you toasty warm for the duration.
So, what is the best material for keeping feet warm and cosy in winter? Can you stick with your standard socks (or double up with two pairs)? Or has the time come to step up to something decidedly toastier?
The Best Materials for Warm Feet This Winter
First things first, cotton tends to be most people’s preferred material for everyday socks throughout the year. When things turn cooler outdoors, however, 100% cotton socks are actually best avoided.
This is because cotton tends to retain moisture and can leave your feet feeling wet inside your boots/shoes. Cotton also has very limited insulating properties – not conducive with toasty toes!
Instead, we recommend opting for socks made from wool or cashmere – or blends containing a decent amount of either. As for which is best, both have their points of appeal. As does merino wool, which can also be a fantastic choice for winter socks.
Let’s dive into each of these three winter warmers in a little more detail.
Products made from wool will (or should, at least) state whether they are made of sheep’s wool or lambswool. As the name suggests, this indicates whether the material originates from adult sheep or younger lambs.
Sheep’s wool is by far the most widely used type of wool, available in abundance and comparatively affordable. It has excellent insulating properties and can also be quite durable, making it a popular choice for all types of winter garments. It is also water-resistant and a natural bacteria repellent.
The main difference is that while sheep’s wool is known for being somewhat itchy and scratchy, lambswool is much softer and more delicate.
Meanwhile, merino wool is harvested exclusively from merino sheep – the majority of which are raised in New Zealand and Australia. The wool produced by merino sheep is extremely soft, fine, and lightweight, with excellent moisture wicking properties and an elegant aesthetic.
It can also be a comparatively easy material to look after, retaining its shape better than some comparable materials.
Quite simply the gold standard where all fabrics are concerned, cashmere is exponentially softer than any sheep’s wool. Cashmere is harvested exclusively from the super-soft undercoats of Kashmir goats, collected when the animals begin moulting for the summer.
Harvesting cashmere is an incredibly laborious and time-consuming process – as is refining the resulting fibres into pure cashmere. It also doesn’t go far – one sheep can produce enough wool to make up to five sweaters, whereas the wool of two cashmere goats combined will barely cover one sweater.
Cashmere is incomparably soft, exceptionally comfortable and a fantastic insulator. However, it is not particularly durable and is much more susceptible to damage than its counterparts above.
Cashmere vs. Wool – No Clear Winner?
All materials have their pros and cons, so it’s a case of pairing your personal preferences with the right choice for you.
Weighing up the benefits of cashmere vs wool:
- Warmth: Cashmere can be up to 800% warmer than wool.
- Softness: Cashmere is also one of the softest materials on Earth.
- Durability: Wool is considerably more durable and hardwearing than cashmere.
- Care: It is also much easier to clean and care for woollen garments.
- Sophistication: The desirability of cashmere is beyond compare.
- Looks: Both materials can look equally attractive and elegant.
- Price: Most materials cost less than cashmere, which is never cheap.
As you can see, no clear winner between the two.
Can’t You Wear Two Pairs of Regular Socks?
You could, but simply doubling the thickness of the material won’t make any real difference to its basic properties. Particularly where conventional cotton socks are concerned, you’ll still be looking at the same minimal insulation and poor moisture wicking.
With higher-quality socks, the cosy toes you crave can be enjoyed without going OTT with the thickness.
Which Socks Should You Wear in Winter for Different Activities?
As with all garments, there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all winter sock for all purposes. There are all types of socks for all sorts of occasions. The right sock for you depends entirely on what you have in mind for the morning, afternoon, or evening in question.
Here are our personal recommendations for most things you might get up to while the weather is at its worst:
- Around the Home – If you’re simply relaxing at home, you can get away with something that isn’t particularly warm or heavily insulated. Non-slip slipper socks come highly recommended, as does the indulgence that is a pair of super-soft cashmere socks for the ultimate stay at home indulgence.
- For Business – Merino wool socks with cashmere incorporated offer the perfect blend of casualness and sophistication. Just the thing for business trips, meetings and for day-long comfort at the office, perfectly complementing the rest of your business attire.
- Boot Socks – Fabulously rustic, our merino wool and cashmere blended boot socks have wet and wonderful welly walking written all over them! All the durability and practicality of merino wool, with the warmth and comfort of the highest quality cashmere.
- Bed Socks – Toasty toes guaranteed till morning, however cold it gets outdoors, all courtesy of our beautiful ribbed bed socks. Treat yourself to a well-deserved overnight indulgence this winter.
- Winter Sports Skiing Socks – Hitting the slopes this winter? Be sure to set yourself up with the perfect pair of winter sports socks, engineered to deliver the perfect balance of cushioning and control, excellent thermoregulation and a comfortable anatomical fit.
- Walking (Trekking) Socks – Designed to provide an additional layer of insulation when you need it most, our top-selling TK2 and TK4 trekking socks offer all-day comfort and warmth. All without ever feeling bulky.
Call the Cosy Toes Pros…
At SocksFox, we know that shopping for the perfect pair of socks can seem like a minefield. Especially when it comes to keeping warm and cosy throughout winter, you want to know you’re making the right choice.
Whatever you have in mind this winter, we can set you up with the gear you need to make the most of it. For more information on any of the above or to discuss any of our products in more detail, call the cosy toes pros at SocksFox today.