Most of us were taught by our mothers, and grandmothers, to always wear white cotton socks.

White cotton socks were considered to be the gold standard for protecting our feet from moisture, infection and blisters. In fact, the gospel of white cotton socks continues to be espoused in many circles, even by some podiatrists!

The reality, however, is that any advantage white cotton socks used to have over other materials has long been surpassed. Scientific advancements in the past thirty years have led to the development of materials that are vastly superior to cotton.

When it comes to talking about footwear the discussion usually goes directly to shoes. However, our choice of socks, the garments that are in direct contact with our skin, can be just as important. 

4 Important Reasons Why NOT To Wear Cotton Socks

1. New materials keep your feet drier than cotton. The majority of the new “high tech” socks are made from some combination of polyester, nylon and lycra. The materials have been blended in such a way that they actually wick moisture from perspiration away from our skin to the outside of the sock.

Cotton does not have the same wicking properties and once wet holds moisture directly against your skin. The advantage of wicking moisture away from the skin is the decreased risk of blisters and skin infections.

2. New materials support your feet better. Cotton socks are produced roughly in the shape of a foot, but essentially are nothing more than a layer of material between the skin of your feet and your shoes.

Synthetic socks can be manufactured for specific functions, such as supporting the arch and improving circulation. This results in feet that, besides being drier, are less fatigued at the end of the day and/or after exercise.

3. Synthetic sock materials can be manufactured in any color and still have the same advantages. Cotton, and, therefore, cotton socks, is naturally white. Cotton socks, that are any other color that white have been dyed that color. These dyes can be toxic and further increase the risk of skin infections, such as athlete’s foot fungus. With synthetic, polyester-based sock materials we have many more fashion choices without giving up function.

4. No seams. The seams on synthetic-material socks are much thinner. We’ve all worn that cotton sock with the big wad of material on the seam that irritates the toes as soon as we put a shoe on.

The new high-tech socks are made from a much finer weave, so the seam problem essentially never happens. This is especially important for athletes, who are at risk for blisters, and for our patients with diabetes, who can actually develop a foot ulcer from a sock seam pressing the wrong spot.

It’s true you will pay a bit more to receive the benefits of higher quality socks. You aren’t likely to find the 3-pack for $4.99 at the swap met or Costco. But once you try a pair of the “high-tech” socks you probably won’t want to go back to cotton. Because, besides the four reasons listed above, the new socks flat-out feel better on your feet.

Our personal favorite socks are the Fitsok for runners and athletes, and Dr. Comfort socks for diabetics available at our podiatry store, Foot Traffik.

If you are suffering from any of the above problems such as; athlete's foot, blisters, excessive sweating of the feet or are experiencing foot pain schedule an appointment with an experienced foot doctor today. Call 562-433-0478.


Richard H. Graves, DPM
Connect with me
Podiatrist, Sports Medicine Specialist
Join The Conversation
Paola 01/25/2017 07:50 AM
I work with Cotton, And Believe me, Cotton IS absorvent for any part of your Body!! Cotton Breaths well on your skin. There is no comparation between Cotton and Polyester or Acrylic, From Natural to plastic cancerous Toxins that is just abosrving your body from wearing it! Thank you
Post A Reply
Post A Comment