Socks For Barefoot Shoes: Regular vs. Toe Socks vs. Tabis

December 10, 2021
Inside this article:

I was convinced by barefoot shoes a long time ago, but it took me years to realise that the socks I was wearing had become the limiting factor in my barefoot journey.

It turns out that socks can make just as much of a difference as shoes in allowing your toes to be as natural and straight as they should be. There are a lot of barefoot sock options out there depending on your style, material and budget so let's dive in...

Sock Style

Regular Socks

Toe-Socks

Tabi Socks

Shoe/Sock Hybrids

Materials

What you socks are made of matter. Performance textiles help to absorption and dispersion of perspiration. Here are some of the most common options:

Merino wool: Merino wool fibres, which are itch-free and smooth, have largely taken the place of scratchy ragg-wool socks that previous generations preferred. Their most significant benefit is that they are thermostatic (temperature-regulating), so your feet will stay comfortable in a wide range of temperatures. Wool can absorb up

  • Pros: Comfortable in cool or warm conditions, absorbs and wicks moisture, cushions, doesn't itch like ragg wool.
  • Cons: Dries a bit slower than synthetics, more expensive.

Synthetics: For enhanced comfort and fit, various materials are frequently combined or utilized in specific regions of the sock. Nylon and Lycra® spandex enhance the shape retention, tightness, and arch support of socks. CoolMax® polyester, Wickspun™ acrylic, and Isolfil® polypropylene are common fibres that wick

  • Pros: Durable, dries fast, wicks moisture, cushions.
  • Cons: Less comfortable in hot conditions, insulation reduced when wet.

Ingeo™: The biomaterial is an environmentally friendly and biodegradable PLA plastic that may be printed on the same equipment as polyester.

  • Pros: Made from a renewable resource, recyclable, wicks moisture, controls odours.
  • Cons: Less durable than other fabrics; can only be commercially composted.

Silk: This natural insulator is used in some liner socks. It wicks moisture and offers a smooth texture against the skin.

  • Pros: Lightweight, wicks moisture, comfortable against the skin.
  • Cons: Less durable than other fabrics.

Cotton: Cotton is not suggested for sports activities. Cotton socks have the disadvantage of absorbing perspiration and soaking up moisture quickly, resulting in blisters.

  • Pros: Comfortable for non-active uses, inexpensive.
  • Cons: Not recommended for activewear.

Tips, Tricks & Hacks

  • There are different weights/thicknesses of socks, just like shoes. The thinner ones give you more sensory input, the thicker ones give you less.
  • If socks are made from a stretchy fabric, size up for extra space.
  • After each use, wash and stretch the socks out to minimize constriction. The cloth will be stretched, lessening the chance of it being restrictive around the toes. Purchasing low-cost socks, wetting them and placing them over a large jar overnight is a good technique.
  • Buy men's sizes for more volume/space.
  • Avoid socks with compression features.
  • Some detergents use enzymes that can destroy wool socks. Use a detergent that is made for wool.

Conclusion

There are lots of brands out there, some are barefoot specific while others are more mainstream. Even the best barefoot/minimalist shoes won't feel that great if you have constrictive socks.