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...
- Freet Waterproof Socks
- Injinji - Website | Amazon
- Be Lenka
- Wildling Shoes
- XO Skin
- Darn Tough - Website | Amazon
- Extra Wide Sock Company - Website | Amazon
- Smartwool - Website | Amazon
- WigWam - Website | Amazon
- Earth Runners Wool Tabi Socks
- Bedrock Sandals Performance Split Toe Socks
- Freet Two Toe Bamboo Socks
- Cool East Market
- Cheap Amazon Tabi Socks
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.
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.