Everyone has a sock drawer! Most of us don’t give any thought to socks – for the most part. We just reach in and grab whatever is in our hand, and put those socks on for the day. As I’ve stated in the past, when it comes to footwear, I’m very particular about the kinds of shoes and boots I wear. I mainly wear boots. Matter of fact, the only pair of shoes I own came from the Salvation Army. Bought those used shoes to go to out oldest daughter’s college graduation – I wore a suit. I still have those dress shoes, and haven’t worn them since.
Today, it seems like the fashion for some men, is wearing shoes without any socks at all – I don’t even try to figure this stuff out. Socks are meant to protect your feet from getting blisters and hot spots from the friction of wear shoes and boots. Secondly, socks absorb the moisture from your feet sweating. Experts say that, we lose about a pint or more of sweat through our feet, daily. If you’re not wearing socks with your shoes, then your shoes pick up that moisture and in short order, your shoes will stink – plain and simple.
For the longest time, women wore either silk or Nylon stockings or pantyhose, and they liked the look of their legs with those stockings. The trend now, are for women to not wear any long stockings with their dresses or skirts. I personally don’t like the look.
I’m going to cover several different types of socks in this article, and maybe shed some light on why there are so many different types of materials used in socks. First up are men’s dress socks, and they are usually a combination of Nylon and cotton – and they are very thin, to say the least. Now, while these socks might work when you are dress-up and going to the office or to church, they don’t really provide your feet with much protection from the elements. And, odds are, those socks then tend to slip down below your ankle. When I was in my teen years, I wore similar socks. However I opted for the socks that went over the calf, so they didn’t slide down to my ankle. There are also dress socks made out of wool – at least partially made out of wool.
Next up are cotton athletic socks – they usually come in white, but can be found in black, gray, and some other colors. These socks are meant to be worn during sporting activities or when wearing “tennis” shoes or hiking shoes. They are meant to absorb a lot of sweat from your feet – they do a good job of this. More often than not, I can be caught wearing athletic socks with my hikers. I wear hikers more than anything else on my feet. These types of socks do what they were designed to do – absorb the sweat from your feet and afford protection from blisters.
We have some “hiking” socks, and they are made out of extra thick or cushioned 100% cotton. They do a great job of protecting your feet. However, these types of socks are very thick, and you may not be able to comfortably wear them with some of your footwear. There are some wool/cotton combo socks, that a lot of people wear when hiking, and these are really great for the strenuous activities you may encounter out on the hiking trail. Most wool socks are usually 100% wool – there is no stretch in them, and they would be uncomfortable to wear most of the time. Plus a lot of folks get itchy when wearing anything many out of mostly wool.
When I was in the military, I learned about “wool” socks – and I really liked them. Back in the day, those socks were made out of 70% wool and 30% cotton – that gave those socks some stretch or give – this is important when putting socks on…they have to have some “give” to them in order to put them on over your feel and allows those socks to stay up.
In my own bug-out bag, I have several pairs of the old-style military OD green socks, and I love them to death. No cotton socks for me, if I have to bug out.
Today’s OD green military socks come not with a wool combo, but with wool, and a synthetic “space” material. I’m sure you’ve all seen television commercials for “space socks” or “space gloves” that promise to keep your hands and feet much warmer in the winter months. Well, believe it or not, this “space age” material actually does exactly as advertised. We get our OD green military socks by mailorder from Sportsman’s Guide. (Item # WX2-699924.) My wife uses gloves and socks made out of this same material and swears by them. She loves it.
This material usually has a white/silver color to it, and some “sparklies” woven into it. This material helps reflect the heat back towards your body, instead of letting it escape like other materials do.
I’ve been testing these new military OD green socks for quite some time now – and it is the dead of winter in Oregon. They do help to keep my feet nice and warm. When I’m in the house, I take my footwear off and keep the socks on, and they haven’t caused my feet to get overly warm, as you might expect would happen.
I really do test everything I write about – no matter what it is. If its just a flashlight, to survival foods, and firearms – I test it all. Quite often, my testing is long-term, and I spend way too much time doing the testing, and this cuts into my pay – but I don’t just see my writing as a job, it is also a ministry of sorts. I try to give my honest opinion on things, and I hope I get it right most of the time.
Any more, over the past dozen years or longer, everything I purchase, is with “survival” in mind. I try to figure out whatever it is I’m purchasing will last during a long-term survival situation. Plus, it has to be a good deal as well. I’m not rich, we live paycheck to paycheck – some months we fall short and have to juggle our finances to make ends meet. So, I look at cost-effectiveness as well as long-term use of whatever it is I’m buying.
As I stated earlier, I wear a lot of “athletic” socks – 100% cotton – quite often. However, as many readers will probably attest, these socks just don’t hold up as long as you’d like. The one saving grace is that they are cheap – you can usually find a pack or a dozen pair for under ten bucks, but I don’t have any of these socks in my bug out bag.
I believe I have exactly two pair of dress socks, to go with my used dress shoes and when I wear a suit. These socks run about a couple two or three bucks per pair – fair enough.
Some of the heavier (bulkier) cotton socks are much more expensive and I think I have several pair of these – they are about six bucks per pair – but I rarely wear these, except with my sub-zero weather boots – there is enough room in these boots for the thicker socks.
The old-style OD green can also be had in black – socks were about three bucks per pair – really a good deal, but you have to shop around to find these any longer.
The new style OD green military socks with the synthetic “space age” material woven into them can be found for about four bucks per pair, if you shop around. These are a great deal, for some really nice fitting socks, that will last you a long, long time – and will keep your feet warm in the winter months.
There is an old saying: “cotton kills”. And it will, it can…when outdoors, you don’t want to wear too much clothing made out of just cotton – it gets wet and stays wet for a long time, and that will bring your body temperature down – not a good thing in cold weather. Hypothermia kills a lot of people each year. So, before the temperature drops, ditch those cotton socks, and go with wool or a wool/synthetic blend.
As I’ve said many times in the past, I’m not an expert on anything, just a very serious student in a lot of things, and I do my best to be fair and accurate in my testing of products as I can be. I don’t want to report any false information in my articles. Just remember, I’m giving you my honest opinion on things that I have personally tested.
So, next time you are out shopping for socks, give some serious thought to what purpose you will be using those socks for, and make your purchase accordingly. It really makes a huge difference in how you might survive a serious situation, and you don’t want your footwear (shoes or socks) to fail you. And stock up on plenty of socks. You don’t want to run out of socks in a long-term collapse situation.