These Sock Brands Will Take your Feet to Another Level
Socks can make or break your day. For athletes, they can seriously impact performance. Good socks provide additional cushioning and keep your feet dry. They prevent blisters and reduce foot odor. Sock designers put cushioning, compression, and ventilation on various parts of the sock to support the foot in a variety of activities. A thick wool winter sock for snowshoeing will have different characteristics than a lightweight running sock for summertime sprints. We explore five sock brands that aren’t as widely distributed as some of the larger companies. But together they offer some of the most functional, innovative socks on the market. Check them out and let us know what you think. These socks bring much needed comfort to our often overlooked feet.
United By Blue - Uniquely American
United By Blue’s Ultimate American Sock came to life after a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign. The Philadelphia-based company wanted to reinvent the merino wool sock. Instead of sheep’s or alpaca wool, the Ultimate American Sock is made from bison wool. The company claims that bison wool provides more warmth and better moisture wicking than merino wool. The socks are itch free, and all the fiber for the tarn is harvested and processed in the United States. These socks are ideal for hiking and cool-weather use. What is more American than bison down?
In addition to their incredible quality, a pair of Ultimate American Socks are worth buying for another reason. United By Blue is a sock brand with a social mission. For every item purchased from the company, they ensure that a pound of plastic is cleaned up from the ocean. They use a portion of proceeds to fund beach cleanups across the United States. This makes their product more than just a pair of socks. They become a meaningful piece in your consciously-purchased wardrobe.
Darn Tough - Guaranteed for Life
Another great sock brand for active and outdoor types is Darn Tough. Made in Vermont, these sturdy socks are ideal for skiers and hikers. Everyone that tends to wear holes in their socks should invest in a pair from Darn Tough. Their socks are unconditionally guaranteed for life.
Darn Tough's high-density knitting ensures that the merino wool won’t break down. The wool is interwoven with elastic material and a cooling, wicking fiber. The socks have a secure fit and provide better sweat and wetness protection than wool alone.
Little River Sock Mill - Beautiful, American, Organic, Cotton
Little River Sock Mill socks are a great choice for the conscious consumer. Unlike Ultimate American and Darn Tough, Little River Socks are made for everyday wear. These high-quality socks are great for home, work, and lightly active days. Each pair is made in the USA from 100% organic cotton. If you usually wear wool, try Little River to see how cotton feels on your feet. Many buyers will be motivated by the fact that Little River product is American-made and organic. But the most compelling feature of Little River Socks is the visual designs, which includes colorful stripes and patterns. The women's collection is available now, and the men's collection will go on sale in fall of 2016.
Cotton can be a very dirty crop. Farmed conventionally, it requires huge amounts of pesticides. These pesticides pollute soil and waterways, threatening wildlife and public health. Even after the cotton is processed into fabric, traces of pesticide are still present in the cloth. Wearing non-organic cotton clothing has the potential to expose people to possible carcinogens. These are problems that Little River Sock Mill is actively addressing. Instead of contributing to the business of dirty cotton, they use only USDA-certified organic cotton, which is grown without the use of synthetic pesticides. Little River Sock Mill socks are a better option for your feet and for the planet.
Attention runners: skip name-brand socks and try Swiftwick. Distance runners already consider Swiftwick socks a favorite. This sock brand is made to last—run after run, wash after wash. The sock fabric is an engineered combination of high-tech fibers that wick moisture and provide warmth when needed. The socks are breathable, a great choice for warm weather. These properties make Swiftwick the best option for people who run outdoors year-round. No need to switch socks with the seasons. Swiftwicks socks do the trick in rain, snow, or shine.
Swiftwicks are compression socks, popular among athletes today. Rowers, cyclists, and other athletes swear by them. Their line also features socks of different shapes and cushion levels. One of the great things about the Swiftwick website is the way they show each sock's characteristics on a bar graph, making it easy to figure out the best pair for your needs. Their customer service also stands out—order a pair, and if they don’t satisfy, Swiftwick is happy to send another, even from a competitor brand. A strong statement of their commitment to customer satisfaction. They offer free shipping for all orders over $35.
Teko socks are great for people with foot pain. The socks are known for their superior padding—especially in their “marathon super-cushion” designs. Padding is great shock absorption for runners with bad knees, high arches, or shin splints. Teko socks paired with a proper insole protects joints and eases pain. These qualities make Teko socks great for people who run on hard surfaces. Like Tread Labs, Teko believes in fit. They offer:
- 4 different yarns
- 6 different fits
- 9 different sizes
- 5 different levels of cushioning
- 7 different heights
They are a comfortable option for overweight or aging people who are concerned about shock absorption due to falling arches. Tekos are also known for keeping feet blister-free.
Teko takes pride in what they call “eco performance.” All the materials used to make their socks, packaging, and marketing materials is responsibly sourced. Unlike the other brands listed here, Tekos are made in Italy and sold primarily in Great Britain. Their quality is known worldwide.
These Great Sock Brands Make Happy Feet
Try some of these socks and let us know how they work for you. If you know of another sock brand that deserves to be on this list, chime in and spread the word.