Need new socks. lots of them.
March 3, 2011 8:56 AM   Subscribe

Socks: Everyday Mens Socks: Whats the best fabric for an 'everyday' sock? Whats your favourite sock? UK preferably.

I like to buy my songs in bulk, all exactly the same and my current stock are dwindling and can't easily be replaced in the UK. They are also a "Wool Blend" which have always left me feet slightly sweaty, but I suppose i got used to it as I've been wearing them for years. But now its time for a change damnit! (and the old ones are getting rather holey, thin and low on numbers...)

I was thinking 100% wool but then it seems washing them would be a problem. I want something that doesn't need special treatment.

Also not too expensive as i was intending to buy possibly 15-20 pairs.
posted by mary8nne to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (15 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I just replaced all of my old, shoddy socks with SmartWool ones from Sierra Trading Post. You should, too, and here is why:

- There are almost ALWAYS highly discounted on Sierra's site - which is good, because even on sale, they are at least $5 a pop. You should still buy them, because...

- They last forever.

- Your feet will stay cool and non-smelly.

- They are stylish!

- Being able to reach into the dryer and pull out one of 100 identical, perfect socks - rather than scrounging around in a pile of mismatched, crappy socks with holes and wear - is absolutely delightful.
posted by julthumbscrew at 9:07 AM on March 3, 2011

(Oh, and I've been running the SmartWool ones through the same wash cycle as everything else, and they are still perfect.)
posted by julthumbscrew at 9:08 AM on March 3, 2011

I'm going to have to be very, very boring and say that Marks and Spencers "nearest ones to the checkout I'm in a hurry and don't care as long as they're black" have always served me well - I don't know that their new 'Freshfeet' stuff makes a difference, but they're certainly comfy and wear well. Tenner for seven.
posted by Coobeastie at 9:09 AM on March 3, 2011

I am wearing very nice English socks from Sierra Trading Post - Pantherella mid-calves, which are on sale today. I may buy a few more pairs, in fact. They are not wooly, but they are very nicely made and comfortable; I really got them for summer, but they were adequate on the walk to work today.
posted by Frowner at 9:17 AM on March 3, 2011

2nding Smartwool or an equivalent
posted by ghharr at 9:28 AM on March 3, 2011

Yeah, Smartwool has changed me from a guy who hates socks to a guy who never thinks about them. That's pretty good.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 9:35 AM on March 3, 2011

For myself, I just discovered soccer socks, and it was a revelation to me. I like to wear really tall boots, and I was incapable of finding knee-high men's socks anywhere aside from the beautiful-but-expensive Sock Dreams. And those socks didn't last--maybe they were too small, but they got holes in the toes with a quickness.

At any rate, on Tuesday I went to my local soccer supply store and bought six pair and it was one of the best things I've done in 2011. I realize that this is a specific solution for a specific problem that you probably didn't have, but there it is. Maybe I just wanted to brag about my new socks?
posted by Squid Voltaire at 9:45 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Stay away from synthetics like rayon. Your feet will steeeenk! Wool is my favorite all-purpose material.
posted by xedrik at 11:07 AM on March 3, 2011

Piling onto the Smartwool lovers. I'm a shoe person and former shoe store employee, but I've always treated socks like underwear, buying my chosen pairs in bulk (we're talking those ten-packs of Hanes in the men's section at Target) so as to avoid worrying about Single Sock Syndrome. I had a few pairs of Smartwool, but I worried that my often-too-warm feet would be uncomfortable.

Suddenly I find myself wearing nothing BUT Smartwool, thanks to several good Christmases. As a knitter, I'm familiar with wool's best properties: it's sturdy, insulating and wicking (draws moisture away from the skin/lets moisture bead up on top of it). They're nice and cushy, and they do really last quite a long time for what they are. Today I'm wearing Smartwools with Mary Jane clogs in 20-some-degree Wisconsin weather, which I would never do with any other sock.

Plus they're super stylish, for men or women. (Hey ladies: they make tights AND thigh-highs!) My fiance is a fan of their argyles.

And, um, I wear them for multiple days, which probably makes me super gross, but both my feet and the socks don't seem to be any worse for it :P So there.

Also: the current Smartwools seem just fine, but I am told that Goodhew was started when the original Smartwool people moved on. So if you're looking for similar quality socks in a style/color that Smartwool doesn't offer, try Goodhew. Sierra Trading Post sells Goodhew as well.
posted by Madamina at 11:29 AM on March 3, 2011

Thanks to Madamina for breaking that barrier so I didn't have to... you CAN wear Smartwools multiple times and they will NOT get stinky, which is rather amazing. I would've never, ever considered rewearing cotton socks.
posted by julthumbscrew at 11:38 AM on March 3, 2011

100% merino wool. Looks better and breathes better than any wool/nylon blend, and perfectly machine washable. The only disadvantage compared to a smart wool type fabric is that they won't be as fast-drying. This won't really matter if you're tumble drying, but unlike smart wool, you won't be able to wash a pair in the sink at night and have them dry and ready to wear the next morning.
posted by patnasty at 12:32 PM on March 3, 2011

Smartwool. I'm never wearing anything else. (except the ones my mom makes me)
posted by TheCoug at 3:07 PM on March 3, 2011

I have spent all winter wearing the hell out of these socks:

and intend to bulk-buy some not-so-warm equivalents for the rest of the year. In other words: Smartwool or other Merino wool FTW.
posted by primer_dimer at 3:21 AM on March 4, 2011

Response by poster: So lots and lots of folk keen on this Smartwool stuff. which i've never heard of. Is ti kinda treated Wool ? like those non-iron cotton shirts.

I was hoping to find somewhere I can buy them in person in London. will have a look around.

Patnasty: are 100% Merrino wool socks machine washable? - I don't use a dryer. I don't have a dryer. also air dry my clothes so thats not a problem. I just thougth that most normal wool socks might need a 'wool wash' which is a bit of a hassle.
posted by mary8nne at 3:33 AM on March 4, 2011

The term you're looking for, at least with wool yarn, is "superwash." It's been treated so the garments won't shrink/felt when you wash them.

Technically, the felting process requires both heat and agitation, so what you can do with things you're unsure of is a) wash in cold water and b) don't agitate too much. But as far as I know, my personal laundry person* just throws my Smartwools in with my t-shirts.

If you think you might be interested in handknit socks made by yourself or someone else, or you'd just like to understand the fibers better: go to a Local Yarn Store (LYS -- not Michael's or Hobby Lobby, though they'll have some similar products) and check out the typically-large sock yarn section. Nearly all of those yarns will be either 100% merino or something like 75% wool/25% nylon for strength. You can also buy a sort of nylon thread to knit along with the wool in places like the toe and heel.

The cool thing about that is that you can actually create socks with a replaceable heel section. I'm not talking about darning; I'm talking about easily ripping out a heel and just knitting another one right back in. Might sound complicated, but socks in general are very easy to make, and they're pretty quick, fun projects. Some people consider themselves addicted :)

*He prefers the term "folding bear," for reasons that baffle and endear me.
posted by Madamina at 7:43 AM on March 4, 2011

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