What's causing me to get holes in my socks so quickly?
October 22, 2011 10:18 AM   Subscribe

What's causing me to get holes in my socks so quickly?

I always get holes in my socks right away and don't know why. One thing I've noticed though is that the first hole seems to always appear in the same spot. But, eventually, more holes tend to show up elsewhere, but they take quite a few more months to appear.

I've had my current socks -- cotton socks -- for less than one month and there's already a hole in one of them. Another has a very thin spot on it; it'll probably have a hole in it within a week or two. I used to think that cotton socks were the problem so I got a few pairs of (cheapish) wool socks a few months ago but, with time, the same thing happened to them and I threw them out. I've been thinking of getting a few pairs of thick SmartWool socks to see if it'll remedy the problem but I'm nervous that the same thing will happen to them. I'm nervous because SmartWool socks aren't exactly cheap. If the same thing happens to them right away that's $100+ down the drain as I tend to throw socks out shortly after holes appear in them.

Any ideas as to why this is happening? I walk on carpet a lot; could this be causing my socks to wear out quickly? I have quite flat feet; could this be causing my socks to wear out quickly?

Thanks. I hope you can help me figure this problem out.
posted by GlassHeart to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (19 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Any other surfaces besides carpet? Concrete basements put holes in socks.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:23 AM on October 22, 2011

is there a chance that the fabric on the insole of your shoes have worn out, and there is foam rubber touching your foot there?
posted by aloiv2 at 10:25 AM on October 22, 2011

A hole like that on the ball of your foot suggests a repetitive stress wear. Standing and pivoting on a toe to get in and out of a chair, get into your car, move between the stove and the sink in the kitchen...that sort of thing. Pay attention to the things that you do during the day and the way that you move when you do them, and I bet you find that you've got a lot of pivots in your daily routine.

To combat that, try taking more purposeful steps with your whole foot, instead of moving around on your toes.
posted by phunniemee at 10:26 AM on October 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Walking in socks, with no shoes on, wears holes in them.
Get slippers for in-house use.
posted by the Real Dan at 10:29 AM on October 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

It could just be the shape of your foot / arches. I have a predilection for white tennis shoes, and certain brands wil get a weird hole on the ball of my foot within weeks because of the way I walk somehow. Even I haven't quite figured that out yet.

Though natural fibres are indeed the best, you might want to try a synthetic like a cotton-poly blend -- it might give you extra strength.

Do you ever walk on wood? My old apartment's floors were old wood with tiny nails and splinters that quickly put holes in all my socks. Around some of the more visible nails you could see different colors of thread still wrapped around from all the different pairs of socks they had ruined. I always thought that was kind of funny.
posted by custard heart at 10:31 AM on October 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

For me, 3 reasons, in decreasing importance:
Rough skin
Crappy socks
Walking on rough floors
posted by Namlit at 10:43 AM on October 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

I bet you shuffle your feet. Not old-person-can't-lift-their-feet shuffle, but at either the end or beginning of your stride (usually at the end of the stride) your feet are sliding a little along the carpet, thus abrading the socks.

Try going barefoot, wearing slippers, or getting those socks w/leather soles. Or take more purposeful strides as if you were walking outside along the sidewalk. The worst shuffling is when you take short, lazy steps.

(I may have a small pet peeve about people who shuffle their feet)
posted by jpeacock at 10:56 AM on October 22, 2011

This happens with all my socks. As mentioned above it's the price of using them as slippers.

Smartwool is actually worse than others. Thick, synthetic hikers are the only ones that really last with this kind use, because the fibers don't break as easily from little snags. But one really good snag that does will send them on their way.

Get slippers or budget for frequent sock purchases.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:02 AM on October 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'd second the suggestion that you check the inside of your shoes to see if they're worn there-- shoe deterioration often leads to sock deterioration.

But I also wanted to point out that you could buy ONE pair of Smartwool socks, as an experiment, and buy more only if your one pair lasts you a while. Then you're only out the $10-20. (I've quickly worn holes in all of my socks, including my expensive Thorlos-- so far Smartwool is holding up the best by far.)
posted by willbaude at 11:10 AM on October 22, 2011

Do you have cats?

Cats sometimes chew on clothing... Especially the stinky clothing.
posted by ennui.bz at 11:12 AM on October 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

how many pairs of socks do you own, and how often do you wear each pair?
posted by lia at 11:32 AM on October 22, 2011

Do you have laminate flooring? Some laminate floors have an aluminum oxide finish that is reportedly very hard on socks.
posted by HotToddy at 12:47 PM on October 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

My husband wears out socks in exactly that spot - at least the ones he wears around the (carpeted) house. He's flat-footed too, but I don't know if that's the cause. It did lead me to stop knitting him socks, though.
posted by polymath at 1:47 PM on October 22, 2011

Common advice among sock knitters (who most definitely want their socks to have the longest life possible): Don't walk on carpet in your socks.

Best-case scenario is that your carpet is wool, in which case you're walking around in wool on wool and your socks and carpet have comparable levels of abrasiveness and durability, and they're each wearing each other away. Result: your socks wear through much faster and more apparently than your carpet does.

Worst-case scenario is that your carpet is nylon, in which case it's much more abrasive than wool and the carpet is wearing the socks away while being mostly unaffected. Results: your socks wear through and looks no worse than it did before.

I don't have any data on cotton's durability compared to wool, but based on experience my sense is that wool is tougher and more durable. So if you're wearing cotton socks on carpet, take the two above scenarios and accelerate them.
posted by Lexica at 1:55 PM on October 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Make that, Result: your socks wear through and THE CARPET looks no worse than it did before.


posted by Lexica at 1:56 PM on October 22, 2011

Happens to mine, too. Caused by walking around carpeted house in them. My wife darns them. Which is to say, she goes "darn" and chucks them in the bin.
posted by snarfois at 3:07 PM on October 22, 2011

Shoes that are too big. I would also vote for foot dragging.
posted by gjc at 9:43 PM on October 22, 2011

Try those socks that have little bubbles on them for walking-- like, they're slipper-socks, but you can probably wear them in shoes if you really want. I'm not sure if that'll help, but the bubbles may help keep your feet a few millimeters off the floor in strategic areas and help traction.
posted by reenka at 10:16 PM on October 22, 2011

Very late to this question, but I get holes in exactly the same place in my socks! A massage therapist pointed out to me that I have enormous callouses on my feet there, which she attributed to a "deformity" that causes me to walk on that part of my foot rather than the big toe.

I haven't done anything about it, because I don't have any foot problems except for massage therapists telling me I have deformed feet, but the explanation made some sense to me. And BTW, I wore through my Christmas SmartWools in two months, but they do have a guarantee, so I got a free replacement pair.
posted by teditrix at 5:16 PM on June 30, 2012

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