Feet 1 Socks 0
September 30, 2007 3:55 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone make socks that last anymore?

I hate to 'waste' a question on this, but with the right answer, I'm sure my feet will thank me (and you!)

I seem to wear through the bottoms of socks quite quickly (atleast in my opinion). Socks dont seem to last me 4 to 6 months before holes start to show through the bottom. (at which point I dont like wearing them for obvious reasons) Which means every 6 months or so I'm spending close to $100 on socks, there must be an option that lasts longer for that money.

So what am I doing wrong ?

--I have 2 pairs (1 brown and 1 black) of fairly standard style low-top lace up leather Doc Martens that are what I wear on a daily basis. ( I try to take them off as often as I can , but admit that my feet do get hot and sweaty)

--I buy/replace shoe liners on a regular basis (for comfort), so I dont think its shoe-soles causing the fast wear

--i generally keep about 10 pairs of socks on hand at any given point in time. At the moment I'm buying SmartWool, but I've tried various brands.

Do I need to just buy a bigger amount of pairs of socks so my rotation is longer (and thus "wear" takes longer to occur ?) What I would really like to find would be a sock manufacturer that uses some high quality, high wear fabric on the bottom of the socks that lasts longer than 6 months. Am I asking/expecting to much ? or is it now common to not have socks last longer than a year ?

(I'm of course frustrated with the recent trend of clothes being made out of thinner and thinner fabric. 10 years or so ago i could buy denim jeans and socks and tshirts that felt "heavy" and would wear forever and felt great. If anyone can suggest a manufacturer or store that still stocks items like this, I'd be willing to pay for that)
posted by jmnugent to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (32 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Ahh, yes. Get more socks. I have at least three dozen pairs of socks (half black athletic of varying heights, half white athletic of varying heights), all accumulated over the past five years, and pretty much never experience this problem anymore. I generally end up only wearing each pair once a month. I used to have socks wear out much more frequently.
posted by limeonaire at 3:59 PM on September 30, 2007

I wear Gold Toe Cotton Fluffies exclusively. Do they still make 'em tough? Don't know--haven't bought any in years. (What does that tell you?)
posted by neuron at 4:00 PM on September 30, 2007

I have two pair of Thorlo brand socks that have held up for almost ten years. They're wearing thin, but no holes yet. I'm rough on footwear.

But those aren't exactly business or business casual. I've taken to buying two or three packs of Hanes black cotton socks every year. I don't have to worry about sorting them in the laundry, and they all fade at the same rate.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 4:03 PM on September 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

Calvin Klein actually makes pretty damn good socks. I've got about a dozen pairs (different colours) and they seem to last a lot longer than el-cheapo socks that I used to wear.

Huh - come to think of it, my old socks would go hole-y in less than half a year (heel, toe) but I've had a couple of pairs of CKs that I got nearly 2 years ago and they're un-holed and perfectly elastic with just a little scuffing on the heel.

Do you trim your toenails regularly or pumice/loofa your feet? Having softer feet might help.
posted by porpoise at 4:06 PM on September 30, 2007

Response by poster: porpoise:
Yes I do keep my toenails trimmed (its not the front-end of the socks thats blowing out, its the bottoms, under the pads of my feet). No, I dont pumice/loofa my feet, but it wouldnt hurt to try.

Thanks everyone else for the suggestions of GoldToe, Ck or Thorlo. Perhaps I just need to get out and test the sock market again, find what I like AND maintain a larger set to work with.
posted by jmnugent at 4:15 PM on September 30, 2007

I've heard that Darn Tough Socks are worth the money, but haven't tried them myself yet.
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:18 PM on September 30, 2007

I worked in an outdoor store for several years and developed a bit of a sock habit. Bridgedale socks are totally excellent, after 5 years of pretty heavy wear my 2 pair are just starting to show signs of wear. Smartwool, Wigwam and Thorlo all make totally acceptable socks as well. You might look at InGenius socks, which are a type of sock made by Wigwam that come in varying degrees of thickness. Steer clear of Patagonia socks, I trashed two pair in six months, they just didn't hold up.
posted by Phoenix42 at 4:18 PM on September 30, 2007

Although I doubt you can buy them in the States, I use Holeproof Explorer socks and have never had a hole in one. I think my oldest pair is four years old at this point, so that's a good sign. They're wool on the inside and nylon on the outside, so it may be useful to look for something similar.
posted by Paragon at 4:24 PM on September 30, 2007

I have the same problem with cheap socks, but better luck with the smartwools that aren't cutting it for you. Do you follow the washing instructions? I find that when a pair sneaks into the hot water wash or high heat cycle of the dryer, they get kind of brittle and wear much faster.
posted by daisyace at 4:26 PM on September 30, 2007

Thorlo. They last a long time, and they are great quality.
posted by 6:1 at 4:37 PM on September 30, 2007

A housewifely hint: Wash socks in cold water (unless you've got super-smelly feet) and dry on knit setting or perm-press. I swear, Mr. Smalltown Girl's unmentionables and socks last longer since I quit washing 'em in hot water with too much detergent and stopped drying 'em with his jeans on high heat. And toss a cup of vinegar into the wash for stinky stuff.
posted by Smalltown Girl at 4:45 PM on September 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

I've had really good luck with the above-mentioned Bridgedale socks. Very comfy and warm too. I love 'em. You can often find good deals on them at Sierra Trading Post, so that's where I get them.

Another option, at least in Canada, is Mark's Work Wearhouse wool/nylon blend work socks. I've never had them wear out, although they do tend to stretch out after a year or two. They're not the most comfortable socks in the world, but they are inexpensive and strong.
posted by Emanuel at 4:56 PM on September 30, 2007

Another vote for Thorlo.
posted by dobbs at 4:58 PM on September 30, 2007

Ditto on Paragon's recommendation of Holeproof Explorers.
posted by zamboni at 4:59 PM on September 30, 2007

Response by poster: daisyace/SmalltownGirl:
actually, no.. I dont do any special washing, I normally just throw all my clothes into Warm/Warm cycle and throw some detergent in and let it do its thing. Mostly I do that because all of my clothes are equally sweaty (I'm generally a pretty active/busy and sweaty guy).. so I assumed it was best to do it that way. (and I dry them all together, but not on "Hot".. usually just "medium" or "low" heat. )
posted by jmnugent at 4:59 PM on September 30, 2007

jmnugent: general laundry tip... cold wash is great for pretty much everything except whites. And stuff will last longer!
posted by bitter-girl.com at 5:28 PM on September 30, 2007

Seconding Darn Tough Socks. On my third year with some of mine, and I tend to wear out both most shoes and socks fairly quickly.
posted by vers at 5:31 PM on September 30, 2007

BassPro Shops offer a "Lifetime Sock", with a replacement guarantee. Let the marketspeak begin:

"Try a pair. If ever they wear out on you, just return them for a free replacement! To say we made them tough is an understatement. We used only top-grade materials, and we added double reinforcement to all stress zones to ensure a lifetime of faithful service." Ten bucks a pair.
posted by chocolate_butch at 6:46 PM on September 30, 2007

Nthing Thorlo and Smartwool, and the REI house brand ain't bad either.
posted by rtha at 6:47 PM on September 30, 2007

Socks & Dryers = Not a Good Match

Use a washing line! That lint filter in your dryer is full of your clothes. Or actually fibers that were previously your clothes. Socks are thick, hence heavy and rub more against the dryer's drum wall. Also the heat kills them, even on low heat settings.
posted by maremare at 7:29 PM on September 30, 2007

I used Dockers (belks/jc-penny) for the longest time working as a Nurse aid, so running around all the time and never wore a hole in any.
posted by uncballzer at 7:29 PM on September 30, 2007

Yeah, hang-dry your socks, especially if they have any wool in them.
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:30 PM on September 30, 2007

Cold wash, cool dry. It's all you need.

It could be your shoes. You might try shoe inserts if your shoes are wearing holes in your socks. But frankly, unless you are buying the really expensive socks, I don't think they make them like they used to. My husband inherited two grocery sacks of 20++ year old socks from my grandfather, and it takes the dogs at least 5 times as long to rip holes in them as it does the standard department store socks. Damn dogs.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:37 PM on September 30, 2007

I've had good luck with Goldtoe socks. But then I've also found SmartWool socks to last a long time, so what works for my feet may not work for yours.

10 years or so ago i could buy denim jeans and socks and tshirts that felt "heavy" and would wear forever and felt great. If anyone can suggest a manufacturer or store that still stocks items like this, I'd be willing to pay for that

Take a look at Carhartt clothes. They aren't cheap, but their work clothes last a very long time. I find that they fail slowly, rather than the exciting "uh oh, I've been walking around all day with my ass hanging out!" that happens with flimsier trousers.
posted by Forktine at 7:46 PM on September 30, 2007

Response by poster: maremare:
I'd love to hang stuff on a drying line, but I just moved into a 3rd floor apartment :| I think there is probably some lease item about not having clothes drying racks on my deck but for now I could put a rack up on my empty living room.. or I guess lay them out on my bed during the day night while I'm at work... thanks for the advice.
posted by jmnugent at 10:29 PM on September 30, 2007

An ex-girlfriend of mine brought me back 5 or 6 pairs of socks from Australia when she went home for holiday (Those "holeproof" ones don't look like 'em). This was five years ago and they are still nearly perfect. All or mostly wool, in black. Not summer weight, but still don't ever seem to be too hot. They were only like 5 or 6 dollars US per pair. The problem is that they have no labels or markings and I never asked here who made them. If anyone here can identify what they might be and you can get some, you should definately get at least a few pairs to toss in the mix. I still kick myself when I think about them...
posted by a_green_man at 11:38 PM on September 30, 2007

Thorlo's a good brand. but Doc Martens are rough on your feet, and on your socks, too. you have to accept that fact. try upgrading your shoes on something better, you'll spend some but you'll save lots on new socks, it's an investment

10 years or so ago i could buy denim jeans and socks and tshirts that felt "heavy" and would wear forever and felt great.

keyword: raw denim

it's still out there, get unsanforized raw denim jeans, they're untouched by the chemical processes used to thin the fabric and artificially wear it out. shrink-to-fit 501s cost about 35 bucks, less on eBay. they're even available via Amazon.

and if you really want to splurge the Japanese, god bless them, are making 17 oz raw denim jeans that are as thick as cardboard and will take forever, literally, to wear out. they're very expensive but they're basically bulletproof and will last you more than 10 pairs of Gap jeans
posted by matteo at 4:57 AM on October 1, 2007 [1 favorite]

I go to an outdoors store and buy good quality hiking socks for a minimum of $30.00 a pair. I walk a LOT and I spend most of my day standing, and these socks are lasting extremely well. They are not super thick, just of good quality.

In short, spend on more expensive socks designed for lots of walking and it should help.
posted by tomble at 5:23 AM on October 1, 2007

I have a few pairs of Ultimax hiking socks that have stood up to massive amounts of punishment in my docs. They seem to last for somewhat more than one year before eventually wearing through at the back of the heel. I never actually tried it because I lost track of my receipts, but they have a two year warranty, so you can send them back and get new ones if they wear out before then. Sounds like it could be worthwhile for you.
posted by benign at 5:52 AM on October 1, 2007

posted by yoyo_nyc at 6:41 AM on October 1, 2007

I would suggest getting slippers or taking your socks off in the house. My socks get more wear around the house then in my shoes... it's the direct contact with the floor that seems to wear mine out.
posted by GuyZero at 7:33 AM on October 1, 2007

Yes, get more socks!!! I have a couple dozen pairs of socks for just this reason.

I nth gold toe. I also like hanes.

Or, if you have a friend, have them knit you a few pairs!
posted by misanthropicsarah at 7:56 AM on October 1, 2007

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