Summer is coming and with it comes the temptation to skip the socks and just slip on the boat shoes, sneakers, or sandals. But wearing socks is important for foot health.

Consider these five facts before ditching your socks.

Socks absorb moisture.

And your feet create a lot of moisture. With over 250,000 sweat glands, your feet can create over two cups (500 ML) of sweat each day. That’s a lot of bacteria-filled sogginess in a warm, dark environment. It’s perfect for the growth of bacteria and fungus, which can lead to serious and hard-to-treat infections, such as athlete’s foot or Onychomycosis.

Socks help reduce foot odor.

Sweat stinks, especially when it’s laced tightly in a shoe all day. Since socks help absorb some of the sweat, they keep it away from the inside of your shoe.

Wearing clean socks every day will help cut down on foot odor and keep your shoes from absorbing smelly sweat.

Socks minimize friction.

Each time you walk, your foot moves in your shoe. Socks help reduce friction. Without them, the hard surfaces of your shoe will rub against your skin causing blisters.

Add some salty sweat and you have a recipe for infection. This can be especially dangerous for people who have diabetes or high blood sugar levels. 

Socks supply cushioning and support.

Socks can help the skin on your feet stay soft and supple. Friction, weight, and movement can cause calluses on the bottom of your feet.

Wearing socks, especially socks with extra padding to cushion the balls of your feet and your heels, supplies another layer of protection. Even the best-fitting shoe has air pockets. Socks can help fill the gap between your foot and your shoe.

Socks can help regulate body temperature and improve your circulation.

Wear socks to keep your feet warm in winter and cool in summer. Some people report wearing socks to bed even helps them sleep better. Either way, keeping your feet at a healthy temperature improves the body’s overall circulation.

Sometimes, special socks called compression socks help circulation in the feet and the lower legs, especially if a person sits or stands for hours at a time. Compression socks help the valves in the veins of the lower legs close and open, moving blood from the feet back up to the heart. This prevents swelling in the legs and feet.

How do you choose the best sock?

The type of socks you choose will depend on your activity, your health, and the season. Socks, like shoes, come in a variety of styles.

There are as many types of socks as there are activities. You can find specialty socks for hiking, running, walking, and working. Many of these styles are available in lightweight fabrics for summer and heavier weaves for winter.

There are even specialty socks for medical issues. If you suffer from venous insufficiency or valve issues in your legs, choose from one of the many styles of compression socks. If you experience foot pain from plantar fasciitis or bunions, you can find socks with built-in arch supports or bunion cushions. Check out American Podiatric Medical Association-approved socks for more styles.

What is the best material for socks?

Moisture-wicking socks help reduce odor and keep the feet dry. The best sock material is often a blend of several fabrics, including nylon, polyester, spandex, cotton, and wool.

Avoid wearing 100% cotton socks. They will absorb moisture but will not wick it away from your skin, leaving you with wet feet and smelly shoes.

If you take care of your feet, they will keep you in motion for your lifetime.

If you experience foot pain, reach out to Bone & Joint’s foot and ankle specialists. Dr. Halverson, Dr. Staysniak, and Dr. Strobel can help you treat your feet right. Call 800-445-6442 or request an appointment online.