By Dr. Larry Huppin
People often spend plenty of time looking for the perfect shoe. But few take the time to find the perfect sock. That’s too bad, because if you don’t pair the proper sock with your shoe, you’ll increase your risk of blisters, ball of foot pain, foot fungus, odor, discomfort and toenail problems.
When shopping for socks, keep the following in mind:
Cotton is a problem.
Twenty years ago cotton was said to be the best sock material, but now we know better. Cotton fibers cause friction against the foot and can lead to blisters. Cotton holds moisture next to your foot, often leading to fungal and bacterial infections. Cotton provides almost no cushioning, doesn’t hold up well to washing, easily loses its shape, and can become abrasive.
Any sock made of synthetic fibers will keep your feet cooler and drier than cotton. Studies have shown these fibers are better at wicking, cooling, and drying. Synthetic fibers include Acrylic, CoolMax and Teflon. Also, although acrylic socks initially cost more than cotton, they last much longer and are a better value over time.
Studies show that thicker socks with padding under the heel and the ball of the foot are most effective at reducing heel pain, ball of foot pain and preventing blistering. So choose socks with good padding. Just be aware that extra padding can take up room in your shoes, so wear your new socks when you are trying on shoes.
Exercise and socks
Good socks are essential equipment in any exercise program. Not only do protective socks prevent many problems such as blisters and fungus, they will help keep your feet comfortable by ensuring that they stay dry and well cushioned. Quality exercise socks will also help regulate foot temperature.
A popular choice is the Juzo Silver Sole sock.
These socks have tremendous advantages over regular socks, including:
X-STATIC® is the most powerful antimicrobial and odor elimination system available. These socks naturally and safely eliminate common bacteria, fungi, and odors with X-STATIC®, the most powerful antimicrobial and odor elimination system available.
X-STATIC® silver fibers efficiently transfer heat, keeping you cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
Its “Pillowed Sole” provides added cushion to reduce blistering, callus buildup, and fatigue. It offers mild compression in the foot and ankle (12 – 16 mm Hg compression).
Dr. Huppin is a nationally recognized lecturer and teacher on orthotic therapy and biomechanics. Along with his Seattle private practice — Foot and Ankle Center of Washington — in which he specializes in orthotic therapy and biomechanics, he is the Medical Director for ProLab Orthotics — a Bay Area orthotic lab that provides education on orthotic therapy to doctors and medical students throughout the United States and Canada. (206) 344-3808.