Acrylic is a synthetic fiber commonly blended with wool due to its similar feel and bulk. Acrylic has good heat retention properties and is therefore frequently used in winter socks. Unlike wool, acrylic does not absorb high amounts of moisture, but rather works to wick it away. Acrylic is an economical socks fiber for applications relating to cold weather and performance activities.
Cotton is a natural plant fiber and the most commonly used fiber in clothing. A large part of its popularity is owed to its soft feel, accessibility, and natural appearance. Due to its high moisture absorption capability, cotton socks are less desirable for prolonged physical activity where excessive moisture can lead to blisters.
Linen is a textile made from the fibers of the flax plant, Linum usitatissimum. Linen is labor-intensive to manufacture, but when it is made into garments, it is valued for its exceptional coolness and freshness in hot weather.
It is very commonly utilized to make stretch socks in combination with other yarns. Its excellent stretch and shape recovery. In addition, Nylon fibers are strong, soft to the touch, and light weight. This makes nylon ideal for socks requiring both comfort and durability.
Polyester is a synthetic fiber commonly used for its high strength and hydrophobic properties. Like polypropylene, polyester is used in socks geared towards prolonged physical activities. A popular engineered polyester known as COOLMAX® is used in hiking and sports socks for its ability to wick moisture away from the skin. Polyester is commonly blended with natural fibers to enhance its feel.
Polypropylene is a synthetic fiber used for its very unique properties. Polypropylene fibers are extremely light weight with a density of around 60% of that of other commonly used socks fibers. Also, the fibers are extremely hydrophobic, meaning that they do not absorb any water. Combined with its excellent strength properties, polypropylene is used in socks geared towards performance activities.
Rayon is a semi-synthetic fiber made from wood fiber. It has similar breathability and strength characteristics to cotton, but displays a more silky appearance with a noticeable difference in drape and feel. Rayon’s properties make it appealing to fashion-oriented socks rather than sports leg wear.
It is a very smooth, soft fiber. It boasts a high tensile strength and acts as a natural thermal retainer that does not conduct heat. It is naturally antimicrobial and odor reducing. It is the only continuous filament fiber that is naturally generated by a silk worm.
Spandex is a synthetic fiber known for its exceptional stretch and shape retention. An essential part of almost all socks, Spandex is commonly used in the cuff and arch to ensure a long-lasting secure fit.
Animal fibers such as wool, angora, cashmere, and mohair are desired for their thermal regulation properties. Wool fibers have the ability to absorb and lock away high amounts of moisture, making them ideal for use in hiking, running or biking socks. Combined with their exceptional ability to retain heat makes them the best choice for winter socks. Furthermore, natural chemicals found in wool make them odor resistant.