Zakka Lab

Guide to the Right Sock Size for your Feet

The footwear industry offers many sizes of everyday socks for kids, women, and men. With the wide variety the market offers, picking the correct size can sometimes be pretty confusing. Much like clothing and shoes, sock sizes vary from brand to brand.  If you buy one that is too large, you are likely to experience some discomfort throughout the day. They could also create pressure points in your feet leading to blisters. Socks should fit snugly to prevent bunching and reduce the risk of blisters.  

Sock Fiber Selection 

High-tech socks are your first line of defense against odor and swelling. Because they range by activity, here are some of the varieties to choose from: 

  • Running Socks: These are thin liner socks that come with little padding but dense cushioning in the heel.  
  • Athletic Socks: These range from the traditional gym socks with moisturewicking fabrics to technical ones for cross training with several forms of exercise.  
  • Casual Socks: Are lightweight distinguished by their casual styling. 
  • Hiking Socks: These are lightweight, thin, designed to wick away moisture from the feet. They also come with modest cushioning.  

You can only get the correct size by paying attention to how they fit in the heel and the toe. The key criterion is the length. If the sock you choose is too short, it will slide into your shoe. If it is too long, it could bunch up over your toes. When buying padded socks, carry your shoes along to ensure they fit comfortably  

What Fabric Content should you settle for?  

The fabric content of your socks does matter. Here, understand the pros and cons of each to make a more informed decision.  

Cotton 

This is the most common and more affordable material on the market. If you are an active user, avoid cotton. 100 percent cotton absorbs sweat in your feet, saturates quickly, and dries slowly. When worn for long periods, it can lead to blisters.  It is however comfortable for non-intensive users. For higher aerobic needs, socks with low cotton content are ideal. 

Merino Wool 

If your feet are trapped for hours on end in shoes, breathability and ventilation are critical aspects to ensure your feet are kept dry. Merino wool is highly breathable and can be worn every day on any season. The wool is derived from merino sheep. It is a yarn that is cushiony, incredibly soft, highly durable, and itch-free. It is odor resistant and does not shrink.  

Synthetics 

Lyca spandex and Nylon allow your feet to retain their shape and can also offer arch support. Synthetic fibers are commonly used to wick away moisture from your feet. They dry fast, provide cushioning, and are durable. However, they can be a little uncomfortable in hot conditions.  

Sock Sizing for Women and Men 

A standard size for women socks is presented as 9-11. Translated, in the US the shoe size should be about 5-10, European 36-41, and UK 3-8.  The standard size for men’s socks is presented as size 10-13. Translated, in the US the shoe size is 8-12.5, European 42-46, and UK 7-12.  

Knee high socks are common with people who have larger calves. A standard kneehigh pair can fit a calf circumference of about 18 inches, but there are also larger ones of about 21 inches. Understand that simple patterns stretch more. This is because socks with too many patterns tend to have a lot of panels of threads, which can limit stretching.   

A tight band at the ankles is something many people do not like. Although the band can prevent it from sagging, be careful to select a comfortable nonbinding pair. Choose socks with elasticated support around your ankle, over the instep of your foot, the arched part, and along the top of your legs. Such will prevent wrinkling, bunching, and slipping responsible for creating pressure points and blisters 

Choosing and Using Compression Socks 

Compression stockings have been around for some time. They were primarily designed to improve blood flow in diabetic cases, people with deep vein thrombosis (DVT), phlebitis, edema, and varicose veins. Compression stockings are tightly fitting leggings that enable blood to flow freely to the heart without pooling in the lower extremities. The pressure exerted by these socks reduces the risk of clots. Because they come in different magnitude of tightness and sizes, your doctor should help you decide on the right pair.   

What Types of Compression Socks are there? 

There are sleeves and socks, and both cover different parts of your leg.  DVT patients prefer those that go below the knee. They can also wear tights and thigh-highs. Measured in mmHg, compression stockings should have the correct strength and must feel snug but not too tight.  

If you have diabetes, one of the best ways of managing your condition is by investing in comfortable pair of socksBecause they are not made equal, it is crucial to know the characteristics to look for when shopping. Given that diabetics are at risk of suffering from diabetic neuropathy, you want to choose compression socks without seams. You also want socks that absorb moisture to ensure no room of bacterial infections is created in your feet.  

Get the Perfect Fit 

You can only experience the full benefits of compression socks by getting the right compression. The stocking should be tighter at the ankles and decrease gradually toward the knee. Before making your purchase, follow the instructions given by the manufacturer. As long as the stockings are graduated, a pressure of about 15-25 mmHg is ideal.  

Sizing Factors to Remember 

  1. Flat toe seam: The toe seam must lie flat along the top of your toes. It must not lie above or below.
  2. Sock heel at your heel: The sock heel must lie on the heel. Not above or under it.  
  3. Taut across the foot: The sock must be taut across your foot without a sagging around your foot.   

Socks may not be the first wardrobe item you give thought to. It is, however, important to understand that they play a vital role in your everyday life. The moment you buy poor quality socks that do not fit well, your feet may feel discomfort and may also lead to edema.