Hello again, hardy folks from all over! Time to talk some more about gearing up for working out in the cold. We’ve already had a chat about boots and how to choose the right ones. This time around, we’ll be focusing on what to put IN those boots by making sure your dogs are bundled in the best choices for mens winter socks.
A note to the ladies: A lot of this info can easily be applied to you, too. I don’t mean to discriminate, believe-you-me! But in the interests of keeping pronouns simple here, I will continue addressing mainly the DUDES in my articles. You’re supposed to write about what you know, and I know about what dudes need to wear to work (for obvious reasons). I don’t recall trying on any lady fashions recently… so, reckon I better not comment on such stuff. Agreed?
Well then, I guess it’s time for “The Big Socks Talk.”
Let’s get started!
The Joy of Socks
Yeah, I know…
You can already see where this post is headed as far as innuendo.
Well, I assure you: It’s a lot more than just mere “locker room talk!”
I plan to help you guys think a bit more about what you put on your feet. It all matters for keeping a work day from becoming 8-12 hours (on average) of misery or making it a full shift of ‘git-‘er-done!’ (Yeah, I just went there).
Besides, the friendly folks at the Duluth Trading Company have been having fun with this topic for a while now.
Why not us?
First off, you need to ask yourselves: WHAT DO SOCKS DO FOR ME?
Maybe you’ve thought about it, maybe you haven’t — you just put the darn things on ’cause your momma taught you to do so and you’ve never bothered to question why.
Everybody’s doin’ it, right?
Unless you’re Don Johnson wearing pastels and penny-loafers while taking down some Miami Vice, then — yeah, it’s what everybody seems to be doing (in this country, at least).
You — in the back! You’ve got a question?
What about the way Europeans are wearing their foot tubes?
Let’s pretend for a sec NOBODY wears socks with sandals and just concentrate on shoes and boots, all right?
In a nutshell, here’s what socks do for us:
- Keep our feet comfortable
- Keep our feet safe from shoe-related chafing and scratching
- Keep our feet warm and toasty in the winter, cool and dry in the summer
- Keep us looking sharp for every occasion
- Protect our ankles and calves (depending on the height/cut of the socks)
- Hide our ugly toe nails until we’re ready to clip them claws
That last point might just be me speaking for myself…
We’ll now break down this list, but only the stuff relevant to this time of year and what to consider when choosing mens winter socks for working outside.
You and Your Socks: A Love Story
That’s right… Wear the right pair and your feet will fall in love.
Wear the wrong pair and you’ll be kicking yourself all day, crying out for feeling to “Come Back!” to your numb tootsies or begging your aching feet to “Give me another chance, baby!”
All kidding aside, there is admittedly a HUGE variety of work situations during any given day, both inside and out. Where you spend most of your shift and whether-or-not your job involves a lot of walking or standing will determine which socks you should be slipping your dogs into every morning.
A lot of situations = a lot of choices.
So let me simplify your search by narrowing things down to 2 categories with 2 sub-groups each.
This should hopefully help you and your feet be on your way to a “happily ever after” for the rest of your career.
The Work Horses
- WORK SOCKS
No surprise that these babies make the list, right?
Typically your ideal boot sock, you can never have too many of these in your drawer.
What to look for?
Make sure they are substantial and won’t become oil rags by their first weekend due to fraying or getting sliced by that can-opener of a big toe nail you got goin’ on.
Socks that lose their elasticity and fall down your ankles are the worst, so make doubly certain the ones you buy have “staying power” built into them.
Heel and toe cushions are also important, especially if you’re on your feet more than off.
As far as materials, cotton is still a great choice, particularly if you have allergies to synthetics.
But if you can hack the tech-stuff, then an acrylic/nylon/spandex blend might be the way to go. These socks are hard to beat when it comes to wicking action.
Require something a bit warmer?
That brings us to our next sub-group:
2. WOOL SOCKS
Sheep knew what they were doing when they decided how best to keep their funny-shaped bods warm for the winter.
Herders were just as smart to realize they need to shear these critters and get in on some of that wool action.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Now we have socks made of the stuff. Nothing works better to keep Jack Frost from really taking a serious nip outta you. Even blends are better than no wool at all.
A natural fiber for trapping heat yet remaining breathable, wool also tends to repel moisture but can dry pretty fast if wet.
Anything made from MERINO would be my recommendation.
The Day Trippers
1. COMPRESSION SOCKS
Gotta stand at attention all day on the job?
That can lead to a couple of big problems, made worse if you’re getting a bit long-in-the-tooth:
What compression socks do for you is increase blood flow up your leg from your ankle by giving a gentle “squeeze” the whole time you’re wearing them. With improved circulation, your leg muscles get the oxygen and nutrients they were losing from you remaining upright for hours on end.
This means not only greater comfort while standing but less exhaustion come quitting time (or, as you probably know, as early as lunch break some days!).
Out of any sock type, strong elasticity is the most important with these guys. Otherwise, they’re never going to do their job right, nor for very long.
This is one case of ‘the better the brand, the better the quality.’
Spending a little more will go a long way when it comes to taking care of your feet.
Speaking of going a long way…
2. PERFORMANCE SOCKS
These are kinda like a hybrid of work socks and compression socks, except for one big difference:
They are BUILT TO LAST. I’m talking many years!
They’ve got great compression capabilities, and they’re often knit in such a way that they ward off blisters and other ‘corny’ issues. This knit is typically of an incredibly durable synthetic construction that shrugs off tears and actually seems to enjoy a rigorous washing.
All-day comfort, wicking action, lightweight feel — they’re all here, too.
Harder to find in packs like work socks, but well worth the extra dough, considering how many times they’ll carry you to the punch-out clock.
Got all that?
I think I made it pretty easy to follow for you gents. Hope you were taking notes.
Just one last topic to cover and then your “sox ed” class will be over:
Mens Winter Socks: Size Matters
Okay, fellahs, settle down and stop your snickering.
We’re not talking about the length of your feet with this one.
Everybody’s different, and it really doesn’t matter. I swear.
What DOES matter is how high you want your socks to be.
Most dudes (like myself) prefer the crew size, which lands somewhere above your ankle and along your lower calf.
I know a lotta guys that hate the feeling of socks over their ankles, so they opt for the quarter size (which pretty much gives them what they need in a smaller package, but it also tends to make them look a bit like that Don Johnson feller at the same time). If you don’t mind drafty ankles, then this should work fine for you.
If we’re talking COMPRESSION socks, however, then height is your best friend to keep those muscles well-circulated. For this type of sock, I strongly advise anything over the calf. It might take a bit of getting used to, but when you come home feeling a decade younger and your legs aren’t threatening you with Charlie Horses, then you’ll see it was the smart decision to “get high.”
Well, I suppose that wraps up all I need to say on the topic of socks — specifically, mens winter socks.
Choose wisely, dudes, and just like with that other subject, always wear the right protection.
For your FEET, of course.
Socks class dismissed.