Considering the Humble Sock


If you’re like most people, you’ve occasionally tossed a pair of socks into the washer, only to pull one half of the pair out of the dryer. “Where did that sock’s mate go?” is one of those eternal questions that the universe refuses to answer. For the board-certified foot doctors at Affiliated Foot & Ankle Center, however, there’s no question about socks that we don’t enjoy answering!

In honor of National Sock Day (recently observed on December 4), let’s begin by talking about why socks even exist (and why we’re so sad when they disappear into the washer-dryer abyss):

Sock functions

  • Your two feet contain a lot of sweat glands. Socks exist to absorb all that moisture that can make foot odor such a problem.

  • In addition, when you go sockless, the inside of your shoes can quickly become smelly and discolored. Socks act as a barrier between your skin and your shoes, helping to keep your shoes odor-free.

  • That barrier also serves to prevent blisters.

  • Wet, sweaty feet are prone to getting infections like fungal nails and athlete’s foot. Not only are these fungal infections tough to get rid of, but they are also contagious. Wear socks to avoid the discolored, thick, crumbly toenails and itchy patches of dry, red skin that you can also pass on to someone close to you.

Sock recommendations

  • Buy socks made of moisture-wicking material.

  • Keep them clean and dry to help prevent smelly feet.

  • Make sure they fit well. Tight socks can trap moisture. Too-large socks can cause problems by bunching up at your toes or arch.

  • Don’t share your socks.

  • Make sure your socks are free from seams or tears that can irritate the skin on your feet, especially if you have diabetes.

  • Runners’ feet can benefit from socks with extra padding around the heel, ball, and toe areas.

If fungus, blisters, or smelly feet ever become a problem for you, we can help. Make an appointment with Dr. Samantha Boyd, Dr. Hal Ornstein, Dr. Dan Phan, or Dr. Joseph Saka at our modern podiatry offices in Howell and Jackson, New Jersey. Contact us online or call us at (732) 905-1110.