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(cotton-wool) when laden with moisture, compress more easily
than synthetic fibers (acrylic, CoolMax®). Thus, cotton and wool
socks have a higher resistance to sweat transport of wicking. When
wet, acrylic fibers swell less than 5% while cotton swells 45% and
wool swells 35%. Swollen fibers that are compressed reduce air
spaces and thus reduce moisture transport. Thus, cotton socks
exhibit a 2.4 times higher resistance to moisture transport.
When combining hydrophobic qualities and mechanical fiber
qualities, the fibers that wick moisture best are, from best to
worst: CoolMax®, acrylic, polypropylene, wool, cotton.
In studies conducted on runners wearing synthetic fiber socks vs.
cotton socks, other significant differences surfaced regarding
preferability of fiber composition. Cotton fiber socks, when wet,
were observed to stretch and lose their shape inside the shoe.
This led to bunching and wrinkling of the socks compared to
acrylic fiber socks. After multiple wash-wear cycles, cotton fiber
socks were noted to become abrasive leading to potential
irritation on the skin surface of the athlete.
In some sport applications, the thermal-insulation quality of the
fiber composition becomes critical. New synthetic fibers composed
of a hollow core material known as Thermax¨ have been shown to
effectively insulate against heat loss. Natural wool fiber socks
are still preferable in the outdoor industry because of their
remarkable ability to maintain heat while wet. However, the
abrasive nature of 100% wool fiber socks has required the blending
of wool into other high-tech synthetic fiber materials.
SYNTHETIC YARNS :
Nylon - dreaming of silk
The catch phrase that appeared during the 1930s, "a fiber that is
made from coal, air, water, finer than a spider's thread, more
beautiful than silk, and stronger than steel" had an enormous
impact on people of that time.
Nylon was first used in socks in the 1950s. The reason why it was
said that "it was women and socks that became more powerful after
the war" was mainly because of the appearance of nylon during this
Nylon is an amazing fiber with around ten times more strength than
cotton, is light and beautiful, and rich in elasticity. However,
it has its shortcomings such as it has a low water absorption
rate, easily causes static electricity, and decreases in strength
if exposed to the sunlight for extended periods.
Often times it is woven into the sock in order to increase its
Stockings also used to be weak since silk was used in the past, so
once the inexpensive and strong nylon came about, it became
popular among women.
Acrylic - the fiber that aimed to mimic the texture of wool
Acrylic was produced with the aim to mimic the texture of wool.
Though it falls behind nylon and polyester in strength, in
addition to its thickness and softness, it is often used in socks
for its dyeability.
Cotton and its high water absorption rate with acrylic and its
high emission rate is the most commonly used combination in socks
Polyester - an all purpose fiber reproduction of cotton
In the past, although ironing and sewing sock holes were chores
that had to be done without fail, it was the advancement of
polyester that relieved people from ironing and the arrival of
nylon from sewing sock holes.
Polyester is durable, thick, and wrinkle resistant. Also, since it
does not have a slippery feel to it, which is a common
characteristic found in synthetics, and has a nice texture, it has
been widely used in the apparel business.
Polyurethane - similar to rubber with a higher level of
Polyurethane is a ground breaking fabric that is extremely rich in
elasticity. If you pull, it stretches like rubber, and if you let
go, it immediately pulls back. Therefore, clothing that uses
polyurethane fits well on the body yet because it does not tighten
the body like rubber, there is no feeling of discomfort when worn.
It is widely used in stretch fabric, sportswear, and stockings.
Polyurethane was first used in 1970. The arrival of polyurethane
brought about a more fitted sock. Nowadays it is perhaps more
difficult to find socks without polyurethane. Socks are double
layered with the face yarn and under thread. Polyurethane is used
in the under thread, as a key hidden element. The recently well
talked about pressure socks is also one of many achievements of