Merino Socks vs. Cotton Socks

Caveat Emptor Comparison Series: SOCK FIBERS

Merino Socks vs Cotton Socks

By Alexander S. Kabbaz, Custom Clothier & Haberdasher
Deciding which fiber is best for you requires a bit of reflection on your part. Although those living in the more extreme hot or cold environs may settle on just one fiber, most will need at least some of each.

While merino is the overarching preference by a ratio greater than two to one, it will not suit all, nor will it suit all weather conditions. The primary considerations are exterior temperature, how much your feet perspire, your daily routine, and your personal inclination.

Here are the main factors to contemplate:

Burgundy & Blue Merinos vs Brown and Yellow Cottons

  • Merino offers greater foot cushion throughout the life of the sock. For those whose lifestyle includes more than a modicum of standing or walking this should be of chief importance.
  • Merino wicks perspiration away from the feet. Cotton does not. This should be a paramount factor for most but must be considered in conjunction with ...
  • Cotton breathes well and is cooler to wear than merino. During the hotter months or for those whose climate is always warm, cotton may be the obvious choice.

Each fiber has its drawbacks. Merino, while wicking perspiration away from the feet, will cause more perspiration than cotton when the weather is warm. Conversely, while cotton is cooler to wear, once wet from sweat it will stay wet, feel clammy, and lose most of its cushioning ability.

Perhaps some may find my personal preferences to offer at least a general guide. I live in New York where the climate is truly hot only during July and August. For most of the year I wear merino. During the day in July and August I switch to pure Sea Island cotton which is the coolest of the cotton socks. At night, unless we are experiencing a severe heat wave, I return to merino. During the coldest months I often wear cashmere which, with all of the beneficial characteristics of merino, offers even more warmth and wicking.

Here is more in-depth information about the fibers and overall information about the attributes and detriments of various socks in general.

Thank you for reading. Please don't hesitate to contact the author with questions or comments.
Copyright © 2018 Alexander Kabbaz. All rights reserved.