Polyester vs. Cotton Socks for Walking

Polyester vs. Cotton Socks for Walking

What To Look For

Look for socks that are going to serve your specific walking purposes. As simple as the word may seem, walking can have many meanings. For some people, walking entails a gentle 15 minutes on the road around their home, for others walking may mean a half hour power walk on their lunch break at work, while for others it may mean many miles on off-road trails. One-hundred percent cotton socks (a natural fiber), are great for short walks while wearing breathable shoes such as cross-trainer, running or trail shoes. These are usually low cut socks that rise no higher than the ankle bone. There is also a wide range of socks with a mixture of cotton and polyester. Polyester (a synthetic fiber) is more stain resistant, and a big difference is that it is more elastic and will not lose its form like cotton. The life of a sock with a percentage of polyester in it, will last much longer than a pure cotton sock. A combination is best for most walking, and the more extensive and vigorous the walking, the higher percentage of polyester is more desirable.

Common Pitfalls

Cotton socks breathe well when dry, are soft and comfortable, but do not dry out well if they get wet, which can happen with sweat. If your feet sweat more than average then socks that are of a larger percent polyester will provide much more moisture wicking than cotton. Furthermore, wet socks can cause blisters as they will bunch and rub on your feet more easily than dry socks. If going on a walk that is more vigorous than a stroll down the road, and certainly for a hike, you will want a sock that has a high percentage of polyester.

Where To Buy

Socks can be purchased in many places from chain department stores, to your local outdoor sports shop. For cotton socks, a department store is a fine place to shop. You will usually find a wide selection of sizes, brands and styles of cotton socks here, and they will be fairly priced. For socks with more strenuous walking and hiking in mind, an outdoor sports shop is going to be the best bet. Here you will find a variety of synthetic, moisture wicking fiber socks, such as polyester, that are made in specific thicknesses for different levels of walking and hiking.


Cotton, including organic cotton socks, can be found for under $8 per pair and often more than one pair can be bought for that price. Polyester socks can also commonly be found for under $8 per pair, though cotton socks are generally slightly less expensive at most retailers.



Article Written By Naomi Judd

Naomi M. Judd is a naturalist, artist and writer. Her work has been published in various literary journals, newspapers and websites. Judd holds a self-designed Bachelor of Arts in adventure writing from Plymouth State University and is earning a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine.

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