The Newest (and Driest) Technology in Compression Socks

sweaty feetOur feet are the second sweatiest part of our body next to our armpits. The 250,000 sweat glands found on each foot can generate between half a cup and a cup of perspiration per day, depending on our level of activity. Unless this moisture is wicked away, our feet will become soggy and the skin soft and damp. Mushy skin becomes damaged a lot faster than dry skin. This is why 100% cotton socks are not a good choice. Cotton appears in a lot of less expensive socks. It absorbs more moisture than many other fibers, but loses all of its insulating ability when saturated, takes forever to dry, and will sag and bunch when wet. Socks which contain high percentages of cotton should be avoided.

Our socks take extreme wear and tear from our daily activities. They protect our feet from blisters and all the abuse we can deal out. Thus as we don (put on) our socks each day their job is to manage moisture and keep our feet dry. Their second job is to give enough padding to keep our feet warm or cool depending on conditions and our activity, and protect our feet from blisters.

Socks and the yarns which are used to knit them are probably one of the least thought about issues of our time. However, if our feet are not happy, we are not happy. The right socks make us feel good. Our manufacturers spend a lot of time and money on research looking for the best yarns to use to knit compression socks and compression stockings to make them both durable and effective. So let’s take some time to consider the yarns used to knit them.

Nylon and polyester are extremely durable. When a sock wears out the nylon is the last threads seen which are holding those favorite socks together. These synthetic, non-porous materials absorb very little water, dry quickly, and help give socks form and structure. Nylon and polyester themselves do not move moisture, but manufacturers apply a variety of coatings to the fibers to wick moisture away from our feet. (Dry feet are less susceptible to bacteria and fungus.) Examples of polyester and nylon socks are the Sigvaris Recovery SockSigvaris Performance SockTherafirm Core-Spun Knee High and Therafirm Core-Spun Cushioned Knee High, and the Sigvaris Performanace Sleeve.

Polyamide is a term often seen in socks. They are the basic fiber forming substances for nylon fiber. Polyamide was developed in the United States about 1935 and first used in stockings about 1940. Nylon fiber is fine, highly elastic, easy to wash, quick to dry and retains its shape well.

Acrylic is another commonly used synthetic material. It closely approximates the plushness of wool, while offering the increased durability of a synthetic. Other materials used include Lycra Spandex or Elasthan, which provide the hugging elastic. Please note that neither Spandex nor Elasthan contain rubber! In fact there are only a very few socks from our manufacturers that do contain rubber. All garments contain Spandex or Elasthan to give the support socks or support stockings the stretch. An example of socks with acrylic, nylon and Elasthan are the Therafirm Core-Spun.

Natural fibers would seem to be a good choice, but some have drawbacks. Cotton, as we have already discussed, is not a good choice. Wool manages moisture well, and wicks moisture away from your feet. Wool provides good padding and warmth, and can absorb up to a third of its weight in water without feeling damp or losing much of its insulating ability. Something you may not have known…wool regulates temperature well keeping feet cool as well as warm. However, wool is also less durable than most synthetic materials, and does not hold its shape well. So that we may have the best of both worlds (natural fibers and man made fibers) our manufacturers are now creating blends of fine wool, nylon, and spandex. Examples of the mix of fine Australian Merino Wool, nylon, and spandex mix are the Sigvaris Merino Wool and the Sigvaris Thermoregulating Wool .

Now last, but by no means least is a patented, intimate blend of synthetic and natural fibers that accelerates the water release rate of wet fabric. Dri-Release® is a micro blend performance yarn that feels like cotton. Rather than just spreading moisture across its surface, Dri-Release® actually pushes moisture to the outside of a garment, releasing water and perspiration. Tests show it dries four times faster than cotton and faster than any other performance fabric on the market. Dri-Release® is the preferred performance fabric for athletes all over the world. The unparalleled performance and moisture transferring qualities of Dri-Release® help these many athletes perform at the top of their game every time. One of the socks we have previously mentioned, Sigvaris Recovery Sock, is an example of a sock containing the Dri-Release® yarn.

In conclusion if shopping for what many of us call support hose, compression hosiery, support socks and many other names, a garment with high contents of synthetic fibers will tend to give us longer wear, provide wicking action to remove moisture from our feet and provide ample padding. Top of this list of synthetic fibers is the new yarn which was developed Optimar called Dri-Release®. It is the very same yarn used in socks worn in bicycle races and triathlons by well know athletes. Socks containing wool are also a good choice because it is  thermo regulating, moisture wicking, insulating, breathable, and durable. 


Happy Activities,

Vanda
SupportHosePlus.com

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