There's a lot that goes into creating a great pair of socks. When creating or designing socks, there's countless things that need to be considered. And trust me, your feet will thank you for it later.
In this blog post, I'll walk you through everything that determines the quality of a pair of socks.
I'll begin with a breakdown of the different materials, which is the biggest factor in the overall quality of your socks. I'll then move onto the pros and cons of woven and printed socks. Finally, we'll talk about designs -- because let's be honest, this is just as important.
What Material Is Best?
In short, it depends.
Some materials are better for activewear, and some are better for everyday use. The most common material is cotton, so let's start with that.
There are many different types of cotton material such as:
In our opinion, combed cotton is the highest quality cotton fiber for socks. Combed cotton is treated more than other types of cotton to remove impurities, and it also makes the yarn stronger and softer (which is great when it's rubbing against your skin). Combed cotton is generally the most expensive cotton fabric, but it's what we choose to use in all of our cotton socks.
Because it's durable and breathable, cotton is great for athletic socks and casual dress socks.
More and more sock companies are choosing to use bamboo fiber for socks. It's generally considered to be eco-friendly because bamboo doesn't require as many dangerous pesticides to grow. And, as one of the fastest growing plants, bamboo is quickly renewable. However, there is some controversy on how eco-friendly bamboo fiber actually is because it still needs to be dyed. But we'll defer to the scientists on this one.
Above all, what attracts us to bamboo fiber is its smooth texture; It fits to your foot without rubbing, and is absolutely perfect for a casual dress sock.
Bamboo fiber socks are also loaded with natural benefits:
For these reasons, bamboo fiber socks are a great choice - plus it's kinda unique!
Polyester is great for colors and durability, but you lose a bit of comfort. Unlike cotton or bamboo, polyester allows for dye sublimation (basically printing).
This means that you can print directly onto the sock with vivid colors.
If you're looking for a sock for winter or hiking, you can't beat wool. Wool fabric is a perfect insulator because of its coiled nature.
The most popular type of wool material is Merino wool, which comes from a Merino sheep. Merino wool is exceptionally soft because of the diameter of the fibers - and this is also what makes it so expensive.
Cashmere is considered a luxury material because of its soft feel. Although expensive, tons of luxury brands are using it for socks -- and other clothing items.
Woven Socks vs. Printed Socks
Most people prefer woven socks because of their comfort. However, you might consider printed socks if you're looking for extremely intricate designs.
Generally, woven socks are the most comfortable type of socks. They stretch well and can be made out of tons of different materials.
These are the types of designs that are perfect for woven socks. They're not too complex, but still look great. Just be aware that woven socks will inherently be slightly pixilated. This is because the threads are woven, not printed.
As a general rule of thumb, woven socks can only use solid colors. This means that it's impossible to add shading.
Printed socks are great when you want to get crazy with your designs. For instance, if you want to put a photo on the sock. The most popular way to print socks is through a process called dye sublimation.
For instance, check out this printed sock design that we made:
This design could never be woven because of it's complexity and shading involved. Since printed socks don't require you to buy yarn in bulk, it's much easier to create custom socks in low order quantities.
When looking to create a great pair of socks, you have to take into account the material and design. Both of these factors are important when deciding how to create your socks, because there's no one answer.
In general, if you're looking for a high quality pair of socks, we'd suggest woven socks. However, if you'd like to do particularly crazy designs, printed socks are still a great option.
Still not sure what kind of socks to create? Reach out to us!