Fiber and Material Content Descriptions
What's In My Socks?
Acrylic is a synthetic / man-made fiber that provides softness and warmth with little weight, and high durability. Acrylic's inherent properties allow it to hold brighter and more brilliant colors than its natural fiber counterparts.
Angora is the soft hair of an Angora rabbit. Used with other fibers, it provides a soft and comfortable fluffy look. The rabbits molt their fur and farmers pluck the hair. (Return to top of page)
Bamboo is softer and more breathable than cotton and has a natural sheen tot he surface, so it almost feels like silk or cashmere. Bamboo is hypoallergenic and naturally microbial. Very durable. (Return to top of page)
Cashmere is the soft hair of a Cashmere goat. It provides natural, light-weight insulation with bulk and is considered a luxury fiber. (Return to top of page)
Coolmax is a brand-name of a polyester blend designed to wick moisture away from the skin. (Return to top of page)
Cotton (algodón) is a lightweight, moisture absorbing fiber. It's breathable, washable, and durable, and so is the most common fiber in socks. Because it is so great at absorbing moisture, it is generally blended with nylon to help move the moisture away from the foot. Cotton is gathered from around the seeds of the cotton plant, and is 90% cellulose (a plant fiber). If they are not labeled as "preshrunk cotton", your socks are likely to shrink in the wash if you use hot water or a hot dryer cycle. The best way to avoid this is to wash in cold water and drip dry on a line.
Cotton is grown in plantations all over the world, but droughts, pests, and frosts can impact production, sometimes driving up the price.
- Organic cotton is grown with non-genetically modified plants, without pesticides or fertilizers. This method of growing cotton is thought to allow for more biodiversity, which is important to environmentally-conscious folks.
- Recycled cotton (recovered cotton) is usually spun from scraps that would have been discarded after the spinning, weaving, or cutting processes.
- Mercerized cotton is a cotton yarn that is put through an additional finishing process(mercerizing) to provide great luster and softness to the yarn and to intensify dyed colors.
- Links to additional information: wikipedia, wiseGEEK
- Combed cotton begins like Cotton, but is treated further to remove short fibers and impurities. The cotton is literally combed, leaving long, straight cotton fibers only. These are wonderful for weaving fabrics, because they don't fray as easily and feel softer against your skin. Generally, combed cotton is more expensive than regular cotton
Elastane / Lycra
Elastane description here. Lycra is a brand-name of high-quality spandex stretch fiber. (Return to top of page)
Elastic is a rubber or spandex core covered with nylon to provide extreme stretch and recovery. (Return to top of page)
FlaxFlax fibers are one of the oldest fiber crops in the world. Flax fiber is extracted from the skin of the stem of the plant and is very soft, lustrous, and flexible. It is stronger than cotton, but less elastic. (Return to top of page)
Lurex is a synthetic fiber that incorporates a glittering metallic thread. (Return to top of page)
Modal is a natural fiber, typically made from beech trees. It's more water-absorbent than cotton and holds on to color better as well. (Return to top of page)
MohairMohair is the long, soft, silky hair of the Angora goat. It is 2% stronger than wool and dyes more easily than any other specialty hair fiber. (Return to top of page)
Nylon is a very strong, versatile, hard-wearing fiber. Socks made of nylon can be thin and silky or bulky and highly elastic. Nylon is often used with other fibers to give added stretch or to improve durability.
Olefin (Polypropylene) is a superior water repelling fiber that won't accept moisture. It is used alone or with absorbent outer layers that work together to wick moisture away from your body. It is very strong and it is the lightest of any man-made fiber.
Polyester and stretch polyester are two hydrophobic (water-repelling) fibers that are known for their durability and are extremely colorfast for vivid coloration.
Rayon is a natural cellulose filament fiber known for its sheen, its soft feel, and its high moisture absorption properties. Sometimes used as a generic term for 'plant fiber'.
Rubber latex, which comes from rubber trees, is used in socks for added elasticity and stretch.
SilkSilk is a very smooth, soft, and moisture absorbing fiber. It boasts a high tensile strength and acts as a natural thermal retainer that does not conduct heat. It is woven from the cocoon material of special caterpillars.
SpandexSpandex is a man-made fiber with elastic properties that is often used in place of rubber. Used with other fibers, it provides elasticity, recovery, and close fit, primarily in ribs to hold the leg in place and in the arch and ankle to provide extra support.
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WoolWool is the original easy care fiber. Each wool fiber is made up of millions of coiled springs that stretch in use, but coil back to their original positions. Wool naturally has wrinkle resistance, colorfastness, shape recovery, and it breathes with your body. Wo0l yarn, when knot into a thicker sock, tends to be bulky and lofty. Air becomes entrapped and it becomes an ideal insulator. Wool socks also keep feet drier because wool absorbs as much as 30% of its own weight in moisture before it begins to feel damp.
Merino wool is a special, fine grade of wool that originally came from Merinop sheep. It shares all of the characteristics classic to wool that are listed above, but what makes Merino wool different is the luxurious softness and comfort provided by the fine diameter Merino fibers. Unlike traditional wool, Merino wool does not itch and is shrink-treated to hold its size and shape even after repeated washings. (Return to top of page)