Life Socks

Well, not really, it’s just a catchy title. Although it is 2018 already, and I’m still waiting for the flying car that will supplant my morning commute over the rails of the not quite yet reliable Long Island Railroad. And it’s been cold here in NYC, not just cold but bomb cyclone cold- which I think is weather dude lingo for “stupid cold.” In the midst of all this frigidity and misery, it seems appropriate to discuss something near and dear to the toes of my NYC Podiatry patients- socks.

For the curious among us, socks as a fashion accessory are rather old, predating any and all of the retail outfits that populate our brick and mortar structures, and even those on the World Wide Web of retail. Not just a simple foot covering; our little friends serve as a covering to keep us warm, dry, comfortable and can even on occasion serve a dual purpose entertaining company as puppets. Often I am asked by my dear NYC podiatry patients- why feet? And I answer, because I love feet. And then I am asked: what’s the best material to wear for socks? And the answer is- wait for it- it depends. If you’re an uber-nerd like me you probably grew up on cotton tube sock and know that they are arguably the most comfortable sock material, however not necessarily the best material. Cotton absorbs moisture well but does not wick the moisture away from the skin or dry quickly. Merino wool is a superior material that is lightweight, breathes easily, wicks moisture away from the skin and dries quickly. Synthetic materials have been designed for comfort and dryness, and the old standards – nylon, acrylic, and polyester (not just for leisure suits anymore) work well, particularly in combination with the natural fibers such as cotton and wool. Silk is a great material for those fancy pants folks who want something expensive and difficult to clean but it’s not very durable. And there are a few newer synthetics that are lightweight, comfortable and designed to wick moisture away from the skin very effectively. Socks made out of this material are particularly good for hiking or running, and although they are more expensive than tube socks (3 for $5- anyone get the reference??) the comfortable fabric coupled with incorporated padding make for a very worthwhile investment.

Color is another question I’m often asked, not as in what’s my favorite, or what the sky looks like in my world (more pop culture reference), rather if the color of the sock matters. And to that I say I have heard the dyes in colored socks aren’t good for the skin or can leach out and lead to increased perspiration, IMHO color is of little consequence to the feel or durability of the sock. In socks, as in life, underneath the dye we are all the same.

So my dear NYC Podiatry patients, there you have it. Everything you wanted to know about socks, but were afraid to ask (anyone?). It’s going to warm up here someday, and then I want to see your tube socks exposed for all the world to appreciate.

See you in the office

Ernest L. Isaacson