I first began the quest for good socks as a fourteen year old when I began jogging for a hobby. I quickly discovered bad socks gave me blisters. What is a "bad" sock? Basically a sock that saturates when wet, leaving a soggy fabric to rub against your skin. Sock companies knew this fact. With Jim Fixx' book heralding the advent of the hobby, sock companies were eager for our business. Many advertised that they would "wick" away sweat, leaving feet cool and dry. This is good stuff if it's true. Once you have blisters it's uncomfortable to run. As I got older and heavier, running gave way to regular walking. Until one day I wasn't walking, I was house wife-ing and mothering.

I found myself buying socks for others. My son was particular about his socks in one way. He didn't care for knee socks (required with the soccer uniform) and he didn't care for the ankle socks. They had to be crew, they had to be white, I don't think there was a single pair. I think he got so many of the same kind that for years those socks danced and exchanged partners with aplomb. This is definitely how to avoid ever having to make a matched set.

My husband was particular about his socks in only one way, he disliked tube socks. Socks to him were something you bought in a package marked sport socks, without much thought. He lost them, wore them out, bought more without analysis. If he had done the math he might have realized what a huge expense socks were to the basic budget. Cheap socks don't last. Buying them over and over again negates the savings. He never was a "broad spectrum" thinker, he wanted to believe he was "saving money."

After he left me I decided cheap socks days were over. I bought my first pair of expensive wool socks. They had some natural wicking ability and they lasted over three full years. Decidedly a better value than rebuying sixteen pairs in the same time period. Wool and wool blend socks are nice for hiking, even in the summer. I recommend Smartwool socks for long wear, hiking weight socks. Wool sounds hot, but the cushioning factor is sweet for feet. I also bought some cotton socks. I had less luck with getting those to last. I had mixed feelings about the bleach dumped into the environment to process cotton fabric. I tried bamboo socks next. You can find both Smartwool and bamboo socks on Amazon.com. Socks made of bamboo are the perfect combination of long wearing plus cottony softness. Bamboo is the worlds fastest growing grass plant. I like the idea of wearing something that isn't trashing the planet. Mother Earth needs all the care we can give her.