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Do you really need to wear socks?

Last Modified: August 28, 2018

Family Medicine

With the rise of boat shoes and the ever-popular flip flop, spring and summer are the seasons a lot of people go sock-free. While we often make sacrifices for the sake of fashion, Ashley Bojrab, DPM, PPG – Podiatry, has a few words of warning for those skipping the sock drawer altogether.

Why are socks important?

Socks are important for the overall health of your feet. Not only do socks absorb moisture, but they are also used to help prevent rubbing of shoes on the bare foot. Socks can also provide cushioning to pad the feet and help keep them warm. As we are going into the fall and winter months, socks can help prevent cold feet and even frostbite. Specialty socks, such as compression stockings, can improve circulation and prevent leg fatigue as well.

What are some of the complications that can come from choosing to skip the socks?

Wearing socks keeps the feet dry and prevents conditions such as athlete’s foot. Going sockless can result in conditions such as blisters or sores on the foot. Also, odor can develop if you don’t wear socks, since your feet have a lot of sweat glands.

How long can these complications last and what type of treatment would be involved?

Athlete’s foot would have to be treated by a local podiatrist or family doctor. It can become itchy and may need prescription medication to resolve the symptoms. As odor develops in your shoes, it could potentially ruin them.

When is it appropriate to go without socks?

The best time to go without socks is at night. This gives your feet a chance to air out. Other times to go without socks would be when wearing water shoes or showering.  

Is there a certain type of sock you recommend?

My favorite type of socks are the ones that wick away moisture, especially during the humid summer months. Keeping the feet dry and free from sweat prevents infections and blisters.

What can people do if they don’t like the appearance of socks?

There are so many fashionable socks! There are different types of socks to complement almost any style of shoe. Socks can be used as a fashion statement or conversation piece. Have fun with it!

Other thoughts?

One of the most requested items from local shelters and/or clothing donation charities is socks. Many who are homeless walk miles in damp socks, exposing their feet to hazards, especially in the winter. Cold weather and wet socks could lead to frostbite, which could threaten a limb or result in an amputation. If you have a few extra dollars to spend, consider donating socks to a local charity.


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