The Benefits of Wool Socks Over Cotton Socks-Appalachian Outfitters

The Benefits of Wool Socks Over Cotton Socks

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As you prepare for your next outdoor adventure with a visit to Appalachian Outfitters, the inevitable question comes up: What’s the big deal about wool socks? What are the benefits of wool socks over cotton socks?

When you’re outdoors and need socks that can handle the demands of nature and sweat, you need more than cheap cotton. True athletic socks need to withstand a heavy amount of wear and tear without compromising your comfort; when your feet are miserable, your entire body is miserable.

We’ve researched wool versus cotton socks and outlined the benefits so you don’t have to search any further!

Light Ski Sawtooth OTC
These warm, bright FITS socks will keep you dry in the middle of a rainstorm with their thick wool fibers.


When cotton is wet, it loses all insulation. Your feet are fully exposed to the elements, no matter what kind of shoes you’re wearing. This is why many serious outdoors people wear only wool socks. Wool fibers crimp together completely differently than cotton fibers, adding more bulk to keep heat close to your skin. In particular, merino wool is perfect for keeping your feet warm no matter the elements.

Light Performance Trail – Quarter
Enjoy the benefits of wool socks with these durable and attractive FITS socks.


Cotton absorbs liquid so that it sops with sweat or rain water, but wool can retain a third of its weight in dampness before it begins to feel wet on your feet. When sheep wander through their pastures in all kinds of weather, their wool keeps them dry with its hydrophobic and hygroscopic properties – wool absorbs or gives off moisture instead of soaking it up like a cotton dish rag. If your feet are sweaty from exercise or soaked from an unexpected rainstorm, keeping dry is the best way to avoid blisters and fungus.

Women’s Ripple Creek Crew Socks
Keep your toes toasty warm with these stylish wool socks from Smartwool.


Wool is also antibacterial. This means it resists odors and doesn’t need washing after each wear. This makes wool socks ideal for long hiking trips where it’s inconvenient to wash your socks frequently. The trade-off with this low-maintenance material is that wool socks must be washed by hand and hung up to dry. Friction, soap, and heat are all damaging to wool socks.

Men’s Medium Crew Socks
Stay warm with Smartwool socks designed to withstand nature’s inclement weather.

Our Recommendations

Don’t buy just any wool socks. Our two favorite brands are FITS® socks and Smartwool socks, which are known for their high quality and durability.

  • FITS, a premium sock brand, uses only the best in raw materials. With unique engineering and technology, these socks fit comfortably, balancing performance with comfort.
  • Smartwool, which started on the ski slopes of Colorado, creates wool socks (and other products) to keep people warm no matter the temperature or elements.

Never let anything ruin your outdoor fun with Smartwool and FITS socks!

Smartwool and FITS at Appalachian Outfitters

Cotton socks are known for being breathable, machine washable, soft, and cheap, but for athletic performance and outdoor adventures, wool socks win every time. Before your next outdoor adventure, visit Appalachian Outfitters to find your own Smartwool socks or FITS socks today!

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