The Truth About Wool Socks

We wanted to look at the pros and cons of buying wool socks. We could tell you all the good things as we sell many wool socks, but we don't work that way. So instead, we want you to know everything about the product you buy from us. 

The cons of wool socks:

1) Expensive

There are three of the many reasons why wool is more expensive. 

A) Wool is not always readily available. It depends on so many different factors – the region of the world where the wool is coming from, the required quantity, and even the year's season. When the availability is sparse, the costs go up.


The costs increase at every level to ensure that everyone makes their money. The herders and farmers charge more, the weavers charge more, and the designers charge more. Everyone wants to earn a profit, so availability significantly impacts what people are willing to pay.

Additionally, the availability of a specific animal is also important. Not all countries have access to all animals. When the wool of an animal has to be imported in, the costs are more.

B) Supply and Demand are at the heart of everything expensive.

When there's an increase in supply but a decrease in demand, the costs will drop. However, when there's a decrease in supply and an increase in demand, the costs tend to skyrocket.


Whenever there's less of something and the demand is high, those who have access to it will have the ability to charge more.

Those who want it will have no choice but to pay the price.

As the prices go up, it simply determines who is willing to pay.

Some people will pay the higher costs for the wool while others will choose to work with a different material.

C) The cost top process The process to create yarn from wool is a lengthy one. This is because there are so many stages of the process, and each one can be expensive because of the products and labour involved.


The stages include:

  • Shearing
  • Grading and sorting
  • Cleaning and scouring
  • Carding
  • Spinning
  • Weaving
  • Finishing

Many of these steps require expensive machinery as well as skilled labour to manage the process.

Some chemicals and cleaners are involved with helping to clean and scour the wool – all of which comes at a cost.

The finishing process, too, is an expensive one because this when the fibres are interlocked and dyed. Depending on the dye used, it can add to the final costs.


Further, there's a significant amount of waste involved when wool isn't processed correctly. So, again, this can have a direct impact on profits.

If thousands of pounds of wool are not processed necessarily, it can yield only a small amount of yarn – and that yarn will be considerably more expensive to compensate for the costs to create it.

It often comes down to understanding the rarity of wool and the quality.

Those who know that wool is a superior fabric will spend more for it – and as supply diminishes, the costs can continue to increase rapidly until the ceiling is established. The ceiling may vary in different markets.

Wool itself may only add up to a few dollars per pound.


However, when purchasing name-brand wool sweaters, scarves, or other products, the prices can be thousands of dollars – and if people want it bad enough, they'll spend the money.

D) Time to Process. There's a significant amount of time involved in processing the fleece before it can be made into anything.

The various steps involved above are time-consuming.

The shearing process, for example, is only done once a year – typically in the spring.

Shearers can usually shear 100 or more sheep in a day.


However, the fleece has to be handled carefully to keep it all in one piece. The grading and sorting process takes days, while the cleaning and scouring process can take a week or more to clean, remove contaminants, and dry. Carding, spinning, and weaving are often done on the same day, assuming that all equipment is working and is located under the same roof.


If processing stages are spread out, transportation has to be added, adding weeks or months to the time it takes to procure wool. Once the wool has been finished, months may have passed since the spring shearing.


Then, once all of the wool has been sheared, processed, and sold off, availability is limited until spring arrives once more. The time to process isn't like artificial products that are based on chemical reactions. Wool is dependent on the sheep being able to regrow their fleece, which takes nearly a full year. This has to be factored into the timely process, which drives up the cost.


2) Do not dry as fast quickly. 

Wool is also renowned for its capacity to wick moisture away from the skin. This means that as you sweat or get wet, wool fibres draw the moisture away from your skin not to feel damp. The fibre's surface is hydrophobic, repelling water, but the cells inside the fibre can hold water (hydrophilic). This means that each fibre can hold moisture without you feeling it. In addition, the woollen fabric can absorb up to 30% of its weight in water without feeling wet or losing those essential insulating air pockets, so even when wet, wool can regulate your temperature.

3) If low quality, socks may be itchy.

Wool is an excellent natural fibre with many great qualities that make it a beneficial and beautiful fibre. However, not all wool is the same, as there is quite a variation in the sold quality. This is why the price can vary so much as some wool will be of higher quality and worth more. Many factors determine the quality of this fibre and thus its value. Here is a list of some of those factors.

  • The fibre diameter of wool is the single most crucial factor that determines quality and price. Generally, merino wool is the highest quality wool because of its fineness which creates a very soft fibre. Simply put, the finer the wool is, the more valuable it is.
  • Uniformity of the fibre diameter is another factor. The more uniform this fibre is, the higher value it has.
  • The colour of wool is also essential to its value. Wool that is white or off-white can accept a wider variety of dyes used in making various fabrics.
  • Staple strength determines the fibres ability to withstand the production process. The higher the staple strength, the less waste that is produced.

There are some other factors, but you have some of the main qualities that determine the value. Wool is truly a fantastic fibre with its moisture absorption abilities and being very breathable. 

So go ahead and enjoy this valuable and efficient fibre.

The Pros of wool socks:

Natural, renewable fibre- Wool comes from sheep and is a renewable source of the material. Using wool in clothing is excellent for the environment.


1) Highly Breathable. 

Wool garments are naturally breathable down to the fibre level.

While synthetics only breathe through pores between the fibres in the fabric, wool fibres naturally allow air to flow. As a result, wool's breathability will not feel clammy when you sweat and prevent you from overheating.

 

2) Wool keeps you dry. 

Wool fibres wick moisture away from your skin and can absorb around 30% of their weight before you feel wet. This moisture is then released from the fabric through evaporation.

 

3) Wool doesn't stink! 

Wool is also antibacterial. This means it resists odours 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 to dry. Friction, soap, and heat are all damaging to wool socks.

4) Warm even when wet. 

When fibres absorb moisture, they also release small amounts of heat, which can help you stay warm on a cool, wet day.

Cotton absorbs liquid so that it retains sweat or rainwater, but wool can keep 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 dishrag.


If your feet are sweaty from exercise or soaked from an unexpected rainstorm, keeping dry is the best way to avoid blisters and fungus.

5) Excellent temperature regulation. 

Thin fibres allow tiny air pockets in the fabric to trap your body heat, which provides superb insulation.


As moisture evaporates on hot days, the air in these pockets cools and keeps you feeling comfortable.

6) High warmth to weight ratio.
A pair of wool socks is significantly warmer than a synthetic pair of socks from the same fabric weight.

7) Soft skin feels not itchy. 

This is because wool fibres are treated to reduce the prominence of natural scales, which cause the rough, itchy feel of old wool products.


Merino wool is also made up of small-diameter fibres that are not prickly or irritating.

8) Both absorbs and repels water. 

The cortex of the fibre absorbs moisture, while the epicuticle scales on the outside of the fibre are hydrophobic.


This allows wool to simultaneously absorb moisture from your skin while resisting external moisture like rain or snow.


The scales also give a wool garment a dry skin feel even after it has absorbed moisture.

 

9) Very low flammability. 

Wool naturally extinguishes itself and will not catch on fire. It will also not melt or stick to your skin like synthetics will.

 

10) Environmentally friendly. 

Each year animals will be sheared for their fleece, and each year they grow it back, meaning that wool is a renewable source.
Wool is also sustainable and biodegradable, which is better for the environment than synthetic alternatives contributing to global pollution. It's a natural choice.

Understanding what your socks go through, you can appreciate what homeless people must go through with little or no washing facilities at their disposal.

When speaking to homeless people, we often hear that they don't have enough socks or their feet have problems due to their socks. This is why we started the initiative to donate a pair of socks for every pair purchased on Kindsox.

We aim to give away over one million pairs of socks to homeless people this year, and any awareness of our mission is very much appreciated. Either share this article or purchase a pair of socks from the Kindsox.com website.


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