Keeping your feet warm this winter, whether you’re on the yard or in the saddle, is certainly worth a bit of thought. Cold toes are no fun, and that feeling of dread just before you dismount after a cold ride is something that no one relishes! Here, Rachel Plant from Hot Togs talks to us about what to look for when we buy thermal socks, and how they ‘work’ to help keep you warm.
There’s a plethora of different styles of socks available to riders, but in the winter, thermal properties really come into their own. However, the warmth of the sock isn’t the only element that needs to be considered if you want them to really work for you. When you’re looking to invest in socks, make sure you keep in mind the following points…
- Are they bulky? Thick socks may look snug, but put them on before you try and prize yourself into slim fitting riding boots and, if you manage to get your foot in, you’ll find that they’ll squeeze feet, reduce movement and might actually cause a reduction in circulation that will make you feel colder! Of course, socks need to be a certain thickness, but do keep this in mind.
- Do they wick? Your feet will sweat, even in the coldest weather, and if the socks don’t wick, the moisture will sit next to your skin all day long…and this will cool your feet down even more. Bulky socks generally aren’t as good at wicking as more technical materials, so make sure you check.
- Are they made from a technical yarn? Technical yarn will usually provide warmth without bulk, wick moisture away and often has other properties.
- Fit. Fit is so important! Not only should they fit your feet, but the design should ensure they stay in place all day long. This may require elastic sections, gentle elastic ribbing up the length of the sock or something else.
- Comfort. Socks have to be comfortable. Fit is a big part of this, but cushioned soles with blister protection (especially if you’re on your feet all day), arch supports and flat toe seams can make a huge difference.
How we apply this to our socks
The key to thermal socks is to use a technical yarn that provides warmth without the bulk…which is why we have used Thermolite yarn in all our socks. Thermolite is a technical fibre that is hollow core, it traps warm air within the fibre itself so you don’t need layers of material for it to be warm. Polar bear fleece is also hollow core and works on the same principle!
Thermolite also provides other fantastic properties, it will wick any moisture away from your skin and it is breathable, both key in keeping warm. Our socks have been double loop pile stitched on the inside and this type of stitching also helps with the thermal properties by trapping more warm air within the loops. It also makes for a lovely cushioned surround for your feet.
We have also worked hard to eliminate another problem often found with socks and that is they can either dig in around the ankle area as they rely on a tight fitting band around the top of the sock to hold them in place or they are loose fitting and slip down inside your boots which is very uncomfortable. However in order to solve this problem we have had our socks ribbed up the length of the sock (both in standard length and knee length) this ribbing lightly grips to your ankle/leg and very comfortably holds the socks in place.
To find out more about thermal socks for the winter or Hot Togs, see www.hottogs.co.uk or call 01782 372662.