'Tis the season for dumping out our junk drawers, scrubbing the far-back reaches of our refrigerators, and FINALLY going through the heaps of clothing clogging up our closets. But don’t leave out your sock drawer when making your “keep” and “donate” piles this spring. It’s time for a fresh start, so let’s find out what socks we should be holding onto and which ones we can bear to part with.
How Long Do Socks Last?
Typically, socks can last between six months to a year if worn once a week. If you’re wondering how long high-quality socks last, the answer is upwards of a year!
The lifetime of a sock depends on a variety of factors, including their type and make, the day-to-day activities of their wearer, and how they’re cleaned and stored. Crew socks and knee high socks tend to last longer than no-shows. Someone who makes the trek to work every day on foot may need to replace their socks more frequently than someone who prefers to drive. How you wash and store your socks can also have a major impact on their longevity, so read ahead to learn how you can extend your sock’s lifetime.
When Should You Throw Out Socks?
In general, you should replace your socks when either the heel or toe area become noticeably thin or threadbare. Another sign your socks are past their prime is when you frequently have to pull them up throughout the day. Saggy socks mean the elastic is weakened, either from use or age.
For crazy socks with fun and colorful patterns like the socks that we sell in our sock store, it may be time to say goodbye and pick up a replacement pair when colors become faded due to too many cycles through the wash, or if staining disrupts the design or pattern of the sock.
However, just because you are done with a pair of socks doesn't mean it needs to end up in the landfill. Instead of throwing your old socks in the trash, use them to create something new, or donate them to companies like Value Village and Goodwill. These organizations take donations of worn-out socks and other unusable textiles and put them through an industrial shredder, then the fiber is used in new products like home insulation, stuffing for furniture, pet bedding and carpet padding.
How Often Should You Buy New Socks?
It can be tough parting with socks that have tragically reached their expiration date, but there’s good news too! Once you’ve properly mourned the loss of your fallen foot soldiers, you’ll suddenly find yourself faced with heaps of new real estate in your sock drawer, all set for some brand-new sock finds. Now comes arguably the best part of the spring cleaning season; spring re-purchasing!
To keep both your socks and your wardrobe feeling and looking as fresh as possible, we recommend buying new socks every 3-6 months, which will be well before your current socks completely kick the bucket. Or to keep your collection consistent, just pick out a new pair for every sock you throw out. This way you can keep things interesting in your sock rotation, while ensuring your favorite pairs last even longer due to you having enough socks to save the best of the best for special occasions.
Be sure to check out our new arrivals to help fill in some of those newfound gaps in your sock collection.
How to Make Socks Last Longer
Did you know a well-fitting sock lasts longer? It's all about the placement of the heel and toe, which are usually reinforced to prevent them from wearing through too quickly. When you wear a sock that is too small or large, the toe and heel won't sit in the right place, and the sock will wear out faster due to increased friction. See our Sock Size Guide to ensure you find the best fit for your feet.
Let’s say that you just picked up a new pair of socks and they’re absolutely perfect. Whether it be the fit, fabric, or the stellar crazy sock design, you cannot bear the thought of ever parting with them. Although the time will come someday, there are some easy sock care instructions you can follow to make sure you max out your time with your socks.
To make your socks last longer, we recommend turning them inside-out while sending them through the wash—and avoiding drying machine cycles as much as possible. If line-drying isn’t a viable option for you, then tumble dry on the lowest possible temperature to help extend your sock’s life. For more tips on laundering your socks, check out our Sock Care Guide.
We also recommend keeping your socks with their mates as much as possible, taking extra care to run them through the same wash cycles and to hunt them down as soon as one member of the set mysteriously disappears. This way you’re not forced to let go of perfectly good socks just because they’re missing their match.
But is there any way we can make our socks last an entire lifetime? Although we can’t expect the exact same pair of socks to last us forever, brands like Darn Tough do offer lifetime-guarantee socks. The company will accept your worn-out socks and send you a replacement pair, for life.
Darn Tough socks are made from merino wool and nylon, making them extremely durable and resistant to wear and tear, as well as being anti-microbial. Take a look at our selection of Darn Tough socks and make your sock love eternal!
The Best Way to Fold Socks
Another factor that can have a surprising impact on the life expectancy of our socks is the way that they’re folded and stored in our sock drawers. If we don’t provide our socks with a comfy and organized space to rest, they’ll get tired fast!
The most commonly used method for folding socks can actually cause the most damage. Most people store their socks using the “balling” method, where they roll the tops of their socks underneath themselves, forming a little sock ball. While this may seem ideal for saving space in your drawer, balling your socks causes the spandex to stretch out much faster, and your socks will begin to lose their shape. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to fold your socks that will both save space and prevent stretching.
We have found the best method for folding a pair of socks is simply laying both socks flat on top of each other, making sure they’re lined up along the tops of the cuff all the way to the toe, and then folding the bottom half of the socks, including the heel and the toe, behind once. There’s a reason most socks are packaged like this! This way your socks lay flat, allowing you to stack them and consolidate room in your sock drawer without risking them becoming stretched out. For more sock organization tips, check out our blog on how to organize a sock drawer.
Gift yourself the feeling of a fresh start this spring, starting with your sock drawer. Just take out the old, and we will be happy to help you bring in the new. Happy cleaning!
February 13, 2023
Exemplary article from a talented writer, she’s got me wanting to pick up more socks than I know what to do with!