Are cotton socks better than polyester?

Do you pay attention to what goes into your socks? If it’s a question you have never thought about, you might want to think again. There are dozens of different sock materials, from acrylic and spandex, to nylon and cashmere, and each of them has its own advantages. However the two most common materials are cotton and polyester, so taking the time to learn more about them is a good way to start.

The question is: which is better? Take a look at some of the top pros and cons of each of these materials and decide for yourself.

Standing the test of time

When it comes to durability, polyester is known to be the reigning champion. It can last for months of regular use, with minimal stretching or wear. If you are worried about those common holes that form around the heel and toe, polyester won’t let you down there either. It maintains its integrity for longer than cotton, even for runners and athletes. Plus, it holds its color better and will stay looking new.

Socks for daylong comfort

If you are looking for a sock that is soft and plush, cotton may be your best bet. While polyester socks certainly aren’t uncomfortable, cotton will add a bit more cushion to your step. It also has better breathability, which keeps your feet cool while also preventing them from getting clammy after a long day on your feet. And since it is all-natural, cotton tends to be the safer choice for sensitive skin.

Dry feet are happy feet

Do you ever go for a long walk and find that your socks are soaked and smelly? Since many socks are made of absorbent materials, it can take several wash cycles to get the smell out completely. One of the benefits of polyester socks is that they are non-absorbent, which means they dry more quickly after they are exposed to moisture, and don’t soak up as much sweat in the first place. The only downside is that they may make your feet sweat a bit more, as they are less breathable.

Foot fashion for a healthy planet

Polyester is a human-made, petroleum-based compound that takes quite a long time to biodegrade completely. This means it isn’t always an environmentally friendly option and can end up sitting in a landfill for much longer than you wore them. So for the planet-conscious buyers out there, cotton is the safer choice since it is made of all-natural fibers that can return to the earth more easily.


Considering all the pros and cons that come with both cotton and polyester socks, there isn’t a definitive winner. It all comes down to what features and benefits are most important to you. Don’t stress too much over it though, as many socks are made of a cotton and polyester blend, letting you take advantage of the best aspects of each. Hopefully, the next time you are choosing your next pair of socks, you will be able to make a more informed decision.