Sports and outdoor activities can be tough on your body, especially your feet. Add harsh environmental elements such as slush and snow, and your feet will definitely need the appropriate coverage to stay dry. For snowboarders, choosing the right kind of sock is essential to keeping your feet warm and blister-free. Acrylic and wool are two popular snowboarding sock materials.
What is a Snowboarding Sock?
Snowboarding socks have different features than your typical gym and tube socks. Snowboarding socks are long and usually padded under the foot (such as the heel and toe area), shin area and the back of legs. These features help protect feet and legs from rubbing against snowboard boots, especially when snowboarders are making turns or abruptly stopping on the slopes. Like other "performance" clothing -- garments meant to withstand the rigors of sports and high activity -- snowboarding socks should be made out of materials that are breathable, water-resistant and anti-microbial.
Acrylic Snowboarding Socks
Acrylic snowboarding socks are made of synthetic acrylic fibers, and usually blended with nylon and/or spandex to retain a form-fitting, elastic shape. Acrylic socks are durable, and wick away sweat and other moisture, hold their color(s), and are stain- and wrinkle-resistant. This helps keep foot irritation at bay and prevent blistering. Acrylic socks are warm and lightweight; however, insulation is reduced when the material remains wet. Acrylic snowboarding socks are ideal for people with wool allergies.
Wool Snowboarding Socks
Wool snowboarding socks are made of natural textile fibers taken from sheep, goats, rabbits and other animals. Socks made of wool can help regulate body temperature and has tremendous wicking properties. Wool socks will help keep feet warm and dry of sweat or snow during a downhill run. Merino wool, obtained from the Merino sheep breed, is one of the softest and finest wools -- making it a comfortable material choice for snowboarding socks.
Choosing the Right Socks
Acrylic and wool snowboarding socks have comparable performance features. Many times, choosing between acrylic and wool boils down to cost, personal preference and even the level of care involved. Acrylic socks are typically cheaper, but may not be as soft as wool. Wool is water-resistant and moisture wicking, which helps fight odor-causing bacteria caused by sweat. However, acrylic is easier to care for and won't drastically shrink the way wool does when it’s improperly washed and dried in a machine.