Article Thumbnail

Is There Any Point to Wearing Two Pairs of Socks?

A podiatrist, a marathoner and a professional stylist weigh in

In theory, wearing two of something should equate to double the protection — two pairs of socks, for example, should keep your feet warmer in the middle of winter than one pair. (It’s common knowledge that the key to staying warm is layering, right?) But is that true, or are socks like condoms, in that wearing two actually decreases their efficacy?

To find out, we asked four different experts in their respective fields if it’s ever worth double-bagging your feet.

The answer: It depends entirely on what you’re trying to accomplish.

If You’re Trying to Stay Warm, One Pair is Plenty

According to Joshua Kaye, a podiatrist in L.A., wearing two pairs of socks to keep your feet warm is an exercise in futility. “Your boots were designed to hold your feet and one pair of socks, not two,” he explains. “The second pair compresses your foot, cutting off circulation and making your feet colder than they’d be with a single pair. This impaired blood flow makes your feet even more vulnerable to frostbite.”

If You’re Trying to Avoid Blisters, Two Will Do

“I wear two pairs of socks so the friction occurs between the two socks, rather than between the sock and skin,” says Steve Moran, a marathon runner. “If your shoe now feels too tight, go up a half-size as long as your foot doesn’t slide around, making blisters a possibility. When using this option, make sure the inner sock is a comfortable, synthetic material.”

But wait! According to Brandon Hoult, an outdoorsman, while the first sock should be a thin synthetic, like a nylon dress sock, the second should be thick wool. “My favorite brands are Bridgedale socks,” he says. “They lasted over 2,000 miles on the Appalachian Trail. Look for a fine tight weave without a bunch of fibers that you can pull off easily.”

If You’re Trying to Be Fashionable, Just Wear the One Pair (Duh)

“Is this a serious question?” asks Rayne Parvis, a professional stylist, when we inquire whether there’s any sartorial reason for ever wearing two socks. “No, there’s absolutely no stylistic value to wearing two different pairs of socks unless you’re going to a wedding in the Arctic and your shoes are too big,” she repeated (more than once).

Sorry we asked…