Best Moisture Wicking Socks For Sweaty Feet

Sweaty feet are a bad problem for many people. Not only does it give you smelly feet but it can be embarrassing making it difficult to not be noticed. While sweaty feet are a natural problem, they don’t have to remain a problem.

There are socks that are good for both comfort and sweaty feet. Choosing the ideal sock will help to reduce the effect of sweaty feet and often to help your feet breathe. In fact, your stinky feet often aren’t a genetic or health problem. Stinky, sweaty feet are often caused by simply buying the wrong socks.

If you have a problem with sweaty feet, you need to look at the following factors when buying moisture wicking socks. They can make a big difference.


Get Rid Of Cheap Socks

The first thing you want to do is get rid of cheap socks. Cheap socks use cheap materials and those materials aren’t designed to be breathable. In order to be able to sell for low prices, the only material they can use are those cheap materials.

Cheap socks will also wear quickly and break. With how quickly you will go through cheap socks, you will end up spending more in replacing your socks. So for all reasons, just skip these.


Other Socks To Avoid

Cheap socks aren’t the only socks that you should avoid when you are trying to get rid of sweaty feet. These socks are based on the type of material used. The two main materials you want to avoid are synthetic and cotton.


Synthetic Socks

Synthetic materials such as acrylics, nylon, plastic, and other artificial materials hold heat in rather than allow it to dissipate. The inner lining also doesn’t allow sweat to leave the socks. Your feet will get wet and the socks will constrict around your feet. Synthetic socks become even worse during the summer where the outdoor heat amplifies the sweating that many have in their shoes even during the winter.

The one exception to synthetic materials is polyester. A lot of athletes prefer polyester materials for their socks. Nike makes a DRI-FIT sock specifically for those that play sports.


Cotton Socks

Many people love cotton socks because they are light and cool. Your feet can breathe in them. But for those who have sweaty feet they can be a major problem. Cotton socks don’t hold the moisture around the feet like synthetic socks, they absorb the sweat and become wet.

Your cotton socks won’t be able to dispel that moisture easily either. The material stays wet until it is dried. That wetness in cotton socks can cause additional smells on top of your sweat. Some of this from bacteria that forms on wet fabric and feet. Bacteria also thrives on the heat that builds up in cotton socks.

Those who enjoy long hikes, walks, or camping should avoid cotton socks due to the dangers of having wet feet while in the outdoors.


The Dangers Of Wet Socks

Since we talked about how cotton socks can hold sweat and water without quickly drying, it is important to know that wet socks can present some dangers. Both for health and safety. Let’s look at some of the reasons, besides smelly feet, that you should avoid wet socks.



We already mentioned that bacteria can grow on wet socks and wet feet. While some bacteria might only smell, there can be other problems associated with foot bacteria. You can get infections and other health concerns from bacteria that stays with your skin under the socks.



Friction on the skin from socks can cause blisters. This is more common when the feet and socks are wet. A blister may only be a small inconvenience if you take your socks off and take care of it. However, a blister that opens up inside a wet sock has the potential to become infected. Dry socks and dry feet will help to prevent blisters.


Athlete’s Foot

Wet, or even damp socks, can cause a fungus on your feet known as athlete’s foot. This fungus requires treatment and many people notice it reoccur. Athlete’s foot can be transmitted by touch and also by contact with shared objects such as towels or shoes.



No, wet socks won’t cause diabetes. People who have diabetes are more at risk for skin problems from wet socks or bare feet. Those with diabetes should make sure to pick the right socks and wear them with good shoes.


Trench Foot

While unlikely for most people, those who spend a lot of time in the cold with wet socks can develop trench foot. Trench foot causes damage to all parts of the foot from the skin down deeper. Once you have contracted trench foot you will need time to heel. Healing can take anywhere from weeks to months and there may be residual damage that will not go away. This might be most concerning to those who work outdoors in remote areas or hike for extended periods of time.


Frostbite and Hypothermia

Having cold socks during the winter can cause frostbite and hypothermia. Sweat can freeze just like any other water source. This is a big concern if you are outside a lot during the winter and don’t wear socks to protect your feet against sweating. Both frostbite and hypothermia have major health concerns.


What Socks To Wear To Avoid Sweaty Feet

We have covered what not to wear and some of the dangers of wet socks. Now we are going to talk about which socks are actually the best to help sweaty feet. There are multiple options so you aren’t stuck with just one option. Keep in mind that not every sock is right for every person.

Take into account the feel of the various socks out there. People have preferences for different textures so one option might not feel right for you. Cushion is also important. We recommend trying multiple options until you find the option that is exactly right for you.

Without further preamble, here are some of the factors you need to look for when you are trying to get rid of sweaty feet.



Wool and Merino Wool Socks

Most people think wool socks when they first look for socks that will help them to keep sweaty feet away. For many people this is true as long as you buy modern wool socks. In modern designs, wool socks use merino wool. This wool is more comfortable and not itchy.

Wool socks help to regulate the temperature of your feet no matter the outside temperature. If it is cold out, the socks help you stay warm. For hot temperatures, they will help to keep you cool. Beyond that, the wool absorbs water and sucks it into the fabric to keep the moisture away from your feet.

Further merino wool is a great anti-bacterial. Bacteria that would normally buildup in sweaty or wet socks has trouble due to the makeup of the wool. The material also helps to hold in odors from sweat and other conditions.

While merino wool is now more popular and has more benefits over traditional wool, some still choose traditional wool. Comfort, tradition, and availability make wool a preferred choice for some people.

Hiking brands tend to be some of the best sock producers. SmartWool and WigWam are two brands that are most well-known for their hiking products. Both companies also produce daily wear socks that you should consider checking out.

The downside of wool socks is that when they do get wet they tend to take a while to dry. Even when wet, wool is capable of keeping your feet warm. Traditional wool socks also cause itching and are thicker than regular socks. Some of those who try wool socks find that they are sensitive to them and can’t stand them.


Inner Sock Liners

An alternative for those who don’t like the feel of wool or are sensitive to wool is to have sock liners. Sock liners are worn under your socks. They take the sweat away from your feet and hold it outside of the sock liner for the wool to absorb.

Sock liners further help to keep the odor from smell feet inside your socks. The two layers help to control the smell in addition to the odor eliminating effects of wool. And if you pick the right brand of socks, they come with further odor technology to help keep smells away.

Liner socks don’t have too many downsides. The major downside is that some people feel uncomfortable with an extra layer as it can feel constricting. With sock liners that use anti-odor technology, some people find that they are allergic to the ingredients/additives used.


Coolmax Technology Socks

Coolmax is a type of fabric that is specifically designed to help sweaty feet or those who are active. It takes the sweat and channels them through the body of the sock to an outer layer of absorbent fabric. In some ways, a Coolmax sock is like having a sock liner without having the extra constriction.

As opposed to wool socks that help regulate temperature internally, many feel that Coolmax technology is more breathable. Your feet stay cool even in the hottest situations because outside air is allowed to come into the socks. Almost as if there are fans built into the socks.

The term Coolmax refers to the technology behind these socks, not a brand. Many brands offer socks with Coolmax technology built into them and with those many brands come many different specialty socks. Of note, they make a sock that is great for those with diabetes that is wider and allows the feet to breathe even more.

Two reasons exist that you might not choose Coolmax technology in your socks if you have sweaty feet. As with any type of sock, you may not enjoy the fit or feel. The other reason is that you may want to opt for a warmer sock if you live somewhere with cold temperatures.


Copper Threaded Socks

Some older shoes used to have special insoles known as copper insoles. They helped to prevent bacteria and fungi growth by having the anti-bacterial copper. Small strips of copper were woven into the yarn that was used to make the insoles.

best sock with copper

This technology has now been removed from shoes for the most part and can now be found in socks. The fabric that makes up the socks has the same copper thread woven into it. Copper threading is designed to not be washed out and to be durable.

Experts say that the copper in the socks helps the collagen levels in your feet. With more collagen your feet are healthier and you will feel better.

At first coppersole socks were only a small trend. Now you can find them all over the internet and in many stores. Overall most customers are very satisfied with their coppersole socks.

The chief complaint for coppersole socks is that they are less durable than other types of socks. Their lifespan isn’t as long, meaning you will end up having to buy more socks than if you went with another style of socks to help fight sweaty feet. Also, depending on the fabric used, some people have had problems with the socks holding in the sweat while they blocked the odor.


Silver Particle Socks

Like copper, silver can be a great addition to socks to help eliminate sweat and odor. Silver is also a major antibacterial material and will fight off smelly bacteria. For silver though, only small particles known as ions. They are woven into a number of different fabrics.

The small nature of the silver particle socks or silver ion socks prevents the metal from overheating your feet. When combined with some of the fabrics above, your silver socks will help you to keep cool.

Silver socks do have concerns among those who are overly worried about their health. Science has shown no effects on your body from silver in your socks. In fact, some people use spray on silver lotion to help reduce sweating and bacteria buildup. Those that do have concerns over silver particles in their socks can opt for copper socks or the few titanium socks on the market. Titanium socks have similar properties to silver.


Bamboo Socks

Wearing wood on your feet might not be your first idea of comfortable socks. Bamboo socks are actually a great option for those who have sweaty feet. Many industries have been using bamboo for clothes and accessories for a while now because it is hypoallergenic and very versatile.

Like with wool, bamboo works great for regulating temperature. That means your feet won’t get overheated during the summer and your temperature will even remain ideal during the winter. You won’t overheat. That cuts down on a lot of sweating from the feet.

Bamboo also helps to cut down on any fungus or bacteria that grows in wet socks. This helps to keep your feet smelling fresh all day. It will also cut down on the amount of sweating by preventing your feet from having to fight of an infection in addition to heat or a medical condition.


Moisture Wicking Socks Aren’t The Whole Answer

For some people sweaty feet is simply their feet overheating or wearing the wrong socks. Socks from the above categories will put you on the path toward having dry and odor free feet. But socks aren’t the whole answer for everyone.

A good number of people around the world suffer from medical conditions that cause excessive sweating, especially in the feet. One of the most common conditions is hyperhidrosis. Hyperhidrosis is a condition in which certain sweat glands have trouble controlling their production of sweat. The name might be fancy but the treatment isn’t.

Multiple at home treatments for hyperhidrosis exist. Iontophoresis is the most common and it lasts for the longest amount of time. You can go a week or more without experiencing excessive sweating. Avoiding a large number of doctors visits with iontophoresis treatment at home means more privacy and less cost.

Other medical conditions can cause excessive sweating. So can some medications. Before considering any medical condition, it is important to go to a primary care doctor or podiatrist. They can help you to find the root of your problem. Especially if changing out your socks didn’t work for you.

There is no need to worry about having sweaty feet. Getting the best socks for sweaty feet often clears the problem up right away. Pick socks from our list and test them out to find what works best for you and you will have dry, odor-free feet quickly. With all of these options there has never been a better time to get rid of sweaty feet problems.



Dr. Gary C. Anderson M.D is a Surgeon who specializes in the treatment of hyperhidrosis. During the past 20 years, he has performed over 2000 sympathectomy procedures on patients with sweating of the underarms, hands, face, scalp or blushing.