Choosing the Best Socks for Military Boots
As a retired soldier and a current reviewer of military gear, I have witnessed a critical footwear issue for nearly my entire life. Men and women will put hours of effort into researching and purchasing the perfect AR 670-1 compliant boot, yet give almost no thought at all to their socks. While socks are certainly not as interesting as boots, they’re still very important.
In this post, we are going to help you decide on what the best socks are for military boots from my experience.
Here is a list of the Best Socks for Military Boots
The best socks for military boots enhance comfort and increase boot “wearability”. The right sock can help you walk longer distances, stand for longer periods of time, and help prevent injury.
Check Out My Guide to the Best Socks for Military Boots, below.
Types of Military Socks
There are companies out there who make high-quality socks specifically for military service. One of the largest sock manufacturers is Thorlo. They use a commonly accepted military sock classification system. The five categories of military socks are:
1. Combat Boot Sock. Suitable for practically any terrain and climate, this sock extends over the calf. The five available colors are desert sand, coyote brown, foliage green, olive and black. This type of sock is sometimes abbreviated MCB.
2. Military Boot Sock. Also known as the MB, this sock is mid-calf length. The same five colors available for the MCB are also available for the MB.
3. Desert Boot Sock, or MLH. This sock is for hot weather. The three colors available are desert sand, coyote brown and sable. (I personally wore this type of sock when stationed in Iraq.)
4. Anti-Fatigue Boot Sock. This over-calf sock offers extra leg support. An anti-fatigue sock designed for extended field operations involving lots of walking or standing, the MS comes in four colors: desert sand, foliage green, coyote brown and black.
5. Physical Training Sock. Also called the MT, this is a crew-length PT sock. No frills. Build to be used and abused.
The Benefits of Quality Socks
All socks perform the same basic functions. The difference is that high quality socks perform those functions better than their cheaper counterparts. Socks…
• protect your foot from your boots. They cut down on friction, which reduces your risk of blisters, scraps and chafing.
• protect your boots from your feet. Thick socks will absorb sweat and oil from your feet, keeping your boots clean and dry. This also helps prevent foot diseases and even foot odors.
• keep your feet comfortable. A good sock will insulate against heat loss in cold weather and facilitate air movement in warm weather.
Also, a thick sock provides cushion and support for your comfortable military boots.
What Are Military Socks Made From?
Technology has advanced far beyond those packs of white socks you can find in a discount store. Often, a quality sock will consist of several different types of fabric.
The most common natural fabrics used are cotton, wool, and silk. The most common synthetic fabrics are polyester, nylon, Teflon, Lycra, and spandex.
Generally, strong fibers will be used to reinforce the toe and heel. Stretchable fabrics are used at the top of the sock, where they hold the sock securely to the calf. Acrylic fibers are used to keep the sock dry, and heavy knits help prevent blisters.
You don’t have to be an expert to know the basics of what to look for.
You want three key features:
1. A thick, tough material in the toe and heel.
2. A breathable fabric everywhere else. Thinner material for warmer climates, thicker material for cooler ones.
3. A stretchable (but not stretched-out) fabric at the top of the sock. You want the sock to fit snugly against your calf, but not so tight your leg becomes irritated.
You want a sock that you easily forget you’re wearing. A sock you notice when you walk is not a sock which properly fits your foot.
Traditionally, socks have come in size ranges, not specific sizes. You want your boot size to be roughly in the middle of the socks’ size range. Even though socks stretch, they’ll quickly be ruined if overstretched, so proper size does matter, even though sizing is not an exact science.
Socks do have number sizes, but almost no one uses that system anymore. Instead, socks are typically sized by Medium, Large and Extra Large. Mediums socks are a men’s shoe size of five through nine-and-a-half, and women’s shoe size of six through ten. Large socks are a men’s shoe size of nine through 12, and a women’s size of 10 through 13. Extra Large socks are a men’s 12 through 15.
Also, socks are generally sold in sealed packages. Some sporting goods stores offer a special pair of in-store socks for fitting purposes. (These should be clean; obviously you should think twice about shopping in a place which wants you to wear dirty socks.) If you’re buying online, sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith. My advice is to only buy one package at first, so you’re not stuck with a ton of socks you don’t like.
Pay Attention to Your Socks Now So You can Ignore Them Later
Choosing the best socks for military boots isn’t wildly complicated, but you do want to take a little time to shop around.
If possible, buy a few pairs of varying thickness, especially if you’re deployed in an area with drastic temperature changes (like a desert).
Socks help prevent injury and disease. They increase your comfort while walking and standing. So don’t just buy a cheap pair of socks. Do a little research and spent some time checking out the many types of military socks available. Something as simple as a sock really can make a big difference.