An ode to socks

I’ve seen all kinds of travel-related articles on different types of clothing: dresses, hats, pants, shirts, coats, shoes, scarves, and a myriad of other accessories, but it’s not often that people talk about socks.  I love socks.  They are my favorite article of clothing.  They are also the necessity I most often forget to pack, which is unfortunate because they are crucial.  There are few things more uncomfortable than walking around with cold feet, for example.  And there are few things more annoying than getting blisters on your feet from your adventures.  Packing the right types and the right numbers of socks is a must for a happy holiday.

Socks for flights:
I love fuzzy socks for all occasions: the fuzzier, the better.  I could wear them everyday, but they are especially wonderful for long flights.  My feet get cold easily, but I don’t like wearing shoes the entire time that I’m on the airplane, so a pair of fuzzy socks is a good compromise.

Colorful fuzzy socks are great!

I’m also one of those intractably unfashionable people who occasionally wears socks with sandals.  I nearly always keep a pair of sandals in my backpack, and once I get on the plane, I take off the shoes or hiking boots I’m wearing and put on my sandals instead.  Wearing heavy shoes for hours on an airplane is quite uncomfortable, but there is no way I’m setting foot in an airplane bathroom without some sort of protection on my feet.

I also often wear fuzzy socks to keep my feet warm when I sleep, especially if I’m camping.  They are warm enough to keep me comfortable, but not so warm that I will wake up because my feet are boiling.

Socks for adventuring:
My default is to bring two pairs of shoes on any trip, a pair for adventuring and a pair for everything else.  Usually, the pair for everything else is a pair of sandals and the pair for adventuring is hiking boots.  The problem with hiking boots is that they can be quite uncomfortable without the right socks.  When I first bought my hiking boots in Chile and went hiking in Patagonia, I wore them with generic athletic socks.  By the end of that trip, I had blister bandages duct-taped to my heels.  Hopefully, that’s not a mistake I’ll ever make again.

Hiking boots work best with wool socks, which are thick enough to avoid irritating the skin and causing the formation of blisters.  There are a multitude of options, but I usually just buy the generic ones from Costco.

Socks for running:
I love the idea of lacing up my shoes to go running in a foreign city, exploring new places as they come to life early in the morning.  However, the reality is that I’m usually far too lazy to actually follow through on this idea.  I don’t like to carry multiple pairs of shoes when I travel, especially since I usually try to travel with a carry-on bag or with my backpack and shoes take up a lot of space.  I recently discovered toe shoes though, and they are so compact that they can easily be shoved into a corner of my luggage.  I bought toe socks to go with the toe shoes, and they are much more comfortable than normal athletic socks for running.  They keep my feet from becoming too sweaty and smelly.

Socks for dressing up:
If you are the type of person that gets dressed up while traveling, you may want socks for dressier outfits.  Typically, I am not one of these people unless there is a specific reason for me to dress up.  I usually keep a pair of nude socks in my bag though.  They take up very little space, and they are perfect for when I realize that I forgot to pack dressy socks.

Socks are an often overlooked travel necessity, but having the proper socks makes traveling much more enjoyable.  Happy travels, and don’t forget your socks!

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