[ Knitting ]

How To Make Your Socks Last Longer

A common issue amongst sock knitters is that hand-knit socks just don’t last as well as commercially made socks. That doesn’t stop us from knitting our beloved socks, but it does present an ongoing challenge. How can we knit socks that last longer?

Fortunately, knitters are creative beings. We’ve come up with all sorts of clever ways to extend the life of our precious hand-knit garments, including socks

Today, though, I want to focus on knitting the sole of your socks so they don’t wear through quite so quickly. Everyone’s feet are different. We carry our weight differently. The shape of our feet is unique. Even the styles of shoes we wear and how we prefer them to fit differ greatly. How our feet slide around in our shoes can absolutely play a part in how our socks wear. So what I’m saying is that what works for one person may not work for their best friend because we are all so beautifully unique. What follows is what has helped my socks last longer, but please keep trying techniques until you find what works for you and your foot.

Now, my sock-knitting journey really began to take off in 2015. And I quickly noticed some trends. First, the better the socks fit my feet from the beginning, the better my socks lasted. Too loose and they wore out super fast. Too tight, and not only was it uncomfortable to have my little piggies squished all day but the top of the toes busted holes too. 

So once I dialed in fit (mostly-there always seems to be room for improvement in this area), it became more clear where my socks needed the most reinforcement. My observations showed that I tend to wear out my socks first under the ball of my foot. Next, underneath my heel begins to get thin. These are the same problem areas I’ve noticed time and time again. This is as true of my commercially made socks as it is with my hand-knit ones. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to closely examine the wear patterns of your socks too. You need to know which parts of your socks need a little assistance.

One more notable observation: my heel flap never wears holes. Like, it’s never happened ever. This got me thinking maybe I could apply the traditional slip-stitch heel flap pattern to the other parts of my sock that most need it. Turns out it’s not hard to do and it has worked very well in helping my socks last longer.

So, if like me you also find the bottom of your socks wearing out too quickly under any part of your foot, I’ve written up instructions on how I use a slip-stitch pattern to help my socks last longer. If you give it a try, please let me know how it works for you. I’d love to hear how it goes. My hope is that this simple modification to your sock knitting will add even more enjoyment to your knitting time as well as your wearing time too!

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Mindy Kingery

When I'm not dyeing, designing or dreaming of yarn, you can find me digging in my garden, hiking with my family or working on one of my many, many WIPs.

2 Comments

  1. squee! I am excited to try this out. About once a year I patch holes in all the socks that have given out and your option is a great alternative. Thanks for sharing.

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