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    Why Cotton Kills: A Complete Guide to Why You Should Choose Wool Over Cotton

    Few things are as satisfying as slipping on a brand-new pair of socks. Socks keep feet warm and dry and provide a barrier to keep harmful bacteria away from our skin. 

    Socks should also tackle moisture caused by sweat. Did you know your feet have roughly 250,000 sweat glands? If you wear the wrong socks, that can get cold–even dangerous.

    But how do you know if you're wearing the right sock? When it comes to cotton vs wool socks, there is much to consider.

    This guide will look at the differences between the two materials, and how they can impact the quality of your sock. 

    Tackling Moisture

    Let's begin by looking at how each style of sock handles moisture. When it comes to wearing socks, moisture is unavoidable. Regardless of the climate, your activities or the style of shoes you're wearing, your socks will come in contact with moisture.

    Even if the moisture isn't coming in through your shoes because of the weather, you are still likely to sweat. That's why it's important to choose a sock that can stand up against moisture.

    Cotton and Moisture

    Despite their popularity, cotton socks do a terrible job of preventing moisture. Cotton socks absorb roughly 27 times their weight in water. In other words, cotton socks act like a sponge. 

    Once a cotton is wet, it can no longer work to insulate. But it gets worse. The wet material pulls  heat away from your body.

    If you wear cotton socks on an outdoor excursion, you are bound to get wet. In a cooler climate, this can make your foot cold

    Let's say you're on a hike but you stop for a water break. All of a sudden, you are going to feel the cool air on your feet. When you wear cotton socks, the moisture sticks to your skin, pulling heat away from your body.

    Cotton might be a reasonable choice for bumming around the house, but if you are planning to spend time outdoors, wool is a better alternative.

    Merino wool and Moisture

    Merino wool handles moisture well. 

    When it comes to absorbing moisture, merino wool only absorb roughly 30 percent of its  weight. That is a dramatic improvement over that of cotton, which holds roughly 2700 percent of its  weight. 

    Wool begins absorbing moisture through heat, often before your skin has even started to sweat. 

    The moisture gets caught before it comes in contact with your skin. Wool uses evaporation to dissipate unwanted moisture. The wool fibers can move the moisture through the garment and using your own body’s heat expedite the evaporation process wherever the wool is in contact with the air. In a shoe or boot, the wool will move the moisture upward toward the ankle until it can push that excess moisture out through evaporation. 

     Drying Process

    Not only does wool repel moisture much more efficiently than cotton socks, but they also dry faster. 

    Merino wool uses the moisture-wicking process to dry quickly, even when they come in contact with water. They are also a lot more comfortable to wear when wet, compared to synthetic socks.Wool cuts drying times down to about a third of other sock materials. So, if you're out on the trail and you need to walk through a few puddles or get caught in the rain, don't panic. If you're wearing wool, your discomfort will likely be short-lived.

    Cotton Vs. Wool and Warmth

    Warmth is one of the biggest priorities when you're looking for a suitable sock. This is especially true if you're planning to be active outdoors. 

    Each year, approximately1,330 Americans die from exposure to the cold. But hypothermia can be prevented by wearing protective clothing.

    Getting wet because you're wearing the wrong clothing isn't just uncomfortable. It's dangerous. It can even be fatal.

    Here's how wool measure up against cotton when it comes to warmth.


    Cotton is one of the worst materials for the cold. Unlike wool, cotton is not moisture-wicking. 

    When cotton absorbs moisture, it holds onto it. As a result, cotton takes a long time to dry. This makes cotton dangerous because they carry a risk of hypothermia. 

    Let's say you are out skiing and your feet begin to sweat. You may not realize it until you take a break, but if your feet have come in contact with moisture, your temperature will drop. If your body temperature drops too low, your heart can stop.

    Where dry fabrics trap air against the skin to keep you warm, cotton sticks to the skin. This pulls  heat away from you and makes you cold.

    While cotton may seem comfortable, it is are not a good choice if you're spending time outdoors.


    Wool, especially merino wool, does a great job of keeping you warm. 

    Not only are these moisture-wicking, but they also carry thermoregulation properties. 

    Wool holds and releases heat in response to your body, helping you regulate your body temperature. 

    There are also natural crimps in the fibers of wool that create air pockets of insulation. It is  a perfect choice when you're spending time out in the cold.

    Best for Repelling Odors & Bacteria

    If you are spending a lot of time traveling or wearing the same garments and odor is a concern, you need to look for a material  that will keep you smelling fresh and clean. 

    In some cases, odor also indicates the presence of harmful bacteria and fungus growing in shoes. These harmful substances can attach to your skin and cause infections 

    Your clothing can  prevent such conditions. That's why it's important to find a apparel  that is anti-microbial 

    Here's how wool compares to cotton when it comes to personal hygiene.

    Hygiene and Cotton 

    The fibers of cotton absorb heat. That abundance of heat creates a hospitable environment for bacteria to grow. Such bacteria also causes fabrics to give off a foul odor. 

    Although cotton can be breathable, it  does not encourage moisture to evaporate.

    Furthermore, sweat, bacteria and foul odors are unlikely to go away until the cotton has been properly washed.

    Cotton should only get worn once, before getting cleaned. That makes it  less practical for those who are trying to cut down on dirty clothes during outdoor excursions. 

    If you are prone to sweat, and most of us are, you should not wear cotton outdoors for extended time frames.

    Wool and Hygiene

    Alternatively, wool is very hygienic. 

    When compared to other materials, researchers found wool clothing to be more resilient to odors.

    The chemicals in wool fibers repel sweat. They also prevent bacteria growth and accumulation, preventing harmful bacteria from coming in contact with the skin.

    While cotton and other materials need to get washed after one wear, you can wear wool over long periods. Many admit to wearing their wool for days before washing them.

    You can go longer between your wash cycles, making it easier if you are hiking or camping outdoors. Pack less, and stay comfortable.


    It's no secret that our clothes  endure a lot of wear and tear. That's why it's important to choose a durable fiber . This is particularly true if you're choosing a material  reliable enough to protect your feet from the elements.

    The Durability of Cotton 

    While some cotton items  might be more affordable, they are unlikely to offer the same value as other materials. Cotton wont hold up against daily wear and tear the same way other materials  do.

    Long-Lasting Wool 

    If you're looking for a material  that can handle a lot of wear, you should opt for  merino wool. 

    Merino wool is equipped for active wear. The fiber’s  moisture-wicking properties prevent friction, making them less prone to holes and rips. 

    Because it  repels moisture, bacteria, and odor, merino wool does not need to get washed as often as other socks. While the pieces can go through the dryer, hanging them to dry will extend their longevity.

    Cotton fibers will bend 3,000 times before breaking but wool can bend over 20,000 times. It proves that wool lasts much longer than cotton. 

    Choose Wool for Active Wear

    Choosing the right clothing fiber is important, especially if you spend a lot of time outside in the elements. When it comes to cotton vs. wool, there's no contest.

    Choosing merino wool protects you from moisture, bacteria, blisters and discomfort. So you can trust that your clothing will keep your temperature regulated and you happy.

    At Point6,  we feel that we have succeeded in making the best merino goods that we can. We offer a wide selection of merino wool clothing and socks to help you layer up in the cold. Shop our apparel collection today.