Testing no-wash socks, one sweaty day at a time
August 6, 2019 4:50 AM   Subscribe

 
Paging Dr Betteridge, Dr Betteridge to the white courtesy phone.
posted by Literaryhero at 4:54 AM on August 6, 2019 [17 favorites]


The only drawback I can see is needing to keep track of how long you've been wearing the same socks so you can wash them one day before they start smelling bad.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 5:05 AM on August 6, 2019


The obvious follow-up is missing - what happens after you wash them? Do they still last 5 days or is half of the "fabric infused with “silver, copper, and zinc,”" now no longer infused? (And the silver, copper and zinc now in the waste water).
posted by scorbet at 5:07 AM on August 6, 2019 [16 favorites]


I mean, you can wear any socks for six days straight, or even longer.
posted by Dysk at 5:12 AM on August 6, 2019 [17 favorites]


The may not smell bad, but I'll bet they feel awful after a couple of days.
posted by Optamystic at 5:14 AM on August 6, 2019 [15 favorites]


BRB, changing my socks.
posted by box at 5:16 AM on August 6, 2019 [8 favorites]


I'm assuming this is the oligodynamic effect? I'm not sure I'd slap anything like these on my legs for a week at a time. Also wondering how well these have been tested. It seems like a great way to end up with a case of dermatitis
posted by Query at 5:27 AM on August 6, 2019


Do they still last 5 days or is half of the "fabric infused with “silver, copper, and zinc,”" now no longer infused? (And the silver, copper and zinc now in the waste water).

This is also the concern / reason that keeps me from trusting this sort of thing (also permethrin) in outdoor apparel. It seems like a parlor trick rather than a permanent solution.

Wool. Merino wool. Even in the US south. If only I didn’t (literally) wear through underwear, not just merino, so fast.
posted by RolandOfEld at 5:28 AM on August 6, 2019 [10 favorites]


I could see the appeal of these for traveling (so you can carry less clothes and wash them less often). But why would you want to rewear socks right up to the stink point in your daily life?

I also share the doubt that they will perform equally well after numerous trips through the washer and dryer.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:28 AM on August 6, 2019 [2 favorites]


It seems manifestly obvious to me that any miraculous new antibacterial, anti-smell fairy dust should be applied to shoes and boots, not socks.
posted by Western Infidels at 5:32 AM on August 6, 2019 [10 favorites]


Your scientists were so preoccupied etc. etc.
posted by tobascodagama at 5:47 AM on August 6, 2019 [9 favorites]


Trench foot is real, so it's good he at least took off the socks daily, even if he put them back on again.
posted by limeonaire at 5:48 AM on August 6, 2019 [2 favorites]


Uh, you can pretty much switch off between two pairs of wool socks for quite a while (they need time to un-flatten).
posted by notsnot at 5:51 AM on August 6, 2019 [11 favorites]


Wool is (still) king! The Norwegian Armed Forces provided me with all kinds of wool items while I was in, and the drill was (as notsnot says) to keep changing between two pairs. Dry out one pair while the other one is worn. And get your feet out of socks and boots as often as you can. (And inspect each other's feet for signs of starting frostbite, but that might not be as applicable in daily civilian life...)
posted by Harald74 at 6:10 AM on August 6, 2019 [26 favorites]


a weekly wash cycle means far fewer trips to the laundromat

As if socks were a significant factor in how often people have to do laundry.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:29 AM on August 6, 2019 [17 favorites]


I'd suggest that the market that consists of people who have identified a need for an effective way of living with fewer sock changes is massively smaller than the market that consists of people who will buy this sock brand based on whatever promises are made by the advertisers.
posted by pipeski at 6:41 AM on August 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


I see a market for these - soldiers, backpackers, kids on a gap year, homeless people. They should do underpants next.
posted by Bee'sWing at 6:47 AM on August 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


Pfft...this is true of any pair of socks. As long as they're black.
posted by sexyrobot at 6:53 AM on August 6, 2019 [5 favorites]


The may not smell bad, but I'll bet they feel awful after a couple of days.

This is what I'm thinking, too. I'd absolutely take these backpacking, if they FELT okay for five days. I don't care if they smell like violets or new cars or the emptiness of space; if they feel like a fresh pair of socks every day then I'm on board.
posted by Gray Duck at 6:55 AM on August 6, 2019 [3 favorites]


I think “long term wear” is the detail this puff piece skirts. I believe I get around a year out of 10 pair of white socks, so around 30-40 washes before holes arise. One wash, and he didn’t even wear them again? Pffffft.
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 6:55 AM on August 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


Should you?

No, you should not. There, saved you a click.
posted by uberchet at 7:01 AM on August 6, 2019 [8 favorites]


Speaking as someone who has endured some truly rank body odor at conferences from folks who try to optimize for traveling light over clean laundry... no. No you should not. Also I found this FTA horrifying:

"I’m extremely bad at hygiene. I’ve personally committed dozens of terrible clothing crimes in my time on this earth. I routinely turn my briefs inside out to steal extra bandwidth when my top drawer is empty. So, it should not surprise you that this was not the first time I’ve used the same socks for about a week straight."
posted by jzb at 7:08 AM on August 6, 2019 [5 favorites]


This is even beyond the dudebro rite of passage of deciding to buy a couple of dozen pairs of the exact same sock and feeling really clever about that. Full disclosure: I have done it.
posted by thelonius at 7:08 AM on August 6, 2019


I am a very sweaty boy. Nay, a sweaty man. But my feet don't really sweat much. Is this normal? I think I could wear the same socks for a few days even in the heat. I'm on board with these, but I still wash my socks now all the time so perhaps they'd be wasted on me.

I discovered my girlfriend doesn't wear deodorant, but she always smells clean and never bad (and also somehow doesn't sweat??!? not much anyway). I do not understand bodies. She showers regularly and is very clean before you assume she's super gross. It really surprised me.

The only maybe woo thing I do is not wash my hair all that often. Like once a month. It's luxurious and my one movie star feature, it just kind of exists in its equilibrium. Gets oily for a day or two after I wash it like it's catching back up.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 7:16 AM on August 6, 2019




Dudebros aren’t the only people who buy multiples of the same pair of socks and feel clever about it. It makes laundry dramatically simpler.
posted by 41swans at 8:00 AM on August 6, 2019 [19 favorites]


I have literally posted about buying all the same socks and how clever it is on Metafilter before. I am neither a dude nor a bro.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:17 AM on August 6, 2019 [16 favorites]


Socks are the cheap and easily replaceable article of clothing that exist primarily to protect your shoes. They exist solely so that you don't have to change your shoes frequently - just like underwear exists (and is thin, cheap and easily laundered) to protect your outer clothing. This seems like designing pit pads to be worn day-in, day-out. Just because we can do something doesn't mean it is pointful.
posted by jb at 8:28 AM on August 6, 2019 [5 favorites]


It says wearing them for 6 days straight? I think taking them off at night is cheating.
posted by MtDewd at 8:34 AM on August 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


Another vote for wool here. I regularly wear wool socks -- winter and summer -- for 4 or more days straight. It's especially convenient when traveling.
posted by Slothrup at 9:06 AM on August 6, 2019


Having ten pairs of the same socks makes pairing them up after doing laundry super-easy, barely an inconvenience. I started trying to work out the probability of any one sock wearing out faster than any other then remembered - I did this to save time!

People who wear mismatched socks are Satan.
posted by Molesome at 9:23 AM on August 6, 2019


Ew. We do not need to capitalize on encouraging people to be gross. Be an adult and change your socks daily.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 9:34 AM on August 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


You can already travel light with 1 pair of socks if you take them off at night and can wash and line-dry them, say in a hotel room or hostel. Two if you are hiking and just swap them out, hang one off the back of your pack to dry. Of course if you're hiking you don't care so much about smell, just about trenchfoot and blisters.

Darn Tough merino wool socks are $20 a pair and have a lifetime warranty. These antimicrobial socks do seem to be a lot cheaper but how long do they actually last?
posted by muddgirl at 9:50 AM on August 6, 2019 [6 favorites]


Socks are the cheap and easily replaceable article of clothing

I came across a horde of business records dated 1913 from a leading sock manufacturer in New York. Adjusted to today's money, these socks were selling for $50 a pair. My mother had a whole kit for darning and repairing socks. She said back in the day, good socks would last for decades. It's a new thing to have basically disposable socks.
posted by StickyCarpet at 10:01 AM on August 6, 2019 [5 favorites]


It's summer in Chicago. I can't even wear socks for an hour.
posted by srboisvert at 10:05 AM on August 6, 2019 [3 favorites]


You can change socks?
posted by kyrademon at 10:11 AM on August 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


StickyCarpet: but in comparison, how expensive were shoes, or other clothing like jackets and trousers? They were certainly less disposable but also, like the linen shirt in the early modern, cheaper than other clothing.
posted by jb at 10:15 AM on August 6, 2019


People who wear mismatched socks are Satan.

Are you talking, like, people who absentmindedly put on a black sock and a navy sock, or people who deliberately mix, say, a black-and-white polka dotted sock with a black-and-white striped sock for fun? If the latter, why be such a killjoy?
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:36 AM on August 6, 2019 [5 favorites]


I had a friend with bad hyperhidrosis on his hands and feet. I bet this could help him.

But I want no part of it.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:43 AM on August 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


The only maybe woo thing I do is not wash my hair all that often. Like once a month. It's luxurious and my one movie star feature, it just kind of exists in its equilibrium. Gets oily for a day or two after I wash it like it's catching back up.

Sounds like me before I went nopoo completely. I sweat a lot and figured not washing my hair at all would be a disaster but it has been about 4 years since I put anything besides water in my hair whilst bathing and it is really amazing and low key. Folks aren’t like “omg you look like Fabio “ but they say my hair is nice and are surpeised if I mention not using soaps or shampoos on it.
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:52 AM on August 6, 2019 [3 favorites]


You can change socks?
posted by kyrademon

Only if they want to change.
posted by fiercecupcake at 11:58 AM on August 6, 2019 [6 favorites]


You can change socks?

Dye, dye, dye, my darling.
posted by aspersioncast at 1:32 PM on August 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


Sounds like me before I went nopoo completely.

I really thought this was gonna be about not having to change underwear.
posted by starfishprime at 3:03 PM on August 6, 2019 [6 favorites]


Dudebros aren’t the only people who buy multiples of the same pair of socks and feel clever about it.

The last person to advocate this approach to me was Hannah Gadsby.
posted by pompomtom at 7:16 PM on August 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


Always buy the same socks and the same underwear. And always, always, ALWAYS wear a clean pair of both everyday -- underwear for the obvious reason and socks to avoid toe boogers.
posted by jrochest at 9:01 PM on August 6, 2019


The problem with buying a bunch of identical socks is that unless you go to extraordinary lengths to balance use, after enough time and wash cycles you end up with a pile of socks faded to various subtly different shades of the original color, making sorting even more difficult.
posted by each day we work at 10:32 PM on August 6, 2019 [3 favorites]


Ah yes, and that is nature's way of telling you that it is time to throw them away. Underwear also seems to spontaneously disintegrate after a time.

Although I will say that I still have a cluster of elderly Canadian-produced socks that I bought off of Honest Ed's 'factory seconds' table back in the 90s, when I was in grad school. Newer socks have long since died but these are still going strong, although faded and shrunk at different rates so they're all subtly different but easy enough to sort.

I assume that the MacGregor socks that were produced in the Toronto factories were made of bulletproof fibers or something...
posted by jrochest at 11:19 PM on August 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


The problem with buying a bunch of identical socks is that unless you go to extraordinary lengths to balance use, after enough time and wash cycles you end up with a pile of socks faded to various subtly different shades of the original color, making sorting even more difficult.

If people are looking that closely at your socks, your pants are too short.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:00 AM on August 7, 2019 [6 favorites]


The concept of 'no wash socks' puts me in mind of a minor character from Gibson's "All Tomorrow's Parties" - the Suit, a former sararīman living out of a cardboard box in the Tokyo subway system and dressed exclusively in a time-worn and absurdly refreshed business suit, the shirt kept white with paint, tarred ankles for socks.
posted by MarchHare at 9:45 PM on August 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


The problem with buying a bunch of identical socks is that unless you go to extraordinary lengths to balance use, after enough time and wash cycles you end up with a pile of socks faded to various subtly different shades of the original color, making sorting even more difficult.

You just occasionally chuck the most-worn sock.
posted by pompomtom at 8:04 PM on August 12, 2019


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