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The debate between cotton and polyester socks has been going on for decades. In the cotton vs polyester socks debate, which is the best material?

Cotton and polyester are two of the most popular fabrics used in socks production. This is because they are both inexpensive to produce and relatively durable for the price you pay. However, when it comes to tell which material is the best one for socks, the answer is, it depends on your lifestyle and activities.

Regardless of my opinion on this topic, one thing remains true: everyone needs socks. So let’s find out the answer for which is the best material on cotton socks vs polyester socks.

Cotton vs Polyester Socks

Should you wear cotton or polyester socks? It really depends on your lifestyle and what features you look at on socks. No material is perfect for every occasion, and you need to play with it. That’s why it is essential to have different materials in your wardrobe and other colors, styles, and items.

You can wear cotton socks all the time or the same with polyester socks on every single moment of your life, but you will not take the best of your socks that way. When it comes to socks or underwear, you want to take advantage of their features and benefits.

Read: Best Socks For Cold Feet

polyester socks vs cotton socks

Let’s check some examples.

Cotton vs Polyester Socks – Best Material For Hot Weather

Cotton socks are better for hot weather because they are more breathable.

Cotton vs Polyester Socks – Best Material For The Planet

Cotton socks are made from natural fibers instead of polyester socks that are made from petroleum.

Cotton vs Polyester Socks – Best Material For Hiking

Polyester socks. They keep your feet dry and wick away any excess moisture.

Cotton vs Polyester Socks – Best Material For Running

Polyester socks. They keep your feet dry and wick away any excess moisture.

Cotton vs Polyester Socks – Best Material For Sensitive Skin

Cotton socks, if they are made of organic cotton without the use of any pesticides.

Cotton vs Polyester Socks – Best Material For Hand Washing

Both cotton and polyester are ok for hand washing.

As you can see, it all depends on what you are doing. Cotton socks are great because of their breathability so that you can wear them in the summer, but if you go running 5 miles, polyester socks are better (when it comes between these two materials because I would advise merino wool socks) because it wicks away any excess moisture.

A pair of socks is like any fashion item. One doesn’t fit all your needs.


Cotton is a natural fiber. So if you’re active and want to stay cool, cotton is a great choice. It’s highly breathable and regulates your body temperature.

Cotton’s biodegradable properties make it an ideal choice for those who want to contribute less waste and pollution to the environment.

If you choose organic cotton, your socks will be produced without any pesticides or other chemicals. This is an excellent choice if you have sensitive skin, as many producers tend to use these substances when making regular non-organic cotton due to its natural composition.

Read: How To Keep No Show Socks From Slipping?

If your cotton socks are made of 100% cotton, you might find that they shrink faster than polyester socks. This is because the material tends to wear down a bit more quickly. Also, the absorbent nature of cotton probably makes you think that it is not the best choice for hot weather, but the breathable quality makes this an excellent option for summer.

Cotton Properties

These are some of the best cotton properties.

  • Very breathable
  • Very lightweight
  • Soft-touch
  • Very comfortable to wear
  • Natural, cellulosic fiber
  • Resists static electricity build-up
  • Hold on color
  • Stronger wet than dry
  • Beneficial for sensitive skin

However, cotton also has some cons as wrinkles and absorbs moisture quickly, it can be damaged by prolonged exposure to sunlight when drying, and it can keep your feet colder and heavier when wet.


Polyester is a manufactured material used to make clothing, bedding materials, and other products. It’s made from petroleum, water, and air using chemical reactions – not the most sustainable process since it isn’t biodegradable or considered environmentally friendly.

Polyester is hydrophobic, which means its molecules repel water or other fluids. This is great for sports, so polyester socks are a great choice (not the best material for sports in my opinion, but when choosing between cotton and polyester, I would choose the second one).

The stretchable fabric of polyester socks is excellent for any athletic movement without making you feel uncomfortable. In addition, the moisture-wicking properties help keep you cool and dry, preventing bacteria buildup on your skin.

Read: How Long Should Socks Last?

Polyester fibers are strong, and the socks won’t wear down quickly. It’s a great fabric since it is very resistant to shrinking or wrinkles. You can wash it multiple times without seeing any problems too!

Polyester Properties

These are some of the best polyester properties.

  • Durable material
  • Resists abrasion
  • Doesn’t shrink
  • Very resilient
  • Dries quickly
  • Resist wrinkling
  • Doesn’t absorb water
  • Easy to wash

Polyester socks are not perfect. They attract static electricity, are not a breathable material, can cause smelly feet, and are harmful to the environment since they don’t decompose.

Common Questions About Cotton vs Polyester Socks

These are the most common questions about polyester or cotton socks.

Are Cotton Socks Bad For Your Feet?

No, cotton socks are not bad for your feet. You just need to wear cotton socks on the right occasions. They are great for the summer because they are breathable but not the best choice for the winter since they make your feet cold. It all depends on when and where you use them.

Is Cotton Or Polyester Better For Sweaty Feet?

I would personally choose merino wool socks to avoid sweaty feet. Between polyester and cotton, I would select polyester socks because of the wicking moisture properties. They also dry faster than cotton. Try to look for polyester socks mixed with cotton.

You can also read my article about the best socks for sweaty feet.

Does Polyester Make Your Feet Stink?

It can happen since they are not the most breathable material for socks often retain heat.

Is Polyester A Cheap Fabric?

Polyester is a very cheap material, and that’s why you have so many socks made from it. When a material is made in mass production, it becomes cheap, because more people buy it.

Polyester Or Cotton Socks?

It’s not always easy to determine which fabric is most appropriate for your needs. Cotton and polyester are both popular options, but they offer different benefits depending on what you need in a sock. It depends entirely on your lifestyle and activities.

If you’re looking for socks that will last through many washes over time and wick moisture away, polyester socks may be the best choice between these two.

Read: Best Socks For Football

Cotton socks are a better choice if you live in a country with hot weather or care about the environment since they are biodegradable if made from organic cotton.

What socks material do you prefer, cotton or polyester? Share with me in the comments why.