Any competition horse rider who has had to treat a blister in the middle of a 3-day event will tell you to never cut yourself short when it comes to a good riding sock.
Price certainly isn’t a great indicator of a good equestrian sock. I’m sure we all have an odd sock draw of retired socks that initially looked great before they made their way through the washing machine for the first time. Only to come outstretched and looking prematurely aged. Knowing how to choose the right pair of socks and understanding what to look for will reap rewards in both overall comfort and protection of your feet.
Horse Riding Sock Fabrics
Riding boots aren’t known for their great breathability - did you know that your feet can sweat up to 400ml of fluid per day? That can really lead to unhealthy conditions and that’s why wicking technology in riding socks is so important, as is temperature regulation, and cushioning.
The golden rule when buying horse riding socks is to never buy socks made of 100% cotton. Cotton absorbs and holds moisture. Our base fabric of choice is nylon. Nylon is great for wicking moisture away from the skin, dries quickly and is extremely durable – it holds its shape and doesn’t easily suffer from thinning from friction. Usually, it's mixed with polyester to give a softer feel.
The next most important consideration is spandex or lycra content. This material adds a little bit of stretch and allows the sock to fit properly and hug your foot. Usually, only a small percentage of the sock’s fabric content is made up of these materials. Delzani socks use a nylon/polyester blend + Spandex 2%
What makes a good riding sock?
Many socks look the same, but it's not until you look closer that you will see some key features that make great socks
1 / The Welt
The welt is the very top of the sock. It is important to both the appearance of the sock as well as its functionality. Great socks utilize a welt-cuff which is a double-layer of knit fabric at the top of the leg for a more secure fit. More basic socks use a conventional cuff is knit with a single layer of fabric from the top down.
2 / Ribbing
There are true ribs and mock ribs. A true rib is an alternating series of raised and recessed vertical rows of stitches knit into the sock that allows it to stay up without binding on the leg. This forms a fabric that recovers by itself when stretched and is considered the better-quality method to knit the leg and other parts of socks. You will see this used in our performance socks and many compression socks.
3 / Instep
The part of the sock covering the top of your foot, in particular, that area of a sock over your foot arch. Some socks have elastic knit throughout the circumference of the foot at this point. This construction is referred to as an elasticized arch.
4 / Toe Pocket
The toe pocket in a sock allows for better fit and comfort. The toe of the sock is formed based on the same principle of knitting as is the heel of the sock and in Delzani socks is double layered.
5 / Toe Seam
When the sock is knit, it is shaped like a tube with an open area at the toes, cheaper made socks are simple sewn closed with an uncomfortable seam. Today the best sock makers use knitting machines that are able to close the toe of the sock directly on the machine. These toe closures are virtually seamless and feel smooth to reduce rubbing.
6 / Arch of Sock
The arch portion of the sock covers the arch of your foot. It is opposite the instep. Better socks for specific activities are knit with elastic that runs around the circumference of the centre of the foot through the arch and instep. This construction is often referred to as an elasticized arch. It is intended to keep the sock in place and also provide an added level of arch support.
7 / Sole
The bottom-most part of the sock is called the sole. It is the main point of impact and absorbs nearly the full weight of the body when stepping. In Delzani socks, the sole of the sock is densely cushioned to absorb this shock.
9 / Heel
Delzani socks feature an anatomically shaped heel that fits each foot perfectly. We have thicker fabric at key rub points up the back of the heel.