How to Tell if Your Socks Are Wool (5 Ways)

Do you know how to tell if your socks are wool? It can be challenging, especially if you’re unsure what to look for.

There are at least 5 ways to check whether your socks are real wool. You can check the label, the texture, and the elasticity, or you can do the bleach test and burnt test.

wool socks to tell

In this blog post, we will discuss five ways to determine whether or not your socks are made of wool. We’ll also provide tips on taking care of your wool socks so they last longer!

Why Is It Important to Know if Your Socks are Real Wool?

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Credit: canva

Real wool socks are a natural fiber, and they’re breathable. They also warm your feet in the winter and wick away moisture so your feet won’t sweat.

On the other hand, synthetic socks are made from man-made materials like nylon or acrylic and are not breathable. Plus, synthetic fibers don’t insulate as well as wool, so your feet will be cold in the winter.

You also don’t want to wear cotton socks during winter because they won’t keep you warm or dry. Cotton also absorbs moisture; this can be dangerous during winter because the moisture can freeze, which can make your socks damp and cold.

5 Ways to Tell if Your Socks are Wool

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Wool socks. Credit: canva

Look Out for the Label

The first thing to do is check the label inside your sock. Most often, this will tell you exactly what type of fiber was used to make your sock.

However, remember that some labels may be misleading – so just because it says “wool” doesn’t necessarily mean that it is 100% wool.

Feel the Texture

One of the easiest and quickest ways is to feel them.

Wool is typically quite coarse with a slightly fuzzy texture so it will feel slightly rougher than other fabrics. This is because wool fibers have tiny scales that help them stick together, making them more durable than many other materials.

Check the Stretch

It’s easy to do; grab each end of the sock and pull.

Wool is a natural fiber and has some elasticity so wool socks will have some stretch. If the socks do not stretch, they are likely made of synthetic material.

The Bleach Test

Wool Bleach Test

This testing method determines if wool counterfeits or is real.

Remove a small piece of the fabric from where it won’t be noticed. Place the cut-out piece in a small bowl, cover it with bleach, and keep the bowl in a ventilated room for 8 hours.

If the cut-out fabric dissolves substantially or disintegrates completely, it is likely to be real wool.

The Burnt Test

BURN TEST for Wool, Cotton, Bamboo, and Acrylic Yarn

This one should only be used as a last resort because it involves burning the fabric (do not attempt this at home!).

Light up a small piece of the fabric from a place where it won’t be noticed with a lighter until it catches fire (just long enough for it to start smoking).

When it does, blow out the flame and immediately feel the fabric with your fingers.

The results:

  • Original wool fabric is sure to ignite swiftly and burn for an extended period, and then the flame slowly dies.
  • Burning wool fabrics smell similar to singed hair, providing a pungent aroma.
  • They also form a tiny, firm black ball of ash that you can crush between your fingers when cooled down. If they feel crunchy like hair, then there’s a good chance those are woolen socks! 

Care Tips

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Credit: canva

Here are some tips on how to care for your wool socks to help extend their life and keep them in good condition:

  • Wash woolen socks by hand or in the washing machine on a gentle cycle. Use cool or lukewarm water and avoid harsh laundry detergents, which can damage the fibers.
  • Dry wool socks by hanging them to air dry on a clothesline or drying rack. Avoid drying in direct sunlight or using the heat setting on your dryer, as this can cause shrinkage.
  • Store your woolen socks in a cool, dry place away from light and moisture. Consider keeping them inside an airtight container or zippered bag between uses to help protect them from damage.

With these tips in mind, you can keep your woolen socks looking and feeling great for many winters!​


Can the socks be worn in hot weather?

Yes, wool socks can be worn in hot weather. Wool is a natural fiber known for its breathability and sweat-wicking properties.

Are the socks itchy or comfortable to wear?

They’re both! It depends on the person. Some people find that they’re itchy, while others find that they’re comfortable. It just depends on the person’s preference.

Will the socks shrink when washed?

Maybe. Wool socks can shrink a little bit when washed, but they usually stretch back to their original size.

Washing them in warm water and using a mild detergent will help to reduce the amount of shrinkage. You can also dry them on low heat if you want to be safe.

Can these socks be worn with dress shoes?

Most people wouldn’t recommend wearing wool socks with dress shoes because they can make your feet feel sweaty and uncomfortable.

However, if you’re looking for an alternative to traditional cotton dress socks, wool socks can be a good option because they’re naturally moisture-wicking and anti-microbial.

How long do these socks typically last?

I’ve had the same wool socks for about 5 years now. I only wear them in cold weather, so I can’t speak to how long they would last if you wore them every day. But I think they’ve held up pretty well!

Are there other color options available for these socks?

There are other color options available for wool socks. You can find socks in various colors, including black, blue, brown, gray, green, orange, purple, and red.

In addition to solid colors, you can also find socks with designs or patterns. So if you’re looking for something a little different than the traditional white or black sock, there are plenty of other color options.

Do these socks have any anti-microbial properties?

There is some evidence that natural wool has anti-microbial properties due to the presence of lanolin.

However, most socks are now made from synthetic materials, which generally don’t have the same anti-microbial properties as natural wool.

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