The Life Cycle of Socks: How Long Should They Last

When we buy clothes, we want them to last for a while, especially if we have paid a bit more money for them and expect a higher quality. The same applies when buying socks. We do not want to have to replace a pair of socks after only a few wears. That is why knowing how long the socks should last is good.

The lifetime of the socks depends on the quality of the materials and manufacture. Good quality everyday socks made of cotton or bamboo should last about one year. However, sports socks such as running or hiking socks last about 3-6 months because they are subjected to higher stresses.

In the rest of this post, I will first tell you how to take care of the socks you wear daily. Next, I’ll show you how to care for the 4 types of socks most people use.

How long are socks supposed to last?

Our wardrobe has socks for different activities (every day, sports, and work). Each of these socks is made differently because it serves a different purpose. Some socks can last longer than others. How long the socks last depends not only on the quality of the materials and the workmanship.

How long are socks supposed to last?
How long are socks supposed to last?

How long the socks will last also depends on that:

  • How often the socks are worn? This depends mainly on how many pairs of socks we have and how often we wear these socks. Let’s say we have 5 pairs of running socks, and we run 5 times a week. Then it is reasonable to think that we wear each pair of socks 1x per week. The same goes for other socks, the more we wear them, the more they wear out.
  • How we treat our socks. The care of socks plays an important role in the durability of socks. It is advisable to wash socks in cold water and not to tumble dryer them, but to hang them on a wire.
  • The lifetime of socks also depends on how we look after our feet. Too long nails and hard skin damage our socks. If you find that your socks get holes quickly, then I suggest you read this post.

Different types of socks are worn for different purposes. In the table below, I have outlined some of the different types of socks and how often they should be changed depending on how often they are worn. I have entered the time frames in which socks need to be changed if they are worn 1-2 times a month, once a week, or twice a week.

If you notice that your socks have started to tear, or you’ve even got holes in your socks. Then this is a sign that the socks should be discarded, even if the time frame has not yet expired.

Type of socks1-2 per month1 per week2 per week
Sports socks (running, tennis, yoga, gym, etc.)8-12 months3-6 months3-6 months
Walking and hiking socks1-3 years8-12 months6-8 months
Basketball socks1-3 years8-12 months6-8 months
Compression socks (if worn for a medical reason, visit your doctor every 3-6 months)8-12 months3-6 months3-6 months
Gripp socks12-15 months8-12 months6-8 months
Aloe infused socksUp to 20 washesUp to 20 washesUp to 20 washes
Dress socks1-2 years8-12 months6-8 months
How often should you change your socks?

The socks are made of different materials. Some materials are more durable than others. In the table below, I show you how long certain materials should last. So that you can take this into account the next time you buy socks.

You can read more about why your socks get holes so quickly and how to prevent it here.

Socks materialHow long they last if worn 1-2 times per week
CottonLess than 1 year
Bamboo ✅More than 1 year
Wool✅More than 1 year
PolyesterLess than 1 year
NylonLess than 1 year
How long do socks materials last?

How long do bamboo socks last?

Bamboo is a high-quality material for socks, so these socks can last for more than a year. How long the socks last also depends on how often you wear them and how you look after them. The latter can significantly reduce their durability.

These are the three most important things you can do to make your socks last longer:

  1. Wash bamboo socks in cold water and dry them on a rack.
  2. Instead of folding them into a ball, just fold them. If the socks are folded into a ball, they gradually stretch and destroy the fibers.
  3. Do not walk in socks at home, but wear slippers instead. This will make you more comfortable when you walk and will also make the socks wear less.
How long do bamboo socks last?
How long do bamboo socks last?

Find out all 9 ways to make your socks last longer here.

How Long do walking socks last?

Walking socks should last a few years because walking socks are more padded and offer more support for longer. If you regularly go on longer hikes, the socks will last less time, and it is advisable to wear new or nearly new socks for longer hikes.

Walking socks can last for a few years or just a few longer wears (after longer hikes, the socks may still look good, but experienced hikers know that the comfort is not the same after a few longer hikes).

How Long do walking socks last?
How Long do walking socks last?

Therefore, the durability of hiking socks depends on how much you use them. Although the socks may not be as cushioned after a few longer hikes. These socks are still good enough for short walks and hikes.

What materials are hiking socks made of?

Hiking socks can be made of different materials. The most common are polyester, cotton, or merino wool. All materials are very durable, but hiking socks need more careful care. Especially those socks made of merino wool should not be washed in hot water, and it is not recommended to tumble dry them. In the heat, the fibers of the socks may be damaged, and the socks may shrink.

How long do running socks last?

Running socks last 3-6 months or up to 1000 miles (1600 kilometers). When running socks are no longer comfortable to wear, they should be replaced. How long running socks stay comfortable depends on the quality of the materials, how they are maintained, and the health of your feet.

Running socks are usually made of polyester, nylon, or merino wool. The best socks are those that contain a high proportion of absorbent materials (nylon or merino wool). Cotton socks are not good for running because when cotton gets wet, it stays wet. This is not comfortable for running, as blisters form so quickly.

Should I wear 2 pairs of socks when running?
How long do running socks last?

Some companies provide a lifetime guarantee on their socks if they ever rip, tear or develop holes. These are the Stance running socks, which must have the INFIKNIT label. You can read more about what makes Stance running socks so special here.

How long do wool socks last?

Wool socks can last more than a year if worn once a week and well cared for. Merino wool is a durable material that does not wear out as quickly, but it should not be washed in hot water and should not be tumble-dried.

Instead of washing wool socks in hot water, wash them in cold or warm water (20-30 °C). Alternatively, you can choose the hand-wash program if your washing machine allows it. Before washing, turn them around, and for extra protection, you can wash the wool socks in a laundry bag.

Laundry bag for underwear

How do you make socks last longer?

How long socks last depends a lot on what material they are made of and how often you wear them. There is also a lot you can do to make your socks last longer.

  • Do not wash socks in hot water. Instead, choose a hand-wash program or wash them in cold water (20-30°C).
  • Take care of your feet. Clip your toenails regularly and remove hard skin.
  • Walk around your apartment in slippers. The fibers of socks are damaged by walking on hard surfaces.
  • Wear the correct size of socks. Socks that are too big or too small are damaged more quickly.
  • Keep a variety of socks for different activities. Socks for sport, and socks for work and leisure.


My name is Gregor and I'm a sports and fashion enthusiast. Like you, I want my clothes to be good quality and comfortable. I hope my articles will help you choose the right underwear for you.

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