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Q: Which socks are of better quality and smell less, cotton or pure wool? A: Unpleasant foot odors are often caused by synthetic materials in either socks or shoes. F.O. is usually associated with sneakers. In recent years, I have become a devotee of cotton socks and even what they call cotton hose. I used to wear cotton for casual and wool for dress. Then I discovered that it's possible to find cotton socks every bit as fine in quality and texture as those made of wool. You can even find cotton hose that border on sheer. It could be my imagination, but I seem to find cotton more comfortable. And it can take the heat. I have had my wool socks come back from the laundry so shrunken they would fit my son Oscar, who is 2 but has big feet. Purity is a virtue in many things, but wool socks are not one of them. Often, a small amount of Lycra or other material is added to the blend for elasticity and to help the socks retain their size and shape through laundering. I would not consider pure-wool socks unless I had a laundry staff.
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