Most compression socks today are either entirely synthetic or made with a blend of cotton or merino wool. In this material comparison, you can get an idea of why we chose hemp for our compression socks.
Nylon also often called Polyamide, is strong, elastic, and has excellent abrasion resistance. It is a type of plastic and is therefore made from oil, which is a non-renewable resource. The manufacturing process is very energy-demanding, releases greenhouse gases, and requires a lot of water to cool down the fibres. There are many functional benefits with nylon, but it easily becomes itchy and uncomfortable when worn for long hours.
Cotton is a natural and biodegradable material and is also comfortable against the skin. However, it is not as durable as nylon or hemp, and once it gets wet, it stays wet and causes blisters and odor. To obtain antibacterial properties, it needs to go through a chemical process. Cotton cultivation requires huge amounts of water and fertilizers/pesticides. Organic cotton could be an alternative if looking at this point.
Merino Wool is a natural and functional material with good breathability and antibacterial properties. The wool comes from the Merino sheep. Compared to nylon and cotton, it is a more sustainable option. But compared to hemp, it still requires a lot more resources to raise the sheep in terms of water, food, cleaning, and medical treatment. Merino wool is generally soft and comfortable to the skin. However, people with dry or sensitive skin could experience allergy and itchiness. When it comes to compression socks, its biggest downside seems to be durability, especially when used for more demanding outdoor activities.
Hemp is one of the most durable plant-based fibres and has excellent breathability and antibacterial properties. It gets softer with each wash and is hypoallergenic, which makes the socks gentle even on sensitive skin. Cultivating the crop requires little water and no fertilizers/pesticides. It grows fast, replenishes the soil, and absorbs toxins in the soil. The whole plant is useful and provides benefits both for humans and nature.
We even dare to say that hemp is the most ideal material for compression socks. The best way to fully understand this is to give them a try.
See the Hemp Compression Socks Collection Here.