What Are Bamboo Socks?

All about bamboo socks

Bamboo is an incredibly versatile natural resource, but it might not be the first material you think of when it comes to super-soft luxury socks. And yet bamboo socks are just that, super soft, oh so comfy socks made from woven bamboo fibre.

Bamboo is actually a fast-growing grass rather than a wood which has been used in many ways for centuries. It grows anything up to 3 feet a day, although not all species grow that quickly, and can be harvested without damaging the plant making it a very sustainable and renewable resource. Plus it requires no chemical fertilisers or pesticides.

Bamboo is remarkably strong making it a great building material, it’s a popular choice for scaffolding as well as being used to build houses in many parts of the world. But it is also a food source for humans and animals, is used to make furniture, worktops and utensils, and can be turned into a fabric that is used to make everything from nappies to clothing, including socks.

How is bamboo turned into fabric?

Bamboo fibre that can be turned into clothing, bedding, towels, nappies and pretty much anything else made of cloth can be produced in two ways. Mechanically and chemically.

The mechanical method involves crushing the woody bamboo and using natural enzymes to break it down into a mushy substance from which the fibres can be mechanically combed. These fibres are then spun into yarn and woven into cloth. However, this is a labour-intensive process, and the resulting fabric is a bit rough so it is not commonly used.

The chemical process turns the bamboo into a regenerated cellulose fibre similar to rayon or modal and is often referred to as bamboo rayon. The traditional chemicals used can be damaging to both people and the environment although newer production methods use less harmful chemicals in a closed-loop system to minimise both environmental impact and health threats to workers.

While the traditional chemical process certainly taints bamboo’s eco-credentials. GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) does not consider bamboo as a natural fibre due to the chemical processes and the fact that it has been regenerated, therefore it can only be used in GOTS certified fabrics up to 10%, the closed-loop system is generally considered a better alternative.

Why make socks from bamboo?

Not only is bamboo a remarkably sustainable material to grow but the resulting fabric has some amazing qualities.

  • It can be easily mixed with other fabrics.
  • It’s super soft. As in it rivals silk and cashmere.
  • It is thermo-regulating. Meaning it keeps you warm when it’s cold and cool when it’s hot.
  • It’s naturally anti-bacterial. Great for avoiding stinky feet.

Find out more about why you should be wearing bamboo socks here.

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