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What makes a sock “non-constrictive”?There are several kinds of non-constrictive cuffs, each with its own benefit. A non-constrictive cuff is not significantly tighter than the body of the sock, so it is non-binding and less likely to “cut in” to the leg over the day. This is especially important for people whose ankles tend to swell or who need diabetic socks. Some non-constrictive socks also have minimal elastic in the body of the sock, or woven toe seams, to increase comfort.
Cuff styleMany socks you encounter have a ribbed elastic cuff that aide in keeping a sock up and in place. This is particularly common in tall socks, like knee highs and thigh highs. A non-binding cuff does not hold socks up as well as a traditional cuff, so you may need to pair some non-constrictive styles with sock glue if you don’t want them to slouch.
Most non-constrictive socks have either a “roll-top cuff” or a “comfort top cuff” but there are other non-binding cuff styles to choose from as well!
- “Roll top cuff” A roll-top cuff has an unfinished edge that naturally rolls just a little bit. Because the top is made the same way as the body of the sock, it does not squeeze tighter than the sock itself, making it very comfortable.
- “Comfort top cuff” Most diabetic socks have what is called a “comfort top” style cuff. This cuff looks like a normal ribbed sock cuff, but isn’t tighter than the body of the sock itself. A comfort top cuff is loose, but helps your socks stay in place due to its ribbing, instead of relying on tightness and elastic.
- “Raw edge” Don’t worry! A sock with a raw edge cuff won’t unravel! It’s finished, but using the same stitches that make up the rest of the sock, so the comfort and stretch stays the same through the sock from toe to top! You’ll see a raw edge in thigh high stockings that are made to be paired with a garter belt and in slipper socks that are lined with something fuzzy.
No matter what cuff style is used, a non-binding cuff won’t be noticeably tighter than the sock itself. Polar fleece socks tend to have a simple hem for a cuff, boot socks are finished with just a little bit of elastic thread, and other socks have combinations of non-binding cuffs.
Non-constrictive socks also tend to be relaxed fit socks, or non-elasticized socks, which mean that it is not just the cuff but the body of the sock itself isn’t tight to your leg. Cotton socks, especially high cotton content socks, will be some of the most non-constrictive.
Just as a non-binding cuff means a sock is more likely to slouch, a non-elasticized sock will also not stay up as well as a sock with a higher elastic content. But when you’re looking for comfort, a sock that is gentle from toe to cuff is what is important!
Other featuresSpeaking of toes, some non-constrictive styles have woven toe seams or minimal toe seams. A non-constrictive sock with a “seamless toe” offers the least irritation to sensitive feet.
Which are the best diabetic socks?A diabetic sock has a non-binding cuff, is non-elasticized and often also offers a woven toe. Diabetic socks also often are knit with fibers that help control moisture, like wool or synthetic blends. Most styles that are made to be diabetic socks are also crew socks or midcalf socks, though there are some possible options that are knee socks.
Sockwell offers relaxed fit socks designed with a woven toe seam, a comfortable cuff and light cushioning that are designed especially to be diabetic friendly and perfect for swollen or sensitive feet.
If you are looking for the right diabetic sock, we encourage folks to email us with their measurements (a guide to what helps us best help you is here on our Sock Journal) so that we can help you find the style that is best for you!
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