Not only are organic wool socks cozy and warm, they also provide environmental benefits that traditional wool socks do not. Vegetarians and vegans may also choose to buy organic wool over traditional wool for animal welfare reasons. On top of all that, it may be a better fabric choice for people with sensitive skin or allergies. Yes, a sock can really make that much of a difference.
Problems with Traditional Wool
People may think that wool is always an organic product because it comes from animals. However, the farming practices used in the raising of these animals make it so this is decidedly not the case.
Many are unaware that pesticides are applied not only to plants but to animals as well, such as wool producing sheep. This isn't just a small amount of pesticides either. Think thousands of pounds, to be more specific, 14,000 pounds. This is the amount the Organic Wool Trade Association estimates was applied to sheep in the United States in the just year 2000.
Antibiotics Are Omnipresent
According to the American Sheep Industry Association, there were more than seven million sheep in the United States in 2000, and that number has surely grown. Unfortunately, most of this sheep population is housed in the cramped quarters of what some call factory farms. This closeness can lead to widespread disease, which leads to farmers giving sheep heavy doses of antibiotics.
Both the antibiotics and the pesticides can seep into our water and soil, either directly or through animal feed and waste. Sheep used for organic wool are not allowed to be exposed to either and must be permitted to graze.
Where to Find Organic Wool Socks
Organic wool socks are very easy to find, especially over the Web. There are several different types that are appropriate not just for snuggling but also for engaging in more active pursuits, like hiking and camping.
- Backcountry.com offers a similar women's sock. It is made of sustainable wool from a farm in Tasmania. The socks also feature nylon, lycra and recycled polyester to keep feet dry and tightly wrapped.
- Rawganique Eco Apparel sells Urban Hiker socks, for those that are most interested in keeping their tootsies warm. They are available in both medium and heavy weight, with the heavies being the warmest.
Wool and Itchiness
A lot of people are afraid to wear wool, even in their socks, because of its reputation for irritating the skin. They may be pleased to know that people with allergies may have a better time with organic wool since their material is not treated with as many chemicals, such as chlorine and moth-proofing agents, during the production process. Also, most organic wool used in clothing is merino wool or alpaca wool, which are two of the softest and least abrasive types of wool on the market.Other benefits organic wool brings are:
- Natural flame resistance
- Durability, even with exposure to the elements
- Sustainability, since animals can be sheared several times in their lifetimes
Buying organic socks also helps to support small-scale farmers and promote the use of organic products. The more people that buy organics, the greater the demand will be. This can eventually lead to both lower prices and a greater public acceptance of organic practices. This is a win/win situation for all involved, as well as for the planet.