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As a summery counterpoint to springtime pastels, the bright pops of neon colour are fun, fabulous and hard to define. “Neon” specifically means the noble gas used to light gaudy signs, but when it’s used to describe colour, it means high value and high saturation, so: bright and vivid and gloriously eye-searing!
The drawback to neon colours is the difficulty in properly portraying them across your computer monitor. They’re not as bad as teal and turquoise, but the sheer power of a neon colour can be difficult for us to light, shoot and edit in a way that lets you see just how bright they are without dampening the colour’s hue. Luckily, most colour names for neons include the word “neon” or similar terms like “hot” or “electric”, and we always mention in Additional Info if something is just too bright to convey.
Sometimes people want to use the word “fluorescence,” but that’s only truly applicable to colours that, well, fluoresce by throwing out light that they’ve absorbed. Now, we’ve touched on neon colours and UV reactive styles that glow under blacklight before (quick version: search “blacklight”!), but I’m hesitant to really dig into the science of it, since folks who make socks are often euphemistic in their colour descriptions. A good quick look into how fluorescent colour works is, unsurprisingly, available at the DayGlo website.
So, disclaimer time! I’m not trying to define neons. What we’re going to be looking at are the defining features of colours classed as neon and found in the “neon” area of our colour search. Because neon can be a little subjective, I’m using some blindingly bright paper as my background.
I’m sure you’ve encountered these standard paper colours before (and if you’re old enough, you’ll remember when paper this colour wasn’t recyclable!). All photos were edited in a batch, so you can use your familiarity with brights and neons to better place what the colours look like in life, not on a monitor.
I haven’t been in school in a long time, but I can still feel the edge of the school year drawing ever closer. Sure, we’re not in summer yet, but you can taste the promise of what summer might be (and I have to admit, almost-summer is one of my favourite seasons, more full of possibility than true spring). Schedules start to shift after US Memorial day, there’s more half days, summer plans get cemented, there are more perfect days to have cookouts.
And, of course, we have a sock (well, several) for that.
Camping isn’t for everyone, but it’s a big part of a lot of folks’ summers. Whether your camping means tent, RV, car or going off to a structured sleep-away camp, having socks that are sturdy and more forgiving about how often they’re washed lets you focus on other things. Like having fun, making memories, battling werewolves…
Wool blends and bamboo are not only a little better than other fibers at not getting ultra-foot-gross after a day, wool can air dry quickly so you can give them a wash or rinse and they’ll be dry and often ready to go the next day. Using our Advanced Search to limit Sports Socks to those that have wool brings up some favourite sturdy options. The separated toes of the Wool Lightweight Running No Show Toe Socks helps keep your feet happy and healthy on long treks, and the Extraordinary Wool Socks are nice and tall to protect your legs from mean bushes and brambles.
Combining wool and bamboo makes for what are my personal favourite camping socks: Sockwell’s crews and midcalves. Any time I pack for camping, they go in my bag and on my feet! For all their cuteness, they’re sturdy as heck, comfortable to wear for a long time and wash up easy.
Late spring and early summer also brings the start of backyard barbecue, picnics and other ways of celebrating that the weather is being sunny enough to be outside, but not so hot the idea of eating outside is gross.
Fun, novelty, crews are like the perfect condiment complement to outdoor eats.
And this may just be something specific to where I’ve always lived, but what starts as a sunny cookout often grows surprisingly cold as the sun sets and the yard lights go on. It isn’t really summer yet, after all! Arm warmers and knee socks that play equally well scrunched down or pulled up will keep you warm enough to keep on chilling (without being chilly) outside.
Now, if your travel plans are a bit more involved and take you far from home, styles that are comfortable and useful in lots of occasions are key. Packing for the plane is an art! Plus, if you’re going to be doing a lot of sitting, either during a car trip or in an airplane, you want to keep your toes in best health.
A style that fulfils all those requirements are the Sockwell compression knee highs. They look good while keeping you comfortable as you stand and sit for long periods at a go. Graduated compression helps keep blood from pooling in your poor feet while cute and classic patterns go with a lot of different looks.
What are your favourite travel socks? My go-tos are always Sockwell (as mentioned earlier) and a couple Dreamer Socks like the Dreamer Jacquard Ripple OTK and the Acrylic Slouches. If I’m camping or travelling, all other socks go by the wayside! As we inch into true summer, I hope your plans live up to your dreams and that this is the best summer ever!
Nothing spells “summertime adventures” quite like a set of abandoned train tracks. Add some cuffed jeans and simple sneakers, and you’ve got the makings of a classic coming-of-age story… or perhaps a reshoot of some of our favorite socks for summer!
It was an overcast morning in early September when we set out for a photoshoot featuring A Chevrons down by the river. The first crisp hints of autumn hung in the air, betraying no hint of the afternoon heat which was to follow. As we came upon some abandoned tracks, the nostalgia was almost tangible, calling out to us to follow those tracks. “Here be adventures!” they called.
Not being ones to flirt with danger, we were pretty cautious in how we approached our adventure, staying well off to the side of the active tracks. We managed to find a fully abandoned part of the line, as evidenced by the vegetative growth obscuring some of the ties, and we ventured onto the rails for a moment there. We found a lovely old can and had some fun kicking it around. When was the last time you played kick-the can?
As with every good adventure, we found some pretty cool stuff on ours! We came upon a pile of unused railroad ties and stopped for a rest as we posed for close-ups. We all paused there for a bit and contemplated nature, the human condition, really good socks, and possibly lunch. The abandoned portion of track led us to an old train car which somebody appears to be renovating, using a lovely shade of blue reminiscent of our own indigo headquarters building.
Much like the summer itself, our adventure sadly had to come to an end. We may never reach the terminus point of those tracks, or find out what awaits beyond the next bend, but at least we all made it back from our hike without sore feet.
One of the really cool things about the sock business is that we have a slow season, and although it’s rather less slow these days than it used to be, it does give us time to take field trips to some more exciting photo locations! We recently showed you the new Gelato cart behind our shop, and now we’d like to share another great reason to come visit Sellwood: Oaks Park!
A lot of Portlanders don’t even realize that we have our own wee amusement park down in Oaks Bottom. If you live in Sellwood, though, there’s no mistaking the sound of children screaming (with joy!) that fills the summer air. What’s really special about the park is that many of its buildings have been there since it opened in 1905, advertised as “Portland’s Coney Island on the Willamette”. The oldest remaining ride was built just a few years later, in 1911. In fact, that’s just the ride we chose for this photoshoot – the Carousel!
We were lucky enough to be let in before hours by their lovely and highly knowledgeable manager, Mary Beth, who told us a little bit about the carousel. It’s called a menagerie carousel, because it is comprised of various animals, including a few that are quite unusual! An all-horse carousel is called a Merry-Go-Round, but the hand-carved creatures on this one go above and beyond!
We had so much fun with this shoot that we’re going to have to go back! If you ever find yourself visiting our shop in Sellwood, be sure to check out Oaks Park. It’s a place of wonder and nostalgia for all kids, even if you’re only a kid at heart!
Last year we looked at footies and openwork as a way to keep rocking socks as the weather grows warmer. But sometimes even less coverage isn’t enough for overwarm feet. With summer officially starting tomorrow, I thought I’d share some styles that are particularly kind to too toasty toes.
First, let’s be honest. We’re talking about foot sweat. There’s a lot of fancy ways to say it, like “moisture”, or there’s the emphasis on “keeping dry.” But sweat is sweat and we all drip it at our warmest moments. The plague of summer is foot sweat pooling in shoes and somehow making your feet clammy, yet still too warm. That is pretty gross, so let’s reset your brain with this snuggly picture of Ferous from our Instagram.
Back to the matter at hand. There’s only so much you can do to prevent your feet from sweating. Less sock is a part of that, and we know folks who go straight to sandals and no socks as soon as the weather heats up. But, not everyone gets to rock sandals (closed-toe shoe policies, personal taste, etc), so: folks who keep en-socked through summer, this is for you.
For all of the fabulous lightness of cotton, it transforms into a soggy sock when it gets wet and it takes its time to dry. But you combine cotton with a fiber like bamboo and you get a breezy sock that practically feels cool against the skin, lets your toes breathe and doesn’t get bogged down by “moisture.” The bamboo multi-pack styles from Foot Traffic are a great example of this. And! They’ve got lightly vented tops to maximize breathability.
Wicking. What exactly does that entail, when it comes to a sock? Well, that can mean a couple of things: they channel sweat off to where it can evaporate, they’re more absorbent and better at getting sweat off of you, they dry faster. A bonus is that a lot of them are super durable fibers that can take quite a beating and are less likely to aromatically convey just how hard a day your feet had.
Sounds fab, right? What if I said wool was one of the best fibers for just all that? It sounds madly counter-intuitive, but most technical (read: science-y) socks employ wool in styles you’ll be sweating up precisely because it’s a great fiber for wicking and insulation. Remember! You can insulate things to keep them warm AND to keep them cool. That’s the principle behind these four fabulous footies:
Another wicking wool blend shortie are the Wool Lightweight Running No Show Toe Socks. This style even has a ventilated top (that waffle-y pattern) to help manage the heat.
Toe socks in general can be a boon in warm weather. The idea of separately wrapping each toe in fabric when it’s warm is probably making you sweat just thinking about it, but that extra fabric goes a long way in dealing with excess moisture and helps prevent blisters and general discomfort caused by sweaty toes all rubbing up against each other.
If the concept of wool toe socks is too much, how about Coolmax®? A synthetic fiber designed to really amp up the whole wicking of sweat process (we go into a better explanation in this post), it’s a fabulous summer combo with toe socks.
The ultra best lightweight summer fiber is going to be silk, though. A particular favourite as a liner in the winter, the whisper-thin touch of silk in the summer is cooling to just think about. One of our Dreamers with particularly overwarm feet personally recommends silk toe sock styles as her ideal during warm months.
There are other styles that different kinds of feet love in hot weather as well (every foot is unique, after all), but these are our top favourites for really beating the heat. Of course, we always encourage folks to drop us a line with their measurements and needs, ‘cause nobody deserves the sweaty foot of summer!