Sensory socks are special footwear that aims to enhance sensory processing and the general well-being of its users. People who use sensory socks are those with autism, ADHD, and sensory processing disorders.

Sensory socks might also be helpful for those who want to improve their balance and control their movements, stress, and anxiety.

Read on as we will cover their benefits, how they work, and their different types. Lastly, we will provide you with some tips on how you can choose the ideal pair.

Sensory Socks Benefits

One of the key benefits of sensory socks is it enhances balance and body movements. Furthermore, the socks have various textures and pressure points that can be felt on the feet when used. As a result, it improves a person’s balance and body coordination. 

Here are some benefits of using sensory socks.

Sensory Socks may reduce anxiety and stress levels

Sensory socks can help in reducing anxiety and stress for people with autism. This is because people with autism may feel anxious when in contact with uncomfortable textures [1].

With socks’ subtle pressure and texture, a person can experience a soothing effect reducing anxiety and stress. This can help people with autism and ADHD to manage their emotions during stressful situations.

Improved focus and relief

Conditions such as autism, sensory processing, and ADHD can affect the use of their senses. This can be challenging for them as they may be unable to filter out unnecessary information and concentrate on the important things [2].

With the help of precise and controlled input from using sensory socks, patients can improve the way they handle their senses. This is because a person’s brain’s ability to process and react to other sensations gets activated.

How Sensory Socks Work

Sensory socks work by providing different textures and pressure points on the feet. These textures and pressure points stimulate the nerves in the feet, which can lead to improved balance and coordination. The different textures and patterns of the socks can also stimulate different parts of the foot, improving overall sensory processing.

These socks also stimulate the foot in various ways, which can be classified into three main categories such as mechanical, thermal, and chemical.

Mechanical stimulation involves the pressure and vibration created by the various textures and patterns on the socks. This can improve balance and coordination, providing a calming effect on the body.

Thermal stimulation is achieved by using different materials, such as bamboo or wool. This provides a comfortable sensation of warmth and can decrease stress and anxiety.

Chemical stimulation involves the addition of essential oils or other scents to the socks which offer a soothing or energizing effect to its users.

These three types of stimulation can enhance overall sensory processing, leading to improved balance, and reduced anxiety, and stress. Lastly, it can provide relief for conditions such as autism, ADHD, and sensory processing disorder. 

Different Types of Sensory Socks

Several types of sensory socks are available, each with unique benefits. Here are the different types that you or your loved ones can choose to reap their potential benefits.

Compression Socks 

Specialized socks called compression socks or compression stockings gently press on your legs and ankles. They may help in enhancing the blood flow from your legs to your heart. They are carefully designed, snug-fitting, flexible socks that squeeze your leg gently. Graduated compression or pressure stockings apply a tighter fit around the ankle, gradually becoming looser as they move up the leg. Compression sleeves, on the other hand, are simply the tube-like portion without the foot.

Textured Socks 

Textured socks might have potential benefits to its users, one of which is to improve balance in young, older and pathological populations. There was even a study developed to determine the effects of textured socks on balance control during single-leg standing in healthy adults [3].

Weighted Socks 

A weighted sock is a tool that can be used to apply deep touch pressure on a child’s lap. This type of pressure has a calming effect and can improve attention. The textured fabric on the back can also be used as a hand fidget, offering tactile feedback that can help to encourage a calm and alert state.

Essential Oil-Infused Socks 

Essential oil-infused socks are made from a blend of cotton and synthetics that can offer health benefits to our feet. It can be infused with essential oils like peppermint to keep the feet moisturizes and hydrated and can also prevent other foot conditions like Athlete’s foot which causes blisters, swelling and flaking on the feet.

Sensory Socks Use: How to Choose the Right One

Choosing the right sensory socks can be overwhelming, with so many types available on the market. Here are some tips to help you choose the right pair for you:

Seek the advice of a healthcare professional

It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before deciding on sensory socks. They can assess your specific needs and recommend the best type of sensory sock for you.

Assess your specific needs for using these socks

Think about the goals you have for your sensory socks. Would you like to become more balanced? Reduce tension and anxiety? Help patients with autism or ADHD? It’s crucial to pick a pair of sensory socks that fits your specific needs because different types of sensory socks offer different benefits.

Choose comfortable socks to wear

Pick a good pair of socks that you can wear comfortably. The usefulness of the socks may be reduced if you don’t wear them frequently if they are uncomfortable.

Choose high-quality sensory socks available in the market

Look for high-quality fabrics when purchasing sensory socks. Less expensive socks of lower quality might not offer as many benefits as socks of higher quality.

Pick the right size and fit

Make sure the size and fit are appropriate for your foot. Uncomfortable socks that are too tight or too loose may not offer the same amount of benefits.

Try different types of socks that suit your needs 

Don’t be hesitant to experiment with various sensory socks. Try various types to find the one that works best for you because what works for one person might not work for another.

Bottomline

Sensory socks are a special kind of footwear that helps patients with autism, ADHD, and sensory processing disorder. It offers better focus and relief for patients during stressful situations and lessens feelings of anxiety.

Sensory socks work by incorporating certain pressure and textures when used on the feet. It can stimulate the foot with either mechanical, thermal, or chemical. Ultimately, its goal is to improve sensory processing for a more balanced movement or to reduce stress and anxiety for its users. 

We also provide you with different types of sensory socks that you or your loved ones can choose from. But it is also crucial that it is with the guidance of your healthcare professionals before using them. 

We hope that this article provided you with some clarity on what sensory socks are, their benefits, and their uses.

Disclaimer: This article is only a guide. It does not substitute the advice given by your healthcare professional. Before making any health-related decision, consult your healthcare professional.

Editorial References And Fact-Checking

  • Sun, Y., Munro, B. & Zehr, E.P. Compression socks enhance sensory feedback to improve standing balance reactions and reflex control of walking. BMC Sports Sci Med Rehabil 13, 61 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13102-021-00284-2
  • Robertson AE, David R Simmons R. The sensory experiences of adults with autism spectrum disorder: A qualitative analysis. Perception. 2015;44(5):569-86. doi: 10.1068/p7833. PMID: 26422904.
  • Wheat, J. S., Haddad, J. M., Fedirchuk, K., & Davids, K. (2014). Effects of Textured Socks on Balance Control During Single-leg Standing in Healthy Adults. Procedia Engineering, 72, 120-125. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.proeng.2014.06.023
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Charish Luzuriaga, RDN

Charish is a Registered Nutritionist-Dietitian (RDN) who really enjoys helping her readers understand their dietary habits better. She has impressive experience and knowledge about the nutritional values of various foods and ingredients and enjoys informing her readers about popular diets, supplements, and herbs. Charish harnesses her nutritional expertise to inspire and empower people to make positive, healthy changes through what they eat (and drink!). LinkedIn

Author

  • Charish is a Registered Nutritionist-Dietitian (RDN) who really enjoys helping her readers understand their dietary habits better. She has impressive experience and knowledge about the nutritional values of various foods and ingredients and enjoys informing her readers about popular diets, supplements, and herbs. Charish harnesses her nutritional expertise to inspire and empower people to make positive, healthy changes through what they eat (and drink!). LinkedIn

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Charish is a Registered Nutritionist-Dietitian (RDN) who really enjoys helping her readers understand their dietary habits better. She has impressive experience and knowledge about the nutritional values of various foods and ingredients and enjoys informing her readers about popular diets, supplements, and herbs. Charish harnesses her nutritional expertise to inspire and empower people to make positive, healthy changes through what they eat (and drink!). LinkedIn