The Smartwool Experiment

Charting the wear and tear on four pairs of Smartwool socks.

November Shoe/Sock Data

with 7 comments

November Sock/Shoe Data

The above image links to a Many Eyes data visualization of what sock I wore on what day throughout the month of November (2008).

Each circle is a shoe, the size of the circle corresponds to the number of times I wore that shoe.  The pie slices represent socks (and they are colored accordingly).  The larger the pie slice, the more times I wore that shoe with that sock (e.g. I wore green socks with Fluevogs more than I wore them with Keens).  Click on the chart or right here to play with the data yourself.

Some of my observations:

  • I wore my four pairs of Smartwools 17 times in one month.
  • I wear my Keens (11) almost twice as much as a wear my Fluevogs (6).
  • I wear the brown and blue socks the most (5 ea.) and the green socks the least (3).
  • I am more likely to wear green socks with red Fluevogs and therefore question my fashion sense.
  • For the first couple weeks I was wearing in the pattern: blue, green, brown, black.
  • Of the two socks I wear the most so far, one is Machine Wash/Dry (blue) and one is Hand Wash/Dry (brown). What is more harmful to a sock: machine washing or machine drying? Does anyone know?

Please play around and share your own!  And here is the wash/dry chart for reference:

Here is the sock wash chart, for reference.

Here is the sock wash/dry chart.


Written by Beck Tench

December 3, 2008 at 9:30 am

7 Responses

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  1. your fashion sense is totes fine: first because the sw’s and ‘vogs are both muted and darker tones (I’d say paprika and moss instead of red ‘n’ green), and second ’cause it’s getting close to xmas.

    all is on

    December 3, 2008 at 11:16 am

  2. Thank you for the rationalization and (biased) approval. 🙂

    Beck Tench

    December 3, 2008 at 3:12 pm

  3. I air dry all my clothes and especially my smart wools. I’ve got to think that the machine drying process with it’s agitation and extreme heat is more damaging to the products. My Mom did her Phd. on textiles in the wash so, I will go ask her and report back.

    bryan kennedy

    December 10, 2008 at 12:42 pm

  4. Bryan, that is *awesome* and I can’t wait to hear what your mom has to say.

    Beck Tench

    December 10, 2008 at 9:24 pm

  5. hey beck .. you asked which was more harmful to socks .. machine washing or drying .. i happen to run a dyehouse and washroom at a sock manufacturing plant (not Smartwool) .. here is what i have found that damages socks the most .. if you stuff your washing machine full , or use only enough water to cover the socks , then they will beat against the machine and all the other clothes causing more wear on them .. handwashing , if done roughly can be even worse , more so if you wring them out by hand .. to wash i would suggest a low temperature (low warm , or even cold) and lots of water to give the socks room to move and not beat against other material. that will help prevent some of the pilling effect . as for drying , less heat is much better. For the same reasons as washing, using a machine to dry is worse .. my suggestion would be cool or cold wash in a machine that has a light load, use a lot of water and air dry . that said , keep up the good work , you seem to be attracting a lot of interest.


    December 25, 2008 at 9:27 pm

  6. […] who runs a dyehouse and washroom at a sock manufacturing plant had this to say about washing […]

  7. Also, turning the socks inside out helps with the piling. I find myself spending a few extra minutes pulling some of the lint and other material from the smartwool sock after the wash, though. I wish there were a better solution, as these are the best socks I have ever worn!


    November 20, 2009 at 9:48 pm

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