From crocheted cotton newborn booties to cute and colorful non-slip toddler socks, find out why organic baby socks are best.
I can’t help but wonder why newborn socks never seem to stay on. As much I like footie pajamas, I also appreciate how simple it is to change a cloth diaper when baby is wearing a gown. And I almost can’t handle the cuteness when baby is wearing a tiny pair of linen pants. But unless it’s summer, these outfits usually require socks.
Whether Wilder Baby is enjoying tummy time on a quilt or we are snuggling together under a blanket on the couch, those darling little baby socks somehow work themselves off his precious feet. (They do seem to stay on when he’s cuddled close in a woven wrap.) Sometimes, it’s a few days before I find the lost sock and reunite it with its match.
Nevertheless, I know it’s important to keep those sweet feet warm. (I love being barefoot, but if my feet are cold, I’m cold all over.) I also know that what those socks are made of is important, too.
The Best Socks for Children
When it comes to clothes for my children, I want them to have the best. I don’t mean the latest fashions or expensive designer brands. I’m talking about clothing that is the best for them in terms of health and safety.
In fact, I’d rather avoid those big brands; especially, after learning that the Center for Environmental Health found 84 sock brands with high levels of bisphenol A (BPA), a nasty synthetic compound linked to numerous health conditions. Previous studies from Spain and China also found disconcerting concentrations of BPA and other toxic chemicals in socks for infants and children. (Sadly, BPA does not come off in the wash.)
Years of working in the beauty industry taught me that we should be mindful about what we put on our bodies. The skin is the largest organ, and a large percentage of what we put on it is absorbed into the bloodstream. From natural remedies (such as putting sliced onion in your socks to treat a cold) to reflexology, old wives’ tales and ancient wisdom reveal that the feet also affect the whole body.
I’ll admit, it’s disheartening to learn these facts about chemicals in clothing, and it can feel overwhelming. Instead of falling down a rabbit hole of concerning information and spiraling into worry, I’d rather seek solutions and better alternatives. It’s not about being perfect, but I’m trying my best. And if you’re reading this, mindful mama, I imagine you are, too.
Why Organic Matters
The man of the place half jokes that even my q-tips must be organic. If something is not going to be eaten, why does it matter if it is organic? (Well, when it comes to baby socks, one might wind up in baby’s mouth.) Remember, what we put in and on our bodies really does make a difference.
Buying socks with GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certification is one thing we can do to hopefully avoid toxic substances in socks and other articles of clothing. Unlike OEKO-TEX, which is still better than the conventional standard, GOTS certification starts with organic farming and continues through all stages of production and processing to ensure safer products.
Honestly, I have my doubts about organic standards; however, there’s no doubt that the pesticides and synthetic fertilizers used in conventional farming are harmful. They’re not good for us or the planet. That’s why I choose to purchase organic clothing for my boys whenever possible.
Natural vs. Synthetic Materials
I was incredibly disappointed to learn that the “organic” baby socks I used to put on Little Bear were really a blend of organic cotton, polyester, and spandex. I get it, socks should stretch a little, but they contained a little too much synthetic stuff for my liking. Polyester, spandex (also known as elastane or lycra), acrylic, and nylon are plastics — I’d rather not have these materials in my wardrobe or my kids’.
I try to dress my children in clothes made from natural fibers. I specifically look for clothing comprised of organic cotton, linen, hemp, and sometimes ethical wool. Bamboo, viscose, rayon, lyocell, and modal derive from plants, but I keep them out of the closet — and the sock drawer — because they are chemically processed.
When I started searching for socks that I felt better about my kids wearing, I quickly learned that it’s not easy to find 100% organic cotton baby socks. Although I found an Italian company that makes excellent 100% organic cotton socks for adults, their kid socks are only 98% organic and the sizes offered are too large for Little Bear at this time. They are GOTS certified, and I plan to get them for him eventually, so I’ll report back on those.
Mom-Approved Organic Baby Socks
In my humble opinion, the best infant socks are from Under the Nile, the first baby clothing company in the USA to become GOTS certified. They’re made from 100% organic Egyptian cotton. Moreover, they do not contain azo colorants, flame retardants, formaldehyde, fragrance, PVC or lead.
Unfortunately, I’m not sure if the company is still making my favorite simple and snapless style because they are no longer listed on their website. As I write this, they can currently still be found on other sites, and they’re on sale. They also make snap booties.
Another company I’ve been pleased with is Q for Quinn. I’ve only tried their 98% organic cotton socks (they do make socks with less cotton), but I have purchased several pairs for both babies and toddlers. They have GOTS certification and are free of BPA, parabens, formaldehyde, lead, and other toxins.
I especially like their pure (no dye) collection. They’re soft and breathable, and since they are made without any dyes, they’re extra gentle on sensitive baby skin. Plus, the natural colors are neutral and beautiful.
Lately, Little Bear likes picking out his socks, and he almost always chooses a pair with silicone safety grippers on the bottom. These socks are more colorful and can be mixed and matched. It’s a chance for creative clothing choices, and it’s convenient for those times when one sock inevitably goes missing!
Organic Baby Booties
Technically, booties are different than socks. Nonetheless, since they are similar, I think they’re worth mentioning. By now, it’s probably no surprise that I recommend looking for booties that are as natural and organic as possible.
Trustworthy brands such as Under the Nile and Burt’s Bees Baby make 100% organic cotton booties. These soft structured footwear options can keep little piggies warm and comfortable.
If you’re drawn to fleece booties, I suggest checking the fabric details, since many of these contain polyester. They might look soft and cozy, but keep in mind that polyester is plastic. Yuck!
Natural and Handmade
Hands down, handmade socks and booties that are well-made from natural, organic materials can be a great choice. I admire and appreciate personal touches.
With that being said, it’s worth making sure vintage or antique handmade socks are truly clean. Personally, I wouldn’t use any with old dry cleaning solvent stink (it can make itself known in the wash and doesn’t smell it after the garment dries) or mothball (ahem, chemical) odors.
There are artists offering organic wool hand-knit socks and organic cotton crocheted booties on Etsy. Plus, there are lots of knitting and crochet patterns available online and in books such as Natural Nursery Knits.
I hope this post on organic baby socks was a help to you. What are your favorite organic clothing brands for kids? I’d love to learn about them in the comments.