Odor Resistant Socks: Redefining Clean with Antimicrobial & Odor Capture Technologies

Foot odor is a universal pain point; we have all had unpleasant encounters with it. Whether it is that embarrassing moment when you take your shoes off after working out or coming across a family member's stinky sock as you are doing laundry. It stinks, and there is no way to cover it up on an untreated sock.

Although odor on socks and feet is a natural part of life, we can control it with antimicrobials or odor capture technologies. Not to mention, the stink on our socks can be difficult to remove or prevent even with regular washing. Odor build-up on textiles is also common and can be difficult to remove even with regular washings. Malodor on fabrics is complex, with various mechanisms contributing. Over time biofilm accumulation, the degradation of the textiles by bacteria, and odorous chemical substances persistently making themselves at home can make a sock unusable.

What causes sock odor?

Socks absorb sweat, holding it against the skin and toenails. While many may think that sweat is the cause of foul-smelling feet, socks, and shoes, the real culprit is bacteria! Shoes and socks make it more difficult for sweat to evaporate, creating optimal conditions for bacteria to grow and reproduce. Human skin contact offers the bacteria just about everything they need to thrive: moisture, warmth, and even a nutrient source -- our sweat.

The fact is, socks are rarely (if ever) completely clean. Textiles are prime carriers of microorganisms, allowing moisture and bacteria to become trapped in the fibers. Typical home laundering can help mask the odor with other scents, but the root of persistent odors can linger on socks even after washing.

There are two ways to solve sock odor. You can prevent the odor before it starts or by trapping and neutralizing the unpleasant smell once it is created. Microban offers solutions that can tackle the problem either way. Antimicrobial Technologies work by preventing the growth of odor-causing bacteria. Odor Capture Technologies neutralize the odor once bacteria create it.

Antimicrobial Technologies and How They Work

All antimicrobials are not created equal. It is essential to understand the fundamental chemical, physical and biological properties of an antimicrobial so the most effective technology can be chosen for a particular application. At Microban, we offer a comprehensive portfolio of technology offerings and can even create customized solutions.

One of our most popular antimicrobial products used for socks is AEGIS®. It has a unique mode of action that physically ruptures the organism's cell membrane; the result is a treated sock that is inhospitable for bacterial and, in some instances, fungal growth.

Aegis how it works

How do we test for Antimicrobial efficacy?

Antimicrobials on socks are tested using industry-standard test methods, such as ASTM e2149. It is important to use international standard test methods to determine the antimicrobial activity to validate efficacy and product claims. The advantages of these test methods are that they are quick, flexible, and reproducible. Test methods vary from technology to technology and end-use substrate. Microban conducts many qualitative and quantitative bacterial test methods, along with fungal, odor, and other microbiological testing services.

Benefits of Using AEGIS® Antimicrobial Technology

AEGIS ® is a full spectrum liquid antimicrobial suitable for use in a wide range of uses. AEGIS® technology has a history of safe use and durability, ensuring long-lasting antimicrobial efficacy.

  • Controls bacterial growth, odors, unsightly stains, and product deterioration on Socks
  • AEGIS has a cationic mode of action – widely known and preferred by sock manufacturers and brands.
  • Easy product verification at the mill or distribution center.
  • Fast-acting mode of action
  • bluesign® and OEKO-TEX® certified – a highly regarded Trustmark representing sustainability in textile manufacturing for both brands and consumers.

Although Antimicrobials are an effective way to control foot odor on socks, it is not the only way. Sock odor can also be controlled after bacteria generate it by an odor capture solution. Odor capture technologies form a protective barrier on the fabric to trap and neutralize foul-smelling foot odor during and after use and between washings.

Odor Capture Technologies and How They Work

Say hello to ultimate freshness with Scentry Revive®, an odor capture technology that's proven to neutralize odors on socks wear after wear and between washes. The odor-capture formula is seamlessly integrated into standard sock manufacturing processes and remains effective for up to 50 home washes.

Scentry Revive® odor capture technology also contributes to a greater usable lifetime of the treated sock by actively neutralizing the malodor. This technology is applied through the exhaustion process to sock yarns and is compatible with other auxiliaries. By preventing the build-up of odors in between washes, treated socks remain fresher for longer. This odor build-up, otherwise known as "permastink," on the yarn can render socks useless.

AM socks MOA

How are odor-capture products tested?

Microban's dedicated team of engineers ensures high-performing effectiveness by rigorously testing our odor-capture technologies and working with our partners to define durability requirements. Industry-standard test methods are used, and Microban developed methods are used to ensure the performance of Scentry Revive®.

Custom "real world" simulations mimic actual use environments, including wear tests, sensory panels, repeated laundering, and more - all so our manufacturing partners and brands can remain confident in the value they share with their customers. Odor testing can be subjective and complex, but our R&D team of odor experts are the best in the sock industry and can help you navigate these complexities.

Benefits of Scentry Revive® Odor-Capture

  • Versatile. All fiber types (natural and synthetic) can be treated.
  • Sustainable. By increasing the usable lifetime of the product, treated products require less washing and less frequent replacement.
  • Effective. It is proven to continuously maintain freshness and neutralize odors for up to 50 washes.
  • Compatible. Works well with other auxiliaries such as moisture management, softeners, and water repellents.
  • History of Safe Use. bluesign® and OEKO-TEX® certified, making it ideal for even the most sustainable manufacturing processes.

Over 80% of consumers are concerned about the presence of odor on footwear, with more than 83% more likely to purchase a product with Microban® odor control technology.

2017 Textiles Brand Survey

Microban® is the global leader in antimicrobial and odor control technologies, committed to helping manufacturers develop products that stay cleaner, fresher, and more durable for longer. Our odor control technologies give consumers confidence and peace of mind, allowing them to leave unwelcomed worry and stink behind.