Why Handknit Sock Fit is SO Important

Why Handknit Sock Fit is SO Important

I’m a freak show.

There, I said it. The truth is – my left foot is noticeably bigger than my right foot.

Can you tell I just took off some handknit socks?

It turns out I’m not alone in this. According to the Healthy Feet Store (which is on the Internet, so it must be true), about 60% of people have one foot that is bigger than the other. I’ve known this for a long time and have actually bought bigger running shoes than regular shoes to accommodate it. However, I’ve never changed how I knit my socks… but I will now.

I recently finished the Bootstrap Socks by Lara Neel. The socks fit wonderfully around my leg and heel and foot. However, when I grafted the toe of the first one and tried it on my larger foot, it felt a little too short. So I picked out the graft, ripped out the toe, added a few more plain rounds, then knitted the toe again. I made the second sock to match and was thoroughly pleased with myself.

However, as I progressed through that first day of wearing them, the one on the right foot felt too big. The left one was great, but the right one was feeling distinctly flappy in the toe within my shoe. At the end of the day, I took off my shoes and discovered this:


The sock that was on my left foot, the one that fit properly, looked great. The sock that was too big on my right foot had noticeable wear in the heel after JUST ONE DAY. I repeat, I wore these socks once, for an equal amount of time each, before this picture was taken. They hadn’t even been blocked. While you may have heard over and over (as I have) that proper fit will make your handknit socks last longer, there’s nothing like seeing photographic evidence.

So I think this means that, from now on, I will be knitting two different-sized socks for myself. I’ve resisted this, as well as innovations such as custom toe pockets (which I’m told is discussed in Big Foot Knits by Andi Smith, though I haven’t opened the book myself), because I consider myself entirely too lazy to keep track of left vs. right socks. However, what’s the point of handknitting yourself custom socks if they’re not truly custom?

Some ideas on how to tell which sock is which:

  • Kitchener the toes with different-colored yarns so I know which is left and which is right.
  • Add a random row of purl bumps to the toe of one of the socks.
  • Knit L and R into the socks (this only works for socks that are mostly vanilla, of course).

Do you have different-sized feet? Do you accommodate for this by knitting different-sized socks? How do you tell yours apart? (I think I’m going to try the Kitchener idea, myself.) Have you read Big Foot Knits? Leave me a comment, and let me know!

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5 thoughts on “Why Handknit Sock Fit is SO Important”

    • Yes, now that I think about it, I have knit socks that are different for left and right (Rick and Kai Mei by Cookie A come to mind) – but I still don’t really pay attention to which one goes on which foot! ☺️

  • I too knit different sizes for each foot, as there is a slight difference. Yes, you are spot on fit does matter. I knit my right sock first then the left second. That is the only way I keep track of which sock is which.
    You listed some excellent ideas for keeping track of which is which. I like the purl bump idea.

  • I’ve recently started knitting anatomical toes, so there’s always a left sock and a right sock! There are a couple of free patterns for this on Ravelry–at least one each for toe up and cuff down. =)

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