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Unless you’re one of the fortunate few with heated floors, cold toes are a familiar struggle for anyone whose climate experiences any form of winter weather dip, Besides not being economical, turning up the heat in your home does not solve the problem, as the cold that’s held in floors comes in through the structure itself. Good slipper socks provide directed insulation to your feet—without digging in or constricting your movement, or making dry winter skin worse. And on the aesthetic front: When it’s dreary outside, it can’t hurt to bring in some color or playfulness via your socks.

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How you care for your slipper socks will greatly impact how long they last, and how fuzzy and soft they stay. Check each manufacturer’s instructions, but in general: Wash them by hand (or on the gentle cycle in the machine!), and use a mild detergent made for wool, silk, or microfiber to give them their best, longest life.

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Consider your most walked-on floor surfaces when choosing a pair of slipper socks. If you spend a lot of time on hardwood or tile (or tend toward clumsiness), a grippy sole will be your best bet. If you’re entirely on carpet, or if you want to occasionally wear the socks outdoors with boots and don’t want any interfering texture, smooth-soled slipper socks may be the way to go.

Besides the material used and overall thickness, single-layer slipper socks will be differentiated in warmth and breathability by their respective knit density (that is, the more tightly or loosely they are knit). The more space, the more air that can get in, but also the more moisture that can get out. There are no right or wrong answers, but if you tend to run extra-cold, extra-dry, or extra-clammy, keep these factors in mind as you’re choosing.

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