Are baby socks necessary?

Baby socks are a popular baby shower gift and commonly purchased baby item. But are they really necessary for newborns? Some parents swear by baby socks while others feel they are unnecessary. Here we will explore the pros and cons of using socks on newborns to help parents decide if they are a must-have or an unnecessary baby product.

Quick Facts on Baby Socks

  • Baby socks come in a huge variety of styles, colors, and patterns.
  • They are sized by age range, with newborn socks fitting 0-3 months.
  • Many baby socks have grippers on the bottom to help them stay on babies’ feet.
  • Socks can help keep babies’ feet warm and protected.
  • Some doctors recommend no socks for newborns to prevent overheating.

The Case For Baby Socks

There are several reasons why parents choose to use socks on their newborns. Here are some of the top benefits of baby socks:


Baby socks can help keep little feet nice and toasty. Newborns cannot regulate their body temperature well, so it’s important to keep them warm – especially their extremities. Socks are an easy way to protect babies’ feet from getting chilled.

Protect Feet

Socks provide a barrier between sensitive newborn skin and the outside world. They guard against scrapes and scratches when babies kick their feet around. The soft cushioning of socks also protects feet when being pushed in a stroller or car seat.

Prevent Scratching

Many babies are born with long nails that can scratch their delicate skin. Socks create a layer between those sharp nails and their feet and legs. This prevents newborns from accidentally scratching themselves.

Better Sleep

Some babies sleep better with socks on their feet. The coziness seems to lull them into deeper sleep. For parents struggling with sleep, socks could be a handy trick to try.

Cuteness Factor

Who doesn’t love cute baby socks? From polka dots to animal prints, baby socks are undeniably adorable. Parents enjoy dressing their newborn in sweet little socks.

Grippers Stay On

Modern baby socks often have silicone or rubber grippers on the bottom. These help keep the socks securely on babies’ feet without sliding around. This feature makes socks more practical and effective.

Reasons Against Baby Socks

On the other hand, there are also reasons parents may want to skip socks with their newborn. Here are some of the cons of using baby socks:

Can Overheat

Since newborns have difficulty regulating their body temperature, socks could cause them to get too hot. Overheating is dangerous for babies, so experts recommend limiting sock use.

May Constrict

Socks could be uncomfortably tight on newborns’ feet and legs. Constricting circulation is also a risk. Babies’ feet often swell after birth too.

Unnecessary Indoors

If baby is spending most of the time indoors in a climate-controlled environment, socks are unnecessary. Babies don’t need foot coverage when hanging around the house.

Hard to Keep On

Even with grippers, baby socks are notorious for slipping off easily. New parents already deal with frequent diaper changes – they don’t want to constantly replace fallen-off socks too.

Can Impede Development

Some doctors believe socks could slightly interfere with babies moving and discovering their feet. Skin-to-skin contact with their feet helps babies learn and develop.

Extra Laundry

Between massive piles of onesies and burp cloths, new parents have enough baby laundry. Adding socks to the mix just increases the chore load.

Guidelines for Baby Sock Use

After looking at the evidence for and against socks, many parents choose to use them selectively for their newborns. Here are some best practice tips for incorporating socks into a newborn’s wardrobe:

Limit Time Wearing Socks

Avoid keeping socks on your baby all day and night. Stick to short time periods to prevent overheating and discomfort.

Choose Breathable Fabrics

Look for socks made of natural, breathable materials like cotton. Avoid synthetic fabrics that could cause sweaty feet.

Monitor Temperature

Pay attention to whether your baby seems too hot with socks on. You may need to adjust temperature or sock use accordingly.

Use Light Pressure

Make sure socks aren’t tightly constricting your newborn’s feet. They should fit loosely and not leave marks.

Take on and Off

Let your baby have some sock-free time each day. Alternate between socked feet and bare feet.

Try Footed Sleepers

Onesies with built-in foot coverings are a warmer alternative to socks for sleep time.

Use for Outings

Socks help protect baby’s feet when on a walk or riding in the car seat or stroller.

Have Backup Socks

Keep extras on hand in case of fallen-off or soiled socks when out and about with baby.

Expert Recommendations

Health organizations and pediatric professionals have offered some guidance on the use of socks for newborns. Here are the recommendations from the experts:

American Academy of Pediatrics

The AAP suggests parents dress infants in one more layer than an adult would wear. For newborns, they recommend against bundling too much or overheating.

Healthy Children

This parenting site affiliated with the AAP notes that newborns do not need shoes or socks for warmth. They advise against socks for summer babies.

Cleveland Clinic

The Cleveland Clinic says socks can help regulate temperature but don’t need to be worn all the time. They recommend bare feet or breathable socks at home.


WebMD pediatric experts say socks can be useful outdoors or for babies prone to scratching. They recommend bare feet when indoors.

Mayo Clinic

The Mayo Clinic advises using thin socks made of natural fibers for newborns. They say socks shouldn’t leave marks on baby’s skin.

Newborn Sock Safety

Along with the sock debate, parents naturally worry about safety. Here are some tips for using socks safely with your newborn:

Avoid Loose Strings

Make sure socks do not have any loose strings which could become wrapped around fingers or toes. Inspect closely.

Remove Before Sleeping

Experts recommend removing socks before putting baby down to sleep to prevent overheating and reduce SIDS risk.

Cut Long Nails

Trim sharp newborn nails to keep babies from scratching themselves if their socks slip off.

Watch Movement

Check that socks aren’t so tight that they seem to restrict baby’s leg or foot motion.

Beware Allergies

Wool or certain fabrics could irritate sensitive newborn skin. Discontinue use if any rashes develop.

Picking the Best Baby Socks

If you decide to buy baby socks, look for the highest quality socks designed for sensitive skin and convenient use:

Soft Fabrics

Cotton, cashmere, cotton blends. Avoid scratchy synthetics.

Stretchy Construction

Ribbed cuffs expand as baby grows. Provides comfort and fit.


Lightweight, breathable materials that don’t bind.


Silicone strips on soles keep socks securely on.

Seamless Toes

Prevents irritation between baby toes. Pillowy feel.

Fun Patterns

Cute animal prints, colors, polka dots bring smiles. Avoid loose embellishments.

Multi Packs

Convenient packs with 6-10 pairs of socks save time and money.

Organic Materials

Sustainably and ethically sourced organic cotton, bamboo rayon etc.

Popular Baby Sock Brands

Some sock brands consistently earn rave reviews from parents for their smart sock designs. Here are 5 top rated baby sock manufacturers:

Brand Materials Notable Features
Burt’s Bees Baby Organic cotton Flexible cuffs, gripper tabs, flat seams
Gerber Cotton, polyester, spandex blends Fun prints, cushioned soles, stay-on fit
Hudson Baby Cotton, nylon, rubber Arch support, breathable cotton, grippers
Jefferies Socks Combed cotton, nylon, spandex Extra stretchy, non-constricting ribbed cuffs
Trumpette Cotton Whimsical patterns, soft seamless toes

Where to Buy

The best selection of baby socks from top brands is available online or in-store at popular retailers:

  • BuyBuyBaby
  • Target
  • Carter’s
  • Nordstrom
  • Amazon

Frequently Asked Questions

When can baby wear socks?

Socks can be worn once baby is home from the hospital, usually within the first few days after birth. Follow safety guidelines and watch for signs of overheating.

How often should I change baby’s socks?

Change socks at least once a day, or whenever they get dirty or wet. Have extras on hand when out running errands.

What temperature is too cold for baby socks?

Below 68°F is generally considered too cold for a newborn without sock coverage. Pay attention for shivering or purple hands/feet.

Is it OK for baby to sleep in socks?

It’s usually recommended to remove socks when putting baby down to sleep to prevent overheating. Some parents do choose to use socks for sleeping in cool rooms.

Can socks help baby sleep better?

Warm feet can help a baby relax and transition into sleep. Make sure the room temperature is also cool enough.

Do newborn socks need grippers?

Gripping tabs on the bottom help socks stay on active babies. But they aren’t mandatory – simple soft socks also work.

When should baby stop wearing socks?

Sock use can be discontinued when baby becomes mobile and starts pulling them off easily, usually around 6-9 months.


Ultimately there are good arguments on both sides of the baby sock debate. Many parents choose to use socks selectively when conditions call for covered feet. Pay attention to your newborn’s cues and comfort level when making sock decisions. With some flexibility and common sense, your baby can enjoy the benefits of socks without the risks.

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