Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Slippery Socks

PostedMarch 12, 2006

Download File (mp3)

Randy Atkins:  You're getting ready for your first tennis match of the season, and fearing blisters.  Better find a pair of soft, thick, all-cotton socks, right?

Lisa Huhman:  According to our study with our simulation of sweat, they do not perform the best.

Randy Atkins:  Lisa Huhman, and four other bioengineering students at the University of Missouri, attached ten common athletic socks—moistened with varying amounts of water—to a device that precisely measured the physics of slippage.

Lisa Huhman:  We found that a mixture of cotton and synthetic materials had the least amount of friction thus leading to the least amount of blister formation.

Randy Atkins:  Next they plan to test sweaty socks straight from the feet of athletes.  All in the name of research!  With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP Radio.

In addition to athletes, the research could help diabetics, those with circulation problems, and wearers of prosthetic devices.