My mission to find sensory friendly socks

Locating sensory friendly socks for Emmett

I under took a very important mission today. My mission was to locate socks that Emmett would tolerate. In other words, I needed to locate sensory friendly socks. You may recall the struggles we have with Emmett when it comes to wearing clothes. Emmett has significant sensory related issues that go along with the Autism. Basically his body misinterprets sensory information.

In Emmett’s case, clothing can often times be very uncomfortable and even painful. The most common issue Emmett struggles with is socks. He simply cannot stand the feeling of socks on his feet. This translates into a nightmare almost every single time we need to take him somewhere. There is a ritual we must undertake if we hope to get him dressed and out the door. This ritual is illustrated in the video below. In this video you can see a small part of what goes into simply getting his shoes and socks on.

Sensory friendly socks are different for everyone

Much like every single Autistic person is different, sensory related needs can be just as diverse. This means that there is not likely to be template for how to address them. What I’m trying to say is that in this particular case with Emmett’s socks, all I can do is guess what might feel better for him. People may have suggestions as to what has worked for their child but that doesn’t mean it will work for Emmett or anyone else for that matter.

I happened to go to Target as they have a rather large selection of socks. It’s actually a bit intimidating to under take this particular task because there is no guarantee that any of the socks I pick out will work. I’m not entirely sure what he doesn’t like about his current socks in the first place. So it really doesn’t give me much to go on. 

As any parent with a special needs child will tell you, not much comes easy. Many things are an up hill battle. That is certainly the experience we have with some of Emmett’s special needs. I opted not to bring him along on this trip because it would not have be productive and probably would have overwhelmed him. Most likely he would have wanted every single pair of socks he saw and would have melted down when he couldn’t have them.

I tried to find socks that were tighter as I suspect that is part of the problem. I also tried my best to locate socks that didn’t have a pronounced seam in the toe. That is not easy to find or at least not easy to find in his size. I narrowed it down to a few different pairs, all of which I thought would stand a chance of working better then what we have currently. The other problem I was facing is that we have limited funds and every unsuccessful attempt to help him with this particular sensory issue is money down the drain.

I don’t mean to imply that he’s not worth the money because he is. I’m speaking to the reality of my situation and honestly the situation of many others in the same or similar position. That’s part of what makes these things so difficult to manage. There’s always a choice that has to be made. It’s harder to make these choices when you don’t know for sure if what your trying to do or the money your investing will actually help. In many cases in our experience, it ends up a failed attempt to help.

Emmett is the final judge of what is sensory friendly

I locate the most ideal sensory friendly socks in the world but that doesn’t mean anything. All that matters is that Emmett can tolerate them. If he can’t tolerate them then they aren’t very sensory friendly, at least as far as he’s concerned. I ended up grabbing three different packages of socks. I made sure to get different colors because he can be quite particular about the color of things. I also made sure to get different designs as well for the same reason.

When I got home I made a big deal about how cool these new socks were. He was a bit skeptical but he eventually warmed up to the idea. I opened all the pairs of socks and let him pick what he wanted to try.

Of course he picks the socks with the skull and cross bones. I didn’t pick them for the art work but for the design of the sock itself. Either way Emmett was willing to try them on and I wasn’t going to argue with him.

I was on pins and needles because this has been a huge issue for us over the last few months. If we could resolve this in some way then we would be making some major progress. I know that those of you with children that don’t face these challenges might not understand why this is so important. I’m not making a big deal out of nothing. Up to this point it could take us an hour just to get Emmett’s shoes and socks on. He get’s so upset when trying to get him dressed that he has actually vomited before, several times actually.

If we could somehow overcome this hurdle then it would be real, tangible progress. With all that said, as you can see in the picture he is proudly displaying his new socks, well at least one pair. So far so good. He didn’t have any issues with these socks. This doesn’t mean that we are necessarily in the clear yet. Tomorrow is another day and things change. However, I’m going to remain hopeful that I managed to find at least one pair of socks that Emmett can tolerate.

I’m hoping that he will be able to wear at least a few more pairs of the $25 worth of socks I bought today but if not then at least we have a better idea of what he can tolerate. It will help us to narrow our search in the future. Mission accomplished or at least another baby step in the right direction. Either way, I’ll take it.

It may seem that I’m making a bigger deal out of this then is necessary but this is the reality of what we face. This is another good example of what many people take for granted with their own kids. When your a special needs parent to an Autistic child with special sensory needs you can’t take anything for granted. Even the simplest of things can become extremely complex in the face of sensory issues.

Rob Gorski

Full time, work from home single Dad to my 3 amazing boys. Oh...and creator fo this blog. :-)
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Dee Jacobs Brake

my son hates socks with print that has the stringy backs. like where the shapes are stitched in and loose strings stick out. he like best are ankle socks called "growing" socks which stretch as the foot needs the space. the seams are nice and the socks are not itchy. BUT that being said. he is turning six on saturday and when at the store he picked out transformer socks and asked for them for his birthday. i doubted he would like the feel of them but well how do ya tell a 6 yr old he cant have socks for his birthday. so i bought them… at least they were on sale..


I definitely feel your pain! Socks used to be our nemesis- but thankfully we have moved on from that issue. I know that not every sock works for every sensory kiddo- but what worked for us is diabetic socks. The tops are looser than most socks and our son didn't feel them against his legs and ankles.

There is also a company called Soft (clothing for all children) and they are supposed to make sensory friendly clothing and socks (MY son hates the feeling of soft, fleece fabrics, but like you said, each kiddo is different.)
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Dude, it is all about the pirates and that is cool. I recently got into the Cricket Socks since they have some without seams. Also, I really (for myself) have enjoyed the socks that Worship Skateboards brings in. I don't know what it is or where he gets them but they stay soft and wash well. Thanks for the great update from head to toe!
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I couldn't vouch for their boys' socks, but I adore socks from the Gap. They're soft, the seams aren't too prominent, nice thick smooth cotton that doesn't go threadbare too quickly, and they fit snugly so they don't bunch up. Unfortunately they're relatively expensive for socks.


As someone who has fought the dreaded sock battle on many a day, I feel your pain. Hope it's some small comfort knowing that you are not alone!
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I am sure it has been suggested but have you tried turning them inside out? A lot of times my son will turn them inside out on his own because certain socks feel better that way.

Clare O'Reilly

You know what, I think we all put up with our socks but we've learnt to do so, your little boy is too sensitive to tolerate them, especially when they are new and fluffy and he can't feel the floor beneath.. this might really bother him. I think he will grow out of it in a few years, it's only socks (mine hates the water, I couldn't bathe him, he threw a fit every time it touched him anywhere on or around his head but now he showers on his own happily! – dreadful moments). So give him the luxury of being his own man and choosing his own socks will ya? ;o)

Diane Ianni

I like your post a lot!!!! Mother of many 6! Typical and all so special 33 – 11 and Grammie to 9! I just wanted to let you know that as much as its a sensory issue for your little man I had that issue with all my typical babies! And God Bless you for being so patient and understanding! Thank -You for sharing your experiences with us. You make me laugh and you make me cry… I have one grandchild that has 1 p 36 deletion syndrome and he has opened our eyes and hearts to a world that we knew existed but were never a part of… As much as it makes us sad it has also given us so much more so I am so ever grateful that God has chosen to enlighten us along the way And on a lighter note Glad that you know that tomorrow is a different day and that after you wash the socks the magic of today might be gone! Wishing you much luck!