The thing about socks or clothing for that matter is they eventually wear out. Socks in particular can be very problematic, because of the wear and tear inside footwear. I’ve bought socks that didn’t even last a month. I do find that hand knit socks last longer than purchased ones, if you follow these tips.
Using The Right Yarn: The yarn used for knitting socks should be firm and tightly spun (not over spun or they will wear more quickly). Wool is the fiber of choice because it is sturdy, and many sock yarn brands are reinforced with a small amount of nylon providing durability (nylon is one of the strongest fibers). Some sock yarn brands come with an extra ball of fine yarn to combine with the sock yarn for knitting heels and toes.
Knit Tight: A loosely knit sock won’t withstand the pressure from the foot movement. Make sure to use small needle sizes, maintaining the correct gauge of the pattern. The heel stitch is commonly used for the heel flap, as it provides a denser fabric and wears better. The basic heel stitch consists of two rows:
Row 1(right side): *sl 1 purlwise, k1, repeat from * to end of needle.
Row 2: sl 1 purlwise, p to end of needle.
Sock Care: Laundering socks properly will help them last longer. The best method is to remove pilled areas first, turn inside out, and hand wash in room temperature water and mild soap. Soak for approximately half an hour, rinse, then roll in a towel and lay flat to dry. Using the washer and dryer is a fast way to wear them out.
In the end, you probably wouldn’t want socks to last forever. Nothing is more satisfying than new socks right off the needles. My final suggestion is to make many pairs!
(The following images are some socks I recently finished. The slipper types are the fabulous Turkish Bed Socks from Churchmouse Yarns & Teas. The other image is A Nice Ribbed Sock free pattern from Glenna C. at Knitting to Stay Sane blog.)