Show Notes

Episode 20: Dig In Your (Sock) Heels

Since Gigi of The Knitmore Girls has been knitting a mountain of socks with Sarah’s Non-Euclidian heel pattern, we thought it would be fun to talk today about a smattering of different sock heels and which sort of feet they (generally) fit best.

Flap Heels

  • Pros: Easily adapted to higher and lower insteps, use a simple formula to adapt for any stitch count, work slipped stitches or nylon into the flap to reinforce against holes, no stitch markers needed, easy to add a pattern to the flap.
  • Cons: Difficult/more confusing to work in a toe-up sock, may make variegated or self-striping yarns pool, need to pick up stitches
  • Can be worked with a flat turn (Dutch heel), or a rounded turn (French heel). The rounded turn fits a little more snugly against the foot, depending on the ease of the sock.

Short Row Heels

  • Pros: Fast and fairly simple to work, tons of variations so you can find one that works best for you, really easy to use a different color for the heel, is less disruptive to stripes or variegation in color.
  • Cons: Less sturdy than a flap heel, and tends to have holes where the short rows are turned. Harder to adapt for high insteps.
  • Common variants – Sweet Tomato Heel (turns the heel in three wedges, instead of two), Fish Lips Kiss Heel, Japanese short rows, German short rows, etc.

Afterthought Heels

  • Pros: No shaping required! Just knit a tube until it’s as long as you want it, and then knit the toe. The heel can easily be made in a different color, or replaced when it wears out. No interruptions of stripe sequence or weird color pooling.
  • Cons: Has a tendency to slip off the foot. Requires cutting the knitting, or pre-planning where to put waste yarn for the heel. Not ideal for a high instep.

Fleegle Heel/Strong Heel

  • Pros: combining the good things of a short row heel and a flap heel. No holes, more subtle than a heel flap, and sturdier than a short row heel.
  • Cons: the directions can be confusing, especially for an inexperienced sock knitter.

“Vanilla Is the New Black”/ “Non-Euclidian” Type Heels

  • Pros: No heel flap or stitches to pick up, no risk of holes from short rows, can accommodate different foot anatomies, works well with self-striping yarns, looks pretty on the inside of the sock as well as the outside (reversible!)
  • Cons: No reinforcement where the sock hits a shoe at the back of the heel

The simultaneous heel flap/gusset sock pattern is Leafling: Sarah’s project page shows the heel a bit better than the main pattern page:

These socks (also Sarah’s pattern, full disclosure) show an Eye of Partridge heel and also gusset decreases on the bottom of the sock:

The double-gusset heel socks Sarah was referring to are these ones:

Here is the video by Amy Florence of how she does her afterthought heels:

The Miriam Felton heels are the Heels for High Insteps:

The sock pattern with tulips on the heel flap:

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