9 Ways to Reinforce Sock Heels in 45 Seconds

Plus How to Darn Sock Holes If All Else Fails

YouTube video

Prevent, detain, deter! Stop socks from wearing out with these top 9 tricks and techniques to reinforce your sock heels, soles, and toes. (PS – family photos at the bottom of this post)

Why This Post Is Different From the Others

Not all people wear out their socks on the back of the heel. Most wear out the bottom of the heel and the bottom of the ball of the foot. These techniques address that.

The Fleegle heel isn’t easily compatible with some of the techniques you hear about. This post addresses that.

#1 – Knit With a Needle 2-3 Sizes Smaller Than What You Would Normally Use

Clara Parkes emphasizes this as one of the best techniques for durable socks in her book The Knitters Book of Socks.

There’s a test you can do to see if the fabric is tight enough: Modern Daily Knitting’s post on how to reinforce socks says, “Stretch the fabric a little, and rub the purl side of the fabric. It should feel solid, and you shouldn’t be able to feel the individual stitch bumps or the gaps between them.”

#2 – Do Heel Stitch All Along the Sole

This works great for those who wear out the bottoms of the heels and the balls of the feet. Here is KnitFreedom’s tutorial on Heel Stitch (the Slip-Stitch Heel). To work this on our toe-up Fleegle Heel sock while increasing for the heel gusset, keep the slip stitches lined up in the same columns.

This great idea comes from Winwick Mum’s post on reinforcing sock heels.

#3 – Do Eye-of-the-Partridge Stitch All Along the Sole

Same as the idea above, but with Eye-of-the Partridge stitch. To work this on a Fleegle Heel sock, make sure the slip stitches and knit stitches are alternating as you increase. Here is KnitFreedom’s tutorial on the Eye-of-the-Partridge Stitch.

#4 – Use Reinforcing Thread

Hold a reinforcing thread like Regia Darning Thread along with your yarn. On a Fleegle Heel sock you’d need to carry the thread all the way around the foot as you do the heel gusset. There’s no easy way to just carry the thread on the sole of the sock.

Modern Daily Knitting’s post on reinforcing socks, among other sources, warns that you should not use Wooly Nylon or regular sewing thread as reinforcing thread, as it could actually cut your sock yarn.

#5 – Use a Fuzzy Reinforcing Thread Like Kidsilk Haze

Why not use a warm and strong laceweight yarn like Kidsilk Haze (contains mohair) as your reinforcing thread? If you don’t want an extra warm and fuzzy sock you could use any silk laceweight yarn.

On a Fleegle Heel sock you’d need to carry the thread all the way around the foot as you do the heel gusset. There’s no easy way to just carry the thread on the sole of the sock.

This great idea comes from Modern Daily Knitting’s post on reinforcing socks.

#6 – Work a Top-Down Sock With a Square Heel

The square heel puts the heel turn, ahem, squarely under the heel where most people wear out their socks. Work heel stitch or Eye-of-the-Partridge stitch on the heel turn and, voila! You’ve got an extra-sturdy heel right where it matters.

This great idea comes from Modern Daily Knitting’s post on reinforcing socks.

#7 – Weave Yarn in and Out of the Purl Bumps on the Wrong Side

This technique is tedious but it works. Plus, you can reinforce only the areas which tend to wear out the fastest like under the ball of the foot and under the heel. Excellent sources that go into detail on this simple technique are Osborn Fiber’s post on reinforcing heels and Knitty’s post on reinforcing and darning heels.

I’ve done this technique and actually wrote a blog post on it, but I can’t find it for the life of me! 🤦‍♀️😜 But it’s very simple and you can refer to the posts referenced above to learn how it works.

#8 – Pre-Darn Problem Areas Using Duplicate Stitch

This could look really lovely if done in a contrasting yarn. Consider using Duplicate Stitch to make a heart shape on the bottom of the heel and the ball of the foot, how cute would that be? You can also do this as the sock starts to wear out a little and you see where the problem areas are.

See KnitFreedom’s video tutorial on Duplicate Stitch (part of our Charts Demystified video class)

This great idea is mentioned in Modern Daily Knitting’s post on reinforcing socks and Knitty’s post on reinforcing and darning heels.

#9 – Use Phentex Slipper Yarn

KnitFreedom Superstar student Deb shared that she uses the indestructible Phentex yarn to make her husband socks that have lasted for decades. Give it a shot! Buy Phentex yarn here (and elsewhere online).

#10 – Darn Any Holes

If you already have socks with holes, you can invisibly darn them and make them good as new. Here is KnitFreedom’s in-depth video tutorial on How to Darn Socks and Repair Holes in Knitting.

Please leave me a comment and let me know how interesting this was for you, on a scale of 1-10. What was the most interesting thing about this for you? Thank you!

Would you like to see KnitFreedom videos going more in-depth on any of these techniques? Let me know in the comments!

Thank you so much for your feedback and see you next Wednesday with another eye-opening video clip.




  • Thanks for this post. It’s cold here on the East coast so was looking for ways to pad the soles of my handknit socks.

    Kids are happy and so cute

  • Nicole ramirez

    I am knitting fingerling toe up socks 2 at a time. I want to add the Eye-of-the-Partridge Heel Pattern. Do I start it after the gusset? Meaning I will do the increases on one side and then start the slip stitch partridge pattern.

    • A
      Liat Gat - Founder

      If you want to use the stitch to make the heel stronger you may want to use it while you are increasing for the gusset. If you use it after the gusset you will just have a tiny bit of heel and it won’t make much difference. Do it on the heel side only. Let me know if you need further guidance. 👍🏼

      Liat Gat

  • Debi Humphrey

    Liat, your kids are freaking ADORABLE. Plus, excellent photos. The lighting is perfect!

    Just wanted to say thanks for all these Uber-detailed hints. I’ve never knitted socks; I’m just getting back into knitting after a hiatus. So I joined your group and have found your teaching extremely valuable.

  • Jennie Moore

    Hi Liat! First, the boys are growing like weeds and are just beautiful 😍 ! Second, I just skimmed thru the post and haven’t had a chance to delve further. However, my sock problem is holes in the sides of the heels/ankles! Obviously I didn’t make them wide enough top of foot to bottom at the ankle, but I’m not quite sure how to repair the spots without making them even smaller! 🙄 Thanks for sharing your wealth of knowledge with us!!

    • A
      Liat Gat - Founder

      Hi Jennie,

      Another terribly late answer for you! I am so sorry. I fell quite behind on all my email over the past few months. I was overwhelmed by the hundreds of lovely replies I got to the personal blogs I posted. Anyway, I’m here now, catching up on everything.

      So you have holes in the sides of your socks. My questions for you (you can reply directly to happiness@knitfreedom.com if you like): What pattern are you using? Is it just one hole on either side, or multiple? Can you send me a photo? You CAN have socks with no holes. I will help you!


  • Barbara Lowell

    This was such a wonderful compilation, I added it to my reading list for return reference. You do such a great job as a teacher (and as a mom!). Thanx so much.

    • A
      Liat Gat - Founder

      Thank you so much Barbara! I’m excited that this post resonated with you! I sense more “compliation” posts coming up! Big hugs and thank you so much for your kind words.

  • Norma Byrd

    P.S. LOVE the photos!!! What sweeties, and the one with the toy almost as big as he is—wow! But each picture is better than the last.

    • A
      Liat Gat - Founder

      Thank you!! We’ve got a beautiful big window that makes for some great photo lighting. Something about the light makes it feel as though I’m gently touching their faces as I take the photo 😍

  • Norma Byrd

    OH YES! This is a keeper in my “Info from other knitters” file! Still working on Christmas gifts but I need to get back to socks. I certainly have a bounty of sweaters, skirts, gloves, etc. (I still keep sprouting design ideas for them though!)

    • A
      Liat Gat - Founder

      Hooray! I bet you have some great design ideas brewing. I wrote this one at the last minute so didn’t have time to run it by you, but I sense other compilation-type posts coming up! (10 increases, from least to most invisible, is one I’m thinking of…)

      Hugs and happy holidays!

  • Margie Watkins

    First, such precious boys!!! Here’s my question: I have a sweater with holes, and the holes are in a zigzag pattern. How do I mend that? I’d love to have some help with mending something that is patterned, and not a sock.

    • A
      Liat Gat - Founder

      Hi Margie, since you’re a KnitFreedom member, I can take a look at a photo of the sweater and let you know what I think you should do. Please send a photo of the holes to happiness@knitfreedom.com. Thanks!

  • The darning video #10 was the most useful part of this email for me, but I truly enjoyed ALL of it.

  • Best post ever! Thanks for including so many options and links to more detail. For all the time it takes to make socks, I definitely don’t want them to wear out anytime soon! … Cute family pics 🙂

    • A
      Liat Gat - Founder

      Hi Lori! Thank you so much! I’m grateful for the feedback, maybe I will do more posts like this in the future!

  • Wow! Really good and timely tips as my family are requesting more socks for Christmas.

    • A
      Liat Gat - Founder

      Hi Diana, thank you so much! Glad to know this post came at the right time.

  • Gladys Kraemer

    Haven’t done socks yet. Just wanted to say your Sons are BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Thelma Talloo

    In Point #2, sl St Heel is said to protect wearing out of the Sole if continued throughout the Sole. My question is that won’t that make the Sole shorter in Length as compared to the Instep of the Foot when worked Cuff Down?
    Please suggest ways to avoid this and have the same Length for Instep and Sole, till Toe Decreases. Should I work more short rows only on Sole tho I am actually working in the Round? And if so, please suggest how many and at after how many rounds exactly.
    Thanks ❤️

    • A
      Liat Gat - Founder

      Hi Thelma, I do not think the sole will be significantly shorter in length. Just make sure you don’t pull the knit stitches extremely tight after each slip stitch. Leave a reasonable amount of slack for the slip stitch. Experiment until you find a fabric you like. The Winwick Mum post said she does this for all her socks and doesn’t have an issue with the length. You can check out her post for more detail. https://www.winwickmum.co.uk/2016/09/reinforcing-heels-and-soles-free.html

  • Rita Jurgess

    I found this information very useful! I haven’t knitted any socks lately, but will definitely go find some reinforcing thread / yarn, and use these techniques. I wouldn’t have thought to do this during the sock making process, it seems that it would make sense to do this now while knitting them so you don’t have to worry about it later on.

    Beautiful pictures of the family! Love it when you send the pics of the babies…:-)

    • A
      Liat Gat - Founder

      Hi Rita, I’m so glad you think this will help you! I think reinforcing thread is probably the easiest route since it takes no extra effort while knitting. And I’m glad you like the pictures of the babies, I love sharing, and it’s been a while 😀

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