The thinner the sock, the better experience for your feet.
As with hand-linked toe and heel (here), we are crafting a smooth surface. Now, needles number determine fabric thickness.
The basic concept is: the more needles a knitting machine has, the thinner the sock will be. This doesn’t mean that a thinner sock is less resistant: higher needle numbers produce a higher density fabric.
The first circular machine only had 72 needle and for that time it was a big achievement. Now you can find even 260 needles machine that are producing exceptionally thin socks yet very durable.
Now, what are other advantages of wearing a thin sock?
A thin sock is light in weight and more breathable than a thicker one: those are fundamental advantage points if we think that a sock’s purpose is to wick moisture away and keep your feet dry (we talked about it here). It feels much smoother on your skin, which contributes to the general comfort.
Another advantage that’s often unthought of, is also related to comfort. With thinner socks you essentially reduce the gap between your feet and your shoes. This means that you can now wear shoes that fit better, reducing friction and tight spots. If you are a gentleman who orders bespoke shoes, this is a must!