I spent a good portion of Friday evening/Saturday reading the first 50 or 60 pages of Clara Parkes's The Knitter's Book of Socks: The Yarn Lover's Ultimate Guide to Creating Socks That Fit Well, Feel Great, and Last a Lifetime
. Parkes (founder/owner of KnittersReview.com) delved deep, deep, deep into the structure of yarn, investigating why some yarns are suitable for making long-wearing socks, and others--poof!--one wearing and they're history. *sigh*
The concepts of regain, elasticity (how to measure it, that is), Young's Modulus (!), abrasion resistance vs. tensile strength, and various aspects of spin and twist, etc., are at the heart of her research into yarn.
THIS IS THE BOOK I had been yearning to read, to study, in the past couple of years but had not found. (My newly enlarged yarn-work collection bears me out.) I'm ecstatic that it has now been written and that I stumbled upon it!
seemed that the longevity of my (heretofore crocheted) projects was fairly random, but now I have a Method for selecting yarns--assuming I can afford them!--as well as a way to understand the fate of less long-lived projects.
Parkes also posed various challenges to 20 sock designers. To tell the truth, the challenges seemed more like The Labors of Hercules: no two were alike. The last challenge was posed to Ann Budd: "I asked her to design a rugged sock that would survive day after day of mountain trekking." Not your exact situation, but as close to it as the book gets.
Budd responded with both structural innovation *and* a yarn recommendation. The favored yarn is fingering-weight (Weight Class #1): String Theory Blue Stocking, 80% Bluefaced Leicester superwash, 20% nylon. 2 skeins @ 420 yards/384 meters each. Worked on U.S. #1.5 (2.5 mm) and U.S. #2 (2.75 mm) needles.
The pattern is provided in women's S and M only; no L (which would be my size) or men's sizes. The sock is shown in the photo on p. 178 as slightly longer than crew length, certainly not boot length. If you were to make this sock, you might want to lengthen the cuff to suit your needs.
Parkes also gave this information on the selected yarn:
"The socks use a soft but durable three-ply yarn made from BFL wool, which tends to have a longer staple than Merino and, thus, greater resistance to abrasion. The leg and instep are worked in the two-row slip-stitch pattern commonly used to add strength to heel flaps. [Easily abraded parts of the sock] are all worked with two strands of yarn held together....Be sure to use a yarn with plenty of elasticity to compensate for the lack of true ribbing" (p. 179).
The Knitter's Book of Socks
has been in circulation long enough to have made its way into some public libraries. Maybe yours has a copy or will be willing to order one, if the book isn't in your own budget.