Walking around with no socks is one of summer’s simple pleasures. However, it can be hard to work up the courage to whip those socks off if your bare feet risk coming into contact with an icy cold surface, or worse, an uncomfortable material. If you want to free all 10 of your little piggies from their stockings all year round, you may want to consider investing in a more comfortable floor. Without further ado, here are our top choices for the most comfortable flooring materials available today.
Can It Be Cork?
Cork is attractive, natural, and surprisingly soft. It doesn’t feel the same as walking on carpet, of course, but it yields beneath your feet and feels quite neat against your naked toes. As you know if you’ve ever opened a bottle of wine, cork has a pleasing texture, one that lends itself well to flooring. Depending on the thickness of the cork you choose, the softness is even more unbelievable.
The good news is that, for a porous material, it’s easy to maintain and clean cork floors. That being said, you do have to exercise some caution. Cork works better in low-traffic areas, or at least in spaces where no one typically wears shoes. Regretfully, it’s not a good pick if you have pets.
Veering Toward Vinyl
Vinyl has a reputation for being a hard, thin flooring, and it is, but only sometimes. When most people think of vinyl, they picture it in kitchens, bathrooms, and indoor/outdoor areas, such as mud rooms. The truth is that vinyl takes on the feeling and texture of whatever you put beneath it. Since vinyl is smooth, generally stain resistant, and effortless to clean, it’s understandable why you might want to put it down in a bedroom or rec room.
Don’t resist doing what you want because you’re afraid of a hard floor. All you have to do is install foam padding or even cork floorboard before you lay down the vinyl. In no time at all, the vinyl flooring will take on the texture of the material underneath.
Rooting for Rubber
What’s that, you say? You’ve never considered rubber flooring before? It’s about time you did. Rubber is one of the most durable types of flooring on the market, which makes sense given that it’s an endlessly resilient material. As you can imagine, it’s also stain and water resistant, making it the ideal flooring in a home with children or animals in abundance. Even if you just decide to use rubber flooring in your playroom, basement, or home gym it pays to have a dedicated space that uses this type of flooring.
Don’t worry about the look of it, either. An assortment of colors, styles, and designs are available. Rubber isn’t all that different from carpet. It feels yielding beneath your feet, which is soothing and comfortable. It also insulates spaces against heat and noise.
Let’s Hear It for Laminate
Laminate is ingenious. It takes on the appearance of other materials, such as wood, stone, and concrete. Once it’s installed, it looks real. However, a protective layer keeps the laminate safe from the usual wear and tear, making it even better than the original. Some laminates are impossible to spot, as they’re so realistic.
Another perk is that laminate is incredibly durable. Plus, it tends to cost less than the materials it cleverly mimics. You can install it over your existing floors, and if you go with a glueless laminate, you can remove the pieces and either replace or reinstall them somewhere else.
Hear, Hear for Engineered
Engineered wood flooring is another possibility. As the name suggests, this type of material isn’t naturally occurring — it’s engineered and human-made. Because of that, it’s often a better pick than natural wood. Engineered flooring uses various plies of wood along with a top made of solid wood. Beneath that, layers of plywood are firmly pressed together, creating a stable, durable core. It’s the perfect flooring for high-traffic areas that still need to look attractive.
Honorable Mention: Slate Is Great
Slate flooring looks gorgeous, no matter what style you choose — and there are dozens of them. From porcelain tile with a redwood appearance to beautifully textured slate, you’ll find something that fits your design aesthetic and tickles your fancy. Even though this is a stone floor, it still begs you to remove your socks and walk around barefoot. Why? Because slate retains heat. There’s little worry about getting out of bed in the morning, standing up, and freezing off your precious toes. More to the point, this stuff will never wear out on you.
The Sockless Champion: Underfloor Heating
Underfloor heating is the real winner. It’s the champion of #NoSocksDay, and the name alone should tell you why. Install underfloor heating throughout your home, and you can walk around with your bare feet out every season — even in the middle of winter. The cool part — no pun intended — is that since the apparatus goes beneath your flooring, you can still install practically anything. In fact, if you’re not worried about freezing cold floors, then underfloor heating might allow you to reconsider a flooring option you initially discounted.
Have you ever thought about installing heating under the floor? It seems like a dream straight out of “The Jetsons,” this magical ability to let your feet go naked even when it’s -40 below outside.