After last weekend's musings on the difficulties of creating durable socks, I looked through some of my sock books for information and ideas about this. The problem is that the place where my socks wear is on the bottom of the heel and there is so little that is worked back and forth, thus enabling me to use an extra strand for reinforcement.
But I was looking through my favorite sock book, Sensational Knitted Socks, and Charlene Schurch does discuss reinforcement. Mostly it is what I've read in other places, but it was comforting to see that she acknowledged it numerous times. In looking through the chapter on sock construction, I saw something that might work for me: a toe-up sock with a heel flap. Socks made this way have a heel flap that starts mid-way through the bottom of the foot which means that there is a longer stretch of back and forth knitting, more opportunity for me to use reinforcing yarn. This is excellent news!
I immediately whipped out a skein of Cascade Heritage sock yarn I bought recently - which, helpfully, happens to be 25% nylon - and cast on a short-row toe.
Although I don't enjoy working short rows, primarily because I'm not great at it and have to really focus on the instructions, I do love the little cup it makes for my toes. I also really love this yarn so far. The color is a fantastic murky seawater color that reminds me of days on the lobster boat when I was a kid. Seriously. The photo above really brings out bright blues and greens that don't appear in real life. I'll try to get a more accurate photo later.
There isn't a real pattern here. I'm using the short row toe from one set of patterns in the Schurch book and the heel flap from another set of patterns. I'm working it in a nice classic 2 x 2 rib. I really want to get to a point where I can just pick up some yarn and needles and knit me some socks without a pattern. I think I'm getting close.
I'm knitting on size 0 needles to create a nice tight gauge, something that also helps to prevent holes, and in addition to the nylon content of the yarn and the extra strand I'll use on the heels I expect these socks to survive any upcoming apocalypse we may experience.