I'm still on the lookout for the perfect knitted sock. So far I love short row heels but only because the more traditional gusset and heel flap DO NOT FIT me. Take for example, my striped socks (no I'm not giving them to you, even if they don't fit). A lovely yarn and a lovely pattern BUT the heel continually ends up on TOP of my foot. Some call it swimming heel syndrome, and these socks have it with a vengeance. Why? It was one of the few pairs when I actually followed the pattern.
When I closely examine the sock, the problem is easy to see. There is too much fabric around the top of my ankle. Now, I thought my lack of a high instep was the problem (to be truthful, I have no idea whether I have a high instep or not) but now I'm thinking my ankles are either too narrow or my heels are too short, or something.
Perhaps that's why I love short row heels. They fit. Well, at least better than the flap and gusset. But is there something better out there?
Many think so because otherwise why are so many designers/knitters trying to come up with an alternative? As to those alternatives, I haven't tried any yet, so you can ignore or disagree with my comments all that you like. I'm hoping to try at least one of these 'new' heels soon - as soon as I finish the 'pair' I'm working on.
(Believe it or not, these socks have exactly the same number of rows and are both 'sock' yarns and knitted on the same size needles. Just goes to show how yarn and pattern can affect the gauge.)
Alternative heels (in no particular order):
Cat's Sweet Tomato Heel. The video is free and very informative. I haven't tried this though, because I like to pattern to the edge of the instep and can't see how taking stitches from the instep for the heel won't interrupt the pattern.
Boomerang Heel. Also here. I can see how this will work - it's not vastly different to what I've been doing in my own experiments, but it may interrupt the flow when using self-patterning or self-striping yarns.
Double stitch or Yo-You heel. Is it just me, or is this similar to the Boomerang Heel?
Fish Lips Kiss Heel. Yes, you do have to pay for this one. But it's only US$1 and if what I have read can be believed, an absolute bargain. It is apparently 16 pages long with complete sizing information (I've bought it, just haven't read it yet) and never an ill-fitting heel to be seen ever again. (Can you guess which heel I'll be trying first?)
A final word on heels. I didn't include the Afterthought Heel in the above list, because after spending the best part of two mornings REPLACING the heels in DH's socks, I can't understand why anyone would voluntarily do a heel after the sock has been knitted. Still there must be some because it has its converts but, alas, I won't be one of them.
And to prove my labour of love ...