Socks offer a huge boost in temperature stability, particularly if you use high airflow cooling around the nozzle to cool the print. The additional cooling combined with reduced radiation of heat from the block and nozzle to the print really boost the ability to print great overhangs and bridges, all while keeping the hotend temperature extremely stable. Socks don't last forever.
Depending on what materials you print they should easily last 100+ print hours.
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