Can a Pair of Socks Really Make a Difference in Athletic Performance?

Illustration for article titled Can a Pair of Socks Really Make a Difference in Athletic Performance?

A pair of socks is a pair of socks is a pair of socks. Right? Not anymore. Even a pair of socks have technology that can improve athletic performance now.

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If you're not familiar with Nike Elite Basketball socks, the socks specify which foot each sock is for. It's like a basketball shoe now, the socks have strategically cushioned zones for the left and right foot to provide support and comfort. It's a little sick and twisted to think that your right sock doesn't work with your left foot, huh? I know. But you can tell the difference.

Illustration for article titled Can a Pair of Socks Really Make a Difference in Athletic Performance?
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You can see the extra padding in the sock's design. There is cushioning where basketball players cut and slide their foot, extra padding around the ankle and Achilles so shoes don't beat 'em up and the ribbing across the mid-foot gives for a larger range of motion. In other words, it looks like a sock—specialized.

And because Nike is Nike, once they find something athletes want (basketball player Deron Williams calls the socks "incredible" and that he wears them "all the time", never mind that he gets paid to say that), they blast it with the power of a 1000 designs. I like these galaxy socks:

Illustration for article titled Can a Pair of Socks Really Make a Difference in Athletic Performance?

I can't believe I just said I like a pair of socks. [Nike]

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DISCUSSION

TrueBelieverRobot
TrueBelieverRobot

I know I'm about to sound like a marketing shill, but whatever:

I started long-distance running only about 1.5 years back. I just ran in generic Target cheap-o athletic socks. They were fine.

For Christmas I randomly asked for something called Smartwool's PhD sock. They are stupid expensive for a pair of socks, but I vaguely heard they were good for long-distance trail running.

HOLY COW. I only have the one pair right now, and I actually get excited on the days I go for a long run and I find them waiting among my clan socks to wear. So comfortable, so secure, and my feet feel appreciably better. If its just a placebo effect, it is one hell of a placebo effect.

TL;DR — I think awesome socks for sports may actually help. They're still stupidly expensive.