Saturday, March 07, 2009

Product Review: SofSole Anti-Friction and Cushion Socks

ORN:  8.6 miles, 1:23:44, R5/W1, 9:45/mile, no pain
 
Last week, investment guru Warren Buffett published his view of the current economy.  While pessimistic overall, he suggested it is still wise to buy "quality stocks and quality socks." 
 
Now I don't know if the good folks at SofSole have enlisted the Oracle of Omaha to evaluate their running socks.  Further, I doubt the fact that I, too, am a native of the wide-open state of Nebraska influenced their decision to ask me to evaluate their products.  Nevertheless, they sent me a box full of goodies to evaluate and blog about. And this entry will look at their quality socks.
 
I need to tell you at the outset, I'm really finicky about socks. And I don't think SofSole realized this when they plucked me out of the blogosphere for evaluation.   I was trying to remember just when this started and I think it was in seventh grade football, in the mid 60's.  Good sports shoes had yet to be invented; we just wore the "Johnny Unitas" black leather high-top shoes.  And my feet always hurt.  I blamed it on the socks.  As I went through high school, I developed a fussiness about socks...finally settling on one or two brands that seemed to make my feet hurt less badly.  It was really bad in my favorite sport of baseball, where socks are a Big Deal and have been for a long time.
 
Fast forward to this, my last five years of renewed interest in running.  As I figured out the right shoes to wear, I also struggled to get the socks right.  Being 6'1" and just under 200 lbs, I beat the daylights out of everything on my feet. Coupled with the fact my feet are a size 11 3/4 and thus always between a "perfect fit", I settled into wearing a size 12 shoe with a thick pair of socks. That worked OK while I was doing low mileage and races at a Half Marathon or shorter. 
 
But, when I started training for marathons in 2006, I found blisters became a bigger deal.  So, I added to this podiatric mix a very thin pair of liner socks.  That combo seemed to work and I've stuck with it. 
 
So when SofSole sent me two styles of their performance sock; the Anti-Friction and the Cushon, I realized I needed to try them as liner socks...otherwise, my big shoes just wouldn't fit.  
 
I've really come to like the Anti-Friction sock.  It has an unusual ribbed pattern on the sole which, at first blush, seems counterintuitive.  But it really does seem to work.  I particularly like the very thin nature of the top part of the sock; there is only material where it is needed.  I've found them very effective.
 
It's a little less good with the Cushion sock.   My foot is just the wrong size to make this sock work well.  As a liner sock, it added too much bulk and made my shoes too tight.  By themselves, there wasn't enough bulk.  Yet, they look well made.  "Quality socks" as Mr. Buffett might say.
 
I'm guessing a really good sock for me would be their Lite sock; it would likely be a perfect liner sock for me. 
 
In both models I tried, the various parts of the sock are fitted together perfectly.  They just fit well on the foot.  You can tell they are "designed" not just stamped out.
 
So, if you are looking for socks, it's worth checking these three models to see what works for you. 
 
Persevere.  And do it in quality socks. 

3 comments:

Darrell said...

I'm a pretty brand loyal runner on one hand. And not too picky about my socks on the other. Almost anything works for me, but getting me to buy something other than my tried and true favorite is the hurdle.

Getting them as gifts or freebies is another deal entirely.

Wes said...

Sof Sole makes some good stuff. I really enjoyed the box of "goodies" they sent to me :-) The running socks they sent have come in real handy. I wore them for IM and all my recent races. I only wear them to race in too, probaby the only time you will see me in white socks... LOL...

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