The World's Finest Athletic Socks
|The Anatomy of a Sock! Exciting, no? When it comes to performance socks, 'Anatomy' is everything so yes, we DO get excited when a revolutionary idea comes to fruition.
The primary concerns with Athletic Socks are whether they Reduce Foot Shock, their Comfort Quotient, their ability to Vent Perspiration, and their Odor Retention properties. Wanting a Kabbaz-Kelly athletic sock and dissatisfied with the detrimental aspects of the synthetic choices, we wondered whether innovation using natural fibers might accomplish the goal.
It required the technical excellence of brothers Massimiliano and Fabio Bresciani to achieve the highest marks in all four categories using natural fibers. Proof, once again, that the only real benefit of synthetic sock fibers is the mass-marketers' overarching goal: they are cheap to make.
Anatomy: Inside the Finest Athletic Socks
|Let's start with the Basics: Merino Wool and Cotton are widely recognized as the most comfortable fibers for garments, including socks. The heat generated during athletic pursuits and the warmth charcteristics of Merino Wool immediately removed wool from the list of possibilities leaving only cotton and synthetics. So why not synthetics? There is a long list of reasons of which I'll cite only two: Smelly socks and Plastic just aren't what I want on my feet!
Acrylic and Polypropelyne have a number of positive characteristics. These are significantly outweighed by their extremely high level of post-washing odor retention, the skin allergies experienced by many when wearing oil-based plastics, and the unnatural feel of synthetic fibers. Cotton, on the other hand, causes no such allergies, retains almost no odor, and feels extremely nice against the skin. So from the outset, cotton scored at the top in the areas of Comfort and minimal Odor Retention. But cotton has downside characteristics: It doesn't naturally wick perspiration from the feet and it doesn't naturally provide a great degree of foot-cushion.
And the challenge of those unwanted characteristics is what the Bresciani brothers set out to overcome.
Left: Odor Retention Comparison | Right: Foot Shock in Progress
Foot Shock reduction took center stage. The obvious answer was the use of soft, shock-absorbing cotton terrycloth. That solution worked excellently for Foot Shock reduction ... but it caused unacceptible heat retention. Naturally, the hotter the foot inside the socks, the greater the generation of unwanted sweat.
In hindsight, the Brescianis' answer seems obvious. Reduce the heat by removing the terrycloth. Then we're back to foot shock. So they came up with a revolutionary idea: Remove the terrycloth only where it wasn't needed! And that's exactly what they did. The top and upper sides of the foot - the areas from whence rise the most heat - do not need cushioning for they do not contact the ground.
Heel Shock and Toe Shock in Athletics
|Their design yielded a sock which not only cushions the most important areas - heel and toe - but allowed the heat to dissipate through the top of the socks!
Not satisfied with mere success, they went further. The arch area of the foot does not touch the ground at all. So why not use that area to allow additional venting from not only the top of the foot but the bottom as well? And, again, that's exactly what they did. They created a revolutionary 360° vent which wraps all the way around the middle of the foot.
Closeup of Primary Vent
While we were shooting the women's version of the athletic socks, one of our more innovative models made an amazing discovery. Noticing the extreme sole comfort, she tried on a pair of 5" heels - one size larger than she normally wears - and exclaimed, "Alex - these are amazing! The balls of my feet are so well cushioned I think I could wear heels all day without the slightest pain!"
And then we realized there was another use totally in keeping with the hottest trend of ankle socks with heels. Metatarsal pain - GONE!
In sum, a Natural Fiber sock which Reduces Foot Shock, is Extremely Comfortable & Skin-Friendly, Vents Perspiration, and retains virtually No Odor with proper washing. Plus The Discovery: A trend-setting sock which ameliorates or eliminates Metatarsalgia. By the way, guys ... your heels may not be 5" tall, but even in lower-heeled shoes, the pain relief is gender-neutral!
By putting All The Right Things in All The Right Places, Fabio and Massimiliano have achieved for Kabbaz-Kelly the World's Finest Athletic Socks.Thank you!
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