Monday, February 10, 2014

FITS like a Sock! Sockwa X8 and FITS Sock Review and Giveaway!

Ok… back to your regularly scheduled product reviews and giveaways!

Sorry I've been away for a bit and neglecting my blog. Was off on a trip to Seattle to see my older kids, and then work has been all crazy...  but I digress...

This week I’m taking a look at two great companies, Sockwa and FITS.  I put them together for this review because I've found that they work well together, and hey… one is socks, and the other is "Socks with Attitude"!!  Check out the review and hang around as I'll give away some Sockwa X8's and FITS Socks at the end!! J

First off, perhaps some of you have heard of Sockwa.  The company was founded by David Zasloff, and the shoes (or socks) were born on the beach soccer fields of Southern California in 2008. 

I would categorize Sockwa as one of those options for those that barefoot most (if not all) of the time, and are looking for the barest of all bare minimum coverage for their feet when needed.

I've reviewed some very minimalist shoes and sandals, many of which are pretty dang close to running unshod, however the Sockwa X8 is by far the closest I've found to barefoot.  The 1.2mm TPU sole of the X8 feels paper thin and delivers some incredible proprioception.  The X8 is unique in that it really is less of a shoe or sandal, but rather a sock-like second skin.   When I run barefoot, especially in Colorado, my greatest struggle is not with the impact of barefoot running, but that sensory pain from the tiniest pieces of gravel, or long term abrasion of chip sealed roads etc.  I know that if I were more diligent, I could get my feet conditioned to handle just about anything, and I know many barefoot runners that have.

However, for me, barefoot running will continue to be a tool to keep my form in check.  I love the feel of barefoot running, and will do it during the warmer months just because it feels great, but I know I’ll never log any crazy mileage or marathon length runs unshod.  Hence my focus on minimalist footwear.

For me, the Sockwa X8’s allow me to extend my barefoot runs.  I've carried them with me for a few barefoot runs, and they worked so well to throw on once I reached my threshold in my bare feet.  The feel is literally like dipping your feet into a thin latex to just take the edge off of the abrasion, but without blocking a majority of the feel and freedom of barefoot.

For the best proprioception, running in the X8’s without socks is ideal.  Here, however, is just about the only negative I could find in the X8’s, and it’s not one that would impact everyone I wouldn't think.  For me, I could feel the seam between the TPU rubber sole, and the mesh upper.  Sometimes it would hit me right on my Morton’s toe, and bother me a little bit.  It could just be the way my feet are, but I could tell that would bother me over a long run.   My solution? Toss on some socks, and I am good to go.  It should also be noted that I can’t really run without socks in any minimalist shoe (huaraches excluded). I just have sensitive feet I guess and I blister easily. 

But this minor issue aside, the Sockwa X8’s are really terrific. At under 3 oz each in weight, these washable, roll-able, fold-able, running socks are great.  The super thin 1.2mm soles have held up really well so far, with about 35 miles of running, some of it on dirt and abrasive chip seal.  And, I've found that I really love wearing them as a casual shoe…  it almost feels as you are barefoot in public, but my guess is you can get away with wearing them just about anywhere.

My overall impression?  By far the barefoot feel of the Sockwa's is top notch.  If you are looking for a truly minimalist option, and run more roads than trails in mild weather, these would be tough to beat. Don't forget to enter to win a pair at the end of the review down below!

So, I mentioned wearing socks above.  And if you know me, you know that I seldom (if ever) wear anything but Injinji toe socks!  So, when the opportunity came up to try FITS socks, I was a little hesitant..  I love my Injinji’s, but I was willing to give FITS a try.  Stick around to win the same socks you see above!

Before I get into the socks, just wanted to mention a little about the FITS Sock Co...  they starting making socks in 1902 as the Crescent Sock Co, making socks for many different companies until finally launching its own brand using all those years of expertise. Today FITS socks are made in the oldest hosiery mill in the U.S. and the family-owned business is committed to it's people and community.  I think that's pretty cool!

Ok.. now what about the socks!  Well, considering their "mono" toe construction ;-), I really like the feel of these socks!  They provide a surprisingly nice balance between a comfortable fit, and enough flexibility in the material to spread my toes comfortably, which is why I generally stick with Injinjis.  The no show Runners are really lightweight, cool, and comfortable.  The Trail quarters are thicker, and have been a great winter sock for cold trail runs. I like the thicker cuff on them (which can be folded down as well). Also, I've noticed very little wear on the bottoms of these, and I've run in them quite a bit, so that's a good sign!

Here are the nerdy tech specs I know you were wondering about:

No Show Runner:

  • Full Contact Fit™
    • Dynamic Toe Cup - contours to the shape of your toes
    • Heel Lock - super deep heel pocket with ample cross stretch locks the sock on your heel
    • Full Contact Cuff - stays in place due to a tighter ankle and looser calf (proper gradience)
  • No-show height
  • Ultralight flat-knit construction
  • SculptureKnit Design - No bunching, slipping, or hotspots
  • Looped Toe Seam
  • Contents:      
    • Wool . . . . . . . . . .56%
    • Nylon . . . . . . . . . 35%
    • Polyester . . . . . . . 6%
    • Lycra Spandex . . 3%

    Performance Trail:


    • Full Contact Fit™
      • Dynamic Toe Cup - contours to the shape of your toes
      • Heel Lock - super deep heel pocket with ample cross stretch locks the sock on your heel
      • Full Contact Cuff - stays in place due to a tighter ankle and looser calf (proper gradience)
      • Style Features & Benefits Performance Cut- between a quarter and crew height
      • Performance top rises between Quarter and Crew height
      • Vented upper and instep for increased breathability and reduced bulk.
      • Lightweight design with cushioning in the heel, toe, and bottom of foot.
      • Contents:
        • Wool . . . . . . . . . . 58%
        • Nylon . . . . . . . . . .32%
        • Polyester . . . . . . . .7%
        • Lycra Spandex . . .3%

    OK.. so how about a giveaway?  If you'd like to win a pair of the Sockwa X8's and a pair each of the No Show Runner's, and Performance Trail socks from FITS, complete entries via the Rafflecopter doohickies below...  The contest is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada, and will run until Sunday, February 16th, 2014, 10 PM MST.

    Thanks and good luck!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway
    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Happy Trails!