How often do you pay attention to your footwear?
Do you ever ponder whether there isn’t a more comfortable shoe out there that won’t chew up your feet and spit them out after a long day?
Are socks enough of an issue for you to spend time on getting a few pairs that are perfect for travel?
Is it that important?
Get a pair of cheap boots and hit the planet, right?
I’m sorry, but I don’t agree with that statement. I still like you, but you’re wrong.
If your footwear sucks, there’s a good chance your life will suck.
The funny thing is, you may not even know the cause of your discomfort.
I’ve had that before. Bought shoes; life sucked for a few weeks; couldn’t figure out why life sucked; finally figured out it was the shoes.
Comfortable shoes are an investment, especially if you travel often.
Skinners, a Chicago-based company, has invented a product which they reckon takes the stink out of footwear.
It’s called a shoe sock.
Now, the shoe sock is not a new invention. Other companies have produced this type of thing in the past.
But Skinners says theirs is the pinnacle of shoe sock technology. (As far as shoe sock tech goes.)
Their Kickstarter page features a video opening with an oft-quoted Leonardo da Vinci line, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” overlaid with audio from act 1 of the popular opera, Lakmé. The video features their shoe sock on a pedestal in a room dotted with various pieces of art.
I was expecting the camera to pan out and zoom into a scene featuring a BMW parked next to a jewel-laden fountain situated in an immaculate estate.
It didn’t happen. The sock, apparently, is the pièce de résistance.
It all looks rather sophisticated for a mere sock. Is it justified?
Skinners received more than $90,000 for their campaign. They asked for $10K. People want this product.
I’ll be honest though: I’m a bit cynical about whether the product will live up to the hype.
Let’s take a closer look at Skinners’ product and see whether the shoe fits.
What are Skinner shoe socks?
Skinners shoe socks feature a patent pending adhesive- and phthalate-free compound underside.
The compound wraps around the bottom of the sock and extends halfway up the foot section, giving it the appearance of a pair of flat pumps with socks stitched into them.
Size & weight
This is a sock, so there’s no surprise that it’s portable. It folds up like socks. It comes with a rubber band to keep them folded.
It’s also lightweight, at 80 g. Again, it’s socks. They better be lightweight.
The underside of the sock is waterproof.
This means that you can shuffle into a puddle of water 10 mm deep and not worry about getting your feet wet.
But don’t splash when you’re braving the puddle. Anything more than a shuffle might get your sock uppers wet.
If you’re running with your shoe socks and you step into a shallow puddle, chances are you won’t get wet, since the impact should displace the water before it moves up your foot. Also, while one leg is down, the other is arched up, so it’ll be out of the way of the splashing water.
Skinners claims that their shoe sock provides enhanced toe protection.
That’s a bold statement. The question is, compared to what?
I can’t see how the shoe sock offers better protection than a normal sock.
For you to hurt your toe, you need to bump your foot hard, wearing no shoes.
Hurting your toe is an event; a celebration of pain, worthy of your deepest moans and groans.
It’s something many people Facebook and tweet about.
If you bump your foot hard while wearing shoes, chances are you won’t even feel it. It’s a non-event.
Socks, no matter how high-tech, won’t protect you from hurting your toe when you bump it hard.
Even if you wear the most awesome socks on the planet, you’ll still be in agony when you bump your foot hard.
Only now, if you’re wearing Skinners shoe socks, bump your foot and complain about the pain, you sound like a snob.
“Ow! Just bumped my foot and hurt my toe while wearing these new shoe socks featuring high-tech cooling viscose thread, antibacterial yarns, a mesh ventilation zone, enhanced toe protection, a waterproof underside, an anti-abrasive double layer and adhesive- and phthalate-free compound!”
I’ll take this claim with a bag of salt.
I cannot imagine a product that’s received $90K in funding, being made by hand.
If it were the world’s largest sock, a once-off endeavour for a Guinness Book of Records entry, I’d believe it.
But every pair of Skinners, handmade???
This, according to the company’s Kickstarter page.
Skinners won’t attack your vegan friends or taunt them for not eating meat.
Actually, it means that they don’t harm animals when they make Skinners.
Skinners sock shoes are the Disney movies of footwear.
OK, enough of the negativity. Skinners shoe socks have some good things going for it. The makers are just overselling their product.
They do have the following disclaimer on their Kickstarter page:
Please remember, Skinners are partly puncture and cut resistant and provide basic protection to your feet. Skinners are not a full-time substitute for regular footwear. They are not recommended for extreme conditions or environments where you would not walk barefoot. Proper and reasonable use is strictly advised.
So, after telling you that the shoe sock is something you can use for everything, they tell you that you shouldn’t use it for everything.
The shoe sock is not your do all shoe. It’s a complimentary footwear item.
Where Skinners are useful
Where are Skinners shoe socks useful?
If you’re on your feet all day and your shoes kill you, the Skinners are for you. What’s nice about the Skinners is that you put them on like normal socks and wear them with shoes.
If you’ve ever stepped on an electric ray, you’ll know it’s not fun to receive a shock from one. These might be a viable alternative to fishing booties. I’m not sure how long they’ll last though, with exposure to saltwater.
Where slip-ons are desired
One of the backers of the project had the following to say: “My daughter is autistic and she can’t tie her shoes -we are always looking for shows [sic] without laces – slipons [sic] and Velcro are ok but these look like a perfect solution. Additionally, I got pairs for the rest of the family to use to bike and run.”
Well done, Skinners.
A few concerns
How long does a pair of Skinners last? Are they made to last for weeks, months, years?
How often do you have to wash them? Do you wash them the same as you would a regular pair of socks?
Footwear is of utmost importance. You don’t want to spend hours wearing something that causes you a lot of discomfort.
A shoe sock might be the answer to healthier feet.
Whether the Skinners shoe sock walks that line is up to you to decide.
I’m surprised to see how well Skinners’ campaign did on Kickstarter.
It’s not something I’d be excited about.
It’s not something I’d wear in public. It’s not something I’d wear for hiking. It’s not something I’d wear for running.
It’s not something I’d wear at all.
But the people have spoken. The product received way more funding than what they needed, so it seems they’ll do well.
It’s not my thing, but I wish the Skinners folks all the best.