While we tend to focus primarily on boots here at SC101, it isn’t just boot manufacturers who are searching for the latest and greatest technical innovations, it trickles all the way down to the humble sock manufacturers too, on occasion. Enter Battle-Sox a Hong Kong based company who have developed a pair of socks which they believe will aid those players who are looking for a bit more pep in their shot. According to the developers their proprietary technology can help a player gain up to 11% more speed when striking the ball, and to quote the late Billy Mays, but wait there’s more; as the company also claims that they are “perfect for knuckleballs, sledgehammers, topspin drives and banana curve balls.”
Now that’s quite a claim to make, especially when you consider that the major factor in a more powerful shot, or specific shot styles even, is technique over technology. So it was something I was definitely looking to put through its paces to find out for sure if Battle-Sox are indeed the real deal.
If there’s a heading I never thought I’d type when doing a run down about a pair of socks “The Technology” was probably top of the list, but here we are. At their heart Battle-Sox are a traditional pair of sport socks (so you’re going to need to wear them under a pair of soccer socks, or perhaps cannibalize an older pair of soccer socks like the pros do these days), however on the medial side of each sock there is a yellow panel of polyurethane measuring about 2.5 inches by 1.5 inch, which is known as the Power Pad. The Power Pad is smart responsive technology which by design hardens on impact, and is what allows for the additional recoil effect when striking the ball.
Positioning of Power Pad
The Power Pad is designed to sit on the inside bridge of your foot covering from the talus to the 1st cuneiform (for you all you kinesiology nerds). So to get any kind of result from the technology you have to hit the ball with the same spot on your foot every time. The pad coming all the way down to the 1st cuneiform presented an unexpected inconvenience for me, in that any time I moved my toes around in my boot or when just wearing the socks, the base of my big toe would keep catching the end of the Power Pad. It’s something which could be simply resolved by shrinking the length of the Power Pad, as you wouldn’t notice any difference striking wise. Also while we’re on the topic of shrinking the length of the pad, I’m almost wondering if it wouldn’t be wiser to have it cover a wider on the top of your foot so that it would be a more forgiving sweet spot when striking the ball.
In Play Thoughts
I’ve had the Battle-Sox in play now for approximately 15 hours and it’s been an interesting experience. Given the positioning of the Power Pad I spent the first hour trying to force myself to strike on the pad regardless of my positioning, which wasn’t the most successful endeavour, especially as I have been using them in an indoor league and you don’t always get the time to tee the ball up perfectly in indoor. Also they are definitely not a sock I would recommend teaming with narrower fitting boots
Once I was finally able manufacture the space to get a few chances to tee a couple of shots up and hit them square on the pad I was surprised to notice that the Power Pad does indeed seem to stiffen on impact and that translates to what appeared to be a bit more pop out of some shots.
Would I be willing to say, you’ll definitely notice more power when striking the ball with Battle-Sox, 100% of the time? No, I’d need to see a substantial amount of research to corroborate the claims that they’ll increase power by approximately 10%; from my experience it serves as more of a placebo effect wherein I had a bit more confidence in testing keepers from a longer range provided that I caught the ball sweetly.
As for the claim that Battle-Sox will help you when it comes to ” knuckleballs, sledgehammers, topspin drives and banana curve balls.” I can’t see that being possible, the only sure fire way to improve on specific shots is spending the time working on your technique. No pair of socks or pair of boots will magically help you improve knuckling the ball (something I can’t do properly), if you don’t have the technique to hit the ball properly all the time.
Would I Buy Them?
At the current time you can find Battle-Sox through their Hong Kong based website for a current retail price of £13.99 (approximately $20 US), although they regularly retail at £19.99 (closer to $30). Based on my current experience testing them I wouldn’t buy them personally.
But that being said, I’m still intrigued by the concept and wonder if perhaps the positioning of the Power Pad were refined a bit if there might be some potential going forward. Not every product is an instant hit right out of the gate, perhaps with some refining and a slew more testing there could be more scientific proof that the pad aids with increasing power on shots.
One Final Thought
If I seem like I’ve been overly critical of Battle-Sox, it’s because I have, they do make some pretty bold claims. That said I’m not quite sure I’m done with the product just yet, as I mentioned I’ve been wearing them exclusively playing indoor and the league I’ve worn them in IC boots are the primary boot worn due to the surface (it’s an old school carpet).
As for the reason that I’m not quite done with the socks yet is because I’m curious about a potential side benefit of the Power Pad when it comes to protection in the tackle. With outdoor boots such as Nike Mercurial Vapor and Puma evoSPEED SL still shedding weight wherever possible the upper ends up being paper thin, I’m curious to see how the Power pad stands up in the tackle given the compound stiffening up on impact; if I notice anything super noticeable I’ll be sure to provide an update going forward.
Do you have any experience using Battle-Sox? If so let us know your thoughts on them in the comments below.