Have We Reached Peak Sock?
Posted on March 17 2019
19nine is excited to announce our Survive and Advance collaboration with SOCCO. SOCCO is a maker of premium retro socks that give the 70s and 80s vibe we love. Be sure to check out all that SOCCO has to offer by clicking here. As you can read below H.V.S. is also a lover of socks and the evolution of basketball socks. The question has become... Where do we go from here?
My grandmother had this infectious laugh and one of easiest ways for me to get her to laugh was to tell her that I wanted to wear a new pair of socks every day. Years later I can imagine how that must've sounded to someone who grew up in the depression era and why it must've struck her as ridiculous. As someone who grew up in Indiana worshiping Pete Maravich, The Fab Five, and Jordan I was serious. I think I still would follow up on this wish. No actually I know I would. I would turn it into some kind of charity giving the socks to those less fortunate or buying lots of Bambas. All this to say I love socks.
Let's start with The Fab Five. Some people would pick a model or a designer as their fashion hero but for me it was unequivocally The Fab Five. They weren't my favorite team by any stretch and I often cheer against them. Their style on the other hand was undeniable. One of the things that many people commented on was their black socks. I had to have them and was ready to wear them as soon as I found them. Beyond the black socks, Nike immediately recognized a previously untapped revenue stream and start coming out with Nike branded socks. They were much less sophisticated than the Elite socks you can find today but that didn't make them less desirous. The Nike Town store in Chicago opened around this time in 1991. I remember looking for these socks and eventually finding them there. These socks along with the Jordan VIIs remain singular events in my basketball equipment history.
The next signpost would be Stance socks. I heard years later about NBA players even years after retirement seeking out the NBA socks. They've always been unique with that classic Jerry West logo etched on the side. What changed with Stance was the attention to sock detail. Who would've thought growing up you'd need to pay attention to which foot each sock went on. Stance has taken the sock game in the best directions. Not only do then emphasize performance and functionality of socks but they allow me to relive parts of my childhood on my feet. If I've got my certain pairs of socks on I feel a little like Clark Kent. I'm at work with but I've got Biggie Smalls or Michael Jordan on my socks. I have circled back to Nike with their innovations in the sock arena as well. My latest pairs of socks don't just have their assigned foot and extra padding they also come with traction to stick them to the insole of the shoe. I'm not sure if it makes a difference when I'm playing but Jordan's don't make me any better either and I still love playing in them.
This brings me back around to the original question. Have we reached Peak Sock? Years ago I wrote about Peak Oil and I'm wondering if we have reached Peak Sock because I had one of many recent old man on the porch moment. I mean $34 for socks at Finish Line! Let's define what I'm talking about. Peak oil is the theorized point after which use of oil is expected to enter terminal decline. Peak sock would mean people are over it the days of expensive socks are over and we're headed back to Hanes for everyone. My initial feeling was that this assumption is correct. Things are out of control and socks can only go down from here. As I thought more about it and you read that correctly I have been thinking more about socks. I don't think we are even close to scratching the surface. I'd love to hear what other directions you all want to see for socks. The two obvious extensions.
1. Signature Socks the signature shoe minor leagues: How has this not happened yet. We see Ayton and Doncic and all of these rookies signing deals to represent companies with their sneakers. If you are good enough and marketable enough a signature shoe materializes. Right now that signature shoe means you after the fact get some branding on Nike Eliete Socks or the equivilant. What if before you hit the sneaker big leagues the tryout for the signature shoe became the signature sock. Not only would this lead to unneccesary features that I would love but it would force companies to differentiate.
2. Technology in Socks: Sensoria have a pair of socks that will set you back $199. Excessive, of course, in my Amazon cart, you know it. These things track the cadence of your steps and give you feedback on your running technique. I bet the Portland Trailblazers had invested in this company and outfitted Greg Oden with a pair before he started his career.
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