Grip socks for rugby have exploded in popularity in the last decade, in fact watching any rugby or football match and you'll see multiple players sporting them.
What are grip socks and what do they do?
Grip socks aim to enhance foot grip inside your rugby boots or football boots, as they reduce internal slippage which increases comfort and performance.
They incorporate sticky elements, usually silicone/rubber pads, that create contact between the sock, boot, and foot, resulting in improved responsiveness that can be crucial for success.
The idea of grip socks originated in 2007 when James Cherneski, a player-coach, was unhappy with his foot slipping out of his boots, prompting him to develop this performance-enhancing sock.
In 2011, Trusox became the first company to produce grip socks, and in 2012, Gareth Bale's decision to wear Trusox brought grip socks to the wider attention of the general public with his goalscoring exploits for Tottenham Hotspur then Real Madrid. Since then, many manufacturers have entered the market from big global players to small independent start-ups.
Why do rugby players wear grip socks?
Players wear grip socks for the reasons above - reducing internal movement of the foot which enhances the stability of the foot and therefore performance.
There are a couple of extra bonuses though. Firstly, there's a smaller chance of blisters due to less movement between the foot, sock and boot.
The secondary bonus is being able to use a consistent sock no matter what team you play for. If you change team, or your rugby team changes kit supplier, and therefore the quality of the sock supplied to you will not affect your performance as you can continue to use your favourite grip sock.
How Do You Wear Grip Socks?
Players will cut off the foot section of their official team socks around the ankle and discard it, effectively creating a calf sleeve, which will then be worn over their preferred grip socks. This allows them to enjoy the benefits of the grip socks inside their boots while still wearing the official socks on top, as regulations dictate.
To marry the grip sock and the team socks, players will tape the two together. This can be done using either sock tape or cohesive sock wrap, which can even be colour matched to your team's sock colours.
How long do Grip Socks last?
The longevity of grip socks is directly impacted by the frequency of use and quality of care.
It is crucial to know the correct washing techniques for your brand of grip socks. It is generally advised to wash them inside out in warm water, using a gentle cycle.
It is important to avoid the use of bleach or ironing as these practices can damage the quality of the socks. Additionally, tumble drying should be avoided, with line or air drying recommended instead.
Types of Grip Socks
At rugbystuff.com, we are fortunate to stock ATAK and Canterbury grips socks. Both brands have standard mid-length grip sock in their collections, which are the style most associated with the technique above of cutting your club socks.
ATAK also offer a full-length sock though, so if your team is fortunate enough to wear a plain colour then you might just be able to forgo the cutting stage altogether and wear a full-length grip sock instead. Quite handy!
Another option from ATAK is their compression grip sock. The benefits of compression clothing are well-documented, and these socks enhance circulation in the legs, preventing build-up of lactic acid whilst aiding recovery.
Wearing the ATAK compression grip sock should deliver a potent combination of benefits from the grip and the compression working together.
In conclusion, grip socks offer a plethora of benefits to individuals playing rugby where extra foot grip and stability are required, helping to lock down the foot within the player's boot and reducing the chances of blisters.
Whether you're a professional athlete or an amateur player, incorporating grip socks into your training and playing routine can significantly improve your on-field experience and help you achieve your goals in rugby.
So why not give them a try and feel the difference for yourself?