Football Grip Socks
Not sure which pair to wear? Check out our Top 10 pairs. Socks are, more often than not, overlooked when it comes to football footwear. They come in secondary to boots and, to a certain extent, even shin pads. Over the years, however, there have been several performance socks that significantly complement the technologies of football boots. These are called grip socks and they have seen their usage among professional players multiply considerably over time.
What do grip socks do?
Grip socks, as the title implies, is all about increasing your foot's grip inside the boots so that you have reduced internal slippage and ultimately enhanced comfort and performance. They usually do this by incorporating some elements that come into contact between the sock and the boot (and even foot to sock in some cases). The fraction of a second you gain in responsiveness may prove to be the vital link between success and defeat. The concept of grip socks started in 2007 when player-coach James Cherneski of the Crystal Palace Baltimore was bothered by his socks and the internal movement of his foot in his boots. It prompted his quest to develop on what is now called grip socks and in 2011 established Trusox, the first company to produce such performance socks. Trusox got a break in 2012 when Gareth Bale, still a blossoming player back then with Tottenham, decided to wear Trusox. This would prove significant as Bale would then perform above expectations most especially in terms of goal scoring. Since then, many group socks manufacturers have been formed, including giants Nike and Adidas.
Why do players wear grip socks?
Most reasons would boil down to performance reasons. Whether it's for the stability, reduced internal slippage, improved boot responsiveness, or even comfort, they just wear grip socks to gain that extra bit of advantage on the playing field. Others also has commercial reasons as the manufacturers strike up sponsorship deals with the players to get them to wear their product.
How do you wear grip socks?
What usually happens is that players cut the foot part of their official kit's socks around the ankle so they could wear first their preferred grip socks and then the official socks on top of it, freely exposing the grip socks and its elements inside the boot. To ensure that the grip socks wouldn't get exposed, some have even applied tape around the cut-out part which is usually just slightly above the ankles. And to make the transition of the looks as seamless as possible, others manage to match the colour of their grip socks that of their formal matchday socks.
Players cut their team socks so they could still feel the benefit of their grip socks while hiding them underneath. And the reason why they have to hide them is they are required to wear the socks that are part of their actual strip. There is a regulatory and a commercial side to this requirement. With regard to actual football rules, team kits, including the socks, are subject to approval before being worn in order to avoid kit clashes that might cause confused and incorrect calls, as well as disruption of play among the teams themselves. But, especially in the big leagues, kits are provided by sponsors which expect the players to wear every piece of the set from the shirt down to the socks. During the 2018 World Cup, some of England's stars like Delle Ali, Sterling, and Dier wore Trusox, subsequently causing the FA to be fined by FIFA with the documented reason being 'the use of unauthorised socks.'
To 10 Grip Socks
The pioneer of grip socks is still considered as one of the performers in the grip socks category. They provide the best foot-to-boot traction through its suede-like pads in and out of the socks and fulfil its grip function without compromising comfort. Trusox is relatively bulkier and may present some issues with boots with a narrow opening. Some things for Trusox to improve on are its fit and the durability of the grip elements. The way its shape moulds around the foot is just alright, while the grip elements do wear off after some time. The material feels like a regular pair of thick tennis socks. If you like your grip socks to have a relaxed fit, Trusox simply provides that.
Tapedesign is one of the grip socks that has a professional following, being worn by the likes of Rakitic and Griezmann. The comfort comes from the socks being made out of a soft cottony material with some thick padding. It also works as a true grip sock, using circular rubber elements to provide the socks its anti-slip properties. Aside from the texture of the grip elements, the circular shape also adds in providing better internal boot traction by functioning like micro suction cups. The thing to consider about Tapedesign is the free-size approach as well as the lack of designated left-right sock. This obviously means that more often than not, Tapedesign won't provide a very close foot shape fit and would instead have unnecessary extra material bunching up once you wear your boots.
Alphaskin is adidas' answer to Trusox and utilises a premium material to enhance the comfort of the wearer. It is also on the thicker side though it has a thin variation and has a tight-compression fit. The focus on comfort means that the Alphaskin's Traxion grip system is a little bit behind than that of Trusox. Like the NikeGrip, Alphaskin aims to provide the wearer a secure fit using the best material available for a nice on-feet sensation.
On the other hand, Nike answered Trusox with its NikeGrip socks. It is said that the NikeGrip is inspired by the feet of a gecko that contain thousands of small hairs that allow the animal to climb and grip every type of surface. NikeGrip shows this inspiration through its nanofibres that intend to replicate the said function. NikeGrip is on the thinner side and suits well with snug boots as it has fewer tendencies to bunch up compared to the thicker Trusox. NikeGrip socks have one of the most exqusisite and premium feeling socks material to go with its tight-compression fit.
Falke Grip 4
Falke's Grip 4 socks feature different technologies to complement its grip elements. The moisture-wicking fabric helps in keeping the foot cool and dry, while a tight-compression fit, especially around the ankle, helps secure the foot wrap in place. That additional lockdown stability helps prevent sprains and any other ankle injury. No complaints about the grippy silicone dots in and out of the footbed, except for them being noticeable and causing pressure point when you first try on the Falk grip socks.
This is one of the affordable pairs that perform well in terms of grip. The feel is somewhat similar to the Tapedesign, though Stepzz edging out a little bit in terms of fit and the Tapedesign having a little advantage on comfort and material. It is important to get the size that wraps as close to your foot shape as possible because of the lack of grip elements on the inside.
Pure Grip Socks
Made by independent football boots review Josh of SR4U, the main selling point of Pure Grip Socks is its cheap price. But despite its low price, Pure Grip Socks do offer some value in the form of anatomic shape and size options available. The triangular grip elements are strategically placed, covering much of the forefoot, going diagonally around the midfoot before covering the heel. The elements go a bit upwards to also prevent slipping up and down.
Atak falls on the cheaper side of grip socks, costing around a third of the likes of NikeGrip and other premium grip socks. The square grip elements are a bit thick, more spaced in-between, sticky, and glossy. Some may have concern about having pressure points like the Falke Grip 4 silicone dots.
Soxpro gives consumers options to go with either the standard padded version or the ultra thin model. The grip comes in with a no-nonsense micro chevron elements that are properly aligned on the base of the foot. They are quite tacky and cover every space of the underfoot. Soxpro also has well-ventilated feel thanks to the perforated top portion.
The Gioca grip socks from Australia has a nice decent fit around the ankles and shin, and the circular grip elements work on par with some of the best in the grip socks category. Take note that sizes 6-9 only has one size option with the Medium, while size 10+ go with Large.
Regarding professional players wearing grip socks, Suarez, Lamela, and Bale have worn Trusox, as well as Sterling, Alli, and Dier during the 2018 World Cup, while Rakitic has used the Tapedesign. Banega and Hakimi have played with Gravity Grip.
There are simple ways on how to create a pair of DIY sock grips. First is you can use a cardboard or any material to create personal last that you can insert in your socks so that the footbed is thoroughly exposed. The for adding grip elements, the items that you can use are fabric paint or if possible, a limited amount of rubber coating. The socks should be cleaned before applying your preferred grip elements and when putting the socks in the dryer, the heating should only be set to low or medium so as not to melt away the applied elements.