SNOWSHOE MAGAZINE GEAR REVIEW:

Gear Review: Sox Rock!

Is there such a thing as pillows for your snowshoeing feet? Yes! And they are called over-the-calf PowerSox Anatomical Performance Fit (APF), the Cadillac of winter trail socks. These are the most technical, option-filled footwear I have ever pulled on my size 13s. GoldToeMoretz gloats, “APF is not just a sock but rather an intricate and sophisticated piece of equipment that delivers exceptional comfort and fit for enhanced performance.”

Having the blessing of big feet — I tip over less, maybe — is almost like being born with built-in snowshoes. The downside is finding socks that protect, provide comfort, don’t hurt, and do not just fall apart from the beating they take on the ends of pogo legs.

Then there is the age thing, where older feet have less ‘padding’ on the ball of the foot. This leads to a more direct strike on the bones providing a new definition of pain and numbness particularly after long stents on snowshoe trails.

Moreover, to eliminate swelling I have worn compression socks whether on the trail or in the office. Happily, I find that compression socks are now a rage . . . perhaps the only time in my life where I have been on the leading edge of an emerging trend.

These new Power Sox are designed to fit over the calf . . . my biggest fear would be they would ‘ride down’ my leg and gather. Weeks of wearing them daily in heavy, moving workout sessions and distance on trails proved they are strong enough and designed so that just doesn’t happen . . . so I have the best of both worlds with a compression design, though not advertised as such and socks that reach over the calf and work for me while on the trail.

Chief Executive and Chairman of GoldToeMoretz LLC, John Moretz (picture, John Moretz and Son below), took time out of his active schedule to discuss, with pride, these unique creations.

“The various features of the APF sock lead up to a perfect fit, such as more room for the ‘big toe,’ scaling down to the smaller toes.” No more of the straight across fit one generally finds. He continued, “The hand linked toe seam is perfectly smooth and undetectable. There is no way for the sock to migrate or shift on the foot as it is pulled snugly to the foot, better transfering energy from the muscle to the trail.” 

He pointed out “studies are out there in the compressions area, if you quit sliding in a properly fitted sock, more effort is available to do what you want to do for a very long time,” meaning those extended sessions can stay that way while remaining comfortable, reducing fatigue.

There is extra stretch material attached to the calf area that seals the sock to the leg plus the arch and ankle ‘locks.’ Further stretch material secures the cloth to the foot behind the toes. What PowerSox calls its ‘1X1 Comfort Top’ is the final protection holding the top of the sock to the leg below the kneecap.

Think about the pounding these socks are taking on trails, whether snow covered or dirt, and no sagging or drooping . . . that is an accomplishment. I am acutely aware when my socks move around in the shoe and am sure you hate that insecure feeling the same as I. Because of the design, these minimize any movement, and I noticed none, zip; it was a solid fit. John noted the extra distance one’s foot travels over a long snowshoe if it slips inside the shoe. Since movement is virtually non-existent, one saves that energy and reduces the opportunity for blisters.

Accommodating snowshoe needs for my feet, I long ago added a thin pair of quarter sized Power Sox underneath trail socks, even my dress socks. As I recall I got these as part of the competitors’ bags at the Minneapolis USSSA National Snowshoe Championship Event a few years ago. I became a fan since then.

Uniquely, these socks utilize PowerSox’ Left/Right Technology. As they say it, “anatomically correct design creates a better fit for comfort and performance.” As John described, the APF features hand linked toe seams that are perfectly smooth; in fact, the whole sock is smooth.

Now, tour the sock by revealing its secrets: turning them inside out. Ahh haa! Their secrets revealed . . . and here they are:

The Mayo Clinic says, “Your foot is made up of 26 bones, 33 joints, and hundreds of muscles, nerves, and ligaments. Given this complex structure and the amount of punishment feet endure every day, it’s no wonder that foot pain is so common.” So this sock is padded to protect all of these bones and joints, particularly the area on the edge of the small toe side of the foot, the bottom of the foot, a deep contoured heel (they call it a ‘Y Heel’), and the shin bone.

All of this material provides a softness really creating comfort a wearer will recognize immediately on pulling them up. PowerSox calls it the sensation ‘shock absorption.’

Plus, they look cool.

A handsome blend of gray, burnt orange and an understated red dresses one’s leg nicely. Yes, I admit I have worn them with dress suits and happily so. No argyles for me; I’ll wear my PowerSox. For a more modest, understated look, a black/grey version is available.(see photo below)

Knowing snowshoe athletes participate in many sports, be aware that versions of the APF technology are available, too, in crew, quarter, lo cut and no show lengths plus outdoor and performance types in addition to snowsports.

The snowsport category has been specifically designed for winter use. Mixed with 30% Merino Wool, 55% acrylic, 14% nylon, and 1% Lycra Spandex, they will keep one’s feet toasty on those long sojourns in the depth of winter. Mix in the ‘shaky’ chemical heating pads that attach to the foot, and you can attack even the coldest of days with comfortable warmth.

Ventilation panels and the wicking nature of the materials should keep tootsies nice and dry.

John Moretz concluded, “APF is the future of high performance; not for the average person but for snowshoers in the know.”

After wearing both a heavier version and the normal version of the new APF PowerSox, I can unequivocally say, snowshoe to your computer or get to a store (names such as Penny’s, Dick’s, Kohl’s, and a host of others at the website) and have these ready to go, already at home when the snow is on the ground.

To identify the difference between the two socks, I compare the ‘red and grey’ versions: The thicker is style #4496 (top photo) and is recognizable by the grey in the front but red in the back, though the red appears more orange to my eye.

The thinner is style #4497 (second sock photo) with most all red accented with two broad grey bands on the front. As a rule of thumb, use the heavier variety for winter, the lighter version for summer. The merino blend works well in either season.

I quickly found them at several locations for significant discounts but sizes were restricted. All of the product information is available at www.powersox.com, then click on ‘APF left/right socks’ and choose ‘snowsports.’

Paraphrasing the gang member in the movie “True Romance” responding to Vincenzo Coccotti, played by Christopher Walken as only he can, “Prepare to be happy, snowshoer . . .” a sentiment you will share when you unwrap your pairs of this wonderful footgear.

Write me with your experiences with these socks:
phillipgary@snowshoemag.com
visit phillip’s website www.ultrasuperior.com

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About Phillip Gary Smith

Phillip Gary Smith, Senior Editor, published "The 300-Mile Man" about Roberto Marron's historic doubling of the Tuscobia 150 mile endurance snow run. He publishes "iHarmonizing Competition" on various forms of competition including drag racing, his favorite motor sport. Earlier, he wrote "HARMONIZING:Keys to Living in the Song of Life" as a manual for life with chapters such as Winning by Losing, Can God Pay Your Visa Bill?, and a young classic story, The Year I Met a Christmas Angel. His book, "Ultra Superior," is the first written on the Superior Trail ultra distance events. He mixes writing with his profession--the venture capital world--a dying art. He is a creator of CUBE Speakers, a group espousing themes in "HARMONIZING:Keys" in a unique way. Currently he has two books in the works. Twitter: @iHarmonizing