SNOWSHOE MAGAZINE GEAR REVIEW:

Under Armour Socks: A Home Run for Snowshoeing

If ever a sock can make you feel fast on snowshoes, Under Armour has it with their Snowsport Rollins (for Men) and Palma (for women). So, step up; but you had better make it quick. These socks seemingly move on their own.

What a confidence builder! You will experience a new sensation when pulling on a pair of these Snowsports footwear by Under Armour (picture, right). Looking down, you will notice these are no ordinary socks . . . these are Maserati’s for your feet! Exquisitely detailed, black with the Under Armour name incorporated at toe level and a logo further up the front of the ankle, you will instantly find those hammer toes and black nails that are a part of your feet wrapped in a cushion of fast, as in speed. It is almost as if a metamorphic change occurs, and you now have a pair of super feet when you dress with these.

My first experience with them was dressing for the USSSA National Snowshoe Championships at Highland Park, near Syracuse, in New York. Around all of that racing talent, the boost in confidence these socks provided was an unexpected benefit. Suddenly a wearer transforms from insecurity to a snowshoe warrior driven by super feet.

Besides the cosmetic — and cosmic — beauty, the Rollins are cushioned to protect your shins when an errant snowshoe strikes you in the lower leg. If you are in a race, sooner or later, that is going to happen, and you will be glad you have this guard.

Experienced snowshoers know that feet generate moisture in the heat of the battle regardless of the temperature of the day. The ‘vent zones’ Under Armour calls them circulate the air in a way that removes the wet and keeps the dry.

The socks are designed so the heel stays firmly in place, a process UA terms ‘Y’ contouring. This is important to snowshoeing as there is nothing more frustrating than having all of your gear on, ready to go, and the socks make your feet feel badly. Off comes everything, you pull up the socks, tighten the laces, strap on the snowshoes and hope they don’t move again. The Rollins inspire confidence.

The arch support is important, too, for not only assisting the human foot’s design but also keeping the material firmly in place. There are no pesky seams to be found either.
They are a light pair, too, important to keep what I call the human’s unsprung weight, the weight below the ankle, as low as possible.

Both the womens (grey tones with aqua detailing, picture, above) and the mens black with a light accent are quite attractive, nice ways to dress ones feet.

Adding a heavy dose of wool, Under Armour created a version of the Snowsports sock they call Boot Sock (picture, right). These are the more workhorse socks constructed with 40% Olefin, a strong synthetic material, and 40% wool, providing a nice mix of durability and low weight. Contrast that blend with the Rollins’ 55% Acrylic and 30% Merino Wool mix. The acrylic helps to maintain the lightness of this sock while providing a cashmere-type feel.

The arch support is enhanced in this design to not only support the foot but also provide a better blood flow in the foot. If you have been on a snowshoe trek for any extended time, you will appreciate that touch. The Boot Sock is offered with a woodsy green UA calls Oakland set off with a black heel and a black version with more grayish tones in the heel, my personal preference.

When racing or just enjoying a snowshoe trek, I like to combine an inner sock with a bigger outer sock, like the Rollins or Boot Sock. I asked UA for their suggestion. Their response is a great tip for you to consider: add the heatgear Training sock (picture, left) for the first layer. This dandy gear incorporates terrific stretch materials really sealing the sock to the foot though it is made to evaporate moisture. Then, there are additional pads in the ball of the foot and under the heel to give a strong cushioning, a particularly important consideration for larger and older athletes. This combo can work great in long distance dirt trail races, too, where the self-cushioning of snow is gone. For winter, use their black version, for summer, the white. I had the black crew size, but there is also a lo-cut model you may want to consider. Another benefit of the Training socks: they are packed in pairs and value priced at $12.99.

Get all of the info you need at: www.underarmour.com  socks are under the accessories tab.

To purchase a pair of Under Armour socks, visit http://bit.ly/9OY1nF.

Comments? phillipgary@snowshoemag.com          www.ultrasuperior.com
www.iHarmonizing.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