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X-Socks Buying Guide

Nature has evolved over millions of years but people continue to be exposed to situations for which evolution does not adequately prepare them.  Human ingenuity, and science, have attempted to compensate for these situations with varying degrees of success.  For example, the human body emits up to 60 grams of liquid through the foot in a day. Barefooted, we could deliver this humidity easily to the air - barefoot we always have dry feet. But our lives today mean that usually we spend the whole day in shoes. Clearly it would be much healthier for our feet if we could recreate the barefoot climate in our shoes. Blisters, chafing, athlete’s foot and foot odour would not be an issue.

In its natural, bare state, the human foot is extraordinarily well suited to its difficult job. It possesses natural cushioning that helps it bear our entire body weight. The heat generated during physical exertion is simply transferred to the surrounding air – the skin remains cool and dry, and the risk of sustaining blisters or skin abrasions is minimal.

X-Socks have developed socks which try to replicate the conditions of being barefoot while still being protected from the elements.  This new development is of particular interest to athletes – a durable, comfortable sock which keeps the foot cool, dry and ventilated.

The first, primitive efforts at footwear consisted of tying animal skins around the feet and legs. As far back as 8 BC the ancient Greeks wore garments made from animal hair to protect their feet. The Romans began by wrapping their feet in strips of leather or woven fabric. By the 2nd century A.D. they were wearing garments called udones, which were sewn from woven fabric and pulled over the foot. The first real knit socks were discovered in Egyptian tombs from the 3rd-6th centuries A.D.  But sock production as we understand it really got going in 1589 with the invention, by William Lee, of the knitting machine. 

Sock production has obviously come a long way since then.  In the early years socks were thick and coarse and, while things have improved no end since then, the issue of moisture being unable to escape has continued to be an issue.  The composition of the sock, the strain of walking, running, and jumping all cause the temperature inside the shoe to rise.  A foot confined in socks and shoes can no longer effectively give off excess heat to the environment and begins to perspire. The sock soaks up the moisture, producing a warm, damp environment. The skin becomes soggy and soft and thus less resilient. This can often lead to painful blisters, discomfort and foot odour.

In order to ensure that the feet remain free from blisters, abrasions, chafing and bruises, they must be kept dry and well-ventilated. Anatomically sensitive areas must receive ample protection from friction and pressure. The conventional sock retains heat and, when you engage in athletic activity, the heat level rises continuously. Transferring heat to the surface is not an option with conventional socks. This situation is particularly problematic during athletic activity because movement causes friction and the combination of heat and friction can cause blisters to form within minutes.

This is where X-Socks come in.  In order to recreate barefoot conditions X-socks® technology focuses on three basic elements:

1. a foot bed shaped to the foot respecting the differences between the right and left foot
2. the air Conditioning Channel®, which reaches into the foot bed, in order to pump sweat and warmth out of the inner shoe and absorb fresh air
3. newly developed high performance functional yarns.

X-Socks conduct heat to the surface – exactly the way nature does. Excess moisture is also discharged along with the heat. The air-Conditioning Channel® makes this possible. The channel begins at the warmest point, the arch of the foot, and moves up over the foot, the leg and out of the shoe. Heat and moisture are continually regulated by the pumping effect, which ensures that, with every step, fresh air flows around the foot – even under the arch. When we walk we put weight on the foot, which flattens the arch and creates a zone of excess pressure under the foot. Moist, hot air is pressed out of the shoe. When we take our weight off the foot, the arch expands, creating a low pressure zone which sucks fresh air into the area under the foot. This natural pump effect helps to regulate moisture and heat effectively.

The particular denseness of the sock, the padding and the material are designed to the specific demands of each sport (i.e. running, hiking, football, biking etc).  Every sport has its own motion sequence and specific impacts.

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This Buying Guide gives general advice on X-Socks. It is intended as a guide only and we always recommend visiting one of our stores and talking to the experts in our sales team if in any doubt about what to buy.