Hockey Players in High-Tech Socks

A few years ago when some companies stopped making knit socks for hockey players and switched to a thinner performance material, there was buzz about the new socks being less safe.  The knit socks seemed to protect players from nicks and cuts from opponents’ skates fairly well, but the new material seemed too thin to provide adequate protection.  To combat the issue, a new “high-tech” sock has been developed in recent years and some members of the U.S. hockey team who are heading to the Sochi Games will be bringing a few pairs along.

When National Hockey League players asked for “safer socks” to protect their lower legs from skate blades, manufactures started to produce high-tech socks, using a variety of materials to protect players’ calf muscles, Achilles tendons, and feet.  Among the materials used are copper and Kevlar, a material also used in making bicycle tires, racing sails, and body armor.

These new socks won’t completely shield players’ lower legs, but it is likely that they will end up with just a mark as opposed to an actual slice if a skate hits them.  Coaches are starting to push for their players to wear high-tech socks because wearing a high-tech sock instead of one made from a thinner material could be the difference between a player missing a couple of games and a player missing a lot of games or even the remainder of a season.

All advantages with regard to safety aside, some coaches are still having a hard time getting players to wear high-tech socks.  By the time players have graduated to the NHL or Olympic level, they are used to their equipment and are reluctant to change. Also, because high-tech socks are made out of a thicker material, players have complained that the socks can make their feet uncomfortably warm during a game.