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The Swiss Protection Sock – Next step in Toe shoes, or really expensive pair of socks?

by Corey Nagle » on Feb 14, 2012 12

Rock Climbing in Swiss Protection Sock
Leave it to the Swiss to take minimalist shoes to the next (lowest?) level. I present to you The Swiss Barefoot Company’s Swiss Protection Sock for that “absolute, perfect barefoot feeling”.  Here’s their promotional video (like Justin at birthdayshoes.com, I picture a scientist  in some crazy high-tech Swiss lab narrating this):

Basically, The SPS is a reinforced toe sock (similar to Injinji or TK) for when you want to go barefoot, but need just that “little extra” for protection. Made from a blend of polyester, cotton, and wait for it… over 50% Kevlar. Yep. These beefed-up socks are made of the same stuff bullet-proof vests are, with some PVC reinforcement built into the sole. Two models are offered — a tall version, and a shorter version. Though, you don’t get the sweet-looking red Swiss cross on the shorter model. You can pick a pair up for about $80.

 

I’d love to get my my hands on a pair of these. Sure I’d feel a little silly running around in nothing but my socks, but the little kid in me is squealing with delight. Surely it can’t be any different than wearing FiveFingers all the time, right?

But (there’s always a but, isn’t there?), I do have a few issues. First of all, Kevlar is generally only puncture-resistant when layered (several times over), creating a mesh “net” to stop whatever is trying to go through it. I don’t see how they’ve accomplished this, while keeping the weave of the fabric loose enough to let water drain. Granted, we’re talking about keeping a rock from slashing your foot, not someone taking potshots at your ankles, but it still stands. Also, in The Swiss Barefoot Company’s video they show guys rock climbing and running over rocky terrain, but on their website, they only recommend the SPS for dirt trails, beaches, and watersports. They don’t recommend them for paths/trails with sharp rocks, asphalt, or long-distance running. Kinda makes me wonder.

I genuinely love the concept, I’m just not completely sold the product. Granted, this is all purely speculation, based off some [poor] Google Translate magic.

What do you think? Uber-minimalist footwear, or an overpriced pair of socks?

via Gizmodo


12 Comments

  1. Christopher

    February 14th, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    Don’t forget, your not supposed to submerge Kevlar.

    Reply

    • Krystal

      July 21st, 2016 at 9:49 am

      Gracias por la inteligente re±#&estaup8230;CoÃso, esa foto mostrando todos los cuadros es una putada, que lo empecé ayer!!El juego tiene esa cualidad de hacerte sentir bien y “mu litto” cuando vas pillando la mecánica de cada nivel mientras disfrutas de los preciosos entornos y de la triste melodía, eso si, los rollos de pareja que se van leyendo en plan Jorge Bucay son una mierda infumable… No tiene usted ni puta idea.

      Reply

  2. Barefoot Moe

    February 16th, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    Interesting concept. I wonder how people would react to this type of footwear when going into restaurants or stores only wearing a pair of kevlar socks.

    I’ll be interested in following the development.

    Reply

  3. Gautier

    April 07th, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    But do they really have to make them that ugly? Maybe a good product, but surely a terrible marketing.

    Reply

  4. Shoeless Frank

    September 08th, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    I wear regular socks in town all the time and yes I get some strange looks from people when I’m at the grocery store. The only thing I do not like is the toe part of the socks. They need to make regular socks with the Kevlar sole, then I could wear those out instead of my regular wigwam volleys….eventhough they’re still very durable for outdoor wear.

    Reply

  5. Hick in the city

    October 12th, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    I think there pretty cool, however I wouldnt want to wear them around town doing daily errands and such, too much gum and nasty liquids. So that leaves me with only a few places to wear them, and I probably would just grab my crappy old hiking shoes instead of those socks. I feel like they would get so dirty that theres no stopping my feet from getting just as gross, and I dont want that. Plus what about splinters and there not water proof so how long would my feet be soaking in swamp water if I step in a puddle. Thats not the best feeling im sure. Perhaps if they werent so pricey id give them a try, like $30-$40 U.S. Would do it for me. That way even if they turn out to be more of a novelty than a utility, it wouldnt be so bad.

    Reply

  6. ANGRY

    December 15th, 2012 at 10:01 am

    Hello Everybody,

    This socks sucks. I ve bought a pair and just received these famous socks.
    Umcomfortable
    Kevlar inexistant

    So i decided to return the socks.
    BUT there is always a but they don’t refund if u just try these in you appartment !!!
    This is turkish people who want to make money that ‘s all folks
    Keep your usual socks and share this message to your friends

    Best

    Reply

  7. Kasper

    December 25th, 2012 at 9:42 am

    Just wanted to share my story as well!

    i tried running in these but after 500 meters they punctured! I have been running completely barefoot for some time now and i never have any problems in regards to blisters so i find it strange that these can’t even resists 500 meters of running. I know that they state that on their website but i also know that many buy these in the hope that they can be used for running. Just to warn those people :) – stay of these, at best, durable and warm socks. I bought these to keep running barefoot in the cold months but ended where is started but poorer.

    I am still looking for an alternative to barefoot running. In my opinion vibrams do not come close and huraches are too cold.

    Reply

  8. Ruslan

    May 03rd, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    Here’s my story. Being early adopter of everything cool, I ordered my pair online. I was looking forward to getting this pair and use it for all cool things they advertise it: hiking, rock climbing, etc.

    Was very excited to get the parcel by mail and when opened – my excitement started to fade. There was a huge red disclaimer note attached to the packaging:

    SPS is suitable for:
    – “Outdoor on soft ground”
    – Track across the fields, sandy paths, forest paths, sandy beach, gardens
    – Water sports, board sports, swimming (protecting from cuts caused by shells, corals, stones)

    SPS is not suitable for:
    – Tarmac roads, paths with sharp obstacles, rocky paths to a limited extent
    – Water sports where there are sea urchins (not sting-proof)
    – As no sole, not suitable as footwear for lengthy walking and hiking with abrasive movement
    – For reasons of liability law, we request that you comply with this specification.
    – Not suitable for Surf- or Windsurf- Boards with rough “sanded “ surface with abrasion like asphalt
    Special note
    The Swiss Protection Sock is made using a knitted fabric where the principal yarn is one of the most resistant materials: Kevlar.But as with all knitted fabrics (stockings, pullover, wool socks etc) the knitting loops are extremely sensitive against pullout if you get caught on any even small hooking object. When you move away from such object the loop may be ruptured. Even one ruptured loop will open a hole at neighbour loops.We can not give any liability for such holes occurring in the use of the Swiss protection Sock.

    It wasn’t suitable for any of the cool advertised uses! Hm… I said to myself, but was still eager to try them on. Owing a few of vibram five fingers I was familiar with all aspects of sliding foot and adjusting fingers. Moment after trying to slide my foot into the sock, top part of the sock with the PLUS sign detached from the sock (it was sewed) and that’s when my excitement disappeared. In addition the fabric didn’t seem to hugely differ from wool/cotton, by slightly rubbing your finger against it (not even a nail) it would start to fluff and turn to lint.

    My experience in dealing with the company. Wrote them following letter:

    “Hello,

    I’m writing today because I received my pair of socks today and was excited to put them on. As I tried to put the first one on the top part completely snapped at the seam. See the picture attached. Coupled with your warning notice attached to the package regarding you not guaranteeing that walking in this sock will not damage it, which was given to me AFTER the fact doesn’t really make me very confident in your product. In fact it makes me very upset.

    I’m waiting to hear back from you on your proposal for the resolution”

    EXACTLY a week later… nobody replied. So I put together a follow up:

    “It has been a week since I sent you a complaint and no one has bothered to reply. ”

    I received a reply next day:

    “it seems you first eMail was not delivered, we are always replying within a maximum of 48 hours.
    Anyway, if there is a technical issue on our side, please excuse this.

    The problem that occurred is not your fault, we will send you a new Swiss Protection Sock as replacement,
    from a new production which will be delivered in around 4 weeks. Currently we are sold out.

    We hope that you are patient over this period of time, you can be sure to receive a replacement, a fully
    functional Swiss Protection Sock, where this issue will of course not occur anymore.”

    Next day I received another reply:

    “our CEO Dr. Dieter Hesch replied to your mail last Saturday. Please see the attached E-Mail message. Maybe there was a typo in the email address.

    However we are still investigating in this matter and will come back to you as soon as we have received a statement of the manufacturer. We ask you to be patient and assure we will clarify the problem to your satisfaction. We apologise for any inconvenience.

    Kind regards,”

    The attached email was of the following nature:

    “thank you for sending us your complaint which I take very seriously.

    You got your Sock from the recent production which arrived recently. I hope that there will not be a general defect in this new production but at the moment this is unknown to me.

    So maybe I reimburse you until we have more experience.

    But be assured that in all former productions we had not that problem =
    and no complaints from our huge number of customer.

    Concerning the warning you mention, this does not say that you should not walk with the sock, this must be a misunderstanding at your site?

    Anyway sorry for any inconvenience and best regards

    DRDH”

    I went on and replied:

    “Mr Hesch,

    This clearly wasn’t sent to the right address, it was sent to and this address doesn’t exist and was never mentioned anywhere. I do however appreciate the reply and would accept the offer to get refunded at this point until more information and reviews become available on the outcomes of walking in those socks. As I mentioned before all your disclaimers go against the advertised uses of this sock, while you show you can climb and walk and hike, you immediately say that if you catch a loop along the way, you are not responsible and I consider this ridiculous. So let’s do a refund at this point.

    Thanks,”

    The CEO’s conclusive reply was:

    “Good morning,

    I have advised the management to refund you.

    I am sorry for this issue but please understand that we do not want to have further correspondence with clients who behave like you do.
    So please do not send messages, they will not be answered anymore and go to Spam.

    Regards

    DRDH”

    You make your own decision…

    Reply

  9. Sparryn

    April 22nd, 2016 at 10:16 pm

    This is literally the worst thing I have ever put on my foot. I got these for bouldering and running. I preordered them in November 2015 with a projected delivery date of February 2016. I got them today, April 22, 2016. They fit lengthwise perfectly, but they are over 5 inches wide, leaving a ton of space widthwise. My pinky toe doesn’t even reach the spot where it should. They are not foot-shaped whatsoever. Do not buy these.
    As some people above stated, they do not give refunds if just tried on inside. I emailed them, but it said they would respond within 96 hours. I shall wait.
    Did anyone else have the problem of them not even remotely fitting?

    Reply

  10. caroline kresfelder

    May 30th, 2016 at 11:22 am

    these have just arrived but sadly the toes don’t fit at all. I have long flaps for toes and can’t get my little toe anywhere near where its meant to be as far too wide.

    Reply

  11. Martin Mckinniss

    March 19th, 2018 at 3:16 pm

    I like the sock idea, I go barefoot all the time inside and outside it looks like it’s a very good product and I don’t like to wear shoes, I have one bad foot and I think this would work out well for me Thank you Martin

    Reply

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