The Cushioning Properties of Athletic Socks: An Impact Testing Perspective

Eight socks were subjected to impact testing using a gravity-driven vertical impact striking device.  The socks were of various fiber contents and various thicknesses.  Each was tested in combination with a "basic" shoe consisting of a canvas upper and a vulcanized rubber sole so as to help eliminate variability and bias related to shoe properties that could affect cushioning.  The tests were administered against a control test of the shoe alone with no sock.  All socks reduced peak impact force by 6 to 20%, reduced loading rate, and increased the time to peak impact significantly compared to the no sock control measurements.  The thickest socks tested performed the best in impact reduction.  The authors conclude that "athletic socks demonstrate cushioning properties under impact testing conditions."

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