We posted an article about the Swiss Protection Socks sometime last month. They are Kevlar and PVC based pair of socks that protect you from sharp objects while you are exploring the outdoors. SPS was kind enough to send me a pair to test out and review for BirthdayShoes. I spent the last few weeks giving them a shot.
The main selling point of these socks is the fact that they are resistant to cuts, allowing you to walk as close to barefoot as possible with out worrying about cutting yourself on dangerous objects. Imagine being able to walk around the beach in your socks, not having to worry about stepping on glass that was left over by careless party goers.
How well did these Swiss Protection Socks perform? Read on for a full rundown including tons of photos!
The sock is composed of: 50% Kevlar, 32% Polyester, 10% Cotton, and 8% Spandex.
The sole reinforcement consists of Eco-friendly PVC laminated onto the sole.
They come in three sizes ranging from: 38/39E, 42/43E, and 44,45E.
The socks weighs 55 grams each for a combined weight of 110 grams.
When I first saw the SPS marketing video (see the original article) I was kind of skeptical. I did not think they would be very useful or practical. My first thought was that the sock would allow objects like pine needles to penetrate through with ease. I was afraid this might cause irritation as you walked. I was also not so sure about how comfortable it would be to wear while running or walking over rugged terrain.
I thought they looked kind of cool and liked the Swiss Cross on the side. Something about that Swiss Cross on a product just makes it seem so much more utilitarian. You can blame a certain knife maker for that. I think the company producing the socks knows this also. The company is based out of Germany, so I find it intriguing they decided to go with a Swiss name/logo for the product. Not a gripe, just an observation.
These socks are slightly thicker then a pair of wool Injinji socks. I personally like thick socks so I thought this was a good thing. Some people who like the ultra thin socks might not like how thick these socks are. It just comes down to your personal preferences. Personally, I think if they were thinner the socks would not be as comfortable for outdoor barefoot use.
It fits about what I would have expected. It takes a moment or two longer to get on then a pair of Injinji socks. It can sometimes be a little more difficult to pull the socks over your toe because of the PVC sole. Overall the process of putting this sock on is pretty simple. Once you get the sock situated on the bottom of your foot you are ready to go.
After the initial wear, the knit of the sock loosened up and stretched to fit my foot in a very comfortable manner. I was able to walk for across various terrain for an excess of a mile without any discomfort due to the fit of this sock. I found the sock did not slip or move around on my foot when I was walking at all.
Overall I have no real complaints about the fit. If you are used to the feeling of wearing toe socks then the Swiss Protection Sock should not feel much different. For people who are new to toe socks, it might take some time to get used to the sensation of having the fabric between your toes.
I was surprised by the sole because I did not expect the texture to be as rough—not that this is necessarily a bad thing. I just thought it would be smoother. It is a PVC type material that looks to be weaved in between the bottom two layers of the sock. Not to worry, you can't feel the texture on your skin when you are wearing the socks.
I try to be careful when walking on my hardwood floors with the socks on. I don't think they will cause any damage; I can't help but be cautious. It does provide plenty of grip across hardwood floors the few times I walked across them. Slipping is never an issue. I would also suggest that you don't try and wear the Swiss Protection Socks with FiveFingers. Not sure the PVC sole would be good for the fabric inside the VFFs.
I must say I am very impressed with the general performance of these socks. I often find that I like to put them on for quick trips out to the mailbox. I can feel barefoot without worrying about having to watch every step I take like the integrity of my feet depend on it. The SPS is suitable for gardens, meadows, beaches, swimming, water sports, e.g. diving, surfing, and slag line (cut-resistant).
I only went on one short run in these socks. I thought they preformed quite well. They weigh 55 grams per sock. I did not find that they slipped or moved much during the run. Once you get the bottom PVC sole placed properly around the bottom of your foot you should not have much of a problem with the socks moving around on you. There was one instance when I was running up a hill. The foot felt like it was moving a little in the sock. It only happened a short period, and I did not have to stop and adjust it.
The only real drawback of these socks is that they are not puncture proof. My initial fear that pine needles would penetrate the socks was not an issue. I found the sock held up well in that regard. Minor objects like pine needles did not really penetrate through the sole of the shock. Although you don't have to worry about cuts from some objects, you do have to watch out any pointy objects. You can still hurt yourself if you step on a nail or something pointy. Keep your eyes peeled for those and you should have no problems.
Extreme Conditions Test:
My major test came one wet afternoon when it was rainy and COLD. It was cold enough that you could easily see your breath. I decided to walk the block in my neighborhood. I should put in perspective what it means to walk around my block. Making one complete loop around the block in my neighborhood is 8/10th of a mile. It involves a mix of paved roads with various inclines and a dirt/rock pipeline trail.
The socks preformed better then I would have ever expected. They got wet and muddy, but they held up well. I was able to trek through mud, rocks, grass, and wet pavement with no traction issue. The only drawback is that my toes got a little cold. When my toes got wet, they are separated so they have a hard time sharing warmth. Perhaps in cold situations it would be better going with a single toe sock that allows your toes to be closer together and share their warmth. I believe this is an issue with any type of toe sock/toe shoe and not just an issue with this brand.
The ground feel in these socks is what you would expect from a pair of socks. You can feel everything about the terrain you are standing on. I love that feature of these socks. I have been trying to figure out how to describe this next part for quite some time. I ended up calling it the barefoot sting. Some people when they stand on asphalt with small rocks they feel a slight tingle or burn in their feet from the rocks pressing in to your skin. The Swiss Protection Sock reduced this feeling by about half for me. I still feel that familiar barefoot sting, but it was reduced. This is a good thing if you like to take long barefooted walks over rugged terrain.
Availability and Care:
As far as I can tell you have to order these socks from the manufactures website. They are a company based out of Germany. That means Americans will have to deal with the exchange rate which can make the Swiss Protection Socks quite expensive. They currently have two different styles of protection socks. They run about 55-59 euros depending on the style you choose. That is roughly $73-$78 US Dollars before shipping.
They have held up very well over time as I have used them. Once they got wet/muddy I decided to give them a wash. I followed the washing instructions that came with the socks. They came out of the wash cycle looking clean and new. After letting them air dry overnight they were ready to use again.
I would imagine these socks would hold up well over time. I suppose it depends on the type of terrain you plan on primarily using them in. I imagine the socks would start to show signs of wear and tear with constant use in extreme terrain. Surfers that want some protection from coral should find these to be well worth the investment.
I was very impressed with these socks. They completely surpassed my expectations. I did not have a chance to take these shoes in rocky water, but for watersports enthusiasts, I would imagine these socks would be a very welcome edition to their surf arsenal. I highly recommend them to anyone who desires excellent barefoot feel with the added protection of cut resistant Kevlar.
These socks are not for the faint of heart. That mean newcomers to the barefoot movement should not expect to be able put this sock on a run a mile down a rocky trail the first time. If you are new to walking barefoot and you think these socks interest you. I would recommend them. You should break them (and your feet) in slowly, incrementally increasing the amount of time you wear them over time.
If you are a barefoot purist who can casually walk over hot coals without pain, you might just fall in love with the Swiss Protection Socks. I know that I will have many uses for these socks going forward. I look forward to going to the beach this summer. I can't wait to walk through the surf without worrying about not being able to see through the water. I just have to make sure not to step on that Stingray tail.
If you are interested in picking up a pair of Swiss Protection socks. You can visit the company’s website. If you purchased a pair of these socks, leave your feedback below!