The FIT: Under Armour Heatgear Basketball Socks

by December 31, 2010

by Sandy Dover / @SandmanSeven

In the NBA world, athletes in that particular universe are subject to physical rigors that most laypeople cannot comprehend. For the elite basketball player, his/her body is his/her literal temple and principal livelihood, and while the roughly 400 players in the NBA put their bodies and minds to the test daily and yearly, those outside of that realm (in the so-called real world) also have become just as conscious about their fitness and health. The FIT is a series that will concentrate on the Fuel, Information and Training (F.I.T.) that it takes for both NBAers and laypersons to be at their very best in the world, as well as focusing on the literal Food, Intelligence and Technology that also comes into play in our physical fine-tuning — because after all, without having the vital fuel, guidelines and tech advancements to feed our bodies, help us better absorb and process what’s necessary, and make the labor efficient and effective, we don’t have much to advance our collective health and performance. The FIT is here to bring to light what can make us all the uniquely tuned creatures that we presently are and can continue or aspire to be.

If you’re a moderately young and/or progressive basketball player these days and you’re hip to the various innovations that have been made within the products in the basketball industry, there’s a good chance that you know about the importance of a good sock. A regular sock you may not think twice about, but a good sock will have you making sure that your laundry loads have that pair somewhere in the pile, ready to be laundered for your next day or night of runs on the hardwood or concrete.

Although seemingly trivial, athletic socks can really make or break how you may play, just based on the comfort. Some shoes don’t take well to anklet socks and some people’s feet don’t do well in acrylic (like me). Others may not even care if their socks are 100 percent cotton, while still there are wearers who have material compositions down to a science, so they know what works best for Under Armour Heatgear Basketball Sockstheir performance and overall wear (also, like me). Well, if you’re down for a synthetic-woven sock that wicks away moisture, cradles the tissues of your feet, supports the natural shape of your feet, and feels something like a thick, old-school cotton sock, the Under Armour Heatgear Basketball Sock might be right up your alley.

I was fortunate to link up with GoldToe (the producer of Under Armour) and was able to secure a plethora of socks to test. Lucky for me, I was able to get my preferred type of socks that were moisture-wicking — just as an aside, as an athlete who’s still evolving and looking to gain an edge on my own training and to help others in their training and lifestyle habits, I’ve found that something as simple as a sock can make all the difference; a crappy or fair-to-middling sock may make you stop a workout, but a good-to-great sock can be just the edge you need to even ponder staying on your feet to finish your sets or your run in the gym or wherever.

Upon placing my feet in the socks, I found them to be very plush, soft, and significantly (and pleasantly) thick. I felt like I was wearing a pseudo-slipper sock. Apparently, UA wove the Heatgear Basketball Socks in a way that would highlight an innovation that they call “Strategic Cushioning,” and it was apparent that it was a main feature. Every bit of my feet felt like they were hugged by the socks and rather comfortably at that. The Heatgear socks have a premium feel about them and I know that is on purpose just from the way they were fabricated. There are absolutely no seams (another nod to a UA technology implemented in the socks’ forefeet called “True Seamless Toe”), and as you can see from the pictures, they are very appealing visually. My arches and fascia tissues felt great, and the circulation of blood in my feet wasn’t compromised at all.

I tested the socks in various shoes, including the Nike Trainer Dunk (Free) Low, the Air Jordan XVII, the adidas adiZero Rose and the adidas adiZero Infiltrate to acquire a more varied and deeper knowledge of the socks’ performance and comfort consistency. The first day that I wore them, I decided to wear the socks for a full 24 hours, but then laundered them and sought them out again for further wearings. The Slip Resistance Technology was proven true (I endured no slip inside the shoes), the Armour Block anti-microbial and odor technology held up and kept my feet from emitting an offensive smell, and that good ol’ plush material and seamlessness of the socks only enhanced my testings. All the wearings matched up with a “first time”-like feel and great comfort, but I was let down somewhat in my testings by the one thing that I banked on them hitting on the mark completely — the moisture-wicking features.

Now, before I convey any more information, I must say that the socks’ heat management was above-average, it was not bad in my overall experience, but I do feel that UA’s Signature Moisture Transport technology may have been foiled somewhat by the company’s emphasis of highlighting the density of the socks for its Strategic Cushioning agenda; I believe the micro-levels of the socks’ weaves prohibited the moisture that was expelled from my feet from exiting the socks as they were engineered to. There simply was too much cushion for the pushin’, literally, as the moisture was not pushed out of the socks well enough because of the socks’ thickness.

I found that the socks subsequently relieved themselves fully of trapped moisture when my feet were perched atop a bed or footstool, and I was not actually standing in them; the socks aerated better from the soles and soon, even my perched feet got chilly (!), so I know that the technology was working…just not in the way that I preferred them to. To UA’s credit, the socks did provide for very decent testings in the area of moisture-wicking, and I was not deterred from seeing my workout to completion.

Overall, the UA Heatgear Basketball Socks are still a very good buy for performance and comfort. The combination of support, comfort and adequate moisture expulsion is worth the good money that one might play for such a product, and as I said earlier, a good sock can help you see a workout to its full completion, and these did right by me in every single wear test.

Sandy Dover is a novelist/writer, artist, and fitness enthusiast, currently working toward getting board certification as a fitness trainer. You can find Sandy frequently here at SLAMonline, as well as at Facebook and Twitter.