When you think that during an average game of golf you walk around 5 miles (1,760 yards=one mile) that’s a lot of time on your feet and a good deal of wear and tear on your body.
If like me, you play golf every week, 52 weeks a year – averaging say two rounds a week – you are clocking up 520 golf miles a year, the equivalent of walking the world famous Camino Pilgrimage Trail across Northern Spain.
After a few years of that your feet, knees and back have something to say about the workload and you’ll probably find yourself searching for products, advice or an exercise regime that makes playing the game you love bearable – possibly even comfortable.
As a mid 30’s scratch golfer who has spent a large portion of his life travelling, playing golf and competing in golf tournaments, I estimate some years my golf mileage could be as much as three times higher than average.
That’s the equivalent of golfing the Great Wall of China, 1400 miles, in one year.
As a result my back is shot, I prolapsed and burst my L5 disk in 2005, I suffer with sore legs, hips and lower back and recently I found out my feet were misaligned and I had to have a specialist insole built to bring my body back into balance.
The most comfortable golf socks in the world?
When I heard about a new breed of golf sock that claimed to be most comfortable and stable ever, I was instantly intrigued and wrote off requesting a sample for a review of the Stable 26 golf socks.
Handily titled Stable 26 (there are 26 bones in the human foot) this specialist sock company from Canada is attracting support from some of the biggest names in golf – including hall of famer and four time Major Champion Ernie Els.
The socks are worn by the Canadian national golf team and are worn by golfers on four of the world’s biggest pro golf tours from the PGA Tour to the LPGA and The European Tour.
The socks themselves arrived in the post from Canada with a rainforest’s worth of promotional flyers, stressing the features and benefits and positioning the credentials of the company’s founder chiropractor Daryl Sherman.
To give you a bit of background Daryl Sherman has worked extensively with athletes from skiers to golfers and skaters fitting them with footgear and orthotics.
Here’s what the company says about itself:
WHY STABLE 26 GOLF SOCKS?
The name – and founding philosophy – behind Stable 26 has its roots in the anatomy of the human foot. Housing 26 structural support bones, the foot is subject to countless injuries – especially for professional athletes.
As a chiropractor, Dr. Daryl Sherman understands how injuries come about, and the importance of wearing quality footgear to reduce foot trauma. Having worked with countless professional athletes throughout the course of his career, Sherman created Stable 26 to bridge the gap between athletes and their equipment, allowing for better fit, which leads to stronger stability and comfort.
In short, Stable 26 allows athletes to put their best performance-enhanced foot forward.
How to make your golf shoes fit better
The story is a pretty simple one.
Sherman says his research found that gaps in the connection between the foot and the shoe – which he calls “negative space” – cause instability and leads to movement of the foot in the shoe, especially around the heel, which causes rubbing, subtle twisting and eventually foot related injuries.
Stable 26 golf socks are designed with silicone pads fitted into a tiny silk like pocket on the side of the sock directly below the ankle bone. These pads close the gap between foot and shoe.
Added to this, Stable 26 offers benefits that normal socks don’t, including:
- Elastic arch support
- Breathable ergonomic nylon
- Anatomical mesh zone to maximize ventilation
- Hand linked seamless toe to reduce friction
- Elastic holding rib keeps cuff firmly in place
As well as these technical benefits with Stable 26 Socks you can customise your own shoes.
This is especially useful because no two pairs of golf shoes are exactly the same fit and some styles lose their shape quickly and others stay narrow and tight.
With Stable 26 socks you can buy different sizes of silicone pads if your shoes have worn away more or loose fitting, which can also mean you don’t have to throw away your old faithfuls.
Review of Stable 26 Golf Socks
I put these socks to the test immediately by wearing them for an 18-hole club medal.
Before we get to performance I have to say on the simplest of levels these are nice socks to wear. They have a stretch quality, feel lightweight and breathable but also surprisingly thick and cushioned but without gripping the foot or making you feel like your feet are wrapped in bandages.
There’s a definite feeling of luxury when you slip these socks on.
The sizing process is a touch complicated but as a European size 8 I opted for the green silicone pad.
The sensation of wearing the silicone pads in and around the ankle and heel is unusual at first but quickly starts to feel normal, especially as you do feel a better connection between your foot and the golf shoe.
I was sceptical that my feet would feel any different to the usual everyday sports socks I wear for golf or the Merino Wool socks I wear in colder months through the British Winter.
I played 18 holes wearing a pair of Ashworth Cardiff spikeless golf shoes that are comfortable but slightly loose fitting after some heavy wear.
At the end of my review of Stable 26 golf socks I was left thinking a few things:
- Stable 26 golf socks do exactly what they say on the tin – the ingenious pads make your feet feel better connected to your golf shoe and that extra stability equals more comfort and confidence to swing hard through the ball.
- My feet genuinely felt fresher after wearing the socks and the comfort is longer lasting – because the mesh vents stop any build-up of sweat and they genuinely cushion your feet far more than an average sock.
- It’s difficult to say absolutely whether the socks prevent “power drain” or help the feet stay energised longer but my feet did feel fresher after 18 holes.
- The style of the sock is great, I tested the mini crew which stops just below the ankle bone and it never ever moved throughout the round.
- The silicone pads are a definite benefit and could even save you money because with alternating pad sizes you can keep your existing golf shoes and customise to your own fit, without needing to buy new shoes when your old ones loosen naturally.
I personally love these golf socks and have worn them for every round and practice session since my test round.
The socks come with a cool little mesh bag so you can wash them separate from your other clothes without losing the silicone pads and I have made the effort to ensure I have always got a pair clean and ready to wear.
Now, down to the sticking point – price!
Stable 26 golf socks are available from the company website www.stable26.com for around $25, which is not cheap for a pair of socks. Additional silicone pads are available for $9.99 and shipping is a flat rate $9.99 (though prices may vary for worldwide carriage).
When you put a price on paying golf pain free, these socks are a good investment and can even save you money by prolonging the amount of time before you have to change golf shoes due to fluctuation in fit.
All in all, Stable 26 golf socks are a brilliant new product and a great addition to the wardrobe for any serious golfer or golf traveller.