Episode 11: Sockwa G Series
Updated: Oct 2
With the success of the beach sports focused “Playa” series, Sockwa once again evolved to reach new heights. This was achieved by answering the needs of their customer base, and therefore, developing a sock like shoe, durable enough to withstand activity on the concrete. To cater to this demand, Sockwa began developing an innovative product - a TPU plastic sole (as opposed to rubber).
The initial model of the G series was released in 2011, and was a combination of the TPU sole used on the amphibian, with the sock-like neoprene upper from the “Playa Lo”, the result being the Sockwa G2.
The Sockwa G series comes in sizes M5US - M13US, and is available in the colours listed below, with prices ranging from $50 - 70 US dollars, depending on style.
Available Colours (including black outsole):
My foot measures approximately 292mm; therefore I chose the largest size available – the M13 (295mm). My toes did touch the end, however it wasn’t overly restrictive, it did worsen with activity though - as my feet swelled. This is perhaps something they could address in the future - Increasing their range of sizes, and their width.
“What began on the beaches of Southern California in the spring of 2008 catering to the needs of budding beach soccer athletes, quickly turned into solving one of mankind's oldest inventions, the shoe. Our beach customers loved our product so much, they started wearing the socks all around town, on concrete, asphalt, and grass. This was the best problem we could ever face; Remain a beach sock company, or challenge ourselves and make our customers happy by adding a sole, making our sock into a shoe.
Needless to say, we rose to the occasion and designed a unique, never been done before, kind of sole, made of Plastic, not rubber. Why plastic and not rubber? Plastic's better for the environment than rubber. It uses less resources and is a cleaner process. But most importantly, it was listening to our customers, who wanted the Sockwa Sole to be thinner than a Vibram Five Fingers™. Plastic allows us to make the sole so super thin and defined, yet durable and softer than most other rubber soles.”
The shoe came presented in a drawstring bag, felt extremely light, and gave me a beach/camping vibe. Once opened, they seemed fairly similar to wetsuit material; however, the most intriguing element for me was their sole - It felt extremely durable, had a stretchy element to it and compared to any other sole I've witnessed, has an unmatched flexibility, lightness and ground-feel.
They were rather easy to put on; you simply slip them on, adjust them a bit, and go! Once on, they formed to my foot, and although I’ve heard complaints about their width, they weren’t too bad (for my feet).
The foot-bed had a tiny amount of foam cushioning, and the outsole felt quite responsive. The aesthetics are subjective between person to person, however I’m past that point at this stage myself. Comfort is king.
I’ve amassed a few kilometres in these on a treadmill, and have had a few brief runs on the pavement, and they seem to hold up pretty fine. There is almost no difference in feel, compared to running barefoot on the treadmill, however when running on the pavement you’re forced to subconsciously pay more attention to form in comparison to other barefoot shoes.
I’ve mostly been using them for working out, and this is what they've excelled in thus far for my personal preferences - I feel there is no close competitor besides being barefoot itself.
Another thing to note: Considering that the shoe lacks any upper support system to hold your foot into place, your feet don’t slip around too much when making certain movements.
Upper: 2mm neoprene sides and toe with a Lycra tongue
Stack Height: 3.2mm (1.2 mm BASF Plastic outsole+2 mm base layer).
Weight: 2.4 – 3.5 oz. depending on size
Outsole: 1.2mm BASF Plastic
This is the most 'barefoot' shoe I’ve ever owned, as of yet… Although I’m not completely accustomed to running with them on the pavement yet (I’m yet to go unshod), I have been getting a lot of use out of them for working out.
I've found that most people on the internet dismiss Sockwa by comparing them to your typical water shoe you can buy from most department stores - however this is not the case at all, only the upper material can be somewhat compared. The outsole is of a completely different calibre.
My verdict... If you are on a budget, or enjoy sampling various barefoot brands, or if you feel like taking it to the next level in regards to barefoot feel, then this is the shoe for you. However, If your feet are wider than average, you're fussy about fashion, or if you require cushioning, then perhaps you should consider an alternative.
-Alex, The Barefoot Shoe Review
(Disclaimer: These were sent to me to test, but my opinion is my own)