In our beach volleyball groups, sand socks are essential. When we start training each spring in Boston, our feet are at risk for becoming icicles in the frigid sand. But for many more southerly-located beach volleyball enthusiasts, sand socks come into prominence now, in the blazing hot months of July and August when, by the third match in your tournament, the sand is so hot you develop a new blood blister with every step.
Somewhat surprisingly, the sand-sock market offers quite a few choices of color, style, and brand of beach volleyball sole protection. Here are our top three picks, and the unique features of each.
Vincere Sports Sand Socks
Probably the most ubiquitous sand sock on the beach, Vincere’s classic style now comes in new fun colors and designs, like lime green and purple or blue lightning, in addition to their traditional black and naked options. These sand socks are super lightweight so you still have the sense of the sand under your feet. When ordering, keep in mind that you want the sock to fit very close to the foot while playing and this brand runs a little big (and will eventually stretch out), so if you’re deciding between sizes, lean toward the smaller option.
The most characteristic feature of the Sand Skins sock is the tough neoprene sole. The soles’ grippy texture helps protect against sharp shells and rocks that could be hiding in the sand. However, if you prefer not to feel the sock while you’re playing, this is probably not the right choice for you. Otherwise, Sand Skins are very breathable on top, making them a great option for hot-weather days. The toe box of the sock is slightly wider than average, so athletes with wider feet should definitely give these a try. Available only in black, white, or powder pink, Sand Skins don’t have the style options that Vincere offers, but the product is a quality investment.
$24.99 (shipping included), sandskins.com
Sockwa Playa Hi-Tops
Sockwa makes a wide variety of minimalist footwear, but their signature product for beach volleyball is the Playa Hi-Top. The above-the-ankle style helps to keep sand out, and the fabric used is slightly thicker than the fabrics used by the other two brands, making these “socks” perfect for those trying to stay warm in early spring or keep out extreme heat in the peak of summer. A thin fleece layer lines the bottom of the sock, absorbing sweat and making them extra cozy for your feet. The Playas are even available in blue and yellow with the AVP logo on the side for true fans or pros, as well as in a variety of other fun colors.
Originally published in July 2013