Two days ago I Ticker-linked to this photo of a Wisconsin high school football player and asked, “Is this where football sock design is headed?”
I got a much more thorough answer than I’d anticipated from reader Jeff Bahry, who informed me that the socks are actually leg sleeves with elastic stirrup loops. “The fabric is comparable to higher-end polyester — not cotton,” he wrote. “They also feature a silicon band to
The company behind this is a Wisconsin operation called Dye Sport, which specializes in sublimated graphics. If you click on “Team Sports” and then start poking around from there, you can get an idea of what they’re about — basically, if you have
really bad taste some innovative design ideas, they’ll indulge you as far as you want to go.
The socks aren’t mentioned on the Dye Sport site, however, so I gave them a call and found myself talking to company founder Scott Yeomans. Here’s how our chat went down:
Uni Watch: So what’s the story with these socks? I’ve never seen anything like them.
Scott Yeomans: We developed that about four years ago. We test-marketed it on one Wisconsin high school — Lancaster — to see how it performed, how the kids liked it, blah-blah-blah. And they ended up winning the state championship in it. And from there, things really started exploding. And actually, the Lancaster coach told us they didn’t have any kids cramping up with calf cramps that season. Is it the socks, is it that the kids were in better condition or better hydrated? I can’t say it’s definitely the socks…
UW: What was the design that you did for them?
SY: I’m trying to remember. I remember how we were watching the state tournament on TV and the commentators and the camera kept focusing on the socks. “Look at those socks!” I think we had a gradient — white down at the shoe and fading up to royal blue — with an arrow design.
UW: And how many teams are wearing the socks now?
SY: Last year we had 30 teams here in Wisconsin. This year it’s close to 50, plus we have a team in Michigan wearing them. And we have a dealer now in Arizona — I just shipped him 70 pairs for a youth soccer team. And we have our own boys’ and girls’ soccer teams wearing them here in town — they’re just lovin’ ’em. So we’re gonna expand more into soccer, girls’ softball. And getting back to football, last year we had six Wisconsin teams wearing our socks in the state tournament, and two of them won their divisions, so we’re getting a lot of good exposure.
UW: Since these socks are open at the bottom, does the player wear an ankle sock under it or what?
SY: Some of ’em wear a full-length sock underneath; some of ’em wear a little ankle or no-show sock. It’s personal preference. But you have that stirrup strap to pull it down into the shoe, so it looks like a full sock.
UW: Why’d you choose to make it that way, instead of making a traditional sock with a toe?
SY: It’s less bulky, and it lasts longer. If a sock develops a tear or wears out, it’s usually in the toe.
UW: And again, just to make sure I understand, you developed this product yourself, and you offer it exclusively?
UW: Has there been any negative feedback from people who think these designs are too radical or whatever?
SY: No. You have your old-school coaches, but you have more and more younger coaches, and they seem to like the socks a little more cutting-edge.
UW: And, of course, you can offer this product in a conservative design too — it doesn’t make any difference to you.
SY: Right. If they just want a solid red sock, that’s fine. Most of them, though, they’ll put the helmet logo on the side, or the school logo.
So there you have it, the beginning of the end for football hosiery as we know it, all thanks to my favorite state, which I will henceforth refer to as Hades, the end.
And speaking of sock-related follow-up items: Back on Monday I asked about the sock logo that Maurice Stovall has been wearing. The bad news is that I just played into their hands by giving them free publicity; the good news, I hope, is that some of the NFL’s uni police guys read this site and will now start cracking down on this pernicious logo creep.
Gazoo Boo-Boos Up the Wazoo: I really messed up the part of yesterday’s ESPN column that pertained to the new S100 batting helmet. As originally published around noontime, the column stated that only three players had worn the helmet in a game: David Wright, Ryan Dempster, and Shane Victorino. But then, shortly after the column went live, Guy Serumgard informed me that Carlos Guillen wore the S100 on Sept. 3rd (apparently this was even noted at some point in the comments section on this site, but I either didn’t notice or didn’t remember), so we added a little “Update” graf to that section of the column. That was shortly before 2pm.
Then I went out and didn’t get back to a computer until about 9pm, at which point I found several e-mails from people telling me that Edgar Gonzalez had also worn the S100. Too late to add another update to the column — I’ll just run a correction in my next ESPN piece.
Not sure how I missed the boat so badly on this — I thought I’d been keeping track of the S100 situation. Interestingly, when I interviewed Rawlings exec Mike Thompson for yesterday’s column, the very first question I asked him was, “Just to make sure I have my facts straight, to my knowledge only Dempster, Wright, and Victorino have worn the new helmet — is that right?” He replied, “Yes.” Of course, it’s not his job to keep track of that — it’s mine — so that doesn’t absolve me. If anything, it’s another reminder that I need to do my own homework and not depend on others to confirm things for me.
Anyway: Let the record show that five MLBers have worn the S100 — unless you know of any others who’ve done so.
Research Query: Got a note yesterday from Matt DeLeon, who poses a very good question: “I was wondering if you knew the history of the ‘Property of’ T-shirts. Were there shirts that were actually the ‘property of’ certain teams? I would assume so, although a T-shirt would seem to be something worth giving away after a few uses. How far back do these shirts go, and what’s the history behind them?”
Excellent question! Anyone out there know anything about this? If so, give me a shout.
“Turntable? What’s a turntable?”: I’ve put a few more old indie-rock 45s up for auction on eBay, and I’ll continue to add more over the next couple of weeks. You can keep track of everything I’m selling here.
Uni Watch News Ticker: LSU will be wearing purple jerseys this Saturday against Mississippi State. “This is unusual because they generally only wear purple at home for non-conference opponents — this is a conference game on the road,” notes Ben Melancon. … New mask for Yann Danis. … The Swedish military has some uni issues (with thanks to Chad Todd). … Is it OK to wear ONOB is the jersey is given to you by the team? (Nice find by John Brooks.) … There’s a resurgence in sales of Expos gear, and it’s coming from an unlikely source (with thanks to Graham Bakay). … Jon Canella notes that Pedro Feliz always has a line of dirt on the back of his road jersey. “I’ve been noticing it since the end of May,” he says. “Superstitious? Not a good enough stain remover by the clubhouse attendant?” And before you propose any theories of your own, remember it only happens on Feliz’s road jersey. Weird. … A few months ago I got some e-mails from a Milwaukee marketing exec who wanted to redesign the Packers’ logo. I didn’t post his designs, because (a) I didn’t think they were very good, and (b) the Packers obviously aren’t going to change their mark. But I guess it was a slow news day at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal.