Make Your Feet Happy

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Stance Performance socks and Freewaters Self Employed absolutely will make you more comfortable.

Ah, the foot. Often overlooked and woefully under-appreciated but vital to the true happiness each of us seek on a daily basis. Where would we be without happy feet? Where we began probably, unable to move because of the discomfort of shoes, socks, sandals, rocks (aren’t they the worst?!?!) etc.

I am convinced there is nothing as vital to basic wellbeing as foot comfort, which leads me to be a bit “obsessive compulsive disorder-ee” about my footwear. I almost lose my mind when I see someone with mismatched socks on. Even if they are both the same color, they certainly cannot be the same thickness or have exactly the same heel cup geometry. I have thrown away more single socks than anyone in the history of modern conveniences, probably. I will go barefoot across the hot desert sands before I wear socks that don’t match. This is my life, and I have accepted it.

The same goes for shoes; because I would rather have my ego bruised by random passersby than have my feet bruised by uncomfortable footwear, I have worn Ugg boots with shorts in public – the original ones that girls wear, yes I own those, screw you. I mean, this is an appendage that supports our body weight at the least and suffers violent impacts in the G-force range at the most. Respect. But the foot can so easily be knocked offline it’s almost comical. Turf toe? Low arch? Corns? Athletes foot? Get outta here.

That’s why it is essential to keep your feet happy. They are like a boxing referee: if you notice them, they aren’t doing their job. So I was excited to find two foot-centric products up for review: socks and shoes – the yin and yang of happy feet.

Freewaters Self Employed

Freewaters is a relatively new company build on a model that more companies should, and are, building upon: solid products and social consciousness.

First the solid product.

Remember those old slippers your grandpa used to wear around the house 24/7 and you thought they were awesome? Well, forget all that. These are awesome.

These guys are obsessed with sandals – they carry 10 unique styles ranging from $26-$100 – which is cool, especially since they are named stuff like Wet Dream and The Dude. But as I mentioned before – did I mention this? – I am obsessed with comfort, and sandals are good, but not great, in this category. Lucky for me, they also created one of the most technical pieces of lounge footwear in the history of lounging: the Self Employed House Shoe.

Half Last of the Mohican moccasin, half Playboy Mansion party slip-on, this is not your average slipper. Specifically, it takes all the bad things about slippers out of the equation, leaving you with something different, the house shoe. Slippers can’t go outside; these have a eco-rubber outsole for trips to the mailbox or grill, or the bar (why not?). Slippers get hot and make feet sweat; these have a Ventilation Zipper in the premium micro-suede (swank!) for climate control. Slippers get stinky; these have a removable, washable liner complete with uber-dank fur trim. Plus they have stylish oversized stitching on the outsole. Props.

Freewaters bills the Self Employed as “a technical snowboard jacket wrapped around your feet,” and they may be right. If I were actually self employed, I’d be living in this shoe. The Self Employed runs $80 for the pair, which may seem steep, but given the features I just described there is no reason to think these shoes couldn’t last several years of steady lounge use. They also sell a very similar pair for indoor use only at a lower price if you can’t handle the emerging technical slipper market.

Well worth it, plus there is this: Project Freewaters. With the purchase of one pair of Freewaters, the company is able to provide clean drinking water for one individual for one entire year. They built their first well in Kenya in 2010 and have built four other wells in the region that provide clean water to those who desperate need it. Helping people while helping my feet? Sign me up, and check out this video.

Stance Performance Socks

Stance is a company specializing in socks and…well, that’s it. Do one thing and do it well, and they do it very well. Out of California, and with that cool, weird, artsy, unconventional left coast style, Stance creates a product for the individual, by the individual. As much about art and creativity as function, Stance is socially conscious in a different way, supporting local starving artist and incorporating their design into their product.

The product itself belies the art community vibe of form over function by incorporating innovative technical aspects into each line. The snow line blends plush merino wool with madcap designs that range from Dali-esque wackiness to 70s high stripes to argyle. Very slick. It’s almost like they decided they wanted to create an unconventional outlet for their creativity, and just decided socks was it. Then made the best socks they could. I love a little flash in a sock and the kids seem to agree.

Stance claims they are “built for skateboarding” and their other features confirm this. They come with grippy, cushion pads on the forefoot and heel designed to keep your foot locked in place in a beefy skate shoe and deafen landings when launching that stair gap – that’s right, I’ve played Tony Hawk, I also do this. What’s also cool about these socks is they are anatomically specific to right and left foot – and they even tell you which is which with a little r and little l.

The Performance line tested very well with this reviewer. Made from a blend of Coolmax, cotton, polyester and spandex, they wick quick and feel buttery smooth as they slide onto your foot. When your big toe hits the seamless toe closure, you certainly feel the difference from your typical Hanes tuber. Hot. I wore these socks in two distinctively different situations and was equally impressed on both field tests. Going through airport security was a breeze. With the padded toe and heal I had superior grip when I juked out of the body scanner line yelling something about my civil rights. Ok, that didn’t happen, but they still performed well in a harsh, shoeless environment. I also wore them on a semi-strenuous hike and had the same results. The padding on the bottom really does lock your foot in and the Coolmax wicks like a dream.

So, if you are looking to step your sock game up, Stance is where it’s at. Along with the Snow and Performance line, Stance also produces Casual, Reserve and Art Collection lines.

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