One of my fondest memories of my Uncle Jack occurred the Christmas when I was about 10 years old. We had driven out to Arizona to visit family and that in and of itself was memorable enough. I can remember going outside with my brother and my uncle to throw the Frisbee back and forth down the perfectly flat and straight street before everyone else was up and ready to open presents. Not only was it not snowing, it wasn’t even cold. Not only was it not even cold, it was hot. We were wearing shorts. But that isn’t best part.
At our house we always take turns opening gifts. The youngest goes first and everyone sits impatiently waiting for them to finish so they can tear into their own gift watches them, delighted to take in the appreciation of the opener. Eventually my Uncle Jack’s turn came. It may have been his last present – let’s say it was. He unwrapped a smallish floppy package. I was thinking to myself “tie” when out came a pair of oversized socks. My Uncle looked a little confused. “Wow, a single pair of socks.” He didn’t mind joking around because he knew they were from my grandmother and she was a good sport. “No,” she said, “they are for when you travel. You put your shoes in them so they don’t get your clothes all dirty in your suitcase.” My uncle, the great comedian, noticed that my brother and I could barely sit up straight because we were straining not to laugh out loud and make my grandmother feel bad, muttered “G-g-r-r-e-e-a-a-t,” in the long drawn out way that was his signature move, “shoe warmers.” My brother and I lost it. We couldn’t seem to catch our breath. “I think that’s enough,” said my mom. But it wasn’t. We kept laughing until my brother’s face was red and only stopped when corporal punishment was imminent.
It wasn’t until I was an adult that I learned to appreciate good socks. They really are a good gift (as long as your heart isn’t set on a go-kart or the Death Star Playset). They are practical. They feel good. You can get enjoyment from them every single day. If you are a runner or a hiker then there is the added appeal of not causing damage – no hot spots, no blisters, no funny marks where the back edge of the sock rubs against the top of the shoe.
So you can understand my excitement when a couple of months ago I tried yet another type of running sock that I had purchased from Costco and it was like a dream (You can also see them at Amazon here). They were silky and cushy feeling in the store and, best of all, they sold them in an oversized model. You see most athletic socks seem to be designed for shoe size small-12-if-you-really-stretch-them. So if you have a size 13 foot this means every sock is pulling on the end of your toes. No biggie if you are just wearing them to the gym or around the house but if you go out for a long run, it can actually get a little painful.
I’ve bought other running socks before that seemed good for the first few wears but then the luxury seems to get washed right out. So far, after several times through the washer, these seem to be retaining their fluffiness.
They are not very expensive, so I’d recommend giving them a try the next time you are sock shopping.
PS Even better than the shoe warmer incident, this was the Christmas that I got my BB rifle. It had a scope and everything. It was the single best Christmas present of my materialistic childhood. We had a great time that holiday season.