Basketball is a huge part of my life. I play several nights a week -- I'm even playing in a tournament this weekend! I've used basketball as a way to integrate into a new culture when I travel, and I've even made housing decisions around good pickup games.
I consider myself quite knowledgeable about the game. But here's something I didn't know until last night: playing basketball in basketball socks -- as opposed to, say, biking socks -- actually makes a huge difference.
The funny thing is, I had a pair of "real" basketball socks all along -- these sweet Nike Elite Basketball Crew Socks. I didn't buy them myself. My mom gave them to me a while back, and I never wore them to basketball because they're long, and I like the ankle-length kind.
Instead, I wore them around the house. Or under my rain boots. Or over to a cute guy's house the other night. He laughed and said they were "not sexy." And I was just kind of like, "Bro, this whole outfit is not sexy. My plan was never to impress anyone."
This is the outfit, BTW. Those are Crocs rainboots, and I wear them without shame, because they keep my feet 100% dry, and they're light as a feather. And! The new ones come with a cute little bow on the front!
But then! By a strange turn of events -- okay, it wasn't all that strange... I forgot to pack a clean pair of socks before basketball practice last night, so I pulled these out of my rainboots as a last-resort -- I ended up wearing the REAL basketball socks... to basketball.
I'd always thought it was kind of silly that the left sock has a big L embroidered on it, and the right sock has a big R on it -- like it could possibly make a difference!
But it totally did!
They made my shoes fit better. They made my feet feel better. They had cushioning in all the spots that normally feel raw or sore from cutting. Despite having several "foot situations" going on right now (two dead toenails that are totally growing back into, rather than on top of, my skin; a giant blood blister that formed as a result of said dead toenails; two toe blisters that I got from my new flip flops; all of which had been bothering me throughout the day), I didn't feel a hint of pain during the whole two hours of practice and scrimmages.
Even though I went climbing right before practice, and the right big toe had been hurting tremendously.
So! That's what I learned last night. "Basketball socks" aren't a marketing gimmick (unlike, say, "climber's tape" vs. "dancer's tape" vs. "weight lifter's tape," which is all just athletic tape)...
They're a real thing, and they make a huge difference.
Especially considering that I was never unhappy with the socks I was wearing before, which were these awesome, lightweight Assos skinweb biking socks:
I had no idea what I was missing.
So if you're someone who gets blisters or foot pain during or after basketball and you're not wearing special basketball socks -- it's worth every penny for the upgrade.
Oh, and PS: No one on the team was surprised by my discovery, except for me. Somehow, everyone else already knew the magic of basketball socks. But I still thought it was important to share this important public service announcement.
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