With heatwaves making their way through North America, beach volleyball players need to be concerned about more than just dehydration and UV rays. It’s also about the sand heating up and causing burns on the feet.
According to Dr. Curt Armstrong from Conway Medical Center, sand can easily surpass 100 degrees, sending people to burn centers for treatment. To test the safety of the sand, put your hand on the sand’s surface. If you can hold it there comfortably for 10 seconds, then the sand should be safe to walk or play on.
What if it isn’t, and you have a game scheduled? Sand socks allow volleyball players to safely play on hot sand or terrain that would otherwise cause cuts, blisters, or burns.
What are sand socks
Unlike regular socks made of cotton that provide a barrier inside a pair of shoes, sand socks are designed for use without shoes. The socks are both for professional and casual beach activity or sports.
Many times, the socks are made from a blend of neoprene material allowing for additional protection from cold or hot. Even some abrasive surfaces do not penetrate the socks. Most tournaments specify if sand socks are considered personal items and if they are allowed.
Because of the makeup of sand socks, players can train longer on the sand. Because they do not have to worry about the potential blistering or burns on their feet, they can continue to train when temperatures warm the sand to uncomfortable levels.
Why not use regular socks
Regular socks are made of a cotton blend or synthetic materials. Because regular socks are intended to fit inside shoes, they do not have many of the features sand socks provide. Sand socks are tight enough to not slide off the foot with the weight of the sand and light so to not cause a distraction.
While socks slide over the feet, they do not necessarily form-fit to your feet. With sand socks, the padding and layers allow for the sock to form around the foot, which in turn enhances your ability to play on sand or other rough surfaces. They often have a layer on the bottom of the foot to help with grip without slipping.
During beach volleyball, the ankles bend to adjust to the numerous ways the foot lands in the sand. Socks rub against this part of the body, leading to potential blistering. Sand socks, in contrast, often have rash guards by the ankles to prevent blistering. The socks also help stabilize the ankles and cushion the feet from the impact of the jump and landing.
Finally, while some socks focus on air circulation, they are not often designed for a beach environment. Sand socks inner layers allow for air circulation and sweat absorption. The outer layer is made to be moisture-resistant, so water, sweat, and humidity do not weigh down the sock or allow sand to stick to the moisture and weigh the player down. This part is also where occasional, minor hazards of a beach become a non-obstacle for the volleyball player.
Sand socks for beach volleyball
There are numerous sand socks for you to choose from. To help you save time scanning various webpages and get you out in the sand faster, we have broken down a few sand socks below. The following is not meant to be a complete list of options but enough to get you started on your sand sock journey.
Vincere Sand Socks are made with both Neoprene and Spandex. They have UV protection built into the socks with a rating of SPF 50+. Reviews have claimed these socks tear easier than others, but this also could be due to poor care.
Because the socks are made with Neoprene, saltwater and elements break down the material. It is crucial that the volleyball socks be washed in freshwater after every use. Hand wash is recommended for the socks. Air dry Vincere socks out of direct sunlight and store in a cool, dry spot.
Vincere Sand Socks have a 4-way stretch which allows for a comfortable fit. The blend of fabrics, as well as utilizing a locking flat stitch with 6 threads, give the ability to be a reliable sock under stress. The toe is reinforced with a neoprene layer, and they sport an adjustable fastener to help keep sand out.
The socks run slightly large, so keep that in mind when ordering. They have a low and high cut option and make sure to look for the adjustable Velcro fastener on your selected pair.
The Seavenger SeaSnugs socks also come in a high and low-cut option. The high cut option is marketed explicitly for beach volleyball, soccer or other sand sports. These socks allow your personality to shine through with a plethora of colors and patterns to choose.
Made with a double Kevlar sole for added grip, the Seavenger SeaSnugs add padding to the bottom and forefoot for additional protection against sprains, blisters, and other injuries. The Spandex portion allows for the foot to breathe and not just soak in its sweat, keeping it resistant to the heat and humidity.
With flatlock stitching, the sock remains smooth so there is no chaffing. Like the previous sock, they have an adjustable calf strap to tighten the socks so they do not fall down or let sand into the sock. They are made to protect you from the sun, sand, and windburn.
As the socks are made from Neoprene, they will require cleaning to keep the material in better shape despite multiple wears. Make sure to store the socks in a dry and cool environment, so they do not maintain moisture and mold during the off-season.
The Tilos Sport Skin is designed for circulation and airflow. The upper foot includes a protective layer that, like most of the socks, is intended to prevent injuries including sprains from landing. The grip over the upper foot and arch has added protection against the over-bending of the foot which naturally happens due to uneven sand.
The top strap provides adjustment for a firm grip. Like the others, the sock and stitching are done intentionally to prevent the elements of sand, water, salinity, and hot conditions from affecting the player.
The sock is made with Neoprene so care must be taken in keeping up with cleaning and storing. The socks are compact and weigh less than 1lb, making them easy to throw in your bag as you go. Reviewers stated for sand volleyball, these worked well but did tend to move a bit and may need adjusting during the game.
The Fun Toes Sand Sock is another Neoprene sock. It is resistant to heat and provides UV protection. The Fun Toes Sand Sock offers both children and adult sizes.
The socks have extra padding on the bottom to help with shock absorption from jumping. They are made to keep your foot cool and free from sand or small pebbles that could cause irritation or injury.
Reviewers noted that the socks were a bit on the flimsy side and the Velcro strap was a bit long. Others loved them for the beach, stating how they kept their feet free from injury and protected against the hot, sunny days.
The BPS Storm Sock comes in both a high and low cut. Like the other socks, the BPS Storm Sock has a Neoprene sole that protects against the sand and provides a defense against sand burns and blisters. The upper is made of Lycra, which gives flexibility and comfort.
Because the heel and toe parts of the socks take a beating, the BPS Storm Sock has provided reinforcements in these areas. This lowers the risk of tear.
The Velcro strap secures the socks, keeping both sand out and your foot in the sock. The flatfoot stitching makes worries of chafing a thing of the past; however, some did say that with long-term wear, the toe stitching could be a bit irritating.
Reviewers warned after wearing these socks in the ocean they seem to stretch out. If you are buying them for beach volleyball, it may be wise to keep them for just that purpose.
The Nordic Essentials Beach Socks are marketed to beach volleyball players. They have socks for men, women, and children. They are made with Lycra and Neoprene so the care instructions given for the previous socks would apply for the Nordic’s also.
The beach socks have a UV protection rating of 50. Not only do they prevent your feet from injury due to hot sand but also from cold sand, sharp rocks, and corals. The manufacturers believe in their socks so much they give you a 1-Year Manufacturer’s Warranty so you can try them out risk-free.
Get your sand socks today!
Knowing you can train comfortably in cold, hot, and rocky sand while having a bit more protection against sprains and injury during play, why wait to invest in these socks? While they aren’t going to magically make your spike flawless, they allow you to practice when the elements would otherwise take you indoors.
While it is true that toys do not make the player, sometimes the toys allow the player to play. In this case and with the current heat of the summer upon us, sand socks can get you out there, undistracted and volleying to your heart’s content.