Do you put socks on like a pro?
We can't do a lot of the things that professional skiers and snowboarders can do.
Most of us can't do a triple cork, ride a 50-degree couloir or travel the globe in search of snow at a moments notice. In fact, the closest the majority of us get to any kind of cork, is a corked leg when loading a high-speed quad chair in resort. What we can do, is put our socks on like a pro. But it's more than just right foot, left foot. It comes down to choosing the right materials and thickness for you. In fact, there's plenty more that goes into a snow sock than your excited feet and nobody knows this better than Le Bent.
An Australian brand, born out of a decade working in the ski boot fitting trenches beneath the French Alps, Le Bent have been crafting snow socks for 10 years and become highly specialised in their production.
However, the local brand brings more than just a bend in the ankle to their socks, an item of clothing which has historically been thought of as just a technical necessity. What they've bought, is creativity.
"We've always wanted to do things differently", says co-founder and head of product Simon Blondel. "That started with keeping an open door and mind, and listening to the needs of any athlete that approached us."
One of those athletes was world class skier Cody Townsend, who on one of his many 'sufferfests' backcountry, and experiencing damp, blistering feet, said to himself, "stuff this. I need to make some better socks."
The resulting Cody Townsend Pro Series Sock by Le Bent has been lauded as, "the best backcountry sock ever." Le Bent's signature merino and bamboo rayon blend ensure a luxuriously soft, warm and moisture-wicking sock, while welded silicone strips on the heel and calf lock the sock in place and prevent slippage in boots. "It's the simplest solution to a problem that caused blisters, inefficiencies in hiking, less downhill performance and generally drove me crazy," said Cody, adding that, "Le Bent were the only ones listening".
When Cody visited Australia with Le Bent a few years ago, we watched him put his socks on left foot first, then left boot, then right foot and right boot. It made us question our own process. However, we watched Cody's ski and life partner, professional big mountain skier Elyse Saugstad, go both socks first then both boots.Not one to be left out of the fun, Elyse has her own Pro Sock Series now. It's an adaptation of Cody's sock scaled to suit female feet, with all the big-mountain bells and whistles. "I joined Le Bent because I like to work with companies that don't just use me for athlete recognition, but actually want to work with me to develop the best product," said Elyse.
"Socks are such an important and very specific fitting piece of gear for skiing. If your socks don't fit perfectly and the material is crap, you're going to have a back day of skiing."
For those looking for a slightly more cushioned sock also signed off on by a pro, Sammy Carlson's brainchild could be for you. Another Le Bent rider, the Sammy Pro Series Sock is one that blends comfort, performance and style, like Sammy himself. There's cushioning under the foot and over the shin for protection in high impact areas.
The Sammy Pro Series sock is a bestseller for snowboarders as well, based on its forgiving cushion profile and aesthetic. However snowboarders can also look forward to a Pro Series Sock of their own, crafted by one of the sports godfather's Xavier De Le Rue.
"I tried the Le Bent products for the first-time last year and was super impressed by the quality," said Xavier. "I saw what my buddy Cody Townsend was doing with the guys and wanted to join in!"
Although you can't buy Xavier's socks this winter, you can win them. Keep an eye on Rhythm's social channels throughout the season as we'll be giving away a few limited-edition pairs to some lucky feet, before their global launch in September.
This article featured in our 2022 Rhythm Magazine, explore more featured articles here!