While the relationship between me and my socks has always been a rather particular one, it has once and for all been altered by the high-tech clothing company known as Ministry of Supply (MOS). After decades of wearing nothing but Gold Toe followed by the last few years of lots and lots of PACT socks, I find myself somewhat obsessed with the MOS ATLAS. Once the newness and novelty of the ATLAS wore off, it became pretty apparent that my little piggies were tucked deeply away in socks that were significantly different from all the others in the sock drawer.
The most obvious difference between the ATLAS sock and all the other socks in my sock drawer is the fact that they are foot-specific. Though this could pose a problem for those of us who lose socks all the time, this is not yet a reality I’ve had to face. With this in mind, I spent a day wearing these socks on the wrong feet. Though the fit was noticeably off at first, the socks conformed quickly once my feet were in them and they were shoved into my shoes.
The next obvious difference is the series of pads and channels that covers the bottom of the sock. These features are the result of some real live research and development such as photogrammetric strain analysis, pressure mapping, and thermal imaging. The human foot does a lot of bending and stretching, and thanks to the 3D visualization achieved by photogrammetric strain analysis, MOS was able to design the ATLAS to move and adjust much the same way the skin of the foot does. Pressure mapping, the same type of technology podiatrists use to prescribe custom orthotics, helped MOS determine where the pads, which float on an elastic base, should be placed for maximum comfort. Lastly, MOS used thermal imaging to figure out the location of hot spots on the foot in order for them to accurately incorporate and effectively position ventilation channels. The end result is a sock that does not sag, shift or bunch up while keeping your foot cool, dry, cushioned, and comfortable.
One last feature of the ATLAS must be addressed in order for this review to be complete, and that is the claim that these socks control odor. MOS claims that by infusing the recycled polyester yarn that makes up 40% of the sock with carbonized coffee molecules the sock can trap odor molecules. In fact, they even had the ATLAS yarn tested using ASTM Standard D 5742 to compare odor control against other fabrics, and as it turns out, the ATLAS yarn is three times more effective at absorbing odor than cotton. To the average sock wearing man, it probably doesn’t matter how the ATLAS achieves the miraculous feat of controlling foot odor, only that they work as claimed. To test this, I wore my prototype pair for four consecutive days over the long 4th of July weekend. That particular weekend was quite hot and I was quite busy throughout which would make the average socks both stinky and a bit crunchy. At the end of the fourth day the ATLAS socks were neither. Yes, they looked worn and crumpled, but they had not lost their shape at all and they definitely did not stink. At that moment, I knew that these socks were indeed different than the rest of the socks in my sock drawer and that the $28 I had pledged to their Kickstarter campaign was not for nothing.
Since the ATLAS sock will not be available until November of 2013, you’ll just have to be jealous of my prototypes. If you would like to know more about the ATLAS sock, click here. If you would like to check out the rest of the Ministry of Supply lineup, click here.
**Full disclosure: These socks were provided at no cost for the purpose of testing/reviewing. To think I could get these without some sort of press credential would be silly.