I'm not big on gimmicks.
I've never worn a wrist device, even after three operations on my right (bowling) wrist. I've never use anything for my elbow, arm, shoulder or knees.
I've used finger grips because they clearly are a benefit, and eventually I started using thumb inserts just because they're so much more simple than the Exactacator I used for years.
So when Jay Brewer of Stability Strikes contacted me and asked me to try the company's bowling performance socks, I definitely was skeptical.
Socks? To improve bowling performance? C'mon man.
Here's what the company says about the socks on its website:
Our Socks are made with mohair yarn, which is the best yarn money can buy. There is extra mohair cushioning in the heel and toe. The heel is flat to help a bowlers stability at the foul line. The extra padding in the heel and toe also gives you maximum blister control.
Stability Strikes are also made with coolmax fabric. The coolmax fabric helps keep your foot warm in the winter and cool in the summer. With the coolmax fabric in the sock, it will bring any perspiration to the outer layers of the sock, keeping your foot dry at all times.
Along with mohair yarn and coolmax fabric, Stability Strikes socks include merino wool, lycra, spandex, and synthetic polymers, nylon, and elastic. This sock is going to be the softest sock, and is going to have exceptional elasticity to form to any arch.
Stability Strikes socks will not only help a bowlers stability at the foul line, but it will also help with Foot, Knee, or Back pain a bowler may have. These socks are great for everyday wear as well. Some bowlers are wearing these socks to work and at the Gym. Our Stability Strikes socks will give you the comfort and support you need to compete at your maximum potential!
Since Jay offered them to me free to try, I had nothing to lose and agreed.
I first tried them at an 8-game tournament in early May
When we were done, my feet felt very good, although the thing that was impossible to know is how they would have felt if I had worn regular socks.
My only issue is that when not in PBA competition, I wear custom fit Linds and the Stability Strikes are thicker than regular socks so the fit was tighter than I would prefer.
When I sent my report to Jay, he said he wanted to send socks for our two teams to use at the USBC Open Championships May 18-19, which he did.
My feet were somewhat swollen in the heat of Baton Rouge and I simply could not use the Stability Strikes with my Linds, but the rest of our teams used them and liked them.
Some of their comments follow.
Mike Shady: "The socks provide a comfort that obviously dress socks do not provide. They provide a better overall fit while wearing the bowling shoes. I enjoyed them. The only possible feature that I may add in the future is to make them a bit longer. I prefer a sock that goes well above my ankle when I wear dress slacks. Overall — a great product!"
Marc McDowell: "I really like the socks! I wore them during our side events and really like the comfort and added support around the arch. I have some hiking socks that are similar and have always enjoyed the extra support. I would echo the comment about offering higher versions to wear with slacks or jeans."
Tom Howery: "Nice socks with GREAT support! Would work for golf nicely also."
Mike Walters: "I liked them — very comfortable. Much more comfortable than dress socks. I like the fact that they are a shorter athletic cut and will be using them for softball and would have no problem wearing them for casual uses as well."
Dan Goepfert: "I thought the socks were great. I wore them for minors and driving home to Wisconsin that night. My feet felt great. Very comfortable product."
Bret Faulkner: "Very comfortable fit, certainly better than dress socks. I would also like to see them in something that fits over my ankle."
John Wittkowske: "I wore them in singles and doubles and I thought they were very comfortable and had the fit was fine. I will definitely wear them again and would like to try with my golf shoes."
Another player who used them at the Open Championships was Matt McNiel, the leader in all-events and doubles. His testimonial in on the company's website.
I intend to use them when I compete in PBA tournaments, where Linds aren't registered and I use Etonics and will be using the new Storm shoes made by Dexter when they come out later this summer. They don't fit as snugly as custom Linds and the sock thickness should not be an issue.
If the Storm shoes perform as well as my Linds, I will be using them full time, and therefore might be using the Stability Strikes socks full time.
While the Stability Strikes socks might not be everything the company website claims, I think they do provide more comfort and stability than regular socks. And if that's the case, they could be a performance aid.
At the least, they are worth trying for every serious bowler.