I've always had a mixed reaction to working out in socks.
The benefits are clear. When you're barefoot, you no longer have elevated heels, which cause your body to shift forward. You're able to "feel the ground" and get your body in a better position for Deadlifts and Squats. On the Deadlift, you're a bit closer to the floor, so you might actually be able to pull more weight. And of course, your feet will get stronger, which is more important than you realize.
However, I feel like a bit of an idiot when I walk around the gym in my ankle socks. And when Deadlifting and Squatting on a platform, it's hard to get a good grip. If I'm on a rubber floor, regular socks have a tendency to twist, which is downright annoying.
The guys at Pedestal Footwear had a similar experience. Their solution? Create a pair of socks designed specifically for picking heavy things up and putting them down.
I had the opportunity to try the Pedestal Footwear socks, and now I hate doing my lower-body lifts without them.
The socks come in ankle, quarter and mid-calf lengths. They aren't advertised as compression socks, but they have a snug fit, which keeps them square on your foot throughout your workouts.
The material is treated with silver, which kills bacteria and keeps them fresh. Pedestal recommends washing them every three to five workouts, but I'll admit to going longer and have yet to notice a funky smell.
The heel and toe sections of the socks are constructed from durable material that is resistant to cuts or abrasions. There are also silicone grips under the heels and toes. These allow you to get a solid grip with your feet, which is a critical part of setting up for a big lift.
I chose the mid-calf version because they protect my shins from getting accidentally dinged by the bar on Deadlifts. And they look pretty cool, in my opinion.
I wear the socks only when I warm up and perform Deadlift and Squat variations. For other exercises, I still sport my shoes. In these circumstance, I can feel the socks gripping a bit, but it's not a deal breaker for most strength workouts. However, if I were to do speed work or plyometrics, I'd opt for a traditional socks-and-shoes setup.
Overall, the Pedestal socks have been a great addition to my training bag, and I look forward to continue to wear them in my workouts. Pedestal Footwear socks are available in green and red for $25.