Last October I started a (fledgling) campaign to eradicate sock tape from the game of ice hockey. A tiny campaign it remains, but at least now I know I am not the only one championing the cause. A few weeks ago, a representative from Superior Hockey reached out to advertise their new SokStraps. They seem to be the best option, at this point, for a sustainable replacement for sock tape because the SokStraps work with a ratchet and velcro that enables players to adjust the tightness of each strap. This has been the main complaint with the shin pad straps that exist currently – they aren’t adjustable/they never seem tight enough. The creator of SokStraps, Jeff Bousquet, seems to have taken this excuse off the table.
The straps sell for $47.99 (CDN) and you get three straps for each leg. Steeper than traditional sock tape – absolutely. Steeper than the $8-$10 straps that are sold currently – yup! Seems like a tough sell at this point given that the alternatives are much cheaper but, in theory, one pair of SokStraps should last for years making it a one time purchase. Additionally, no more sock tape = no more garbage. SokStraps can also be customized with your name, team name, or sponsor’s name but it seems that they only come in black right now. While I wouldn’t want anything written on my shins, I would appreciate SokStraps that match the colours on my team socks *ahem* so hopefully different coloured straps are in the works. Bousquet told the Winnipeg Sun that you may soon see the entire Manitoba Women’s Junior Hockey League outfitted in SokStraps, so they may end up in your locker room soon than later.
SokStraps has a Kickstarter campaign up until September 24th with the goal of raising $15,000. If you want to get in on the ground floor of, what may be, the future of hockey I suggest checking it out. Let me be clear that I have not tried out these straps yet and I am really just trying to give a signal boost to someone who is trying to make hockey more sustainable. From the promo video, I question what happens if the straps are too long because they are not pulled taught in the video, rather they are worn so that the logos are centred in the front. Therefore, if SokStraps only come in one length, what happens with the extra length? Will it flail around? Will it bunch and not sit smooth against the leg? If anyone from SokStraps wants to comment on this aspect please feel free. Currently, SokStraps are more a dream than a reality but that’s the cool thing about crowdfunding – you can be part of the company’s success if you think it is worthwhile. However, crowdfunding is also an electronic popularity contest, which means that it is not necessarily the “best” or “most needed” campaigns that receive support.
If you have questions and concerns for SokStraps please leave them in the comments section. And, if nothing else, next time you are in the locker room putting on your sock tape ask your teammates if they have heard of these new fangled SokStraps. Let’s start a conversation about sustainable alternatives and get people thinking about the status quo. Maybe it will get the wheels turning for a few innovators, like Bousquet, and who knows what the future of hockey equipment will look like.