A Sock By Any Other Name: Bombas

I believe it was Lieutenant Daniel Taylor who first said “Two standing orders in this platoon. One, take good care of your feet. Two, try not to do anything stupid, like gettin’ yourself killed.” Wise words.

I’ve bought my shoes on for the past few years. I like it not only for the convenience, but the selection. As a twenty-something, I used to think sneakers were the only shoes I’d need. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown in taste. “Oh, chukka boots would be a great addition” is something I’ve said out loud. I probably buy new shoes every 2-3 months, not because I need them, but because it’s easy. I figure if I don’t like them, or they don’t fit, I can just snobbishly hand them to a FedEx driver and Zappos will happily send me another.

However, vanity is a hard vice to overcome. I choose to embrace it, instead.

I bought a pair of shoes through Zappos by the clothing company Ben Sherman early in 2016. Upon putting them on the first day and wearing them for an hour, it occurred to me that Mr. Sherman may have been born with less toes than I currently have (10). As unfortunate as that thought was, I kept on, as I was in an office and no one likes the guy that takes his shoes off at the office. In the next few hours, I’d discovered his ankles must also be a peculiar shape, as the skin on mine was being removed rather quickly. Getting home was a delight that night. I went online to start the return process…


As I said: vanity is hard to overcome. These shoes look great. “These shoes will definitely wear in”, I said to myself.

I wore them for about a week before realized that, because those toes are made of hard rubber, there isn’t going to be any “wearing in”. I have to find another solution. “I’ll buy better socks”.

So, it’s about a year later. I, obviously still have Satan’s hooves up there, and I’ve tried a few different brands of socks I found in different parts of Amazon and Zappos. I try not to go for the socks you find in 12 packs at Target: I’m no sock plebe, and they’ve got to make these shoes wearable. I’ve found the problem with buying a nice pair of socks online is that they generally come in 2 sizes, Small, which must be for small children and leprechauns, and Large, which fit shoe sizes US 7-12. My size is US 13, so I generally have to really stretch out a 12 to make it fit. Those shoes up there kill my ankles, which makes that no good.

I found Bombas through a Facebook Ad.


A dream come true. They have a few different options for sock purchases. The best part is their large is for US 9.5-13, which is rather compelling for a guy like me. I purchased a 6 pack of their assorted color ankle socks for $64.80, minus a first time purchasers discount, which put the total slightly under $50. 64,80 makes it over $10 per pair, which is definitely pricey for socks, but Lieutenant Dan has never steered me wrong. I waited a reasonable amount of time for ground shipping, there was a 2 day option but I opted out: I can wait on socks.

So they got here, and the next day I put them on. And for you, dear reader, I put these socks through the ringer, and wore those Ben Sherman’s all day to see how they held up. That’s something I haven’t attempted in months.

The short answer is: those shoes still kill my toes. However my heel still has all it’s skin. Achilles would love these.

The pictures on the website don’t really tell you the whole story about Bombas. They’ve built their socks with an ankle guard: a stuffed back ankle to shield your foot from rubbing shoes. They also have arch support with a beehive design, which feels nice and probably helps out people with flat arches, or shoes that don’t have that support built in. The cotton is high quality and very comfortable to wear. There is even extra toe protection as well, it felt like, but I’m not sure that anything could help those shoes. It was worth the challenge though. The socks fought valiantly, but evil won this day.

I wore the rest of the socks throughout the week in more normal shoes, and was very comfortable. In any reasonable shoes these will be fantastic. I’m very happy with my purchase. The only issue I’m a little worried about is their longevity. I put them through the laundry one time, and the bottoms started fraying a bit.

Fray after one wash
Do you have any idea how hard it is to take a reasonable picture of a used sock?

They are still perfectly wearable and comfortable, and hopefully they will hold up; only time will tell.

Another really great perk about buying from Bombas is, as you can see from the graphic above, they donate a pair of socks to the homeless for every pair of socks you buy. You might not know that for the homeless, socks are a precious commodity: they generally don’t have a way of washing clothes, so socks stay on their feet until they are completely worn out (a couple of weeks, tops), and then hopefully replaced. Obviously socks aren’t going to solve homelessness, but you can at least feel a little better that your purchase is going to a reasonable cause.

I highly recommend Bombas. Take Care Of Your Feet.



Trying Something New: The Grip6 Belt

I’m thinking of starting a blog trying out smaller companies’ products that I find on social media. This is me trying the style to see how I like it.

I found myself in need of a new belt recently. Usually this is because I’ve gained too much weight, but this time I was just getting tired of my old brown leather belts: I had 2, and both had aged and hardened to the point of cracking. They had those weird multi-colored bends on the notch you use all the time. It was time for a change.

At the same time, I was trolling Facebook and saw an advertisement for Grip6. If you haven’t seen these ads (not everyone gets the same ones), check out their website, you’ll get the vibe. They’re advertised as minimalist belts, and come in a variety of colors. I’m a guy that’s willing to take a chance, so I clicked the link.

The site gets right to the point. They know you’re there to look at belts to buy, so they show you the belts you can buy. That’s a great design. You’re given a mix and match option, pick a strap, pick a buckle color, pay, and you’re on your way. For an online store of this type, I can’t think of a better way to shop. They also have a few different ways to pick specific belt combos, and (new since I bought mine), you can buy the straps and buckles separately. The belt itself is modular, you can mix and match buckles and straps, so the ability to buy them separately is fantastic.

A full belt runs around 35 dollars. Considering its a minimalist belt, I originally scoffed at this price: it seemed high to me. But then I thought about all the belts I’ve bought throughout my life, and they all hover around that price. 35 dollars is how much a belt costs, and we need to come to terms with that fact. It’s not changing.

Shipping is through USPS. I received my belt (shipped out of their Utah factory) to Austin, TX in about 3 days, which is pretty good.

A small rant: For clothing, I think it’s preferred that companies ship directly rather than using something like FedEx SmartPost. SmartPost takes forever, and if I’m buying clothes, I want to know if I like the thing ASAP. If you consider your product high end, don’t use SmartPost.

So the belt itself. It’s design is very simple, just a hunk of metal:


and a strap:


Slide them together, and the belt holds together with friction, and the extra strap length hides behind the the buckle/strap for a clean look.


So, that’s simple and easy to manage.

I’ve been wearing this for a couple months now, and I actually liked it so much that I bought a second belt with different colors. The mixing and matching works perfectly. I can say that the black strap that I bought second feels slightly less stiff than the grey you see above. It’s not really a problem, the belt works exactly the same, just seems like the materials are *slightly* different. Your Mileage May Vary.

Another issue with this belt is coming out of the bathroom. It is just slightly more awkward to tighten, because of the way it works. You need to reach under the belt and hold the buckle perpendicular to your waist, then pull the strap through. I don’t know how to describe this, other than to say it’s less “fluid” than a normal belt tightening. Getting dressed in the morning is no big deal, but with a line behind you at the urinal you’re going to find yourself taking slightly longer than normal to adjust your pants, feeling awkward, and then possibly running away crying with loose pants.

…Not that that happened to me. But I have found it awkward sometimes to tighten the belt as tight as I would like. It takes some getting used to.

I’m not going to do a rating system on these posts. The next post is going to be on a pair of jeans I bought, and if I give this belt a 7 and those pants a 5, how do I quantify that difference? How much better is 2 when comparing a belt to pants? So I’ll just say that I absolutely recommend this belt if you’re looking for one.

Thanks for reading! Let me know what you think by replying to wherever you found this link!