Today Midwest Ump reviews the Force3 Pro Gear Ultimate Umpire Socks. Force3 is a new product line from the Jim Evans Academy and the Amateur Baseball Umpires' Association (owned by Jim Evans). Force3 currently offers three products: the Dry-Low Ball Bag, the Ultimate Equipment Bag, and the Force3 Ultimate Umpire Socks available at Jim Evans websites:
Jim Evan's Umpire Academy
Jim Evan's Umpire Academy
The Ultimate Umpire Socks are made from CoolMax, Cotton, and Lycra, and are advertised to keep “your feet at the right temperature no matter if it is cold or hot outside.” Coolmax is a specially engineered polyester that wicks away moisture and has improved breathability compared to natural materials like cotton. The CoolMax fabric is a popular choice in moisture wicking socks. Manufacturers like Champion, Adidas, and Thorlos use CoolMax in their performance socks.
I was sent the Ultimate Umpire Socks to test and review, and I have worn these socks in the Midwest heat and humidity for two months. As an ex-military guy, I wear Thorlo combat boot socks as my umpiring socks, so my standards in reviewing the Force3 Ultimate Umpire Socks are pretty high.
The first thing I noticed about the Ultimate Umpire Socks is the light weight. A pair of Ultimate Umpire Socks weighs a mere 3 ounces, compared to my Thorlos at 4.5 ounces. The Thorlos are quite a bit thicker. The CoolMax fabric in the Ultimate is very cotton-like and soft. There is additional padding on the toe, sole, and heel. A mesh weave to increase air flow is located just behind the toe area and in front of the metatarsal. There are two “compression points” made of a Lycra material at the metatarsal and ankle for support and to prevent bunching. The Ultimate Umpire Socks stretch over my calves and Lycra material located at the top prevent the socks from falling.
The Ultimate Umpire Socks breathe well and the socks do wick moisture away from the foot. They are comfortable even on the hottest days. In comparing the Ultimate to the Thorlos side-by side, the Thorlos are thicker and have a slightly more comfortable sole, but this comfort comes at a price of decreasing airflow. After wearing the Ultimates during hot July games, I consider the Force3 socks cooler than the thicker Thorlos.
The Ultimate Umpire Socks are holding up well after two months of wear. I just toss them into the washer on cold with my shirts and other under garments. Tumble dry on medium heat. The Ultimate Umpire Socks dry quickly and do not hold odor.
At $12.95 (and a 10% discount for ABUA members) these socks are on-par with the Thorlo socks I ordinarily wear. While I have not stopped wearing the Thorlos, I have added the Force3 to my sock rotation. The Force3 Ultimate Umpire Socks are well constructed from a thoughtful design engineered especially for umpires. When it is time for new socks, I will purchase the Force3 socks from Jim Evans.
Honig's is now carrying Force3 Ultimate Umpire Socks for $12.95