At Third Assist we've been making hockey gear built for the outdoors from just shy of a decade. It started with the goal to make vintage looking hockey gloves insulated for the outdoors. Since our first glove was produced and put online in 2014, we've been able to expand to new models and new materials. While we feel we've made substantial progress when it comes to the hands and digits, we've been slower to tackle the feeling of numb and frozen toes while skating.
2014 Feature on Gear Patrol
This year that has changed. For a while we've known there to be warming socks and even warming soles on the market built for skiers and snowboarders, but in our testing we found both to be too intrusive for hockey skates. It's a well-known adage among hockey players you should wear skates as snug as possible. Wayne Gretzky is known to wear skates 2-3 sizes smaller than his shoes size. We're talking sizes 5-6 here!
Given this, we needed to find socks or soles thin enough to not be intrusive, but warm enough to do the job. We tested socks and soles and we had two findings:
1) The design of warming soles lifted the skaters foot slightly higher and was more prone to lace bite in the snug environment.
2) Thick warming socks felt great initially, but we found they bunched in places as we skated and created pressure points that didn't exist before.
With these findings in mind, we began our search for a thin + elastic + breathable sock that could provide warmth without the bulk and additional tightness. After testing a number of pairs we found the goldilocks combination for this year.
Our first pair of heated hockey socks went online in our shop in October 2022. Similar pairs online for skiers and snowboarders go for north of 100USD but we have the luxury of selling direct to consumer, so we can offer similar models at prices that are a bit easier to swallow. Plus if these allow us and our friends to skate outside just a couple more hours this winter then it was well worth the effort sourcing these socks over the past year. If you're reading this, we hope you enjoy them too.
Have other ideas to celebrate hockey at its roots? Feel free to drop us a line!