Road Tested Living

Drivers and the public in general are often presented with a variety of products that claim to improve out health and life in some manner. All manner of odd inventions are presented to us with claims that they will make us feel better, loose weight, be more attractive, win the lottery and so on.

 

Welcome to GATS

Welcome to GATS

So when I was told about a product being introduced at the Great American Truck Show (GATS), in Dallas, TX. That would help prevent fatigue, help my cardiovascular health, help prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis, as well as a few other things. I was a bit skeptical. One thing that did reduce the skepticism to a degree was that this product actually has FDA approval. As a result many if not all of their claims must be proven.

Swiftwick logo

I have spoken with Grant Castle from SWIFTWICK, who is a former truck driver, several times to learn about the product. It was not until GATS in Dallas TX, I was able to get a sample to try for myself. What is this product? SOCKS!!! Yes I said socks. They introduced their new Health+ medical compression sock designed for drivers and travelers at GATS 2014 in Dallas, TX.

This article could get all technical about why these socks are superior to other socks on the market, as well as some of their achievements. However after wearing them off and on for a month, since GATS and a few personal experiments, I am going to focus on my experiences for this article.

from left to right  Grant Castle, Tom Kyrk, and Mark Cleveland at GATS

from left to right Grant Castle, Tom Kyrk, and Mark Cleveland at GATS

I got my first pair on the second day of GATS. I went over to meet Grant and see the Health+  sock. Right away he fitted me with a pair. Yes size does matter. You want a tight enough fit to help assist your circulation without being so tight it acts like a tourniquet. Within a few minutes I noticed a difference in how my legs and feet were feeling. The feeling is hard to describe when you have tired feet and sore leg muscles from already walking long distances. My feet and legs almost had a feeling of a gentle pressure or massage. They claim that these socks can help your feet and legs feel rejuvenated I would say that lives up to their claim.

A couple weeks after the show. I had been switching back and forth between my pair of Swiftwick socks as well as my regular socks. I could see a difference between the 2 in that on the days I wore my regular socks my feet and ankles seemed a bit more swollen. A good sign I was not moving enough during the day.

As many of my friends know I am cheap, or more nicely put frugal. I hate purchasing anything very expensive that will be used on the truck as sooner or later it will be ruined. In fact i normally feel pain if I have to pay more tan 5-6 dollars for  6 pack of socks. That said if I can find a quality product that outlasts, and out performs a cheaper product I don’t mind investing in it.

Swiftwick sock display at GATS

Swiftwick sock display at GATS

After 2 weeks I decided it was worth paying the 19.99  they were currently on sale for at Pilot Travel Centers. (regularly 24.99) That is when I decided to give them the abuse test. Swiftwick claims that due to the anti-microbial properties of the socks they can be worn for extended periods with out having to be changed or washed. This is due to their roots in the sports industry, and the needs of marathon, an ultra-marathon runners.  So I wore each pair for 3-4 days straight.  Before changing them out and hand washing the dirty pair at my next shower, and letting them dry. (While they can be worn this way it is not encouraged, or recommended.) Normally if I was to wear a pair of socks for 4 days straight my feet would become raw, sore, and the socks would need disposal by a haz-mat crew. After 4 days I took the socks off my feet looked just as happy as day 1. I gave the sock a smell test, and well it smelled fine. I wear steel toed insulated boots even in the summer. With my normal socks even after 1 day I would not smell test them

The socks wash easily by hand with soap and water and dry easily on the steering wheel over night, They can also be machined washed and dried. In short these socks do live up to their claims that I have been able to personally test. In my opinion while a bit pricey they are worth the investment. I have noticed at the end of a driving/work day my feet and legs seem less tired and they do not hurt as much on long walks. This is one of those cases were frugal outweighs being cheap.

One last important note. These socks are designed to meet the FDA requirements as a Class II medical device. This means for those who have certain conditions that require the use of a compression sock your insurance may pick up some or all of the cost. Also each sock they sell has to meet these stringent FDA standards there are no factory seconds. If you have an issue with one of your socks they encourage you to contact them about the problem. This allows them to improve the quality of their product, as well as to make it right.

In the near future I will do a couple more articles on Swiftwick, their roots in the trucking industry, and why compression socks are important. For now consider investing in your self and your feet.

Grant, and the Swiftwick team have definitely made strides with the introductions of this new sock for drivers.  They truly have put their best foot forwards.  (Bad puns intended.)

(Please note 1 pair of socks was provided free of charge by Swiftwick for review. All opinions in this article are that of the author. All product claims are provided by Swiftwick. The author did purchase an additional set of socks with no compensation provided by Swiftwick)

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I have been driving in the trucking industry for 9 years working for a major over the road refrigerated carrier. In "previous lives," I have worked as a police dispatcher while in college for Geology and Sociology, spent time in restaurant kitchens, and spent 9 years in retail electronics. Of all my jobs, I enjoy probably enjoy driving the most, with cooking not far behind. During my time as a driver my weight went up and my health went down. In the last few years I have made the decision to start taking back my health. RoadTestedLiving.com chronicles my story, as well as that of other drivers. It will share tips and tricks that, if they work for professional drivers with limited time, space, and equipment, they should be able to work for anyone. It also allows me to share my passion for the trucking industry, and good food with others. Simply put, Road Tested Living is all about Learning to Live Well from Life's Lessons on the Road.

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