Grappling or fight socks are a relatively new introduction to the grappler. They straddle the division between full on wrestling shoes and Totes. Guest reviewer James Fairclough kindly wrote a review of his purchase of one brand of fight socks. This is his review...
[Photos c/o 4QS Fightwear]
Anyone who was lucky enough to watch the recent ADCC competition in Nottingham will have witnessed that at times even some of the highest level grapplers out there suffer from a lack of foot grip and traction on the mat. The ADCC opted to use the Dolomur Mat and for some reason they looked like they were causing some of the competitors a bit of a problem … demonstrated by Renzo Gracies “belly slide” across them at the end of his super-fight bout.
Great! Well my instructor had just moved into a brand new training facility and had a delivery from Dolomur that very morning, it was going to be BJJ on ice! I’m probably being unfair to Dolomur, as all new mats are often very slippy until they are worn in a little.
The 1st training session confirmed this fact to be true and after a couple of hours of frustration I knew I needed a solution … quick! So after a little internet research I made a semi informed decision and opted for the 4Q2 FIGHTSOCK.
The 4Q2 claims to be manufactured specifically for martial arts fighters needs and is touted as a direct replacement for martial arts shoes and wrestling boots. The use of the sock is supposed to reduce the risk of infection contamination on the mat that can be caused by other forms of footwear. The sock is designed to be:
- Easily worn with all foot and shin guard
- Comfortable and Lightweight
- Easy slip on and off
The sock is available in 3 colours: black, half black (basically black with a white heel), and white (which funnily enough meets the half black description better). I opted for the all black, for some reason the others reminded me of school gym socks.
The sock is manufactured mainly from a stretchy lycra type material, it claims to be “memory stretch”, I can’t really comment on noticing that but they did fit very snugly and comfortably. I was worried about them falling down or slipping off (perhaps in footlock battles) but due to the form fitted cuff they stayed in position very well, with only a few adjustments required throughout the session. Also the heel is made from a flexi fit neoprene which helps to mould to the foot assisting in keeping it in position.
I’ve got to say I was extremely impressed with the grip generated, which is achieved through a series of small, round traction dots which cover right from the back of the heel to the toe. During sparring though I found that the socks could benefit for the grip to extend slightly up the side of the outer metatarsus as the Lycra material itself has not much grip and there were some situations, e.g. technical lift and some open guard positions where the side of the foot is used for stability. If I was being really picky an extra enhancement could be perhaps a few dots on the top of the metatarsus area to assist when in mounted positions.
After only the second wear I found that some of the dots were coming off the sock in the areas were the grip pressure had been required the most, the ball of the foot and the big toe. I guess each person will apply pressure in a different manner but these areas of the foot would be commonly used to gain traction, so I started to have some doubts about the products durability. This was confirmed after a couple of washes @ 300 and a few more sessions large areas of the traction dots were starting to peel off.
I think the claim of making wrestling/martial arts shoes obsolete is perhaps a little bit premature due to the fairly rapid deterioration of the traction dot structure. If they can solve this, they will have one heck of a product!
Grip Coverage....4/5 Perhaps more coverage around the outside of the foot.
Comfort....5/5 Extremely comfortable due to the Lycra fabric
Fit....4/5 Slight adjustments needed
Durability....1/5 Traction dots came off after second wear
About the author
James Fairclough is a BJJ purple belt training out of Gracie Barra Sheffield Academy. This is an independent and unbiased review based on the author's own opinions.
4Q2 Fightwear fight socks can be purchased online here: http://www.4q2fightsocks.com/