December 24, 2012

Review : Balega Socks

  • Type : Performance / running
  • Use :  Road and trail
  • Price : $12-15

I always feel bad when I look at my gear's labels and see they were made in Indonesia, Malaysia and other places that scream "Sweatshop". It is a big ethical problem for me to know I use material that was created in unhealthy, and sometimes dangerous, working conditions, by underpaid people.

There are a few initiatives out there that aim at creating quality sport products outside of that insane, abusive profit loop; companies like Kourage Running, which was featured here about a year ago, is one example that comes to mind. Another one is Balega socks.

Created in South Africa and in the United States, Balega draws its inspiration and values on the Zulu culture and takes an active role in supporting local communities, through running but also via social projects. Its family of products ranges from compression / recovery to ankle cut no-show socks. For the purpose of this review, I tested the Merino Enduro Quarter, Pro Racer 2 and Soft Tread.

I wore Balega socks in every conceivable running condition, from short urban commutes to ultra endurance events. All products feature a tight-knit material and seamless assembly, which make the socks extremely comfortable and durable. The absence of anything protruding greatly reduces your risk of blistering, too. As far as fabrics go, the Soft Tread is my favorite because it is so plush and comfy. On the trails, I choose the Merino Enduro because it will keep me drier and warmer when splashing around all day and night on varying terrain. The Pro Racer 2 is my choice for road running, and has become a classic combination with my flashy-ugly-yellow Saucony Type A5's which draw maximal mockery from my fashion-conscious running buddies.

Balega offers top quality performance socks created, tested and produced in sane environments according to traditional values. It celebrates the Zulu culture and spreads a message of equality, all the while offering excellent products with a high level of comfort and performance.

Because of the quality of its socks, and also because of the social stance it took, Balega is one of the companies FlintLand is proud to recommend.

High points
  • Seamless assembly
  • Durable fabrics
  • Comfortable
  • Not another sweatshop product

Low points
  • Can be hard to find a retailer

The equipment for this personal review was supplied by Balega free of charge, without any conditions.

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