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Friday, 22 November 2013

Equipment Watch: Stable 26

I get emails from all sorts of companies. Most are usually to do with some foreign lottery I've won, but occasionally a real email will makes its way to the surface that I read. Of these, some have nothing to do with hockey, but are of a sporting nature when it comes to the topic of the email. I was pleasantly surprised, though, when I opened this email about Stable 26.

The name itself didn't make a lot of sense until I read through the email to the bottom where the company explains the name. They wrote,
The name – and founding philosophy – behind Stable 26 has its roots in the anatomy of the human foot. Housing 26 structural support bones, the foot is subject to countless injuries – especially for professional athletes. As a chiropractor, Dr. Daryl Sherman understands how injuries come about, and the importance of wearing quality footgear to reduce foot trauma. Having worked with countless professional athletes throughout the course of his career, Sherman created Stable 26 to bridge the gap between athletes and their equipment, allowing for better fit, which leads to stronger stability and comfort. In short, Stable 26 allows athletes to put their best performance-enhanced foot forward.
That's a pretty impressive introduction as they introduce the world to the anatomy of the foot before talking about the company's founder and how they got started. So you're thinking footwear, right? Shoes, skates, and the likes? Well, it turns out that Stable 26 is all about a different type of footwear.

Stable 26 is all about specialty socks, and they definitely make special socks. According to their website, "Stable 26 footgear provides customizable support and unparalleled fit". Basically, they are like any other sock aside from one major detail: silicone pads!

Why silicone pads, you ask? What purpose could they serve?

As per their website, "Stable 26 footgear uses silicone pads in anatomically targeted locations to provide improved support and an enhanced connection between your foot and your footwear." The pads work to reduce the "negative space" - gaps where foot and footwear don't meet - in skates, allowing the skate to work much more efficiently in tune with the foot. The pads are found in the heel of the sock, providing better comfort and fit of the rearfoot in the skate. Or, as Stable 26 says, "[t]he rearfoot, specifically the subtalar joint, plays a key role in the function of the foot, knee, hips, and pelvis. In almost all activities, your body movements begin with, and are controlled by, the movements of your rearfoot – whether you realize it or not." I'll take that science as being pretty truthful.

Why so much focus on the heel, you ask? For good reason, apparently.

"Because the rearfoot controls the mid- and forefoot and the relative positioning of the leg above it, Stable 26 footgear for all sports include medial and lateral silicone pads to help you attain the perfect fit at the rearfoot." Again, that seems logical and factual. By giving players a better fit inside their skates, you would expect them to skate better. There are legendary stories of Paul Coffey wearing skates that were three sizes too small for his feet in order to feel every stride on the ice, so maybe this sock idea isn't so far-fetched.

I decided to take a peek at their Testimonials page to see who Stable 26 has worked with, and there are a lot of recognizable names. NHL skating coach Barb Underhill, former Bruin Scott Thornton, former Ranger, Oiler, and Whaler Steven Rice, Tampa Bay's Ryan Shannon, Ottawa's Jesse Winchester, and most recently Ottawa superstar Erik Karlsson have all put their names behind Stable 26's product, so there are definitely some professionals who approve of this better-fitting sock!

I have yet to test out the Stable 26 socks, so I can't say yay or nay when it comes to the equipment. The science, however, seems plausible and there are a pile of hockey people who have lent their name to the product. If you're looking for a Christmas gift for your hockey player, this might be a good opportunity to give these socks a chance!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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