What is the Importance of Socks in Baseball?

Accessories are important pieces of equipment for various sports, especially in baseball, where different accessories and extra items provide protection for the players. The pair of accessories that are considered essential for many baseball players are socks, which are worn to protect the feet against injuries and make their feet feel more comfortable while playing. 

However, it is essential to note that there are often two pairs of socks worn by baseball players, with one being the regular socks while the other is the stirrup socks. While we already know a lot about regular socks since we use them every day for school, work, or whenever we go outside, there are only a few that know about stirrup socks. What are the stirrup socks? And what are its benefits for baseball players? Let us find out the answers to these questions as we read more about the importance of socks in baseball.

What is a Stirrup Sock?

baseball player with stirrup socks

A stirrup sock, also known as the baseball stirrups, is a type of foot sock that is traditionally worn by baseball players and would often match the colors of their team or uniform. Before the stirrups are worn, a pair of long or medium length socks is worn first, and then the stirrups would be added as an extra layer of garments on the leg.

The difference between stirrups and regular socks is that the stirrup socks don’t have a section for the toes and heels, so most of your feet are exposed when you are only wearing stirrup socks. So, most baseball players pair stirrup socks and regular socks to provide overall protection for the feet and the lower part of the legs.

The term “stirrup” comes from the loop found at the end of the socks that fit around the arch of the foot. The loop would then help the socks stay in place so that you won’t be able to pull up the stirrup socks too much.

When Was the Stirrup Sock Invented?

According to historical records, the stirrup socks were invented around the early 1900s by an American baseball player named Napoleon “Nap” Lajoie, who suffered an infected spiked wound in 1905 that was caused by the dye found in the socks he wore during that time. 

Because of the severe reaction of his skin to dye, Nap Lajoie had to put on white sanitary socks first before the colored socks to avoid his feet coming into contact with the color dye. However, because the two layers of socks were uncomfortable to wear for Lajoie, the baseball player came with the idea of cutting the toe and heel sections of the colored socks and keeping a “loop” between the cut sections for the socks to remain in place. Lajoie’s invention would eventually be known as the “stirrups” because of the loops’ resemblance to the stirrups irons that are used by horse riders to support their feet while they are mounting a horse.

Benefits of Wearing Stirrups and Regular Socks

hitter wearing stirrup socks

There are various benefits of wearing stirrups and regular socks, and some of their advantages are further improved when they are worn together. First, we should enumerate the benefits of wearing regular socks, and then we can talk about the advantages of wearing stirrups so that you can compare and see their compatible functions and unique features.

Regular Sock Advantages for Baseball

Most of the advantages of regular socks can also be applied to other activities besides baseball. So, you can experience those advantages by just simply wearing regular socks before your shoes. Here are those benefits:

  • Provides Comfort – one of the main reasons people wear socks is that they can provide comfort that shoes cannot offer. While some shoes do have proper cushioning, it is not enough for the feet to feel comfortable. With socks, your feet will feel more cushioned because of the socks’ soft fabric.
  • Prevents Blisters – When you don’t have socks on while wearing shoes, the friction between the skin on your feet and the inside of your shoe can cause blisters. To prevent blisters from occurring, especially while playing baseball, where plenty of friction on your feet can happen, you should wear regular socks that can serve as protection for your feet.
  • Keeps Sweat at Bay – Your feet can often produce excessive sweat while playing baseball, so to keep your sweat at bay and prevent your feet from feeling uncomfortable in your shoes, you will need to put on regular socks.
  • Provides Warmth for Your Feet – In games where the temperature is low, a pair of socks can help keep your feet warm,

Stirrup Sock Advantages for Baseball

Some of the benefits of wearing stirrup socks for baseball are different from the advantages of regular socks, so it could be said that they serve different purposes on the baseball field. Here is a short list of the advantages of wearing stirrup socks in baseball.

  • Provides Protection for Your Legs – Most regular socks that are worn by baseball players are short, so they won’t be able to provide protection for some parts of your legs. Because stirrup socks are much longer, they can offer more protection for your legs to prevent wounds, scratches, and other skin-related injuries from happening.
  • Offers Support – If the stirrup socks have some level of compression on them, they can work as compression sleeves that can offer support for your legs muscles, as well as promote good blood circulation on the parts covered by the socks. Wearing compression socks or stirrup socks with compression can also prevent deep vein thrombosis, which is an ailment that affects many athletes worldwide.
  • Completes the Uniform – Although there’s not a lot of players that are wearing stirrup socks in professional baseball leagues, there are still some teams and minor leagues that recommend wearing stirrups to complete the look of the uniform. Stirrup socks would usually sport the same color of the team or the uniform so that they won’t look distracting during games.

Those are the neat details about regular socks and stirrup socks for baseball. If you are currently on a baseball team, you should purchase stirrup socks that feature the same colors as your team’s color so that you can enhance the look of your uniform.