Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

BillLabs Report: Kmart Socks Do the Job

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

BillLabs Report: Kmart Socks Do the Job

Article excerpt

BillLabs, Part I.

A Spring Update is here with a startling report: Socks From

Kmart.

Three years ago, I did a BillLabs report on sandals. A

gentleman called and left a message on my answering machine

about his Kmart sandals that had cost about $10. The least

expensive pair in my column was about $35. I went to the store

to check him out. They did look like good sandals and may have

worked well for him.

I had actually found and "tested" a similar pair left on the

beach. The sole material was quite inferior to the $35 model. It

wore quickly and gave very poor traction, especially on wet

surfaces. My $35 sandals are still working, and they were 2

years old when I got them from a young friend who simply outgrew

them.

Kmart bikes still stir up feelings of derision in me.

The store's new socks are different. Last fall, I noticed they

were offering socks made with CoolMax, the wonderful, but

usually more expensive, wicking fabric. Two pairs for $3.99 is

less than half what the brand names sell for.

After three months of testing, they have proved to be quite

solid and satisfying. The fabric is a blend of CoolMax and

Kmart's own Duraspun yarn. Three months with my active feet is

similar to about six months for many athletes and a year of

"normal" usage. Synthetics hold stains and so have these, but

who takes off another person's shoes to see if the sole is

stained? That is the only visible sign of wear to date.

The Gate River Run Expo Items Test: One booth offered all its

clothes for $9.99 regardless of the original price. They had $35

shoes, too. My loot was limited to a shirt, two pairs of biking

shorts and a pair of shoes.

The shoes were the Brooks Adrenaline 1995 or '96 model. New

ones list for about $80 retail and $75 mail order. Runner's

World rated the '97 model well in its April buyer's guide. For

$35, I got a pair of stylish-looking, but so far, only adequate

shoes. …

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