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Fashion: Their stockings were hung by the lockers with care

By Jason Lesley
Coastal Observer

Waccamaw High basketball player Jack Dwyer came to practice last week in a Christmas mood: red socks and green shoes.

The once lowly athletic sock has become as important as the shoe in making a statement on the court.

When Waccamaw’s varsity boys team took the court against Andrews this month there were 10 different sock-shoe combinations among the starters: stripes, Christmas trees, blacks, reds, greens. The white tube sock with a colored stripe is no more. Individual expression is in, and Nike has found a way to tap into it.

Waccamaw coach Mike Quinn said he hadn’t noticed that his players are wearing different color socks in games. “I’m so focused on other things,” he said, “I still don’t even see it, to be honest with you. All I see is who our opponent is. I don’t get caught up with those decor-type individual player looks as long as the uniforms match.”

Waccamaw High trainer Christine Keillor said socks are the new fashion statement for men. She scrolls through her phone for a wedding photo that shows the groomsmen all wearing the same funky socks.

In the past, teams have worn the same color socks, Keillor said. The individual color choice is something new. She first noticed the individuality when Warrior football coach Tyronne Davis allowed players to wear pink during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The basketball players have taken it to a new level.

Kenley Vereen, a freshman on the Waccamaw varsity basketball team, said he was wearing an aqua-colored pair of socks with blue squares at practice last week because they went with his shoes. Sophomore Justin Busby was wearing blue-and-white socks and shoes. He said he had a pair of camouflage-colored shoes that went with any color socks. Rob Ferraro wore white socks for the team’s game at Georgetown. He’d like to see the whole team go old-school: matching socks and shoes.

That’s probably not going to happen, coach Quinn said. Players all have their shoe preferences, and the companies are hyping the new socks. Nike Elite basketball crew socks sell for $14 a pair and bear their own identifiable marks in the form of a series of squat rectangles that progress up from the Achilles to a stripe at the top of the calf. The performance socks were developed for the 2007 U.S. men’s Olympic basketball team. Nike pushed them into the mainstream by giving them to select high school teams the next year.

Waccamaw wrestler Gabe Pope went online to find a pair of suitable socks for matches. He wears a muted pink design that goes with his camouflage-style wrestling togs. Noah DuMont was wearing black socks to a physical education class at Waccamaw High last week. He said they had the sweat-wicking and cushion properties he needed for basketball.

“The sneaker stores are hyping them,” Quinn said. “It’s a really big marketing tool, and the kids are into it.”

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