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Tested: Bombas Athletic Socks

bombas bee better socks

There’s a new sock company making a name for themselves, and that name is Bombas socks. Bombas is latin for bumble bee, which explains the logo.

So today I have yet another review of athletic socks, with the differentiating factor being the tons of hype around these socks.

Why is that? Probably because they were on the TV show Shark Tank.

If you happened to see Bombas socks on Shark Tank last year (I missed the episode), you know that they ended up doing a deal with Daymond John where he gave them $200k for 17.5% of the company and finances their inventory.

Partnering with Daymond John is a pretty big deal in the fashion industry and might explain the hype. I don’t think that influence really means anything when it comes to athletics, though.

Nevertheless, you know I like my socks! So I couldn’t resist testing these out.

And these are pretty cool. All adorned with the bee logo, the socks come in calf and ankle lengths, in many color options. I got the gray/blue ankle socks and black/yellow calf socks.

bombas black yellow socks

I love the black/yellow because it’s just like my home team, the Pittsburgh Steelers!

They also partnered with Cupid’s Undie Run (where you run around the city in your underwear on Valentine’s Day) for a limited edition sock that was pretty cool. Cool enough to sell out before I knew it existed.

Let’s talk socks.

You can see why Bombas socks are hyped up. Let’s see if they live up to that hype.

The socks themselves are supposed to be these amazing new socks because they’re better than standard white gym socks. Well, half of that statement is true. The socks are way better than regular white gym socks. But the same can be said for just about any athletic sock nowadays.

I started wearing these around October of 2014, and my initial observation what that they are soft, comfortable socks that remind me of gym socks, but better. But they’re not something I’d wear cycling, and wouldn’t be my first choice for running, either. Especially trail running. And definitely not for skiing. But for the gym, yeah, they make sense. Essentially any indoor workouts in sneakers, these would be fine.

When I first slipped the socks on, it didn’t feel like I was wearing socks. They are really, really soft and conform to my feet very well. That toe seam is great because it basically doesn’t exist. The honeycomb arch support is just tight enough to help without being overpowering.

They’re just not quite as cozy as a good wool sock, though. A good wool sock will be just as soft and comfortable, and it will be more durable, smell better, and provide better temperature regulation.

A better comparison would be to what I generally wear for gym workouts – Puma socks and Under Armour socks. The Bombas socks might be a tad nicer, but I get those other brands on sale for about $1/pair.

So yeah, the Bombas socks are nice, and I enjoy wearing them, but they don’t get me excited. They don’t really pass the threshold where I get excited to put them on, like what happens with Icebreaker and Darn Tough wool socks.

The pricing is the big problem. If the socks were this good, and also cheap, that would be one thing. But they cost $9/pair. They’re positioning themselves as a premium sock.

But nothing from my testing shows me that these are a premium sock.

You can save some money though if you find a Bombas socks coupon code. I’ve seen some 20% off coupons and some codes that I think are a “buy one get one free” deal. (Take a look at RetailMeNot.com to see any current Bombas.com coupon codes.)

Those are good promotions, but my sock buying strategy (refined over many years) is to either buy $1/pair socks or $15/pair socks, nothing in between. It’s probably 98% successful, so I stand by it.

I don’t understand all the hype.

I did some reading up on Bombas to see if I was missing something.

I actually found a review where the person said, “All I can say is these are are best socks I’ve ever experienced!” I feel bad for this person. Not because Bombas socks are bad, but because there are so many awesome socks, how have people not caught on?

Even worse, I found a person commenting on the Shark Tank episode, insinuating that all other apparel has become high-tech, yet we haven’t seen advancements in socks since the first ever pair was made. Are you freaking kidding me?!

I’m pretty sure Feetures, Balega, Thorlos, Darn Tough, Defeet, and numerous other brands will disagree with that statement!!

Then there’s an article on Greatist.com (otherwise a great site) proclaiming that Bombas socks are the solution to running blisters… as if there aren’t tons of socks that already do that! Blisters on your feet due to poor running socks ended over a decade ago (and that’s just for me personally).

The hype is just too outrageous, I can’t take any of those people seriously.

There is one thing that’s awesome, though, and that’s their charitable mission, One Pair Purchased = One Pair Donated. In their own words:

Additionally, because socks are the #1 most requested item at homeless shelters, for every pair purchased, we donate a pair of socks to someone in need. To date (since launching in October 2013), we’ve donated more than 150,000 pairs of socks specifically to meet the needs of people on the street.

That’s sort of where the name comes from. They like bees, and bees live in a bee hive, working together. It’s one big bee hive, helping people out, donating socks.

I really do like that idea, but I have to point out three things:

1. The socks are made in China. Most socks are made overseas, but some, like Darn Tough and Thorlos socks, are made in the USA, which provides jobs right here.

2. For $9, I could go to Marshall’s or TJ Maxx and buy 9 pairs of nice athletic socks like Puma or Under Armour. I could even keep two for myself, and still donate seven pairs to a local homeless shelter.

3. A company called Mitscoots already does that, and they do it with made-in-USA socks. (Though I can’t say if their socks are as high-quality as Bombas.)

As a company, what Bombas is doing is awesome. I’m not trying to take away from that. Just pointing out something to consider on a personal level.

And let’s be realistic – a charitable endeavor is a nice bonus, but not the deciding factor when buying high-performance socks.


My final verdict is…

These are very good gym socks, they’re comfortable, and they look cool (I love the logo and honeycomb design). They’re pretty nice for walking around the house, too. But they fall into a “no man’s land” of socks – more expensive than average gym socks but not as outstanding as real running socks.

For the gym, I’d rather buy cheaper socks, even if I replace them more often, and for running or cycling, I’d rather pay a bit more and get super awesome performance socks from Darn Tough or Feetures.

Official website: www.Bombas.com

Product Review Details
Company: Bombas
Product: Bombas Socks
Reviewed by: Coach Levi
My Rating: 3.0 out of 5
Date last updated: 2016-07-23
Obtained Product: Free sample from company.
CoachLevi.com Advertiser: No.

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27 Comments
  1. Would you be happy getting them as a gift?

    • @Steve

      Yes, definitely!

      They’d be a pretty good gift because they’re neat and really comfortable. Like if you didn’t know what socks to get someone, these would probably be a safe bet for most people.

  2. I have a really deformed left foot due to surgical ineptness. I was impressed with Bomba socks, as you mentioned, because they feel like you aren’t wearing socks. When I get home, my socks are usually the first thing I have to take off…even Thorlo or wool. I would not recommend ever buying the white ones. They don’t seem to get clean…yeah…then there is the price which is rather outrageous.

    Susi

    • @Susi

      Thanks for your feedback. Would you say the Bombas socks were the best for your situation?

      And sorry to hear about your foot. That’s gotta be the worst cause!

  3. Hello! I have a question I’m hoping you could answer. My dad has bigger calves, so socks tend to be really uncomfy for him – either they don’t stay up, or if they do they are super tight. he even tried the “diabetic” sock (he doesn’t have diabetes) but they were wayyyyyy to stretchy and fell or would slip into his shoe/sneaker and bunch up. how are these would you think? do the tops stretch pretty far out and worth giving a shot?
    thank you for your time!
    cheers
    Shelly

    • @Shel

      I can’t say for sure, but I bet they’d be a better experience than what your dad has been putting up with in the past! Worth a shot!

  4. I want to know where to buy Bombas socks

    • @Cathy

      Well if you go to their website, that’s the obvious spot to shop! And it might be the only spot.

      You won’t find Bombas socks on Amazon. You used to be able to get them in The GAP stores, but that might have only been around Christmas of 2015. I didn’t see them this year. So aside from maybe eBay, my suggestion is to go to Bombas.com to buy online.

  5. Thank you for your honest review. I love socks, and so far nothing compares to a good wool sock, especially made in Vermont. I’d rather pay the extra dollars for socks that lasts more than a year and better suited for all activitites.

    • @Stella

      Very true! I will say though, Bombas socks might be the next best thing! (Of course there’s a considerable gap between Bombas and the good wool socks in first place.)

  6. Thank you for this review. I impulsively were considering buying these socks after a Bombas ad came across my internet feed. I find the price to be very expensive, especially since I just purchased some very nice socks from Amazon. (Will not name them because I am not a shill.) I thought the price of the Bombas were steep and you just saved me $45. Gratitude!!

  7. Thank you for an honest review… I woke up this morning with this on my mind, and you covered the exact same issues I was concerned about. I am a big fan of social responsibility, but when it becomes this self-serving it is no longer a “good” thing IMO – it’s just a way to sell more product. At this price, they are making plenty of money and can afford to give away product. I am not at all impressed with these guys except in their ability to spot a weakness in the market that could be exploited by this kind of marketing. I won’t be buying or recommending bombas to anyone.

    • Took the words right out of my mouth..100% agree

    • I agree that the socks are pricy. We are retired folks on a fixed income, and if they were lower priced, I could see both my husband and I getting started with these Bombas socks. I love socks and he has large calves, so he uses the diabetics socks that stay up. Just cannot justify the expense. I wear them instead of shoes or slippers around the house.

  8. Regardless of the price, these are the only socks I can wear.I work on my feet (10 hour + shifts at a hospital). The toe seam on other socks is the problem. I’ve tried many brands but none compare to Bombas. and they have lasted years. can’t recommend them enough. worth the 9/pair.

  9. Bought 6 pairs of Bombas. Agree, they are fine as a low price entry, but they are a premium price. Very average (if not below) at best sock that equate to about a $2 priced alternative. OVER HYPED!

  10. Have you ever tested those red socks that the Pope wears? I’m thinking about trying to get my husband a pair.

    • @Robin

      I have not tested (or worn or even felt in real life) the Gammarelli socks the Pope wears. But I’ve heard great things. I bet they’d be excellent dress socks!

      I know you can buy them online, but I’ll wait and stop in the actual shop next time I’m in Italy! 🙂

  11. They have several products – DON”T buy the Invisibles.
    First – customer service is 5 star – very responsive and courteous. They have promptly shipped me more socks on 2 occasions when I sent them photos of the holes in my socks.
    I bought Invisibles because I was looking of a sock that would stay on my foot to wear with my Go Walk walking shoes. I walk from 2 to 6 miles most days. The good news – these Invisibles stay on my foot. The bad news – every pair I’ve owned has lasted from 1 to 4 days before getting holes in the toe area. I am in the middle of the size range so they are not too small. I have had dollar store socks that have lasted for a couple years. I’ve never had this problem with any other sock. I don’t have long sharp toenails. These just are not of a quality I expected for relatively expensive socks. Until they upgrade the quality by reinforcing the toe box I will be wearing cheap anklet socks for walking.

    • @Kath

      Thanks for sharing your experience. They have so many now I can’t keep track of them all! I’ve only tested the “originals.”

      Are the “invisibles” the same as the women’s “no shows?”

  12. I agree that they are a nice sock (I got the Pittsburgh colors, too!) , but overpriced. I got 4 pairs because I had a 35% off coupon, but won’t buy them again. I have big feet – 14W – and Bombas extra large are too small and won’t stay up.

  13. Your reviews are wonderful to read. Similar to Consumer Reports with “spot on” basis of evaluation…including personal thoughts. Great-useful site.

  14. Great review – I have been wondering how these very expensive socks could be so outstanding. I see that they are not. I did buy some lovely Merino wool socks at Costco that really are nice and much cheaper. Thanks!

    • @Sterling

      Thanks! My theory is that Bombas had a very well targeted marketing plan which allowed them to reach the segment of the population who had never worn anything other than cheap cotton socks that are neither comfortable nor durable. (Because compared to those socks, Bombas are indeed outstanding.)

  15. I haven’t tried Bombas socks yet since I’m a Feetures fan, but will be trying them soon. The one thing I love about Bombas is that the socks made to donate to those in need are made with the specific needs of homeless people in mind with reinforced seams and being antimicrobial, and also the darker color. The company was started specifically to provide socks for the homeless. It wasn’t an afterthought where they said that now that they’re making money, they’ll start donating. I believe this is the reason for the higher price. For that reason, if I like the socks well enough, I will definitely switch to them, but if not, I will just donate the money towards providing more socks for the homeless.

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coach levi
Hi, I'm Coach Levi. I'm a USA Cycling Certified Level 3 Coach as well as Level 1 Certified with Precision Nutrition. Want to feel better, ride faster, and look great? Let's work together!

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