If you’ve been to any industry event you know one undeniable truth: you’re inundated with swag. Anytime I meet with a company and I’m not pelted with branded flash drives, I count myself lucky. Pens, stickers, notebooks, flashlights, even backpacks could all end up shoved into your carryon for the flight home. At the Tech Field Day and Networking Field Day last month, I got some new swag that piqued my interest: socks.
Both Viptela and DriveScale provided socks for attendees to their presentations. Ordinarily, the SD-WAN for the former does not compete with the disaggregated storage solution of the latter. But once they introduced branded footwear, I am honor bound to determine which is a superior product.
Style is of course a subjective measure, so perhaps take this with a grain of salt. Still, I can make some observations to help the perspective wearer. The DriveScale sock certainly catches the eye. With a flat heather grey hue, they could certainly be worn both casually and for dressier occasions. The DriveScale logo comes just at the start of the ankle regardless of the foot the sock is worn on, so if you want the branding to be more subtle, this would certainly be a downside.
The Viptela sock leans more toward the formal side of dress, albeit with a playful air thanks to the horizontal stripes. Also unseen in the above photo, the heel is patched with a sky blue that matches the top ring. The sock certainly lends itself to a more fashionable dress. That said, while the color scheme is attractive, it also has more potential to clash.
Overall the Viptela sock looks a little better in my eye, but I’ll probably end up wearing it less.
- Viptela: 8.1
- DriveScale: 7.4
Of course, style is only one particular element of a sock. Perhaps of a more fundamental nature is how well the sock stays upon the foot under duress. Winter has just struck hard in my location, and I’ve had to bust out the heavy winter boots. These slip on and off easily enough, but a sock with a weaker constitution has a tendency to come off during the course of this removal. After several boot removals in various intervals of speed and thoroughness, neither sock completely came off. However, one definitely performed better in this high stress environment. On more than one occasion, the DriveScale sock would partially slide down my leg, leaving a floppy piece of fabric all too willing to soak up nearby snow. The Viptela sock remained rock solid throughout testing.
- Viptela: 9.5
- DriveScale: 6.8
The Viptela socks only branding comes on the upper part of the elastic band. While their color scheme is utilized in the overall design of the sock, even if you’re familiar with the company, you probably wouldn’t know it’s from them. Plus, while wearing the socks, the logo slightly distends, to the point that the company logo becomes slightly difficult to read. Rather like it’s overly pixelated.
Meanwhile, the DriveScale sock is replete with their distinctive intersecting arrow logo. This is consistent across the garment, so however it is exposed to an observer, they will soak in the branding. Additionally, the DriveScale name is just below the band, making it more likely that this will be viewed compared to the Viptela offering.
- Viptela: 4.2
- DriveScale: 8.8
Neither of these socks is exceedingly plush or warm. While the construction is not circumspect, the material is rather thin, leading to a rather spartan feel around the foot. As noted in the Stability section, the Viptela sock keeps a firmer hold on the foot, but at the expense of additional constriction on the elastic band. It’s not egregious, but noticeable after several hours of wear. There are no stand outs in this category, but DriveScale gets the edge.
- Viptela: 4.5
- DriveScale: 5.1
If you prioritize style and stability over brand awareness and comfort, the review leans toward Viptela. However, since these were swag, I have to lean toward DriveScale being the better overall option. Neither is a perfect product, but for for my money (which for reference was $0), DriveScale just edges out this comparison.
Disclosure: My review methodology involved wearing the socks while doing things. The rigor of the tests mentioned should be considered dubious, circumspect, and completely arbitrary. Thank you to Viptela and DriveScale for the socks.