Interview With Warrior Grips (The Most Innovative BJJ Socks?)

    Getting A Grip On The Most Innovative Grappling Sock!

    BJJ socks have always been a no-go for many martial artists. However, Samuel Chidwick returns to the Submission Shark community with brand new high-quality BJJ socks that offer a comfortable, practical and protective option for practitioners.

    Warrior Grips Training Socks

    Q: What inspired you to create Warrior Grips and how did you come up with the idea for this brand?

    My inspiration for Warrior Grips came from my personal experiences of foot and ankle injuries through Jiu-jitsu, including several little toe dislocations and a fracture of my big toe. 

    I started wearing gripper socks to help protect my feet, particularly after the big toe fracture which was caused when I caught my toe on the mat and my weight and my training partner’s went over the top of my toe. 

    Wearing socks has prevented me from re-injuring this toe so far. I have also suffered with mat burns on the tops of my feet, particularly at one gym I used to visit, which is a minor thing, but nice to be avoided. 

    I tried quite a few different socks, some didn't have enough grip, others had too much, and some honestly just fell apart after a few washes. I also found that neoprene materials made my feet sweat which caused them to get more slippery.

    I therefore set about working with some manufactures to see if I could make a better product for grapplers, and Warrior Grips was born. 

    Q: As a podiatrist, how important is foot health in overall athletic performance and injury prevention? Is this something that is often overlooked by athletes?

    I can promise you one thing, foot health is only overlooked until something goes wrong! I find we are quite a reactive profession in that athletes come to the clinic with an injury or a pain or an issue, and want me to fix this. It would be great if people were more mindful of foot health and the importance of protecting and looking after your feet. 

    You will know the phrase, “prevention is better than cure” and this is where Warrior Grips can play a big role, hopefully helping to prevent foot issues before they stop you training. 

    Obviously for anything medical, you need to consult a Podiatrist for personal assessment and treatment though. 

    Q: From a hygienic standpoint, do you believe covering your feet during training is important for preventing skin infections and promoting overall health?

    Skin, skin is a wonderful thing, it keeps the outside out and the inside in… however when our feet get hot and sweaty, or they are exposed to friction from the mats, bacteria can easily get in, leading to ringworm, athletes foot or verrucae forming.  

    I notice people all the time in gyms with these conditions, and if it’s appropriate, I do mention privately to them that I noticed something and what treatment they should try, however I am very careful with this. 

    The mats, despite how clean they may look, can still harbor bacteria, so covering your feet for training is a great way to protect yourself, and your training partners. 

    Q: As a leading UK sports podiatrist, what made you decide to focus on creating products specifically for martial artists, yogis, barefoot runners and gym goers?

    It started with grapplers really, focusing on BJJ, however when I developed the product and got people testing them, the feedback was that people were using them for other activities too and loving the support and grip, so I figured, as a brand, whilst my niche is grappling arts, why not offer the product into other arenas too. 

    Q: Can you share any specific benefits or advantages that BJJ athletes can expect from using Warrior Grips?

    Of course; 

    • As mentioned, protection of the skin from bacterial and other infections. 

    • Specially designed grippers with focus on the shape and location of these to help with grappling and BJJ. I’ll elaborate on this later. 

    • Extra material built into the ankle and midfoot to offer compression, support and comfort

    • Breathable materials to prevent slipping or moisture inside the sock

    • Machine washable, so just chuck them in with your Gi after training 

    • Keep your feet warm in the colder months 

    Q: How did you research and develop the "Shield Wall" gripper technology used in your products?

    I began by working with a couple of designers and manufacturers of socks, who worked on some prototypes and sent me samples. After some refinement and a lot of trialing, I realised that the larger, round shape offered the best grip, and for BJJ, having them focused around the forefoot and midfoot offered grip when stranding, but did not impact techniques when rolling. 

    Training In BJJ socks (Warrior Grips)

    I found if the grippers went all the way to the toes, and the edges of the feet, and even the heels and ankles as some of the prototypes did, they gripped against the opponents Gi or clothing and caused friction where it was not wanted. Think trying to slip a triangle in from spider guard and the heel of the gripper not letting you slip your foot through at that critical moment to catch the back of the neck.

    One of the prototypes also stopped me being able to slip out of a heel hook in no gi, making my training partner remark that he only got the tap because of my gripper sock… So that prototype went in the bin! Warrior Grips shield walls do not go too close to the edge, so you can still slip your feet in and out of small spaces if needed. 

    Q: Can you walk us through the testing process for your products, from development to approval and trialing with various martial arts practitioners?

    Sure, I started off with 4 manufacturers and had to pay for some demo’s to be manufactured. I then tested these myself and gave them to some training partners to try. I began to narrow down sock designs, grip styles and designs I liked and try to balance this with the manufacturing processes available. I settled on one manufacturer who really understood what I was trying to achieve, and we went from there. I am now in the process of Trademarking the design and branding, so I am pretty committed to this now. 

    Q: Since your last appearance on Submission Shark, how has your martial arts journey progressed?

    I think I was a blue belt then? I got my purple belt about 2 years ago. After this, I decided I needed to work a load on my guard retention because I felt there were holes in my game. I spent 6 months or more putting myself in terrible places and trying to re-guard and then work off my back more. Now I am working again on my top game, looking to take this to the next level as I build towards brown belt hopefully. 

    Group BJJ Photo

    I definitely feel more rounded as a practitioner and I have high percentage options from every position, but BJJ is a tough art, and as soon as you feel you are progressing, you have a session that reminds you how much you don’t know! 

    I was really lucky to go to Thailand last November and trained at two BJJ gyms out there, as well as doing a load of Thai boxing. I think there are few things tougher in BJJ than going to a random club as a purple belt, everyone wants to kill you. Obviously I approached with a humble attitude, but I was really happy that my abilities were up to the task, and I met some amazing people.  

    Q: As a Submission Shark BJJ Gi owner, would you recommend pairing Warrior Grips products with your GI for optimal performance and comfort?

    I’ll be honest, until I bought my Shark Frenzy Submission Shark Gi, I had never had a comfortable Gi. People used to say “get comfortable being uncomfortable” this is part of BJJ, however the Gi doesn't need to add to this, and neither do your feet! Wearing the correct gear, from Gi’s to socks, makes a huge difference to your performance, comfort and ability to train for longer and more often. I highly recommend your Gi’s to everyone! 

    Submission Shark BJJ Gi

     

    Q: Finally, what message would you like to share with BJJ athletes who are considering trying out Warrior Grips for their training? 

    Some people already wear socks for training, some people think it is not necessary. For both groups, I would say try Warrior Grips, I think you will be surprised how comfortable they feel and how much they protect you.

     

    Unfortunately, Warrior Grips are only available in the UK for the first few months just until we develop our international postage options. Please subscribe to the website to be kept updated of our international launch, and I am sorry for any inconvenience this may cause. 


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