All posts by Sock Robot

6 Awesome Astronauts You Need to Know

Astronauts are by definition exceptional people. To even be considered you must be extremely intelligent; ideally, you’d come from a background of engineering or aeronautics or have expertise in a specific scientific niche. At the same time, your body must be in peak physical condition to withstand the rigors of the zero gravity environment. And, oh yeah, you also need to be pretty brave to agree to strap yourself inside a rocket filled with thousands of pounds of the most combustible fuel on earth.

Since the days of Mercury and Gemini, this is how we’ve always thought of astronauts: incredibly smart, athletic, highly competent. You may have heard of some of their names and spacefaring exploits, but very little about the actual people underneath the spacesuits. Fortunately, that’s changing now for two reasons. One: since the advent of social media, more and more astronauts have created accounts and made themselves available to the public. And two: we’re beginning to enter an age where space travel is entering the mainstream. New agencies and businesses are springing up with ambitious new exploration goals and dreams of bringing spaceflight to the masses. 

Astronauts are exceptional people, but for the first time ever we can see them as real people–everyday people. And here at Sock It to Me, since we’re endlessly fascinated by anything having to do with outer space (and our outer space socks are pretty sweet, too), we thought it would be fun to come up with a list of seven astronauts you should really know about.

Buzz Aldrin – You’re undoubtedly already familiar with this O.G. astronaut. He was, after all, the second person to walk on the moon–one of only twelve to ever do so, one of just four of those still alive today. But did you know that Aldrin, 89, is very active on social media? His Instagram and Twitter accounts are both a great source of vintage photos, space news, and glimpses into his colorful personality. Speaking of colorful, we found this photo of Buzz wearing flashy socks, and now we feel like we have a special bond with him. Wouldn’t you love to see him in a pair of One Giant Leap?

Scott Kelly – Maybe you already know Scott Kelly. It wouldn’t be a surprise as he has almost 7 million combined followers between Twitter and Instagram. He’s absolutely worth mentioning because he’s such an incredible resource for anyone interested in outer space, NASA, or really, anything related to science. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter to see the majestic photos of earth that made him famous, and also for his dry wit. An outspoken advocate of wearing socks inside the International Space Station, you can read his yucky explanation why here. Kelly has a twin brother, Mark, also an astronaut. A few years ago while Scott was in space and Mark was on earth, they were the subjects of a study that examined the long-term impacts of a zero gravity environment on the human body.

Samantha Cristoforetti – Before Cristoforetti became an astronaut, she was an ace fighter pilot and captain in the Italian Air Force. Her first mission to space was November 2014 through June 2015, which broke records for longest uninterrupted spaceflight by a European (a record that stands today) and by a woman (this record was broken in 2017). Sci-fi fans love Cristoforetti because she drops subtle references into her photos. She’s been known to do this with Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and when Leonard Nimoy passed away in 2015 she donned a Starfleet pin and did the Vulcan salute for a photo in the International Space Station. She’s also the second ever person who attended Space Camp as a kid and then went on to become a real astronaut as a grownup. For her fun nerdy tendencies and to keep track of her explorations in space and to the depths of our oceans, we recommend giving Cristoforetti a follow on Twitter!

Christina Koch – Christina Koch launched into space for the first time on March 14, 2019. She’s scheduled to return to earth in February 2020, which will be 335 days in space–long enough to set a new record for the longest uninterrupted spaceflight by a woman. Christina is a great follow on Twitter and Instagram because she’s up there right now. She posts photos and videos almost every day, giving you a great sense of what daily life is actually like for an astronaut on the International Space Station.

Anne McClainMaybe you remember earlier this year: there was a controversy when NASA had to cancel the first-ever all female spacewalk because they only had one smaller sized spacesuit. Anne McClain was that astronaut who had to cede her spot on the spacewalk to a man. While Anne did end up getting to go on a spacewalk later on in the mission, it would have been cool to see her break that barrier. Still, there’s lots you should know about what an amazing person she is. She’s an Iraq veteran who graduated from the United States Military Academy in West Point. She’s a pro-level rugby player who would have competed in the 2006 Rugby World Cup if not for her deployment. She’s logged more than 2,000 hours piloting combat helicopters under the callsign “Annimal.” In short, she’s a badass–pretty much as bad of an ass as you’ll ever find. She’s a talented photographer with a dreamy way of shooting clouds and a great follow on Twitter for her frequent slices of life in space (like Koch, she’s up there right now).

Beth Moses – Try to imagine the absolute coolest combination of words you could possibly conjure up. Got it? You probably didn’t come up with anything as cool as Beth Moses’s actual job title: Chief Astronaut Instructor for Virgin Galactic. Moses began her career at NASA working on the International Space Station project, but unlike everyone else on this list, she’s primarily known for being a commercial astronaut. She has a Twitter where she occasionally posts interesting stuff, but the main reason we had to include her on this list is because if space travel is going to become viable for the public, she will have a big role in making it so. And if that’s the case, years from now we’ll look back and consider Beth Moses an important pioneer of modern space travel.

Now that you’ve met some of our favorite astronauts, be sure to check out some of our favorite space socks!

How to Be a Real Superhero Every Day

Are you a superhero?

If you answered yes, then congrats. I’ll try not to take up too much of your time, so you can get back to doing whatever it is that you do. If you answered that you’re not a superhero, then here’s a follow-up question: are you ready to become one?

This is not a trick question. You can become a superhero if you want. If it seems like you can’t maybe that’s because, in the age of Marvel, we’ve been conditioned to have a narrow understanding of what a superhero actually is. So, let’s make a distinction between real superheroes and fictional superheroes. To be a real superhero, you don’t have to be extremely wealthy like Tony Stark or Bruce Wayne. Or have been born into it in a faraway land like Black Panther or Wonder Woman. Or gain your powers through a freak accident like Spiderman or The Hulk. You don’t have to fight crime or an arch-nemesis. All you have to do is believe in yourself, and have the courage to do some good.

Over the past month, in anticipation of National Superhero Day on April 28th, we’ve been asking you to tell us what kind of superheroes you are, or you aspire to be. We’re impressed.

Here’s one from our Instagram friend, @active_aimee: “I am that person that will stop a complete stranger on the street to compliment them. I love seeing how this immediately changes how they carry themselves. I see them smile, stand taller, and have a bounce in their step.”

That’s awesome! Going out of your way to make someone’s day better are absolutely the actions of a superhero.

Another real-life superhero is @__tiffit__, who says her self-confidence “gives her the mental and physical strength to balance life as a medical student and amateur powerlifter and bodybuilder.”

Superhuman strength and energy is required to do just one of these things, let alone both. So, yeah, she definitely qualifies as a real-life superhero. And years from now when she’s a working doctor AND a power lifter? That’s a superhero alter-ego you don’t want to mess with.

Another no-doubt superhero is @jaimeannez, who told us: “As I am just getting home from an event I volunteered at for a nonprofit near and dear to my heart… I volunteer for Suck It Suicide. We are all about suicide prevention, education, and awareness. As a 4 time attempt survivor, helping those struggling or even who have suffered a loss helps keep me above ground. If I can help people stay above ground with then I’m fulfilling my purpose. Maybe I can help them realize they have purpose too.”

Wow. We are DEFINITELY looking at a real-life superhero here, folks. The fact that she’s willing to share that she’s a four-time suicide survivor takes heroic bravery. Not only that: her origin story. Her experience as a four-time suicide survivor gives her unparalleled insight into the mindset of the people she’s helping.

You are amazing for the difficult work you do, and unquestionably a superhero walking amongst us.

Superheroes come in all shapes and sizes and do good in a variety of different ways. We easily found three examples of everyday, non-fiction superheroes who blend into the daily fabric of our lives. You sent us so many more great examples and we could go on and on. That’s the point. Everyone, whether they realize it or not, has a superhero inside them.

A costume? Not necessary. A sidekick? No. A secret lair? Wherever you spend most of your time will do just fine. An origin story? Your own origin story is already absolutely perfect. The only thing you need is the confidence to see yourself as a superhero, and the drive to get out there and start doing some good.

Sock It to Me at the 2019 Golden Globes!

We meant to bring this up earlier, but it’s pretty cool, so we’re going to mention it now even though it’s very late.

If you’re a fan of the Golden Globe Awards, you may or may not be aware that every year all of the nominees and all of the presenters are given a fancy gift bag to take home. The typical contents of the gift bag are incredibly swanky–expensive watches and jewelry, obscure skincare products, even luxury cars and exotic vacations.

This year, nestled amongst the expensive creams and miscellaneous goodies, were a pair of socks from Sock It to Me. True to the theme, the pair we included was called “Movie Night.”

If you’re wondering how you can get a pair of Movie Night of your own, the best way would be to build a time machine and go back in time to get them. Unfortunately, we stopped selling them last year. If you do succeed at time travel, maybe make a movie about it, and then next year you can be nominated for a Golden Globe of your own.

Read about Sock It to Me at the Golden Globes:

The Apparel Industry Is Getting Better at Inclusivity, but There’s Still Work to Do

STRETCH-IT stretches to an industry-best 21″

When Sock It to Me first started, our goal was to make confidence-inspiring socks to sell to as many people as possible. As more and more people started noticing our socks, we realized there was a problem. Not everyone who wanted our socks could wear them because they didn’t fit. Since then, we’ve taken steps to address the problem. Five years ago, for example, we started offering STRETCH-IT socks–the best socks in the industry for wide calves. This year, we started offering Women’s Hipster underwear in sizes to 3X–and more sizes for men and women are coming early next year. We’re proud of these steps toward making our products more inclusive, and aware there are more steps to take still.

Inclusivity is a huge word, packed with meaning and implication. It’s a realization that certain parts of the world are inherently biased against certain groups, coupled with a conscious movement to correct those biases.

When we talk about inclusivity in the apparel industry, we often talk about initiatives like offering additional size ranges. And it’s so great that more companies are realizing the importance of this kind of inclusivity. But it’s only the most visible example of where we need to do better. Inclusivity also means serving groups–like people with a rare or unique disability–who are less visible.

The good news is that people are starting to recognize this is a problem. Last October, PBS Newshour ran a segment about designing accessible fashion for people with disabilities. It’s a really inspiring story that’s well worth ten minutes of your time, and we strongly encourage you to watch the whole thing.

In it, we meet a woman named Christina Mallon, a self-described “fashionista,” who for eight years has dealt with a degenerative motor-neuron disease that’s caused her to become paralyzed in her arms and shoulders. “Fashion is a way to express your soul, and your personality. So, and me being a fashionista since I was a child, it was very difficult that I couldn’t wear my remaining clothing because I felt like a part of my identity was dying.”

It’s not just that clothes no longer fit. For Christina and people like her, inclusivity is also about things like buttons and zippers.

Cut buttons out of inclusive fashion. For many people, they’re difficult to use.

For many people, a button or zipper on a garment means dressing yourself in the morning is almost impossible.

Christina looked at options for accessible clothing, but didn’t like what she found. “It was these really bold colors that I would never wear. A lot of fleeces, nothing fitted, a lot of Velcro. And that just wasn’t me.”

Christina believed she was out of luck, doomed by circumstance from ever being able to find fashionable clothes to wear, but then she met somebody who could help. Grace Jun leads a non-profit called the Open Style Lab with a summer program that trains students to make fashion more accessible and inclusive. They made an entire personalized collection for Christina, including a stylish fitted coat, a shirt with  a silky inside that slips easily over the head, and a dress with a strap on the bottom so she can use her foot to pull down the hem.

Mallon says, “Being able to put a coat on by myself was the difference between me having enough confidence to go to work and things like that have such a big impact that people don’t understand.”

For apparel to be inclusive, it needs to be inclusive for all people.

It’s awesome that this made such a significant impact on her confidence, and we totally understand why. Looking how you want, expressing yourself authentically, wearing clothes you want to wear, are things that most of us take for granted. But they form a basic foundation toward feeling confident. We understand this is just one solution for one person, yet it’s an encouraging start.

The apparel industry has made decent progress being more inclusive to certain groups, but there are many more groups that require more work. To the individuals doing this amazing work, we salute you, and say thank you.

Today’s the day! National Self-Confidence Day is here!

How are you today? Are you feeling confident? Don’t worry: there’s no rule that says you have to be confident on National Self-Confidence Day.

If you are confident, great! If you’re not confident, that’s OK! For lots of us, it’s not easy. It takes time. The opinions we hold about ourselves are so deeply ingrained that they’re difficult to change. But you should know that the point of today is not to pretend to be confident. The point of today is to plant the seeds of real confidence.

Let’s begin by making a personal inventory of all the reasons you should be confident. Maybe you just aced an exam. Maybe you just started working out at the gym. Maybe you’re a world champion boomerang thrower. Maybe you have a close-knit group of friends. Maybe you’re a world champion knitter. Maybe you know how to make a sandwich nobody else knows how to make. Or maybe you’re nice to people. All of these things are worth celebrating–if they’re you.

Look for simple confidence-boosting tips and tricks you can do. These will help nurture the seed. We wrote down some ideas in our recent blog, Five Easy Tips for Self-Confidence, but the important part is figuring out which strategies work for YOU.

And for everyone who woke up feeling confident today, that’s awesome! It’s a great feeling, no? Don’t you want to help others experience it? It can be as simple as passing along a confidence-inspiring message to a friend or loved one. Let them know you believe in them. A simple comment takes barely any effort, and it can have a huge impact on them.

You may also consider taking it a step further and talking about confidence with someone on a deeper level. If you know someone who struggles with confidence, one comment probably won’t be enough to change their perspective, but you can make a difference by sitting down and having a conversation. Letting them know what a big difference confidence can make in their life, and how it’s possible to make the change, could be their impetus to start seeking confidence-inspiring strategies of their own.

The most important thing to remember about National Self-Confidence Day is that the point is not to feel confident today and forget all about it tomorrow. The point is to inspire long-term, lasting change for as many people as possible. And we want you to know that you’re awesome, and we appreciate your help.