I tried the product that claims to replace socks—here’s what happened
We tested Gekks to see if they’re worth it.
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When I was eight or nine, one of my friend’s mothers picked up a side gig selling magnetic shoe inserts. She swore by their healing powers—improved posture, mood, and overall wellness, all of which have since been debunked in a Mayo Clinic study—and made sure to slip the inserts into the shoes of each member of her family, and anyone else interested in quasi-scientific alternative medicine. This friend’s mom was friends with my mom (who did not sell magnetic shoe inserts, though she did buy a pair for herself), so the whole family would often come over for a potluck dinner or movie night. When they did, they’d leave their shoes by the door, and I would catch a glimpse of the silver, porous sliders flopping out of them like dead fish, and shudder.
We don’t have time to unpack all of that right now. But I bring it up because I found myself thinking about the magnetic insoles—which I had long forgotten—when I saw an ad for something on Instagram called Gekks.
What are Gekks?
Gekks are not magnetic shoe inserts, though they do go inside your shoes. They are what I can best describe as a footwear accessory, advertised as a cross between a sock and a shoe liner with sticky bits on the sole, heel, and toe to keep them in place. Gekks are available for sneakers, flats, pumps, and loafers at $18 apiece and, thanks to what the brand says is an antimicrobial silver-coated fiber in the thread, rarely need to be removed to wash. The brand’s motto is “go sockless,” implying Gekks are more of a liner and not a sock at all, though they serve as an alternative to “no-show” socks which, as we all know, sometimes show, or shift or bunch inside shoes—all things Gekks claim they will not do.They also, it must be said, look downright freaky in their Instagram ads and some photos on the website. These show a single Gekk superimposed and filled with a phantom foot—or, more likely, a collection of wires—against a white background, creating an impression of a prehistoric sandal (or, to my memory, magnetic shoe inserts). I have to assume that this is an intentional artistic choice, as it inspires an Instagram scroller, even one hardened against targeted ads, to click through and check it out (or at least stop scrolling for a moment).
It worked on me. I went ahead and ordered some Gekks—one pair for ballet flats and one pair for sneakers—just to see what they are really like.
What is it like to wear Gekks?
The Gekks arrived about a week after I ordered them. When I took them out of the box, they looked like a pair of thin, low-cut socks—that is, a pair of thin, low-cut socks that had been attacked by some scissors, leaving only a layer on the bottom third of the foot and flap for the toes.
I put the flats pair in some Rothy’s and the sneaker pair in my slightly-too-small Superga tennis shoes that don’t take well to socks. Getting them in the shoes was simple enough: All I had to do was peel off the cover on the sticky parts, then place it in each shoe, pressing firmly to set it in. I did so by sliding the heel part of the Gekk into the shoe first, which I felt made it easier to settle and align the rest of the Gekk with the shoe. When I put them on, they just felt like, well, socks. Thin socks, and socks that didn’t show over the top of either shoe, but socks nonetheless.
The bad news: I didn’t love the Gekks in my flats. In fact, I hated them. I don’t wear liners with flats in general, so the Gekks felt thick, uncomfortable, and made my feet feel swollen. They also made my feet sweat considerably more than usual which, as a result, made them smell worse than usual. Considering one of the main claims of Gekks is that they are moisture-wicking and antimicrobial (read: smelly bacteria shouldn’t be able to grow and stink), this kind of negates the purpose of buying them, at least for me.
Should you buy Gekks?
Gekks answers its own question: Can a person go sockless? (Technically, yes, if you agree with the claim that Gekks aren’t socks.) But it fails to answer another, which is: Why does “going sockless” with two tiny pieces of woven fabric and a bit of adhesive, cost so much? I don’t mean to be facetious here, but $18 for a pair of hyper low-rise, sticky socks is a solid chunk of change. As a comparison, a three-pack of my favorite Zella socks is $25, and you can find other passable options for about $3 a pair.
That said, Gekks do deliver on two of its promises: not peeking out of footwear, even in the lowest of shoes, and being reusable and re-stickable after wearing and washing. Based on my experience and their price, I’d still skip the version designed for flats. But if you, too, mistakenly bought a half-size-too-small pair of tennis shoes on final sale, Gekks may be a better way to wear them with minimal discomfort. And, hey, either way, Gekks can’t be worse than magnetic shoe inserts.
Prices are accurate at the time this article was published, but may change over time.