Zip It Gear — Socks with zippers!

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First, there was the decoy wallet. Then, the money belt came along. Now, Zip It Gear claims to have a better way to keep your cash, keys and credit cards safe while traveling abroad.

Evan Papel, founder and CEO of Zip It Gear, was the unfortunate victim of a Prague pickpocket while visiting Europe on a post-college trip. A second bought of bad luck came soon after while traveling from Prague to Munich when Papel’s surreptitiously stashed sock money simply fell out of his boots.

“Of course I was upset,” says Papel, “but after a beer and some deep thought, the sock with a zipper-secured pocket popped into my head.”

Sports Sock

Thus Zip It Gear was born. The company now offers a line of socks equipped with tiny zippered pockets. Beyond travel security, the company has recently introduced products for athletes who need a convenient place to stash a key, I.D. or cash while on a jog or bike ride.

The original Travel Socks are calf-high and have a large pocket on one sock to store irreplaceable items like your passport, pesos and hotel key. They are made of nylon, spandex and a proprietary polyester-based fabric called Comfortrel XP. They wick and breathe better than average cotton tube socks and have extra padding on the toe and heal for durability.

Zip It Gear charges a cool $27 per pair for the Travel Socks. But this is cheap insurance if your journeys often take you through questionable territory.

The company’s Sport Sox line, which come in men’s and women’s sizes, are ankle-high and have a smaller pocket on one sock made to hold house keys or other small items. The pocket has a locking zipper pull to keep it shut under heavy action. Like the Travel Socks, the Sport model wicks sweat and has reinforced toe and heal areas. They cost $15 a pair.

Testing it out on a series of jogs this fall with a key and credit card stuffed into the pocket, I found little fault with the Sport Sox line. A single key in the pocket is almost unnoticeable. The more items you add, the more cumbersome it feels, but for a typical jog with a house key and I.D. the Sport Sox does its job admirably.

Contact: Zip It Gear, 1-888-494-7769,

Stephen Regenold is Founder of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of five, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.