UCL News


UCL science puts the 'sock' in soccer

1 September 2009

Evexar Medical Ltd, an innovative subsidiary company of UCL Business (UCLB), is helping athletes to perform better, thanks to a range of premium-range sports graduated compression socks designed to aid performance, lessen muscle fatigue and provide ankle support.


Distributed through Evexar Compression Advisory Ltd, the socks are now worn by athletes in premier league football clubs such as Manchester United, Fulham and Chelsea, and are also supplied for a variety of other sports including cricket and rugby. As distribution expands, they will soon be released for sale to the general public.

Mike Davison, Commercial Director of Evexar Compression Advisory Ltd, said: "The socks are proving to be very popular among the British sporting elite. They should be worn before, during and after any sporting activity to improve blood circulation and aid recovery from muscle fatigue. The product's association with UCLB, UCL's technology transfer office, has in my view played a significant part in the successful distribution of the socks to big-name clients."

The research on which the product draws was originally carried out at UCL by Mr Stephen Barker and Dr Simon Hollingsworth of the UCL Academic Vascular Unit, as part of a larger research programme into the cause of some diseases of the veins.

Their 1999 research project led to the development of the UCL-branded Saphena medical sock range, which now delivers considerable benefits to patients in the clinical environment. Manufactured by Pretty Legs Hosiery Ltd and distributed by Griffith and Neilson Ltd, Saphena is currently sold into 31 NHS Trusts in England (representing 90 hospitals) and 58 BMI Healthcare Hospitals. Sales have recently exceeded 1.5 million pairs with 55 thousand pairs being sold every month, and the Saphena sock is the only UK-designed and manufactured support sock on the market which is otherwise dominated by American competitors. With the development of the enhanced premium sports sock, UCL's original research now looks set to benefit many people on the pitch as well as in the hospital bed.


UCL Context
A wholly-owned subsidiary of UCL, UCLB was formed to help industry and business make the most of UCL innovations through licensing technologies & innovations, engaging consultancy services, creating shared-risk joint-venture businesses and utilising UCL's specialist subsidiaries.

The sports socks were one of a number of UCL innovations demonstrated at UCL's Future of Sport forum in June, which looked at the opportunities that sport provides for academics, researchers and businesses in the run-up to the 2012 Olympics.

Find out about the Future of Sport

Find out more about Enterprise at UCL.


Image: The white Evexar compression socks worn by Nick Easter during training with the British and Irish Lions