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February 12, 2012


Fun and Useful Products

by Anne Paddock

Useful and innovative products – both American and European – are readily available in the United States although these products are not in every mall in America because their distribution network is not extensive. Serving a specific purpose or market, these products usually have a specialized use and as such, are unique, innovative, and essential.

Consider the Lifehammer, a tool for the car that can both crack glass and cut a seatbelt to aid in emergency escape. Or, the 100% cotton glove that fits the hand but doesn’t fall apart after one washing, or the padded Thorlo sock that truly cushions the foot; or the Native Union Pop Handset when you want the comfort of a hand-held full size phone with the use of a cell phone. Each of these products serves a specialized purpose  and can be purchased through the internet.

Sermoneta Gloves Sermoneta is an Italian manufacturer of gloves that I first discovered in New York City several years ago. Although the company is known for their leather products, they also manufacture a simple cotton glove that comes in one size fits all for women. The gloves are thin enough to feel like a second skin and allow finger dexterity which is unusual as most gloves have to be removed for precision tasking. The Sermoneta cotton gloves come in a dozen different colors and sell for about $60 per pair.

I use them to keep my hands warm on days when the temperature dips below 50 degrees and on runs as they are thick enough to keep my hands warm and protected yet still allow my fingers to be useful (i.e. push the buttons on my i-pod or watch). The gloves (in black) are also great to wear while traveling in an airport or train station and even while reading a newspaper (as the print won’t come off on your hands).

Sermoneta is the only game in town that sells a high quality cotton glove (most cotton gloves are either bulky or of disposable quality). To purchase the cotton gloves, you can order the gloves on-line through the company website, go to the store in New York City, Boston, or Chicago or place an order over the phone.

Sermoneta Gloves 609 Madison Avenue (at 58th Street) New York, New York 10022 212-319-5946

Sermoneta Gloves 115 Newbury Street Boston, MA 857-284-7788

Sermoneta Gloves 900 North Michigan Avenue Chicago, Illinois 60611 312-915-0694

The Native Union Pop Handset Created by French product designer, David Turpin, the Pop handset is an alternative way to use your cell phone. Designed to plug right into an i-phone, the handset can also be used on other phones with an adaptor. The Pop handset is not only functional, but has great hand feel and is comfortable to hold. And, for people like me whose phone is always on the bottom of a purse ringing but out of sight, all I have to do is reach in and pull my pink handset out. For me, it’s the equivalent of having a bat phone. It’s that cool.

mm01h-sinje-modra-2587320_1024x768The handset comes in 17 different colors or designs and can be seen ordered through the company website: for about $30.

The Lifehammer Several years ago, I sent my girlfriends a “lifehammer” for Christmas. They didn’t know they needed this tool but realized the lifehammer is one of those tools you want to have but hope you never need to use. The lifehammer is a car emergency tool meant to be within reach of the driver of a vehicle. The tool has a double tipped steel hammer (to break glass) and a safe (blade is at bottom of tool with a partial safety cover) seat belt cutting blade.

07-lifehammerThe lifehammer was designed to aid someone who needs to quickly escape from a vehicle that is submersed in water or on fire. At $14.95, the lifehammer is available at

Thorlo Socks

Thorlo socks have been around for years and most people have seen them in Sports Authority or other sports equipment stores. Made in America (Statesville, North Carolina), these socks are the softest, most comfortable socks ever worn. In the past 20 years, I have run exactly once without Thorlos and realized my mistake right away.  The padding – particularly on the ball of the foot – really does make a difference and I realized this truth as a young runner, not a middle-aged hacker who is more sensitive to aches and pains.

thorlos1There are vast choices in Thorlo socks and the website can be overwhelming but the company has a search option that allows users to narrow the choices by activity (35 different activities that run the gamut from walking to running), color (16), fiber (11), length (8), or padding (4). Padding is the key and the four choices are: thick, moderate, thin, and liner). The socks range from $10 – $16 generally and are worth every penny.  Several times a year, Thorlo offers a special called “buy three, get one free” with free shipping – a great deal.

The socks can be purchased on-line at the company website: or at retailers across the country.

Happy feet make for happy days!

1 Comment
  1. Julia
    Feb 17 2012

    I love knowing I have a Life Hammer right next to me in the car. And that handset is really great in red!

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