TOP athletes from around the world are sporting socks created by Warrington Wolves forward Joe Philbin.

The Wire prop and his friend and business parter Jack Hodgkiss designed Gripz during the coronavirus lockdown and launched the product last month.

And a host of sporting stars and celebrities have since donned the innovative sports socks.

They include American footballer Corbin Kaufusi, Warrington-born basketballer Jordan Whelan and Wolves’ own Blake Austin.

Warrington Guardian:

Household names who played in the latest annual Soccer Aid charity football match also sported pairs.

Jack said: “We both had our usual careers put on hold during the start of the pandemic, meaning my construction sites were all closed and Joe’s rugby season was put on hold.

“We both didn’t know what to do with ourselves and decided to try and start a second venture together to use our time wisely.

“Fast forward to today, and we are roughly one month into launching our brand new business Gripz where we have had huge interest – including appearances at Soccer Aid on ITV with Olly Murs, Chelcee Grimes, Emile Heskey and Danny Jones of McFly all wearing our socks.

Warrington Guardian:

Olly Murs

“We also had professional athletes wearing some of our samples – including Blake Austin, who scored Warrington Wolves’ winning point with a spectacular drop goal a few weeks ago with them on, Corbin Kaufusi who plays for NFL team the New York Jets, Manchester Giants and Great Britain professional basketballer Jordan Whelan and many more.”

Joe and Jack are hoping to give back to the sports teams that they played for as youngsters, as well as having donated profits to mental health charity Mind during Suicide Awareness Month in September.

Jack added: “Myself and Joe have two main aims with this new company, and they are to create a reputable brand that we would be proud to wear and to help grow grass root sports.

“That being said, going forward we have decided to donate 20 per cent per sale of our products bought through a code created especially for Culcheth Athletic Football Club and Culcheth Eagles.

“I played for Culcheth Athletic as a junior, and Joe started his career at local Sunday league club Culcheth Eagles – before which he had never touched a rugby ball before in his life.

“Ten years on, he has become one of Super League’s most recognisable names.

“He regularly visits Culcheth Eagles training sessions to gear the lads on for matchdays and has always remembered his roots.

“We have set this company up not for the money but for the two aims that we would love to fulfil.

“If we can put some money back into these clubs after the tough times they have faced lately this would give us great joy.”