An occasional look at products the travel industry insists we need.

WHAT: Socaroo, an athletic sock with a tiny pouch.

AIMED AT: Sporty types who have no pockets in their Spandex; sock-wearing travelers who want to outsmart pickpocketers.

HOW MUCH: $5 for a pair of white ankle or crew socks, with a three-pair minimum per purchase. Silkscreening and patches also available.

BUT DO THEY WORK? Look Ma, no hands! That's we felt like hollering as we ran around in our Socaroos, carrying a credit card, keys and some spare change in the socks' handy pouch -- allowing us to keep our hands and pockets free of jangly items. The one-sided pouch bulged slightly, but it was much more comfortable than, say, having a key on a string flapping at our neck. The Velcro strip kept our goods safely in place, and the thick cotton sock never slid down from the weight of our stash. However, there are trade-offs: The ankle sock is much cuter, but its pouch is less spacious than the crew's (think hotel key vs. hotel card). Yet both can hold enough cash to pay for a post-workout gelato -- or a bus back to the hotel.

-- Andrea Sachs

Socaroos are available through the company at 310-559-4011,