You what? Cycling socks are just socks? Now you’ve put your foot in it…
Road cycling socks have become much more important in the last few years. Forget about disc brakes, power meters and zwift, sock length and colour have both been THE hot topics in the cycling world.
So what should you look for in a pair of cycling socks?
Cool or Cozy?
There are socks for cooler conditions, rain and socks for warmer weather too, choose the right ones and avoid hot sweaty feet or numb wet toes from cold feet. Developments in materials, and blends of materials, mean that there are socks suitable for all weather conditions. Different manufacturers have their own material mix’s to produce their best socks, materials including wool, bamboo, merino wool, lycra and meryl.
Short or Tall?
Somewhere between knee length and ankle socks, there is a happy middle ground for most people. The classic length of cuff through the 80’s and 90’s was 7.5 cm in height. At some point between then and now, things went a little crazy, we are now in a world with 12 – 20cm cuffs on cycling socks, what a time to be alive!
Look at ME!
Years ago, cycling’s traditions and old school materials meant that white was the only choice for cycling socks. If you turned up on a club ride in the 80’s in anything other than white, (football socks for example) you would have faced ridicule, and maybe even banished from the club. Modern fabric blends, dyes, prints and graphics have led to an explosion of colour on many riders’ feet. As well as an opportunity to stand out from the crowd, bright jazzy socks are great for rider visibility, who knows they may even calm motorists anger at being behind a cyclist, just a little.
Wearing compression socks during and after a ride can help improve blood flow and reduce lactic acid build up. Riders with varicose vains and those who suffer lower leg swelling, can also benefit from using compression socks. An added bonus is the extra length will keep your calves warm during the colder months.
Did you know socks or shoe coverings covering more than half of your lower leg are illegal under UCI rules? That’s right, since 2019, the UCI Sock Police have been on the case for the serious stuff, yes the sock-height offenders. The UCI Sock Police have a measuring device which looks a lot like a windscreen wiper from a Renault Megane. Would you do jail time for your long-sock aero-gain beliefs? Luckily most of us aren’t under UCI scrutiny, so go ahead with those mid thigh length aero socks…
Staying just the right side of sock doping laws are Spatzwear Aero Sokz. Spatzwear designed these specifically for the requirements of their partner, Team Alpecin-Deceuninck, featuring top Professional riders, such as Mathieu Van der Poel. These aero socks feature 2 different grippers to ensure they stay in-place to provide maximum aero efficiency.