The warmer weather is here, and what better way to freshen up your cycling wardrobe and keep your feet cool than some new socks.
You can wear any socks you want for cycling, but cycling-specific summer socks are made from lightweight and breathable fabrics that keep your feet cool and dry in hot weather, and will be far more comfortable than regular sports socks.
Most summer cycling socks are made from polyester because it’s breathable, can be woven into thin fabrics and wicks sweat away from the skin. Polyester fabrics also dry quickly, which helps stop your feet getting sweaty.
Socks are also made from Merino wool, which has the advantage of not holding odours like man-made fabrics.
Many cycling socks will have mesh panels strategically placed to further help keep your feet cool. For durability, some will have a harder-wearing material in the sole, heel and toe area.
Cycling socks will also have a cuff which prevents them from sliding down your ankle. The height of that cuff is a subject of great debate among style-conscious riders and that debate is in turn a source of mystification among the rest of us.
Some say socks should be no higher than 5in, but there has been a trend in recent years for much higher socks. As far as we're concerned, you can wear whatever you like, but there’s even a UCI rule about sock length. We kid you not. Some might say if you’re worried about sock length you should spend more time riding your bike.
Lastly, there is colour. For traditionalists it’s white socks all the way, but there are many more colourful options and designs available if you want to make a statement. And for all the Wiggo fans there are black socks. Some say white socks for racing, black socks for training. Wear whatever makes you happy.
To that end, here are ten pairs that should do just that.
Of course, we simply must include the coolest socks of them all, our very own road.cc socks. You can buy them, in white or classic black, in the shop here.
DeFeet are well known for their high quality socks and a common choice with discerning cyclists who care about the socks they wear. They do a big old range these days with loads of colour options, even a hi-vis pair, but these white High Top’s are simple.
London’s Condor produce these Race socks, made from a soft micro-fibre yarn with a light mesh upper section to avoid overheating. The cuff is double thickness and they’re 7cm tall, and they’re neatly finished with a red stripe and Condor logo on the back.
Mavic's own-brand socks are made with two grades of material, more meshy around the sole, top of the foot and ankle to prevent overheating feet, and they have antimicrobial properties. They're also available in black, and Mavic's signature yellow.
White socks aren’t so practical when the weatherturns damp, which, sadly, can happen at any time in a British summer. With that in mind these grey and white Giro High-Rise socks are a good choice. Other colours, including white are also available. They’re made from Coolmax, polyester, Lycra and elastic fabric mix, with a 6in cuff.
A good choice for socks are these from Castelli, which are available in a choice of lengths to suit leg length and tastes. These are made from Superlight Meryl Skinlife fabric so they're very thin and very breathable, making them ideal for hot summer days.
Rapha's Pro Team socks are good for performance minded cyclists who want lightweight socks that are highly breathable. They’re made with a more durable material in the heel and toe, so they don’t wear out too easily, and the cuff is also made from more hard-wearing material. They’re available in two lengths, and you can choose from a wide range of colurs and patterns.
Less sporty, more city and urban riding, these Merino Mid Zero socks from London-based Vulpine have a striped pattern available in grey/navy or grey/green so you can colour match your cycling kit, if you’re that way inclined. They’re made from 70% merino wool with the rest polyester to provide stretch and durability.
California's SockGuy is one of the most well known cycling sock makers, with a vast range of patterns and styles. These I'm With Awesome socks will surely make you stand out on the club run or in a sportive. They’re fashionably long with an 8in cuff, and they’re made from 75% acrylic, 15% nylon, and 10% Lycra.
Rapha's Souplesse socks have a sleek and nicely-contoured fit with no bunching up or intrusive seams. The fabric wicks moisture away quickly, and the smoothness of the fabric means nothing interferes with how well your shoes fit.
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.