Q36.5 Plus You Socks are supposed to be luxury winter shoe-liners, but they're very comfortable in warm weather too and if you need to wear the same socks for several days at a time, they resist getting whiffy.
The Q36.5 Plus You Socks are described as an 'avant-garde winter sock constructed with superior natural thermic merino wool and silk threads'. Apparently, these materials also ensure weight is kept to an absolute minimum.
Given the ticket price, I was slightly disappointed to discover these weren't pure Merino but a blend. After all, there are plenty of shop-branded hybrids going for a tenner, less if you're lucky.
True, merino (52%) and elastane (25%) are the major components but there's 13% silk and 10% polyamide too, which seem a marked improvement over bog standard staples when the mercury's rising.
Talking of which, I'd taken ours out on a few stonking hot, day rides before settling down to scrutinise the blurb. Given their weight and overall density, I had them down as a middleweight summer pair.
Reinforced toe boxes and heel sections have been commonplace for a while now and usually provide some welcome relief on very long rides, especially if a bit of gravel/rough stuff is thrown into the mix.
I was slightly surprised by their omission. However, this wasn't a problem on longer road rides and ensure a Cinderella fit with road specific shoes. Sizing is pretty 'add to cart' friendly. I'm a 43 in street shoes and our 40-43 felt bespoke.
Something of an Imelda Marcos when it comes to cycling shoes, I'm pleased to report compatibility with everything from race slippers through to winter booties. The 13cm cuffs are another sweet spot, offering sufficient protection from stray stones/flints from freshly surfaced roads and the pale grey with green and white livery is surprisingly neutral too.
Comfort was a real revelation. Given the Merino content, I was expecting my feet to remain temperate, whatever the gods bestowed but I was surprised by how good the fibres felt against my skin. According to the blurb, these are guaranteed to work with the wearer, maintaining a temperate inner climate from 8 degrees upward.
Claims such as these are begging to be discredited but my feet have remained dry and comfortable whether I've been doing a 20-mile commute, or 50-mile day ride.
Temperatures have pushed into the low thirties during this period too.
Obviously, this is optimal wearing genuine leather shoes and there was a slight trade-off with synthetic uppers but feet never became clammy, or otherwise uncomfortable.
Now, I'm a pleasantly fragrant bloke, even after a couple of hours welding on a hot day, I'll have you know. My feet on the other hand can get close to wall-paper stripping territory, given the right conditions. I've deliberately worn these socks day long, three days running. A bit extreme, dare I say unhygienic, though they still smelt very fresh.
Bucket washing is the obvious option for tourists and given they're bone dry within 20 minutes. Machine washed at thirty degrees with minimal detergent sees them emerge packet fresh. More sophisticated/ground in petrochemical dirt benefits from a quick pre-wash but that's true of all lighter colours. Three weeks and 500 miles later, they're still looking great with no traces of bobbling, fraying, or similar distress.
I'm probably not alone in having a bundle of bulk-bought merino/polyester mix socks for everyday riding and training. The lion's share of £20 isn't cheap for a pair of socks but the Q36.5s genuinely live up to their hype and I'd certainly recommend them for endurance events, or very hot days.
Pricey but very well made, comfortable socks for intense and longer distance riding
road.cc test report
Make and model: Q36.5 Plus You Sock
Size tested: 40-43
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Q36.5 says "Essential for those who prefer that full pedal to the metal thin sock feeling all year round, this is an Avant-garde ultra light winter sock constructed with superior natural thermic merino wool and silk threads. The sock follows the same lightweight density construction techniques of the Ultralight adapted for use in cooler climate conditions: the addition of silk (scarcely used in cycling socks) to the merino wool increases the thermal properties of the fabric while at the same time significantly reducing volume and weight. 37g per pair.
Please note that this wool-silk thread blend will shrink slightly (though not enough to necessitate wearing a larger size than usual). For ultimate zero-crease contoured fit we recommend cold washing the sock before first use."
My feelings "Decent sock that performs extremely well in warm weather, no evidence of shrinking to date"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
52% Merino Wool
37 g per pair
Body Temperature Stability Guarantee = Above 8°C
Bang on for my 43/44 feet.
Very pleasant to wear for long periods and more comfortable than most hybrid blends in hotter weather.
Not cheap compared with more basic merino blend staples but comfort and overall performance are a good notch or two higher.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Respond very well to bucket, or machine washing at 30 degrees. I ignored their cold bucket wash first advice and there's been no problems with shrinkage etc. Just avoid the tour de tumble drier.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, I've been very impressed by the Q3 6.5 socks. Temperature stability seems to be more than marketing speak and my feet have remained temperate, whatever the mercury has brought. Fast wicking following a shower, odour management has been equally impressive, regardless whether I've chosen genuine leather, or synthetic shoes.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Fit and performance.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing given the design brief but very much at the upper end of my budget.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
A bit pricey for everyday staples but a well made and very comfortable sock for more intensive, distance riding.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)