Defeet's Slipstreams are are a solid pair of oversocks (figuratively and literally) and you get to feel just like a seasoned pro of yesteryear by having to manually cut your cleat holes. Whether that's cool or not is a matter of taste.
DeFeet were one of the first to create specific oversocks. Frequently seen covering shoes in the pro peloton, Slipseams must be good – or is it just because money has changed hands?
I must admit, I almost failed in my job as a reviewer as I first thought these to be a rather well built pair of socks. This is because unlike most oversocks, these require you to manually cut a hole for your cleat – harking back to the idea of simply cutting a hole in a pair of socks that started it all.
Once I realised the true role of this garment, the differences became clear: they're a heavy knit, uniform throughout the sock (not lightweight mesh like a race sock) with a tall, lighter stitched cuff. That said, they did fit my feet pretty well and as someone who seems to have razor blades for toenails, a tougher sock could be just the thing!
The idea behind the heavy stitching is to provide that extra layer of insulation and cover the vents in your shoes when the weather is a little on the chilly side. They are also far less prone to snagging on shoe buckles and cycle path brambles. It makes for a dense oversock, more so than a lot of the competition, which does indeed do a great job at keeping the wind chill at bay.
Back to the manual cutting. On closer inspection, these have a single thread line across the bottom – a bit like a laddered pair of tights – that acts as a center guide. You cut along this line to the length of your cleat. It can be a bit fiddly as you want a clean cut; a bit of time and care is needed.
As I said, a clean cut is key to the durability of these oversocks. Pre-cut oversocks have a sealing stitch around the hole. These don't and so any fray edges could invite the hole to grow. In my experience that happens even with pre-cut oversocks over time and these didn't seem to be wearing at any quicker rate; they were in fact quite durable. It is a complaint I've heard of these socks however, with a top tip being to apply nail varnish to the cut edges, sealing any threads.
The manual cutting is a bit of a downside though and thins the line between just buying a pair of socks and cutting a hole in them. The only reason I can see of doing this is to cut production costs but this doesn't seem to be reflected in the RRP: £14.99, about what you'd expect for a pair of oversocks. You do get a greater material density than most the competition, which does mean they do a better job at keeping your tootsies warm. So if you're happy taking scissors to some brand new kit, you'll have a fine pair of oversocks.
Tough oversocks with plenty of insulation, but having to cut your own cleat hole is annoying.
road.cc test report
Make and model: DeFeet Slipstream
Size tested: Black
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?
DeFeet says: "As recently as the late 1980's, professional road cyclists would wear a pair of socks over their shoes while racing and training. If asked why they did this, they would answer 'It's warmer, more aerodynamic, keeps my shoes cleaner, looks better, and it makes me faster.' Of course, one could argue that putting cotton socks over cycling shoes makes none of those possible. DeFeet crafted a solution that actually keeps windchill off the feet, creates smoother lines, keeps dirt out, looks better, and ultimately makes riders faster. Slipstreams™ also last much longer than a pair of socks while barely costing more. Pay homage to the classic era of cycling, wear Slipstreams™ and go faster."
Not sure about barely costing more than a pair of socks - only if you grace your feet with £10+. They also don't mention you will still be cutting a hole for your cleat like in the 80s. Otherwise, a nice history lesson.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
56% Cordura Nylon 32% Lycra 7% Elastic 5% Nylon makes for a dense material which should prevent snagging and also does a good job at keeping the wind out. The cuff is a slightly looser fit around your ankle.
One of the best at keeping feet warm.
In the middle here because if you don't take care with the cut, I can see these falling appart rather quickly
Comfortable even worn as socks!
An £14.99RRP is smack in the middle of pre-cut oversocks. Whilst the material is denser than you can expect with most the competition, I'd have expected the manual cutting to reduce production costs more.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Did a great job at keeping wind chill away from my feet.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The density of the sock body.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Manual cutting of the cleat hole - this might be of preference for some.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes - I can get over having to cut the cleat hole as it is a solid oversock.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
About the tester
Age: 23 Height: 184cm Weight: 66kg
I usually ride: Orbea Onix (Carbon) - Summer, Orbea Asphalt (Alu) - Winter My best bike is: Orbea Alma G10
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Semi pro
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, club rides, mtb,