These medium-weight merino wool socks from Sportful with a padded sole boast good winter comfort and warmth, but they're rather pricey. They do though provide plenty of insulation for colder days with a generous length to keep more of the lower leg area wrapped up.
They're made from Merino wool with 40% nylon which they say is to avoid shrinkage. I've worn other merino wool socks and can't say I've ever experienced issues with them shrinking through the wash. These held up just fine, half a dozen washes so far and they're still as good as new.
Slip them over your feet and there's the usual softness we've come to expect from merino, but they're far from the most luxurious-feeling socks I've pulled onto my feet. They do provide good insulation on colder rides, and stepping up from summer socks to these as this time of year you really notice the difference during a ride. The sole is slightly padded for extra warmth but maintains a thin weave over the top of the foot to ensure good breathability. You want your feet to be kept warm, but you want to avoid overheating.
The price puts them at the top end of what we'd expect to pay for a winter sock.They're a pound more than Rapha's winter socks, and quite a bit more than the excellent Moose NordKapp socks tested last winter, which makes these, as good as they are, hard to recommend. Shopping around reveals you can get them at lower prices, at which point they start to look a bit more attractive.
They're available in three colours and three sizes.
Really good winter socks but the high price works against them.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Sportful Merino Medium Sock
Size tested: m/l, 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?
Light weight cycling socks with a merino wool and nylon construction for effective insulation with a soft, luxurious feel. Featuring a medium height cuff to overlap with your tights for warmth and coverage on cold with training rides.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Merino wool with durable Isowool sole
40% nylon to minimize shrinkage
Padded sole with thin portion over foot
Sportful logo detailing
Half a dozen washes and they still look box fresh, and that's despite using them on a muddy cyclo-cross ride.
They're not the softest next to the skin merino socks I've ever tested.
At RRP, they're hard to justify, but shop around and you can find them quite a bit cheaper, at which point they look good.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tick the boxes for winter cycling.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Padded sole boosts comfort and warmth. Generous length provides extra layer over the shins.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Only the price really works against them.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Maybe.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? I'd recommend they shop around for a better price.
About the tester
Age: 31 Height: 180 Weight: 67
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,
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.