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Verdict: 
Warm and comfortable even in sub-zero temperatures
Weight: 
88g
Kalf Winter Merino Sock
9 10

The Kalf Winter Merino Sock is comfortable and warm even when the mercury drops below freezing. With generous reflectives on the back for visibility, it's hard to imagine a much better winter sock.

  • Pros: Comfortable, warm, easy to get on and off, good reflective details
  • Cons: None

A background in long-distance running means I'm incredibly sensitive to what I put on my feet. This isn't just about being precious – get this wrong when you're running 100 miles and you literally pay for it in blood. As a result I have become ridiculously attuned to the comfort of everything that goes near my toes. So I'm delighted to report that the Kalf socks felt snug and cosy from the moment I pulled them on. I could tell instantly that these were a Nice Place to put my feet.

> Find your nearest Evans store here

I immediately took the Kalfs out on an all-day ride. Starting before dawn and ending in the night, this ride saw temperatures ranging from -3 to +9 degrees. I wore ordinary cycling shoes with just these socks and a pair of overshoes. I won't quite say my feet were sweating during the colder and darker sections, and there were one or two moments I felt a slight chill, but my toes were never uncomfortably cold. Throughout almost all of the ride, I never thought about my feet at all – which is exactly what I'd want, and quite impressive on such a long ride in those temperatures.

A couple of days later, to see how the socks held up without overshoes, I wore them on my hour-and-a-half morning commute in temperatures down to -5°C. Once again, I had moments of being dimly aware of my feet on the very coldest sections, but I was never uncomfortable. In the showers afterwards, I didn't experience the painful sensation of the bloodflow returning to the toes that has often been genuinely excruciating after riding in with my regular winter socks. A big plus for the Kalfs there. They really did seem to be warmer than other winter socks I've worn in the past on the same commute.

> Buyer's Guide: Best clothing to keep you warm on winter rides

The reflective chevrons on the back are large and, when I shone a headlamp onto them across a dark room, appeared effective.

The socks don't seem to move around when worn. And, unlike some other cycling socks I own, this isn't achieved by making them ridiculously tight: these socks slip on and off easily, which can be a good thing when you're trying to undress with cold hands. The seams are flat and I never experienced any sort of rubbing or hot-spot, even on all-day rides.

After four or five washes the socks don't show any more signs of wear than you would expect, despite being largely made of real wool (they're 67% merino wool, 31% nylon and 2% Lycra). The reflective dots are holding up well so far too.

Overall, the Zero-Degree Merino Reflective Socks (as the packet calls them – the website calls them Winter Merino Socks) are extremely impressive. They're surprisingly warm and comfortable. If you're in the market for a pair of warm winter socks, I highly recommend you give these a go.

Verdict

Warm and comfortable even in sub-zero temperatures

road.cc test report

Make and model: Kalf Winter Merino Sock

Size tested: Large

Tell us what the product is for

Evans says: "Time spent in the saddle is so much more enjoyable with warm and dry feet. That's why the Kalf Winter Merino Sock is made with a blend of soft merino and polyester for high thermal protection and moisture control. There's also a reflective chevron detail and three colours to choose from that fit perfectly with the rest of the Kalf winter range."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

These are 67% merino wool, 31% nylon and 2% Lycra.

Sizing is:

Small 4-6

Medium 6-8

Large 8-10

X-large 10-12

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

The socks are nicely stitched and show no signs of premature wear despite a few washes. The reflective details are very neatly applied.

Rate the product for performance:
 
10/10

Much warmer and more comfortable than other winter socks I have worn. No signs of rubbing or hotspots, yet easy to get on and off. Performed just fine in temperatures down to below freezing. I can't imagine a sock delivering much more than this.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

After five washes they look almost as good as new. I see no reason to be concerned about durability.

Rate the product for fit:
 
9/10

Very comfortable, with no signs of rubbing or pressure.

Rate the product for sizing:
 
8/10

Perhaps because they're soft wool, these might come up slightly larger than you'd expect. I had the large size (nominally size 8-10) but they were just fine on my size 10.5 feet. If in doubt, consider sizing down.

Rate the product for weight:
 
5/10

There's clearly something to these when you hold them in the hand, but no more than you would expect from a thick winter sock.

Rate the product for comfort:
 
10/10

Extremely comfortable.

Rate the product for value:
 
6/10

At £15 they're worthwhile if you ride in cold temperatures.

How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

I've washed them five times and they're holding up well. They still look largely new.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Very warm and comfortable, even on all-day rides. Definitely warmer than other winter socks I own.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

All-day comfort and sufficient warmth even when below freezing.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Nothing.

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 overall score

Short of the ability to make coffee, I don't know if I could imagine a sock delivering more for cold weather. I'd have gone 10/10 if the price were slightly lower.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 43  Height: 180cm  Weight: 72kg

I usually ride: Cannondale Synapse  My best bike is: Whyte Wessex One

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, mountain biking, audax and long-distance riding

An environmental psychologist by day, Ian spends quite a lot of time on bikes, particularly commuting between Bristol and Bath or doing audax rides. For years he was an ultradistance runner, but this came to an end when he realised getting back onto a bicycle offered the chance to race over much more preposterous distances. Accordingly, he competed in the Transcontinental Race 2017 and is racing the North Cape 4000 in 2018. 

5 comments

Avatar
bobinski [292 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes

I agree with the reviewer. These are excellent cold weather socks, a little longer that my woolie booties, and just as effective and comfortable. 

Avatar
Beecho [370 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes

Purchased and collecting tomorrow. My circulation is appalling. Winter socks, toe thingys and fleece-lined overshoes are my only hope sub 5 degrees.

Let’s see what these bad boys bring to the party...

Avatar
Yorkshire wallet [2055 posts] 7 months ago
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Whatever you do , don't go from the cold bike straight to a hot shower. I did and chilblains were my reward. Toes were like red grapes for about a week.

Avatar
Rapha Nadal [847 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes
bobinski wrote:

I agree with the reviewer. These are excellent cold weather socks, a little longer that my woolie booties, and just as effective and comfortable. 

How thick are they compared to the woolie boolie? I ask as I find the aforementioned to be too thick.

Avatar
LarryDavidJr [391 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes

Be inerested to hear from anyone size 12 who uses these.  My WB2 socks like most, I think, were something -to-11 in size.  Not many people actualyl mark them up as up to 12 and so they always feel just that bit too tight.

Like @Beecho my circulation to my toes is practically non-existent.  They even go cold/numb in summer!