The dhb Aeron Lab Winter Sock is warm and comfortable yet non-bulky and lightweight. A sophisticated mix of textiles that includes silk, wool and ceramic yarn gives them an excellent performance, but they are very expensive.
The sock has been thoughtfully designed to supply extra insulation without the extra volume of the typical winter sock that can make your regular shoes feel too tight.
It does this by keeping the fabric on the top of the foot relatively thin, while a thicker terry material pads the sole. The toebox of a walking sock has apparently been grafted on for extra reinforcement and warmth at the extremities. This is where the ceramic yarn is used: the fabric here has a felty feel and is less stretchy.
Overall, unlike some socks, the dhbs swaddle the foot rather than grip it.
The cuff is made from a summer-weight mesh and is nice and long – firmly in Zone 03, the 'Pro Zone' as a point of reference for #sockdopers – and also functional, providing a welcome extra layer between your skin and the top of an overshoe. Unlike the gentler approach of the foot section, the cuff exerts a firm but even grip around the lower leg and stays high.
Although the height is right, some might prefer the branding to be either more discreet or perhaps a little more imaginative. We're in an era when socks are a crucial component of a cyclist's identity, even winter ones, so the aesthetic ought to be carefully considered.
I haven't been able to fault the performance of the dhb Aeron Lab Winter Socks. They are very comfortable and the terry footbed makes them feel especially plush. The extra insulation is noticeable yet they don't get sweaty – despite the 80% synthetic fabric I didn't notice them holding onto odours even after long, arduous rides. They've got soaked too, and have dried out as quickly as any other cycling sock.
They are, however, pretty expensive – a penny more than the £17.99 Defeet Cyclismo Tabs we reviewed in February, and the same price as Assos' Assosoires Winter Socks. They are still cheaper than some, though – Rapha's Pro Team Winter Socks are £20 – and if paying a few extra quid mitigates the chilly or uncomfortable feet that can ruin a ride then I'm all for it. For autumn or spring riding, or even chilly morning commuting, these are just the job.
Super-comfortable technical socks that supply extra warmth with minimal bulk – but expensive
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road.cc test report
Make and model: dhb Aeron Lab Winter Sock
Size tested: 9.5-12
Tell us what the product is for
According to dhb: "The dhb Aeron Lab winter socks offer riders a lightweight sock, but with excellent warmth and wicking properties. These are the socks for those who want the feel of a summer sock, but with added warmth."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
dhb lists these features:
Lightweight winter sock
Part of the dhb Aeron Lab collection
Primaloft synthetic insulation provides premium warmth and fantastic moisture management
Terry padded footbed for added comfort and warmth
Ceramic yarn in the toebox for durability and warmth where its needed most
Sock Length: Long
50% Polyester, 25% Polyamide (Nylon), 10% Silk, 10% Wool, 5% Elastane (Spandex)
Construction is pretty complicated but very well and seamlessly executed. Different weights of fabric cover different areas of the foot and lower leg and it's very effective.
An even pressure on the lower leg kept the cuff taut and high, while the easier-fitting foot felt really comfortable.
The size 9.5-12 was perfect on my size 10s.
Beautifully plush around the foot.
Although the performance is good, they're very expensive – up there with Assos and its winter Assosoires, also £18, though £2 cheaper than Rapha's Pro Team Winter Socks.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
After four or five wash cycles and some intensive wearing the sole has bobbled slightly, but the cuff (the visible section) is still good.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
I tested the dhb Aeron Lab Winter Sock in autumn in a range of conditions and can confirm that the description of it as a lightweight sock with added warmth is accurate. I plan to use it into deep winter with overshoes and am confident the extra insulation will be sufficient.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
It's super-comfortable with a lovely plush feel around the foot and a nice long cuff that stays looking tight.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I'm not keen on the big orange lettering up the back.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's at the upper end of sock pricing.
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
dhb has done well to create a thicker, plusher sock for colder conditions that doesn't make your regular road shoes feel too small. Every element of the construction has been carefully thought about, from the cuff down to the toebox. However, the very loud branding won't be for everyone and the price is very high.
About the tester
I usually ride: Racer Rosa custom alu My best bike is: Colnago Master Olympic
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: time trialling, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, school run on a tandem
Simon finished his MA in online journalism back in 2003 when the internet wasn't very exciting or popular yet. So he got a job as a sub editor on Britain's biggest weekly cycling magazine, where as well as taking out commas and putting them back in again he got to review a lot of bikes and kit.
As a keen time triallist he has spent many hours riding up and down dual carriageways early in the morning and has a national medal, a 19-minute 10 and a few open wins in his palmarès.
He and his eight-year-old son do the school run on a tandem, beating the traffic in car-choked Reigate and getting a great workout at the same time (for one of them).