Fourteen quid's an awful lot for a pair of socks, so you'd expect Castelli to be reeling out the proprietary technologies to justify the price. And you won't be disappointed as you read that these socks are made from Meryl Skinlife antibacterial fabric. "There is no [bacterial] migration from fabric to skin. Thanks to the presence of the exclusive bacteriostatic agent in the polymeric matrix (which is inherent in the fibre..... not deposited on the fabrics surface) there is no migration from fabric to skin (avoiding induction of allergy)", I learnt by looking at the manufacturer's website. As a layman I take that to mean that should mean they shouldn't pong so much after a hot 100km. And fair dos, they're better than most synthetic socks in that regard.
But it's the comfort and the look that make these better than a bog-standard cycling sock. They're quite close fitting but never tight, and hard wearing on the bottom too, and the cuff with its big castelli logo and solid colour band looks just so. And I've done some long rides, including a 350km epic, in them and felt fresh as a daisy. At least in the sock department. And I like to think I was looking good at the cafe stops too... no-one said anything though.
The only downside is the price, really; you can pick up a very nice pair of Coolmax socks for half what you'd pay for these Castellis. So they're Sunday best really, which is a shame because they're comfy enough that you'd be happy to wear them every day.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Castelli Riga 9 socks
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?
Cool, stylish, lightweight socks for hot summer riding. The meryl skinlife antibacterial fabric keeps the socks fresh and a mesh upper provides ventilation, evaporation and comfort.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The lightweight 9cm sock for hot weather
Meryl Skinlife antibacterial fibres
Mesh foot part for warm-weather comfort
9cm single-layer ankle cuff folds to become 6cm sock
Rate the product for quality of construction:
Very nicely made socks, these
Rate the product for performance:
Rate the product for durability:
Wearing well after some long stints
Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
Rate the product for value:
£14 ain't cheap but they're good
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well indeed
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Pretty much everything
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Pretty much nothing, other than that they're a bit spendy
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 38 Height: 190cm Weight: 98kg
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Genesis Equilibrium with SRAM Apex
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
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Normally I don't have a small enough violin for them but in this case I guess it's possible that their office / secretary / intern submitted this...