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American company DeFeet is perhaps best known or its Aerator summer socks, but it does a pretty mean line in winter socks too. The Woolie Boolie sockas are made from every discerning rider's favourite material, Merino.
Or at least, a Merino blend with a bit of nylon and Lycra thrown in for good measure. It's all a bit unclear: DeFeet does not specify on its website, and the UK stockists differ in their claims: 64% or 72% Merino? Difficult to say. I suppose the other bits are important to help the sock keep its shape (which it does very well), and the Merino for all the super-material qualities we are told it possesses: warmth, sweat wicking and anti-bacterial (and hence anti-pong) properties. A certain other purveyor of high-quality Merino goods also has a similar blend in its winter socks, so it sounds like both companies have hit on the right idea.
Unlike some winter socks, or hiking socks, say, there's no variation in the Woolie Boolie's thickness - no padded heels or toes. They're quite slim and seem to be knitted unusually - a little bit coarser than some, with the inner characterised by a sort of looped yarn, which gives texture, almost like a towelling material. It's very pleasant, and the Woolie Boolies are certainly warm, performing well in either winter boots or regular shoes and overshoes.
In the coldest conditions — all-day rides when the temperatures were staying below 5°C — I wore a normal pair of socks underneath, and never had cause to complain. My circulation is pretty poor, so it's great to be able to ride for hours without a second thought about the extremities. Commuting, even in the icy cold, is a cinch, and they stay impressively stink-free.
I'd recommend Woolie Boolies without any hesitation. They're very good value, and I've taken to wearing them when in civvies, and even around the house. Some people have reported they shrink slightly when washed, but I didn't find this, on a cool wool cycle. My only gripe: the base model is fairly short in the cuff. 2.4in to be precise. However, there are now several more options, including a knee-length Woolie Boolie and socks with six-inch cuffs, so that's be your calves sorted too.
A warm, good-value answer to the winter toe blues.
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Make and model: Defeet Woolie Boolie Socks
Size tested: Charcoal - L
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?
Woolen socks for winter riding. Says the website:
"Long before wool became so trendy, we birthed the Woolie Boolie™. When the Woolie Boolie was launched, old Molteni jerseys had long been mothballed. Army Surplus wool pants were undervalued and plentiful. Grandpa's wool sailing sweater and itchy underwear had been digested by Goodwill for at least a decade. The Woolie Boolie re-ignited all of the great memories of wool products past - and brought back none of the shortcomings. Itchy? No. Trusted companion on the most severe missions we go on? Yes. If a pair of socks has ever gotten close to having a true cult following, it's the Woolie Boolie."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Not much to report, Definitely a Merino blend, but other than that, they're socks. You know, heel, toe, sleeve, cuff...
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Could have been a bit longer.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? I have in the past and I will again
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 31 Height: 1.78m Weight: 65kg
I usually ride: Cinelli Strato road or fixed commuter hack. 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: commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,