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We reviewed some Woolie Boolie socks on road.cc last year, but as winter comes around again it's time to test DeFeet's newer version with the ingenious name of Woolie Boolie 2 and longer (4in) cuffs. These socks are warm, comfortable, and fairly priced, but they're thicker than most cycling socks so make sure you've got shoes big enough to take them.
As the name implies, Woolie Boolie socks are made predominantly of wool, merino wool to be exact, which has excellent heat-retaining qualities. Merino wool is also very comfortable against the skin and not at all itchy.
Even better, merino keeps you warm even when it gets wet. And it also breaths and wicks moisture away from the skin, a feature only fully appreciated by those already wearing these socks and (according to DeFeet's the advertising blurb) sheep.
Without doubt, these Woolie Boolie socks will keep your feet warm in winter, but they're definitely thicker than 'normal' cycling socks, so you may find them a bit of a jam in your shoes (unless, like many wise cyclists, your winter shoes are a tad bigger than your summer shoes).
Even allowing for room inside the shoes, one downside I noticed on these socks was the large seam on the inside that sits across the top of the toes. This seam had 'lumps' at each end where there thread had been cut and secured, and these lumps were noticeable – and slightly irritating - inside the shoe when cycling. It's not the end of the world, and some careful positioning of the seam can move the lumps to a position where you can't feel them. They also seem to get softer after a few washes.
Although DeFeet have some spectacularly colourful socks in their range, the colour choice for the Woolie Boolie 2 is limited to dark grey, presumably on the basis they'll be under long tights and over-shoes most of the time.
These Woolie Boolie 2 socks retail at around £13, although you can find them for nearer 12 quid at your local bike shop and even less the usual on-line stores. Compared to other merino wool socks from other manufacturers, this is a good price. They are also available in an even longer (6in) version at a slightly higher cost.
Excellent socks for winter riding. Extremely comfortable and fairly priced, but make sure your shoes are roomy enough.
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Make and model: DeFeet Woolie Boolie 2 Merino socks
Size tested: Large
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?
The product is a pair of socks, designed for winter cycling. The De Feet website waxes lyrical. " When the Woolie Boolie was launched, old Molteni jerseys had long been mothballed ... The Woolie Boolie re-ignited all of the great memories of wool products past - and brought back none of the shortcomings ... 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?
On the UK distributor's website carries this additional information: "Wool is a staple of the DeFeet line. DeFeet source the highest grade wools on the planet. Combined with DeFeet construction the result is the finest wool sock that you can buy. The DeFeet wool line is continually growing. Wool has attributes that can't be found in other fibres. DeFeet wool socks stay cooler in the heat because of the construction of the mesh. They stay warmer when they are wet and in cooler temperatures because of the amazing thermal properties of wool."
These socks are well made, and have a great reputation. The lumps at the end of the seams near the toes might be irritating to some riders, but they're not a deal breaker.
Performance is very good indeed. These socks do exactly what they're suposed to do: keep your feet warm in cold conditions.
These socks are very comfortable. Despite expectations, merino wool is very comfortable next to the skin
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The socks performed very well, in that they keep my feet warm in cold conditions and are very comfortable.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Comfortable, warm, good in the wet too.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I was irritated by those lumps at the end of the seams, but that may just be a personal thing.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Age: 51 Height: 5ft 10 / 178cm Weight: 11 stone / 70kg
I usually ride: an old Marin Alp, or an old steel classic My best bike is: an old Giant Cadex (can you see a theme here?)
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,