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Castelli's Superleggera W 12 Socks are great in mild weather – they're breathable, soft, comfortable, and look great too. They're not exactly cheap, though, and the inner stitching seems prone to wear.
The socks are available in two sizes, S/M and L/XL, which I've been testing. Accordingly to Castelli's size chart, this corresponds to a 39-41 shoe size. I'm actually a 42, but they are a good fit. They're snug without being compressive, hold their position well and give a sense of support around the foot arch, thanks to the mid-foot support band.
White might look great, but it's not always practical for UK conditions so it's good that it isn't the only option – there are four other colours to choose from.
I've been testing these in mild-to-cool conditions, and with their 12cm cuff they offer good coverage. I've tried them on the turbo too, to simulate something sweatier. While I prefer a shorter cuff for summer rides, they offer good levels of breathability on the turbo; my feet really didn't feel sweaty or clammy.
On the road they've been absolutely spot on for mid-teen temperatures with no oversocks. I was pleasantly surprised that they kept my feet warm enough.
As the temperatures have come closer to single figures, I've added an oversock or overshoe and continued to be impressed – no cold feet and no overheating. I'd say that they are more versatile than their weight suggests.
The interior of the sock is supersoft and comfy. The fabric at the ball of the foot and under the toes is thicker than in other sections, offering noticeable cushioning while riding.
The ankle and top of the foot are a light, mesh construction, and the 15 per cent elastane content ensures that the socks really do accommodate your feet with ease.
Unfortunately, the stitching offering the interior comfort isn't looking that durable, being prone to threads being pulled out, though the exterior is only showing light bobbling to date.
In my opinion, the comfort and performance of the Superleggeras are somewhat overshadowed by potential issues with durability, and £16 is a high price tag given this. That said, if you can get them discounted, they'll be a good three-season addition to your wardrobe, for a while at least.
Comfortable, breathable and versatile, as long as they last
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Castelli Superleggera W 12 Sock
Size tested: Large
Tell us what the product is for
They're lightweight socks for warmer days.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
-200-needle construction for extra stretch.
-Lightest mesh ankle and top of foot for hot-weather comfort.
-Midfoot support band.
-Meryl® Skinlife yarns with antimicrobial silver ions to reduce odour.
If your feet are bigger than a 42, I'd say the L/XL option will be stretched to its limit.
You can pay less for similar quality socks.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Simple: 30 degrees. The white ones have needed some extra stain remover to keep them bright white.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Great – comfy and breathable.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Soft interior and ability to cope with cooler conditions.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Stitching on the inside seems vulnerable.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Not at full price.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe
Use this box to explain your overall score
They're very comfortable and breathable for a range of temperatures that exceeds what you might expect from a summer sock, but the inside seems prone to wear; take the price into account too and I'd say that overall they're quite good.
About the tester
I usually ride: Road My best bike is: Carbon road.
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, general fitness riding, Getting to grips with off roading too!
Emma’s first encounters with a road bike were in between swimming and running. Soon after competing for GB in the World Age Group Triathlon Championships in Edmonton in 2001 she saw the light and decided to focus on cycling.
After a couple of half decent UK road seasons racing for Leisure Lakes, she went out to Belgium to sample the racing there and spent two years with Lotto-Belisol Ladies team, racing alongside the likes of Sara Carrigan, Grace Verbeke, Rochelle Gilmore and Lizzie Deignan. Emma moved from Lotto-Belisol to Dutch team Redsun, then a new Belgian team of primarily developing riders, where there was less pressure, an opportunity to share her experience and help build a whole new team; a nice way to spend her final years of professional racing.
Since retiring Emma has returned to teaching. When not coercing kids to do maths, she is invariably out on two wheels. In addition to the daily commute, Emma still enjoys getting out on her road bike and having her legs ripped off on the local club rides and chain gangs. She has also developed an addiction to touring, with destinations including Iceland, Georgia and Albania, to mention just a few. There have also been rare sightings of Emma off-road on a mountain bike…