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When you've gone aero everywhere else and it's only your feet left, you're going to need a pair of socks co-developed with an aerodynamic specialist... and that is what you have here with the Le Col x McLaren Project Aero Socks. They're impressively comfortable and excellent quality – as you'd hope for the price.
In collaboration with McLaren, of Formula One fame, Le Col has developed a whole aero collection which incorporates a speedsuit in long (£375) or short sleeve (£350), a short sleeve jersey (£170) and a long sleeve jersey for £195. These socks are the finishing touch, for a mere £35.
What you've basically got here is a main foot section that's 100% knitted polyamide and feels like a traditional sock material, with terry padded sections for the toe and base, and an 82% polyester, 18% elastane blend for the lower leg section.
This upper section is basically similar to a lightweight overshoe that you'd likely find covering the shoes of most time-triallists; minimalist, with a virtual skin-like feeling. The stretch of the fabric and the silicone gripper at the top keep things in place.
The aero benefit? Well, for the majority of us it's not going to make the slightest bit of difference, but if you've covered every other base you can to remove drag then I suppose the theory makes sense.
I'm not here to belittle the effectiveness or the claims made – these socks are a tiny piece in what has been designed as a full aero clothing system – but I can't confirm them either.
I did spend years riding time trials and while I was pretty drawn into the whole aero kit thing, spending a fortune on a skinsuits, helmets and so on, I was nowhere near the extreme level of some who were touching the podium, and I know for some riders these (very) marginal claims are important.
What I can confirm, though, is that these are very comfortable socks.
The foot section with that padding feels sumptuous in your shoe, while the lighter-weight sections are breathable and also create a very snug fit.
The material is soft to the touch, too, and all of the seams have been positioned out of the way. I could wear these things for hours.
The quality is exceptionally high as well.
As for the cost, while double the price of most 'normal' cycling socks, they aren't alone in being a little extravagant. Defeet charges £29.99 for its Evo Disruptor socks which it claims offer a watt reduction over bare shaved legs.
I can't quantify the aerodynamic gains, and they are going to be very marginal anyway, but I will say that these are some very comfortable and well-made socks. Whether that justifies 35 quid is up to you.
Aero doesn't always mean comfortable, but it does here
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Le Col x McLaren Project Aero Socks
Size tested: Large/XL
Tell us what the product is for
Le Col says: "The Le Col x McLaren Project Aero Socks have been refined to offer compressive and wind tunnel proven air tripping fabrics over the compressive silicone gripped upper to offer efficiencies that take you faster and further for free.'
'Tested against Team Issue WorldTour kit at races, in the wind tunnel, and on the track. In every scenario, this kit has outperformed them all"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
From Le Col:
WindTunnel tested and developed with McLaren Experts
Terry padded toe and base.
Reinforced toe box
Hex Construction base for improved breathability
Aero Channelled Speed fabrics over upper
Pre-applied bonded gripper for secure sock height
Flatlock seam for strength and comfort over the rear
Knitted & sublimated Le Col x McLaren Branding
Direct applied silicone on internal cuff
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Following the washing instructions, no issues whatsoever.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
As a pair of socks they are durable and comfortable, a pleasure to have on your feet for many hours.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Foot section is impressively comfortable.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Aero gains are minimal for the money.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The Defeet aero offering comes close, but most non-aero socks are half the price (or less) and can be just as comfortable.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, they are very comfortable.
Would you consider buying the product? No, the cost would outweigh any aero benefits.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, if they wanted a comfortable aero sock and price wasn't an issue.
Use this box to explain your overall score
Excellent quality and very comfortable, although the claimed gains wouldn't be enough for me to part with £35.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!