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The Rapha Pro Team Winter Socks are designed to be warm without excess bulk, made from a merino wool blend, with reinforced heel and toe areas and a longer cuff. The overall performance is good, but they aren't as warm as some of a similar thickness.
Any sock designed for winter use has the tough job of trying to keep one of the most exposed and least protected areas of your body warm through a wide temperature range. Merino wool has become a very popular choice, with its natural ability to hold warmth even when wet – which can be quite frequent if you ride through a full British winter.
These Pro Team Winter socks are made with 60% merino and 40% nylon, a common blend for socks.
I used them in a variety of conditions, usually without overshoes to give a better indication of warmth and performance. At 3°C, the coldest temperature I wore them, my feet were cold, especially my toes. While Rapha says the toe box is reinforced, the extra bulk is quite minimal compared with some winter socks I've used, such as the Galibier Fire Feet 2, where the extra bulk in the toe is more noticeable.
Rapha might call it a winter sock, but to my mind unless you wear them with an overshoe they are more spring/summer socks. It's not such a concern at the moment perhaps, but Rapha does also produce a Deep Winter sock, for £27, which might be better for full-on winter conditions.
Their ability to stay warm when wet is also limited – they certainly didn't retain as much warmth as my personal favourite Surly merino socks when wet.
The Pro Team socks still perform well compared with some, though, and the balance of warmth to thickness is quite good. I didn't find my feet too compressed wearing my normal all-year round shoes.
I found the socks very comfortable, with a soft feel, and with five sizes on offer, each one covering just two UK shoes sizes (or three EU), you should be able to find a good close fit. They were also true to size.
While £22 might seem expensive for a pair of socks, £18 to £22 is quite typical. The Albion Winter Socks, for example, are £20, as are Monton's Pro Suutu socks (still reduced to £12), while Giro's HRC+ Merino socks are £21.99, and MAAP's Alt_Road Merino socks are £25.
There are warmer socks available, especially if you have enough space in your shoes to accommodate a thicker design, but overall the Pro Team Winter socks offer warmth with minimal extra bulk, and with plenty of sizes to choose from you should be able to achieve a good fit for comfort.
Comfortable and well made, if not as warm as some
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Rapha Pro Team Winter Socks
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Rapha says: "Cold feet are a common complaint among pro riders. Made with an ultralight, highly insulating merino wool blend rather than the usual thicker fabrics, the Pro Team Winter Socks keep feet warmer and drier for longer. Thin enough to fit inside winter shoes without restricting toe movement, the socks also have a longer cuff for stability and reinforced toe and heel boxes for long lasting durability. The Pro Team Winter Socks, for speed and comfort in the cold."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Made of an ultralight, insulating Merino blend for warmth without bulk
Signature Pro Team styling
Reinforced, anti-friction toe and heel boxes
Not as warm as other socks I've worn of a similar thickness.
True to size, with five available to ensure a good fit.
Good when the conditions are not too cold or wet.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Washed multiple times at 30 degrees they've maintained their shape and size.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Classed as a winter sock, but not the warmest, struggling in low single figure temperatures. Nearer 10 degrees they were far better.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Soft, comfortable feel.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not as warm as other socks with a higher percentage of merino wool.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
There are more expensive socks, such as the £25 MAAP Alt_Roads, but plenty around the same price from the likes of Albion, Monton and Giro.
Did you enjoy using the product? They were OK on milder days, but not when temperatures were low.
Would you consider buying the product? Maybe, but there are other socks I would pick over these.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Probably not.
Use this box to explain your overall score
Though not as warm as some winter socks, they do still offer decent warmth for the thickness, and are well made and comfortable. Overall I'd say they're good – but for milder conditions.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is: Cannondale SystemSix
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: road racing, cyclo cross, sportives, mtb, Lots of gravel style riding
Matt is an endurance nut who loves big rides and big events. He's a former full-time racer and 24hr event specialist, but now is also happy riding off-road on gravel bikes or XC mountain bikes and exploring the mountains and hills of Mid Wales.