The Swiftwick Vision Six Spectrum Navy Socks are mid-calf length and a classic road sock. They're really comfy even for long rides, wick well and keep your feet a good temperature. They're well-made and even deal with hot washes and accidental tumble dries – but the price is high.
The fabric is a synthetic mix but feels distinctly less man-made than many (it's 74% nylon, 17% olefin and 9% spandex, to be precise). The Vision Six is designed for 'medium cushioning' and moderate compression.
There's quite a big jump between the sizes – small/medium (35-42) or L-XL (43-48) – but the fabric is quite stretchy and I found my recommended size absolutely bang on.
There's a fair helping of mesh to gulp in cooling air (and of course, water) but breathability is good, rather than great. Support to the toe and heel sections is excellent, and I suffered no hot spots even after five hours in the saddle. The moderate cushioning works well – it's actually more comfortable and less intrusive than some heavier blends.
The cuff height also covers most bases. It's a bit short for a trail sock, perhaps, but long enough to offer decent protection on gravel rides, and great for road riding.
Most mid-range synthetic fibres are pretty good these days, regardless of shoes, and the Vision Sixes keep my feet refreshingly arid. The worst I experienced was a mild 'glow' around the balls of my feet. It's slightly better than some merino blends, but can't rival that of some made from flax linen.
Odour management is similarly impressive, even with repeated wears on long, hot rides. They're not not the fastest-drying after heavy rain, though – my feet stay soggier than with flax, or Alpaca yarns – and take around 20 minutes to go from soggy to suitably arid.
These emerge looking good and smelling fragrant on fast, 40-degree washes with no obvious signs of deterioration. Ours even got caught up in some bedding and did a turn in the drier with no ill-effect.
£16 is very much at the upper end and, though these are solid performers, there's a lot of competition. For starters, Rapha Pro Team Socks come in at £15, while Santini Mille High Profile Socks are £14.99.
It's not hard to find good performance for much less, either. I'm also fond of Coolmax models, such as the Road.cc Argyle Coolmax Socks, which give change from £7 and arguably massively out-style even the Italian boutiques...
The Swiftwick Vision Six Spectrum Navy socks live up to their name – or at least every other word – and offer excellent performance and comfort. You're certainly getting a decent sock for your money, but then again there are some very capable designs with smaller price tags.
Capable and very comfortable, but pricey
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Swiftwick Vision Six Spectrum Navy socks
Size tested: Large
Tell us what the product is for
Swiftwick says "You have no limits, neither should your socks. VISION™ Six Spectrum gives you the support you need with high-performance fibers and moisture-wicking technology that regulate temperature and keep you dry.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
"High-performance fibers wick moisture to keep feet dry and cool.
Medium cushion provides all-day comfort while moderate compression gently hugs and supports the contours of your feet.
Six-inch cuff height rests just below mid-calf.
74% Nylon / 17% Olefin / 9% Spandex."
Well made with no signs of bobbling, loose threads, or similar wear to date.
Very good, especially by synthetic standards.
Nothing to indicate they shouldn't live long lives.
Length and cut bang on for most forms of road-biased riding.
Offer excellent support to the heel, ball and toe-box area.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Has been tossed in with the regular wash and minimal detergent. No shrinkage or distortion.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very comfortable with wicking that's impressive for a synthetic weave.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The design, support and feel.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
£16 is quite high and though these are solid performers, there's a lot of quality competition. Rapha Pro team Socks come in at £15, while Santini Mile High Profile Socks are £14.99.
It's not hard to find good performance for much less, either, such as the road.cc Coolmax, which give change from £7 and arguably massively out-styles even the Italian boutiques...
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
Decent socks for road-biased riding and very comfortable – if they were cheaper they'd get an eight, but at the price they're good and a seven.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)