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The Velocio Winter Wool Sock is supremely comfy thanks to its fluffy lower half and thinner, stretchier and bulk-reducing upper. It's merino-based but not the warmest for really chilly pedalling, due to that relatively thin cuff, but subtle styling and great durability means they're useful off the bike as well as on.
This updated version features a padded terry loop footbed, toe and heel, but its paired with a flat knit instep and cuff to reduce bulk. At eight inches the cuffs keep ankles cosily covered and tights well tucked in [insert socks-over-tights argument here], and the half-inch welt at the top retains a comfortably snug grip.
The combination means that, once on, these feel quite thin for a winter sock and fit easily in whatever shoe size you normally wear.
In this grey (you can also get black) with just a discreet multicolour tab on the cuff, the Winter Socks are subtle and stylish both on and off the bike – and they're all-day comfortable. The 58% merino wool content means they're soft and comfortable, and the padded sole feels cosseting.
Obviously, as they're not as thick as some winter socks they're also not as warm. For me it's good sock on its own around the 10° mark, and any lower I wanted extra shoe coverage. Once it got below 5° I found they struggled, even with overshoes or in a winter shoe, though of course everybody's different.
For the record, my default winter sock is the DeFeet Woolie Boolie, and while the Velocio is warm the Woolie Boolie is warmer. It's also much thicker all round – enough, in fact, to mean probably going up a shoe size.
Hopefully these socks will avoid the comments bunfight the Albion Winter Socks attracted, especially as those also contain merino and do a similar job – keeping your feet warm or destroying the planet, the choice is yours – for a slightly lower price (£20). The MAAP Alt_Road Merino Socks are also cosy on or off the bike, but they contain more merino as cost more at £25.
My perennial favourite the Woolie Boolie is £18.10 with a 6in cuff, but bulkier and lacking the finesse of the Velocio socks, which might in turn mean you need a roomier pair of shoes.
Meanwhile the Galibier Fire Feet 2 socks are half the price at £9.77 and have a similar spec, although durability might be a problem.
These socks have been on heavy rotation and they've held up incredibly well. There has been only the mildest shrinkage for a merino-based sock, and the elastic top half remains wrinkle-free snug. Despite my big toes making short work of many socks, there isn't the merest hint of wear or nascent hole in these, either.
My only gripe is that the lower fluffier section is suffering from some pilling, but really, that's minor. These are great over many hours, and capable of standing up to those hours without falling apart or getting smelly either.
Super comfortable merino socks that are equally good on or off the bike, if not the warmest available
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Velocio Winter Wool Sock
Size tested: Small/Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Velocio says: "Updated for added warmth without bulk, the Winter Wool adds terry loop padding to the footbed and up over the toes for ultra-fine merino comfort against the elements. The strategically placed padding keeps the socks comfortable in a cycling shoe without feeling bulky. Nylon is incorporated for durability and longevity in high wear areas, with a touch of elastane for a perfect fit."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
58% Merino Wool, 35% Nylon, 6% Elastodiene, 1% Elastane
Made in Italy
Nicely made, and the padded bottom half and lighter, snugger top work well together.
Very comfortable, though not as warm as some when the temperature really drops thanks to the thinner tops.
Some slight shrinkage and pilling, but in general these wear well.
Room in the bottom section to wiggle toes and snug enough around the ankle to stay in place.
For winter socks they're light.
The fully padded lower section of the sock makes it really comfy, whatever shoe you slide it into.
I'm happy to pay extra for socks that keep my feet warm and are durable, and these seem to be about the right price for a merino-based winter sock. Being able to use them beyond cycling adds value too – some are just too fragile for that.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Fine shoved in with all the other cycling kit on a low temperature wash with a sports detergent. I've had a small amount of shrinkage over time, but not enough to be an issue.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Supremely comfortable, merino soft and non smelly, if not the warmest winter sock.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The warm fluffy footbed, off bike versatility, multi-wear merino anti-stink and good durability.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not as warm as other winter socks.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Hopefully these socks will avoid the comments bunfight the Albion Winter Socks attracted, especially as those also contain merino and do a similar job for a slightly lower price (£20). The MAAP Alt_Road Merino Socks are also cosy on or off the bike, but they contain more merino as cost more at £25.
My perennial favourite the Woolie Boolie is £18.10 with a 6in cuff, but bulkier and lacking the finesse of the Velocio socks, which might in turn mean you need a roomier pair of shoes. Meanwhile the Galibier Fire Feet 2 socks are half the price at £9.77 and have a similar spec, although durability might be a problem.
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
The two-part construction – padded footbed with a flat knit cuff – and merino element mean these work well. They offer warmth (to a certain degree), a useful resistant to smells and great comfort. The not obviously cycling design means that can safely be worn anywhere off the bike, and even though I've done that a lot they're holding up very well. They're really very good.
About the tester
I usually ride: It varies as to the season. My best bike is: The one I\'m on at the time
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: road racing, cyclo cross, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Fun
Jo Burt has spent the majority of his life riding bikes, drawing bikes and writing about bikes. When he's not scribbling pictures for the whole gamut of cycling media he writes words about them for road.cc and when he's not doing either of those he's pedaling. Then in whatever spare minutes there are in between he's agonizing over getting his socks, cycling cap and bar-tape to coordinate just so. And is quietly disappointed that yours don't He rides and races road bikes a bit, cyclo-cross bikes a lot and mountainbikes a fair bit too. Would rather be up a mountain.