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Are cycling socks worth it?

Words by Cycles UK

on 29/04/2021 16:58:55

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It's essential to be comfortable on your bike. Most riders spend a lot of time looking into contact points such as the saddle, your feet and legs do a lot of hard work, cycling socks can make a difference to your ride comfort.

Cycling socks come in various lengths, and if you're riding for leisure, then the size sock you choose will probably be based on aesthetics. However, if you are entering serious competitions, sock height can be regulated, so it is worth checking rules. This is due to the benefits of compressing the leg with a longer sock; therefore, sock height is strictly regulated by the UCI to:

"Socks and overshoes used in competition may not rise above the height defined by half the distance between the middle of the lateral malleolus (bone on the outside of the ankle joint) and the middle of the fibula head (kind of behind your knee)."

This is why you might see footage of socks being measured at the Tour de France and hear outraged whispers of socks being pulled up!

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Cycling socks are traditionally thin; this is due to the Synthetic fibres they are made from also allows the technical features such as contact with the shoe to perform their best. However, winter socks are made from Merino wool and are much thicker. Merino wool has been continually proven to be the most effective natural fibre for heat management. It has natural moisture-wicking properties and a natural crimp in the fibre, which traps warm air.

Cycling socks are designed to:

  • Be close-fitting, the thought being some compression, can assist recovery. A close fit also keeps the sock in place and removes the chances of rubbing.
  • Have better contact with the inside of your shoe
  • Have a higher thread count providing more protection from dirt on the road.
  • Synthetic fibres are better at wicking sweat from the foot into the shoe.
  • Have fewer seams to avoid rubbing and abrasion.