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  1. #1
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    Cycling socks questions.

    What's the deal with cycling socks. Never owned then. What's makes then special? What's the pros and cons of them? What should I look for in non cycling socks?

  2. #2
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    You look for whatever you're comfortable wearing. "Cycling socks," worn with "cycling shoes," tend to be thin (for a good shoe fit, and you don't need the cushioning of running socks), low-topped (though fashion shifts around a bit, and some riders like tall ones) and, most important, made of a fabric that wicks moisture (synthetic or wool). Groovy designs and colors are a fashion statement, NTTAWWT.

  3. #3
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    I prefer cycling socks when I jog too. Defeet is my favourite brand http://www.defeet.com/ . JCavilia pretty much covered what I look for in a sock.
    While we are free to choose our actions, we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions. - Stephen R. Covey.

  4. #4
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    Marketing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCavilia View Post
    You look for whatever you're comfortable wearing. "Cycling socks," worn with "cycling shoes," tend to be thin (for a good shoe fit, and you don't need the cushioning of running socks), low-topped (though fashion shifts around a bit, and some riders like tall ones) and, most important, made of a fabric that wicks moisture (synthetic or wool). Groovy designs and colors are a fashion statement, NTTAWWT.
    Quote Originally Posted by skinewmexico View Post
    Marketing.
    Don't know if it's all marketing...although there is some truth. I've long used standard cotton low rise socks, the ones I wear with my walking/running shoes, on the bike.

    For christmas my sister got me a couple of pairs of socks from The Sock Guy. It changed my perception. They are much thinner than my running socks, they are made of a synthetic wicking material other than cotton and the cuff is thicker and stays up. Oh, and they have cool colors/designs ;)

    Sure $10/pair is probably somewhat overpriced...but they are high quality and made in the US. Since I only wear them for cycling and bought a half dozen pairs they should last awhile.
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    Quote Originally Posted by chudak View Post
    Don't know if it's all marketing...although there is some truth. I've long used standard cotton low rise socks, the ones I wear with my walking/running shoes, on the bike.
    For christmas my sister got me a couple of pairs of socks from The Sock Guy. It changed my perception. They are much thinner than my running socks, they are made of a synthetic wicking material other than cotton and the cuff is thicker and stays up. Oh, and they have cool colors/designs ;)
    Not everyone agrees, but IMHO cotton, though it is wonderful for many clothing uses, is the WORST fiber for socks for any use. It doesn't wick worth a damn (it just gets wet and stays wet), and it loses its resilience when wet.

  7. #7
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    I have sweaty feet and find that cycling socks keep my feet cooler and dryer than standard sports socks. I wear them with running shoes even when I'm not cycling.

    It's also fashion. You can chose a style that coordinates and makes sort of a personal statement.
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  8. #8
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    Definately worth it. Love cycling socks.
    Although pricey function is definately no marketing.

    Cycling socks are thin, breathable, light, wick sweat, allows your foot to fit nice and tight in the shoe with no slop, look great. I made the transition years back from your typical cotton socks and never looked back. hot summer days or long hours in those cotton socks made my feet a stinky sweaty mess and the fit of the shoe was terrible, and when the rain fell, sheesh. And when it was really cold they held the sweat and froze my feet. For me there's no comparison

    Sure not cheap. Then again, my aerator's have lasted for years, elastic is fantastic, far better than anything I've ever owned ...

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chainstay View Post
    It's also fashion. You can chose a style that coordinates and makes sort of a personal statement.
    ^^

    My latest purchase:

    Cycling socks questions.-pink-socks.jpg
    While we are free to choose our actions, we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions. - Stephen R. Covey.

  10. #10
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    Darn Tough Vermont: Men's Wool 1/4 Sock Ultra Light Socks for Running, Cycling, Mountain Biking Darn tough merino wool no show or 1/4 socks are all I wear. I prefer a bit of cushion over cycling-specific socks.
    "I felt bad because I couldn't wheelie; until I met a man with no bicycle"

  11. #11
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    Cotton is bad. I've known this for over 45 years since a kid in the boy scouts. I'm just sayin', this aint a recent revelation.

    Decent lightweight wool or wicking synthetic socks are all fine. You put the sock on your foot and stick it in a shoe. There is nothing special or unique about cycling specific socks...other than the cute little pictographs.
    Last edited by looigi; 03-19-2013 at 10:52 AM.
    ... 'cuz that's how I roll.

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    Looigi and I have the same experience all around. I've directly compared - both visually, and wearing them - synthetic socks marketed to runners and socks marketed to riders. There is variability in both from thick-ish to very thin. There is also no hard and fast difference in designs which says "this is a running sock" vs "this is a cycling sock". Both are made of the same materials (generally wicking synthetic, although you can still find cheap cotton athletic socks). Most importantly, in terms of "design for intended use", both types tend to have have more material to cushion the soles, reinforced heels and toes, and are thinner over the top of the foot. There is FAR more variability among "running socks" and among "cycling socks" than between the two groups.

    Look for yourself. Take your favorite "cycling" socks to a store like Sports Authority or anywhere they sell a good variety of decent quality running socks and simply compare them in terms of how they're designed and what they're made of. I would bet you can find a "running" sock that is virtually identical in design and materials to your "cycling" sock. If you like a very thin cycling sock, you can find a comparable, very thin running sock. If you like a medium weight or thicker cycling sock, you can find a similar running sock. Same goes for the height of the sock, from low cut to above ankle.

    I'm not saying there's anything wrong with buying "cycling" socks. It's just that it's not necessary for function, and if you have a better local supply of running socks, you can undoubtedly find what you need locally. Or if you simply don't like logo-wear, it's easier to find a purelly generic looking running sock. Even the more subtle cycling socks generally have a large logo on them (not a big deal, but a difference in personal choice).
    Last edited by Camilo; 03-19-2013 at 11:36 AM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Camilo View Post
    There is FAR more variability among "running socks" and among "cycling socks" than between the two groups.
    I was going to say the exact same thing before reading your post. IMO get any non-cotton (athletic wicking) socks that are comfortable with with your cycling shoes. Regardless of what they are called they will work just fine.

  14. #14
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    I'm a huge fan of Smartwool and other Spandex/Merino blend cycling socks. Great wicking, low odor, supportive and close fitting, and comfortably soft.

  15. #15
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    Re: Cycling socks questions.

    OK, some good information. Thanks! My next question is about the price of socks at a LBS. Just ball park $$. Just getting a idea what I'm up against.

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    I really like Balega running socks. They make thin ones that work good for cycling. They are usually cheaper than cycling specific socks. I have a pair of Smartwool I use for cold weather.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by y2kota View Post
    OK, some good information. Thanks! My next question is about the price of socks at a LBS. Just ball park $$. Just getting a idea what I'm up against.
    Don't overthink this; they're just socks. Prices vary; you can ride in socks you buy bulk at a flea market, or you can dump $14/pair on Assos summer socks (their winter ones, which are thicker and longer, are double that), or any range in between. Really, though, you're talking around, oh, $6-8/pair for decent Defeets, Sock Guy, or other cycling socks.

    But it's kind of like wondering about your dress socks; some people are really picky about them, most of us don't really know much about our socks beyond colors. Even pricey socks aren't all that pricey, so play around. FWIW, I've found the best prices are at deep-discounters (e.g., Value City), often online ones (e.g., Sierra Trading Post).

    Some cyclists, including IIRC our very own Kerry Irons, don't even wear socks, and don't miss 'em. Me, I like to wear wool socks, but synthetics are ok, too; you can find what works for you.

  18. #18
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    I really like Swiftwick socks. They offer some compression to prevent blood from pooling in your feet and are sweat wicking. They also come in different thicknesses and materials. FWIW, I've been a huge fan of compression shorts and socks for a few years. I think it makes a difference.
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  19. #19
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    Socks, so long as they're not cotton and have a good fit, many will work.

    I have (and like) cycling-specific socks from Pearl Izumi, Defeet, another I can't recall. This time of year here in New Hampshire I roll with my lightweight Darn Tough hiking socks, for comfort and a bit of extra warmth. I also have a couple of shorter 1/4-crew Darn Toughs I like when temps warm up over 50 but aren't hitting the 70+ range. Prices range from the $7-8 pair for the lightweight cycling socks to dang near $20 pair for the midweight Darn Tough hikers.

    Try some, experiment, find what works for you and stick with it.

  20. #20
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    I've heard good thing about point6 socks. This is the company started by the original founders/owners of the Smartwool company. Apparently since the latest corporate takeover of Smartwool, the quality has dropped drastically, so these guys decided to get into the sock business again. I see them on Sierra Trading Post and Amazon.

    Point6 — Welcome

  21. #21
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    Wear whichever socks you find most comfortable. As Used2Run has already stated, Swiftwick socks are fantastic. I don't believe that compression stuff will appreciably improve your performance, but I can honestly say that these socks are the most comfortable I've ever worn.

    I actually find myself wearing my Swiftwick socks whenever I can...even if it means wearing black socks with tennis shoes and shorts. I find them that comfortable.

    Try a few cycling-specific socks. If you don't think they feel better than traditional socks, don't buy them anymore.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by jnbrown View Post
    I really like Balega running socks.
    The Balega hidden comfort socks are too thick for cycling in my opinion, but they are my absolute favorite for running. The only socks I will wear during a marathon unless it is VERY hot. Then they don't wick moisture quite fast enough, but their absolute comfort is unparalleled to me.

    Now back to the topic.

  23. #23
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    I've got some point6, they're ok. I've got Smartwool, they're OK. I've got Zoic I got on Chainlove, they're OK. Starter from Walmart (synthetic - 3 pair for $4), they're OK. It's just socks; they'll cost as much as you're willing to spend, and for the most part, work the same..

  24. #24
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    After moving to florida with the weather mild to hot most of the time I stopped wearing regular socks since they feel so heavy after wearing bicycle socks all week (I commute). This year I bought all Castelli motorola socks via ebay and they are nice.

  25. #25
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    Lets talk about socks, lets talk about socks baby!

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