The Sock-Doping Game: The Latest Cycling Fashion and 5 of the Best Brands
June 11th, 2015
June 11th, 2015
Anna is a jack-of-all-bikes, and has been riding and racing in a myriad of genres for over seven years; from World Cup level cross-country, to grass roots coaching kids on the road.
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"Sock Doping" or the "Sock Game" refers to the latest craze in cycling fashion. Funky footwear and outlandish ankles are springing up everywhere and each brand has its own take on what rules the roads.
DeFeet: Best for Bold Statements
DeFeet are top of the game at the moment, from the feet of hipsters on fixies to the ankles of profesional team riders. When delving into this brand you can bet you'll get noticed. On test here are the classic DeFeet Aireator socks in Sako7's Pro Solitude design. Sako is a man with a passion for cycling and for socks, and who's lucky number is seven. He teamed up with DeFeet to design a full range of funkadelic infusions. Check out #Sako7 on Instagram for inspiration. These are huge in the States right now. You'll rarely see a pair of Bont racing shoes on Instagram without some variation of a Sako 7 design somewhere. These socks looked great on, there's no doubt about that, but they felt thin and a little loose. They weren't as comfortable as the others on test, but they were the best for eye-catching designs. I wouldn't rate these as long-distance performance socks, but I'll definitely be wearing mine to get noticed on short club rides.
Morvelo: Best for Classy Colour
Morvelo love designs that are full of colour. Their cycling jerseys and shorts always look super fresh and they love to match up graphics on both garments to create that full kit look. It didn't take long for these designs to start bleeding into their sock and accessory range. On test here are the 'Pois' polka-dot and the 'Display' zig-zag designs, which are both designed to match up with Morvelo's new Summer collection. I'm so impressed with the quality of these socks. They fit snuggly with little danger of them sinking in between your toes or causing dead-spots in your feet while you're riding. They feel very high quality and wouldn't be out of place under your best Aquascutum suit either.
Wear with sleek matte black shoes or kick it in your Vans on the way to work. Available from £9.00 direct from Morvelo and a few chosen retailers.
Assos: Best for Performance Posing
Assos aren't ones for fashion, apparently. They don't believe in trends that pass every year and argue that Assos never goes out of fashion. Saying that, the sock fetish hasn't passed them by. Expect block colours in bold primary colours and even alternating feet. Logos appear on alternating sides (one front, one back) and you can even purchase some Lake G1 road cycling shoes designed by Assos for upwards of £275 to add to alternating confusion with a black inside design and a white pearlescent outside. These are high-quality socks and a lot of thought has gone into what a cycling sock needs. The cuffs are snug around the ankles to stop them sliding down, the upper foot has a breathable weave to allow air in and heat to be be expelled, and the seams are all woven on the outside to prevent rubbing or discomfort.
Wear with black and/or white shoes, shiny or matte, preferably the black and white Lake G1 pro shoe, and grab yourself a two-pack so you can play the alternating game.
Sock Guy: King of Humour
Sock Guy was always going to make it into the sock game hall of fame. Doing nothing but socks and a few arm warmers, these guys know socks inside out. If you're looking for a flag, a slogan, a pint of beer or a rainbow-making unicorn to prance around your ankles, then the money is on these guys for having designed it already. The pink Hottie sock has frequented many a female mountain biker's foot over the last five years, and I've seen plenty of Flemish flags on cyclocrossers too. This season is all about going long with the crew cuts. On test are the rather garish Tartan Crew socks, the Lines cuff socks, and the boisterous WTF? crew sock. I've always been a fan of the 3" cuff, so my feet felt at home in the Lines socks. They are smooth and airy with minimal seems, and bunching has never been a problem with these socks. I was skeptical of the longer crew socks at first, especially as the WTF? sock came ribbed (WTF indeed), however, save for a few linear imprints around my ankles, they felt pretty invisible when started riding my bike. For a long sock, they were surprisingly light and cool as well.
Best worn with a hint of sarcasm and a handful of dirt. These guys don't take themselves seriously, and you shouldn't either. Sock Guy have a ridiculously large selection of cuff lengths, materials and weaving options, so be sure to read up before you buy online, or to go see them in a shop if you have particular fitting tastes. Available through Silverfish UK distributors from £9.95 a pair.
Madison: Best for natural fabrics
Madison aren't exactly high on the brand hit list for sock doping, but they are one of few offering merino wool in colours other than black, white and grey. I'm not sure they'll get hundreds of hits on Instagram, but the Madison blue and tartan do add a lovely splash of colour to otherwise dull ankles. On test here are the ladies' Assynt socks in aqua blue, available in sizes from EU35-42 and available in men's sizes too. They are snug, comfortable and breath beautifully. I would be comfortable in these on the road or in the woods, come rain or shine.
Best worn on damp days to take advantage of the quick-drying properties and to keep your tootsies warm even when wet. The Assynt Merino socks are £9.99 from your local Madison dealer.
So there you have it. Five of the funkiest foot-huggers on the market. Be sure to check out Twitter and Instagram hashtags such as #sockdoping and #sockgame to see what else is out there and to see how people are styling their ride. Above all, have fun with it. Stay loud and proud people!