The best socks for biking compared! Waterproof, insulated, wool, compression. From winter to summer, from road to MTB
Socks are a necessary item in the biking world. The best cycling socks for the right occasion can mean a lot, not just for the competitive cyclists, but also for those of us hardcore bike commuters, cycle tourers, and amateurs mountain bikers.
The best socks for winter cycling have to be warm, summer socks have to be breathable, and having a pair of waterproof socks can change our mood a lot when facing ugly wet weather.
In this article, we selected the best cycling socks for all occasions, and added a buying guide section at the bottom to help you understand the differences among the various types of socks for biking.
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The Castelli Incendio are the warmest winter cycling socks on this list, they will keep your feet comfortable even when you ride your bike in subfreezing temperatures.
Materials are PrimaLoft and merino wool, a thorough mix of breathability and insulation. Terry-cloth pads had been added along the whole sole, to ensure maximum durability, the compression is adequate and the color choice plenty.
Overall the Castelli Incendio are our pick for the best cycling socks for extremely cold weather (0 -20 C / 32 -68 F)
SEALSKINZ Waterproof Ankle Length Sock With Hydrostop
If you’re looking for some warm cycling socks for temperate winters but would also like an added layer of rain-protection, the Sealskinz might be the right biking socks for you.
The three-layer construction resembles that of a hardshell jacket, an outer hydrophilic membrane, a wind-stopping layer in between (90% nylon, 10% Spandex), and a warm inner layer with a peculiar recipe, 36% Merino wool, 36% acrylic, 18% polyester, 5% elastane, 4% nylon, 1% TPU.
These rain-socks cannot claim to be 100% waterproof, you’ll get soaked under a downpour but will stay reasonably dry under average precipitation. Being winter socks, they don’t perform well in warm weather, when the breathability of the Sealskinz waterproof might not be enough to keep you dry from the inside.
Legendary cycling brand Giro manufactures plenty of great cycling socks and the Giro Winter Merino are definetely among our favorites. The modern 6″ cuff length, makes this socks particolarly suited for MTB, thanks also to the solid and durable mix of materials.
A 70% of merino wool guarantees comfort and warmth in a wide range of temperature, while the 15% poylester, 10% Lycra, and 5% elastane check the box of optimal compression and tight fit.
The Giro Winter cycling socks are our pick for the best cycling socks for mild winters.
Swiftwick has all hit the right buttons with the 2020 version of the Pursuit-Seven cycling socks. The materials are 63% merino wool, 35% nylon, 2% spandex, a very warm mix suitable for biking in really cold weather.
A moderate compression throughout the foot arch band envelopes your feet to support muscles and keep your socks in place, while a mid-level cushioning gives a little foot support and adds extra durability.
The reinforcements on calf and toes are a welcomed feature, improving both comfort and sturdiness in abrasion-prone areas. The toes seams are invisible and not felt at all, eliminating friction and blisters.
The Swiftwick Pursuit Seven are really great socks, breathable, warm, and heavy-duty. That’s why we recommend them to MTB lovers.
The Gore Wear C3 Partial Windstopper cycling socks are exactly what you need for conditions that aren’t too cold, but definitely require some extra insulation. Spring and autumn are tricky seasons, and choosing the right gear for those variable weather conditions is not easy
These socks use a Gore Windstopper membrane, the same used in their famous softshell jackets. This fabric blocks the air from chilling your toes, while allowing enough perspiration to blick moisture wickening. and keep your feet comfy.
Their snug-fit is totally friction free, with no seams at all in the heel and toes, compression is just right, tight enough for professional needs, but still comfortable for everyday use.
The beautifully colored Castelli Gregge 15 are great cycling socks suitable for most seasons. Their blend of merino wool and synthetic materials offers great insulation in above freezing weather and high temperature-control in the warmer range.
With these socks by Castelli, you don’t need to worry about starting to sweat once the sun peeks out, the airflow is really excellent. The fabric recipe is: 65% Wool, 30% Elastolefin, (Olefin), 5% Polyamide (Nylon).
For 2021, Castelli added 3 cm of length onto the cuff (now 15 cm long), ensuring even greater warmth and comfort, and a tighter fit.
The foot-sole has also been thickened along its full length, for a confortable cushioning and an improved thermal insulation.
The Gregge by Castelli are also visually striking, brand new colours and cool geometric patterns, because one should never forget about style, after all the Castelli people are Italian.
The model displayed here has been chosen for the great visibility and for the important message they convey. Hopefully, some drivers will have a spark of wisdom and avoid passing you at scary distances after reading this… at least we hope.
Another favorite pair of waterproof cycling socks, this time suitable for summer bike rides, are the SuMade 100% Waterproof.
These are socks specially designed for rainy weather, the waterproof external membrane is combined with a Coolmax layer, that removes moisture from the foot surface, allowing the sweat to evaporate out.
They feature reinforcements and shock absorption on the heel, toe and footbed areas, a soft and tight cuff, and a smooth seamless toe-box that helps to prevent irritation, itch and blisters.
Things to Know About Cycling Socks
To help you choose the best biking socks for your needs, here’s some base knowledge about what should you look at when buying cycling socks.
Cycling socks are usually manufactured using a blend of different fabrics, which are actually the same kind of those used in cycling jackets.
Merino Wool is nature’s technical fiber, providing optimal temperature control for all seasons. The fabric has the innate perspiration properties, it keeps moisture away letting sweat evaporate from your skin. With the right percentage of merino wool in your sock fabric, you will stay cool in warm weather, warm in cool weather, and dry and comfortable all year long.
Polyester is a synthetic polymer fabric, derived from coal, air, water, and petroleum. It is very resilient and able to withstand a good deal of wearing and tearing. Polyester is nowadays one of the world’s most popular textiles in sportswear, resistant, lightweight, and quick to dry.
Elastene (Lycra/Spandex) is a highly streachable and moisture-wickening fabric most cyclist should be very familiar with. It’s used in a lot of sport for tight fitting.
Cycling socks come in different lenght, and the choice is entirely up to the rider. The base lenghts are:
Short (below the ankle)
Medium (cuff 9/10 cm)
Long (cuff 13/15 cm)
Some say the ideal length is 7.5 cm but there’s no clear reason for that if not that is the most common size used in pro cycling. Winter socks can feature longer cuff for improved warmth and protection.
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