Which socks for cycling


Low, high, thin, thick, cotton or synthetic, it is not always easy to find your way in the sock shelves! What are their functions? Which socks to choose for which sport? Discover more about socks!


The functions of the sock


During the practice of a sport, the main function of the sock is to allow an adaptation of the foot to the shoe. It serves as a sort of shock absorber and protection to limit friction between the foot and the shoe that can cause blisters. Also, the sock allows the evacuation of perspiration, thus avoiding "maceration" and the easy development of fungus for example. And in cold weather, the sock keeps the foot warm!


How to choose your sports socks


When we practice a sport, most of the time, we put everything on the shoes, and forget the socks. Indeed, it seems normal to pay more than 100$ for a good running shoe for example, but not more than 5$ for a pack of 3 pairs of sports socks. And yet, they are just as important.


Factors to consider


We often ignore it, but to make the right choice, it is not enough to look at what color we like. There are many factors to consider:


* The comfort of sports socks


In addition to keeping your foot in place and allowing you to be comfortable, the socks prevent friction, and therefore the formation of blisters and other irritations. So choose seamless models and never too big. Opt for an optimal support and therefore a shape that completely fits your foot.


* Thermal regulation


First and foremost, your socks must ensure proper evacuation of perspiration. Indeed, during exercise, your foot heats up and therefore regulates your temperature by evacuating perspiration. A material that stores perspiration and keeps your foot wet can be harmful to your health. Therefore, your socks must keep your foot warm in winter and cool in summer, while keeping it dry.


* The price of your socks


Even if it seems excessive for most of us, it is better to prioritize quality and invest the necessary price in a quality pair. Your physical effort will only be improved. So accept to spend a budget of about 15€$ for the one of your choice.


* The size


Unlike sneakers that you have to choose one size up to practice a sport, socks follow the opposite rule. Indeed, choose one size smaller than yours. For example, if you wear size 39, choose a pack size 35-37 and not 38-40. Contrary to what you might think, these will stretch, and therefore can roll and form annoying folds.


* The material


As you know, it is preferable to buy seamless models, but also to avoid cotton and nylon as much as possible. Think of the more technical materials available, such as polyamide-elastane. Even so, natural materials are not to be neglected completely, or for all activities. Also, merino wool remains the best ally of the sportsman, but unfortunately represents a more important cost.


Now that you know the different characteristics of your sports socks. Adapt your choice according to the activity you want to practice. Some can be used in several activities, others are more specific. The key is to use and maintain them well, but also to change them regularly.


Cycling socks


Cycling apparel has long since ceased to be just sportswear. An arsenal of technical apparel is available to anyone who wants to purchase clothing that is designed and manufactured to promote the best performance without neglecting design.


What was once reserved for top professionals has become accessible to all types of cycling enthusiasts who want to train and compete while wearing quality accessories. Socks are a perfect example of this evolution.


Anyone who has spent a few hours pedaling a bike knows that every detail of the bike and the outfit we wear matters a lot.


Wearing the right socks is as important as wearing the right gloves or sunglasses.



Adapting the foot to the shoe, the key to success


Yes, the shoe makes contact with the bike, in most cases, to the automatic pedals, but what makes it easy for the foot to get into the shoe? Exactly, our socks.


The importance of fit is crucial to making each of our pedal strokes effective, but also to avoid friction and the dreaded blisters. Today, the vast majority of cycling socks are seamless, precisely to avoid the effects of constant friction on different parts of the foot.


Socks are responsible for sweating


Our feet are one of the parts of the body with the most sweat glands (about 250,000 per foot, if you're curious). That's why these extremities take the brunt of long days of pedaling.


Add to the sweat emission the heat generated inside the shoe by the force of pedaling, and it's easy to see why it's essential that our socks offer good breathability.


Synthetic fibers, light and resistant to bacteria


The synthetic fibers with which the vast majority of cycling socks are made today are more efficient than natural fibers. Lighter and more breathable because their fibers are hydrophobic, polyester and nylon are great allies for sports use.


Although they are very absorbent, they have the advantage of not accumulating sweat and keeping feet dry, which helps keep feet warm.


Another advantage of synthetic fibers is that they prevent the growth of fungus and bacteria. If you take off your socks after a long day of cycling and hardly notice any odor, it's the socks' fault.


Cushions for comfort


The fact that cycling socks are padded in certain areas is not a design whim, but serves a specific purpose. Specifically, to prevent chafing and blisters that can lead to even more serious ailments and ruin any cyclist's best training or racing intentions.


Many have special padding on the instep and top of the foot, designed to cushion the pressure of shoes and straps.


What about support stockings?


Socks that constantly compress the legs up to the knee or up to the hip (depending on the model) arrived a few years ago in cycling from the running world.


They have their supporters, who claim that they promote blood circulation and help the muscles to recover because they allow more oxygen to the muscles. But this textile accessory also has its opponents, who do not trust the supposed properties of the garment and attribute the benefits, or supposed benefits, to the placebo effect.


In reality, there are no scientific studies linking its use to measurable improvements, although it is possible that it can help cyclists with specific circulation problems in the legs.



The choice of your socks is much more complex than it seems. It will depend on the time of year, your practice and your style.


Summer / Winter: How to choose your socks


In winter, the main objective will be to keep your feet warm because even if you wear overshoes, the feeling of cold intensifies at the extremities after several hours of effort. Your socks will either be made of wool (merino in this case) or synthetic material but with fibers that promote thermal insulation. However, you should not neglect the support (in the midfoot area) and the reinforcements on the extremities (heel and toe).


In summer, the goal is to keep your feet as cool as possible to avoid overheating. The socks will be made of synthetic material with moisture-wicking fibers (Coolmax type) and will limit odors. A support band at the arch level will also be present to maintain your foot during the effort.


High or low socks: that is the question


The cycling sock is by default high with a stem that is positioned just below the calf muscle. The high stem allows to have a good support and plays a role of compression. It also allows you to proudly display the name of your sponsor or a nice colorful pattern.


The low (or short) socks have the same properties as the high models (support, moisture wicking etc.) but they will stop just above the malleolus. Their main advantage is to limit the tanning mark when you sit on your beach towel in Miami. A detail for you?


After exercise: recovery socks


There are also socks to promote recovery and blood circulation after a long ride. They cover the entire calf and stimulate venous return. Recovery socks are designed to limit post-exertion aches and pains. These socks, similar to support stockings, are worn at least 2 hours after your outing. For several years now, all major athletes have been using them and many brands offer them.


If you ride a bike on the road or track, choose low, thin socks. For mountain biking, choose low, thick socks. In cold weather, choose socks with loops.


And after the effort?


Some socks promote recovery. They act according to the same principle as support stockings by promoting venous return (blood circulation from the foot to the upper leg) through adapted compression points.


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