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The best cycling socks can make a big difference to your comfort on the bike. Depending on the weather conditions and the type of cycling, you’re liable to need different kinds of socks for different kinds of situations. Happily, these days, there are plenty of choices, and also there are plenty of price-points to suit just about every budget.
We’ve put together a list of ten of the most popular cycling socks. They cover a wide range of cycling needs, and hopefully, there will be something suitable amongst them for you and your bikes.
So, let’s take a closer look and find the perfect cycling socks for you…
- Top 10 Best Cycling Socks To Purchase In 2021 Reviews
- 1 DeFeet Aireator Team Double Cuff Socks – Best Summer Cycling Socks
- 2 CHARMKING Compression Socks for Women & Men Circulation – Best Budget Cycling Socks
- 3 Compression Running Ankle Socks Low Cut(6 Pairs) for Men & Women – Best Value for the Money Cycling Socks
- 4 Swiftwick- PERFORMANCE SEVEN Cycling Socks, Wicking, Lightweight Crew – Best Swiftwick Cycling Socks
- 5 VWU Mens Womens Sports Socks Athletic Socks for Running Cycling Basketball Hiking More – Best Mid Range Cycling Socks
- 6 Swiftwick VISION SIX IMPRESSION Running and Cycling Socks, Stylish, High Performance Crew – Best Premium Cycling Socks
- 7 Fox River Men’s Norsk Crew Socks
- 8 LIN 7 Pack Cycling Socks CoolMax Ankle Bike Socks Cool Funny Bicycle Socks Men and Women
- 9 Lin 7 Pack Cycling Socks for Men and Women Funny Color Biking Socks Performance Athletic Crew Socks – Best Cool Cycling Socks
- 10 Swiftwick- PURSUIT SEVEN UltraLight Cycling and Mountain Biking Socks, Merino Wool – Best Cycling Socks for Winter
- Best Cycling Socks Buying Guide
- For all of your bike safety needs…
- So, which are the Best Cycling Socks?
Top 10 Best Cycling Socks To Purchase In 2021 Reviews
1 DeFeet Aireator Team Double Cuff Socks – Best Summer Cycling Socks
DeFeet Aireator Team Double Cuff Socks are produced in the US. They’re well made, durable, and even after multiple rides, they don’t lose their shape or elasticity at the cuff. They’re machine washable, too, so they’re easy to clean.
These are road cycling socks for the summer or for those of you lucky to live in all year-round warmer climates. Aireator is a great description as they have a trademarked vented mesh to keep airflow up and temperature down. The cooling effect is perfect, not only for hot days but also for longer rides.
What else makes them special?
They’re made from polyester, which also helps to moderate temperature on your rides. The double cuff ensures that once they’re pulled up over your calf, they’ll stay there for the whole ride. We sure you’ll agree that there’s nothing worse than having to keep pulling up your socks during a ride.
The sizes run true, and they offer a decent selection of four sizes. It’s good to see a sock manufacturer going to the trouble of offering more than just a couple. There are nine colorways to choose from. The selection is not extensive, but there are enough bright colors to keep us roadies happy and enough more subdued colors for everyone else.
- Stayfast cuff.
- Choice of four sizes.
- Trademark effective mesh venting.
- The choice of colors is a little limited.
2 CHARMKING Compression Socks for Women & Men Circulation – Best Budget Cycling Socks
These are not road cycling socks though you can use them for mountain biking. We think that they are good for commuting or leisure cycling too. The advertising makes it clear that they can be used for all kinds of activities and we think that’s a true reflection of their versatility.
They are compression socks that are designed to gently squeeze the feet to increase blood flow and thereby improve circulation. In turn, this should reduce swelling, fatigue, and cramping. Plus, it should also help in recovery. The degree of effectiveness is hard to quantify, but we believe that every little bit helps.
How do they look and feel?
The socks are short and sit just above the ankles. They have moisture-wicking fabric to keep your feet dry. Additionally, they are highly breathable and feel comfortable even during extended wear and in hot conditions. Plus, they stay in place and retain their shape, even after a large number of trips to the washing machine and back.
The heels and toes are reinforced, so you can expect them to be durable and have a long life. They come in three different sizes and a confusing choice of colors and packs of either three, six, or seven. The color choice is not great, and it’s unclear how many pairs of socks you get for each color choice. CHARMKING needs to sort this out and tidy up their order system.
- Compression fitting.
- Reinforced toes and heels.
- Strong water wicking properties.
- Poor color selection.
- Confusing order system.
3 Compression Running Ankle Socks Low Cut(6 Pairs) for Men & Women – Best Value for the Money Cycling Socks
These are for the mountain bikers, commuters, and leisure riders. Since they are cut just above the ankle, road bikers won’t look at them twice. Triathletes won’t consider them either because they hate socks. It’s also worth pointing out that it’s a brave cyclist who would consider buying a pack of white socks!
Happily, you get a choice of either grey or black packs of six to choose from. There’s also an option for a mixed pack of black, white, and grey. Not so happily is the fact that there are no other choices. That’s poor in our book.
They are compression socks, so they will help with improving circulation. They also have a special triangular like pattern to give support to the lateral and medial sides of the foot. This should reduce the chances of fatigue, cramping, and swelling.
The socks are highly breathable and are also made from efficient water wicking material. Additionally, they also have a mesh vented wave to further keep your feet and toes feeling cool.
What’s our verdict?
There’s no doubt that they are well-designed in terms of comfort and breathability. However, the material is relatively thick, and we would reserve these socks for use outside of the very warmest months. This is no bad thing since they will give your feet some insulation against the cold whilst still providing cooling properties.
They’re great socks for the spring and fall.
- Good value.
- Provide compression.
- Well vented.
- Water wicking properties.
- Terrible color choice.
- Too thick for summer cycling.
4 Swiftwick- PERFORMANCE SEVEN Cycling Socks, Wicking, Lightweight Crew – Best Swiftwick Cycling Socks
These are summer cycling socks. They are made from Swiftwick’s signature Olefin fabric, which is light and highly breathable. Olefin has excellent wicking qualities to keep your feet dry and blister-free. The special fabric also has the second important feature of effectively dispersing unwanted foot odors.
The socks are also cut with special breathable channels. This further enhances the breathability and makes them even more suitable for wearing on long, hot, or endurance rides. The socks create a moderate amount of compression at the arch. It’s sufficient to give the benefits of compression style socks without leading to a feeling like your feet are being squeezed.
What else did we like?
Other pluses include that they are reinforced at the toes and heels to ensure longevity. What’s more, when they do need to be thrown out, they are fully recyclable. That’s always a benefit in our book.
The socks are traditionally cut for road cyclists. They come to the mid-calf and have good elastic qualities to ensure they don’t come down. This is backed-up with a ‘Y’ shaped heel that prevents the socks from either slipping or bunching up.
Are they the best socks for cycling?
These are great quality socks that come in a good range of sizes. However, there’s just one negative that we find difficult to get over, and that’s the lack of colorways. Good people of Swiftwick, why only black and white? Road cyclists are renowned for riding around in every color of the rainbow. Two-color choices make no sense to us whatsoever.
- High wicking Olefin fabric.
- Reinforced heels and toes.
- Quality made.
- Poor color choice.
5 VWU Mens Womens Sports Socks Athletic Socks for Running Cycling Basketball Hiking More – Best Mid Range Cycling Socks
Although the VWU socks are not exclusively made for cyclists, they have a lot of qualities that we cyclists like. The design, cut, and colorways are very much in keeping with road cyclists’ socks. However, they’re versatile enough to find favor with all kinds of cyclists and athletes alike.
The Socks are cut to the calf and made from a combination of 75% Chinlon, 15% Rubber, and 10% Gauze. It’s an interesting mix, and one of the first things you’re likely to notice is how soft they feel on your skin.
The second thing is that even in extremely hot weather or climatic conditions, they feel cool and highly breathable. This makes them excellent summer socks, though we’d have no problems wearing them in all but the colder winter months.
The socks have arch compression to reduce the incidence of cramping, fatigue, and swelling. However, despite their compressive qualities, they never feel overly tight, and the design isn’t at the expense of comfort.
Another thing we like a lot is that they don’t slip down no matter how long you’ve been riding for. There’s very little to fault with these socks; we even like the colors and the price. However, there is one potential fly in the ointment, and that’s the size. Unfortunately, they come in a free size that is suitable for people with shoe sizes between 6-11.
Although we can contest that people in this shoe range will be fine, it leaves a lot of people uncatered for. These days most sock manufacturers offer at least three sizes. Therefore, offering a free size only is poor.
- Highly breathable.
- Very comfortable.
- Stay in position.
- Good choice of colors.
- Only one size.
6 Swiftwick VISION SIX IMPRESSION Running and Cycling Socks, Stylish, High Performance Crew – Best Premium Cycling Socks
These are quality, highly breathable, mid-calf length cycling socks. Designed and manufactured in the US, there’s excellence throughout. The fact is that they may be the most expensive on our list, but they undoubtedly justify their high price.
They have one of the best rates of moisture-wicking of any cycling socks. The use of modified fibers gives them 40% more wicking than competitive brands. That means drier and more comfortable feet.
What about compression?
They have moderate amounts of compression around the arch. It’s sufficient to help reduce cramping and fatigue without constricting your feet. The toes and heels are reinforced for longevity. Plus, the toes are seamless, which reduces friction and thereby reduces the chance of broken skin or blisters.
One of the most noticeable features of the Swiftwick VISION SIX IMPRESSION socks is the 360 degrees printed designs. The patterns are detailed and nothing short of amazing. You’ve got a great selection to choose from, including landscapes from Yellowstone and The Grand Canyon. Yes, folks, these are socks that will well and truly set you apart from the crowd.
We commend Swiftwick for its comprehensive range of sizes. They offer five, going all the way from an XS to an XL. Other manufacturers, please take note, because this is the way to do it.
- Seamless toes.
- Reinforced heels and toes.
- Moderate levels of compression.
- Incredible color printed options.
- Extensive sizes.
7 Fox River Men’s Norsk Crew Socks
Let’s get straight down to business. In 99% of circumstances, these are useless as cycling socks.
Firstly, they’re predominantly made of wool. The exact combination is 80% Wool, 19% Nylon and 1% Spandex. This means that anywhere other than in extremely cold conditions; they’re no good for cycling.
Normally, cyclists look for highly breathable socks with high wicking qualities. These are the exact opposite. Never the less, some cyclists ride their bikes in the extreme cold. If that’s you, these might just work.
Other aspects that make them a poor choice for most cyclists is the lack of any reinforcement on the heels or toes. Additionally, they offer zero in the way of compression. Plus, they have insufficient elasticity, despite the Nylon and Spandex, to stop them from rolling down from your calf.
Finally, offered in only brown tweed, these are about as far removed from what cyclists look for as possible. They’re great hiking socks for colder climates, but their applications for cyclists are going to be very, very limited.
- Super warm.
- Machine washable.
- They keep their shape after washing.
- Too warm for most cyclists.
- No reinforcement in the heels and toes.
- No compression.
8 LIN 7 Pack Cycling Socks CoolMax Ankle Bike Socks Cool Funny Bicycle Socks Men and Women
These are made by a company with no history in cycling, and it shows. Lin cycling socks are too short for road cycling and too colorful for mountain biking or general cycling. They are socks, with a few graphics of bikes randomly strewn around the ankles, that claim to be but are not, cycling-specific.
After saying this, it doesn’t mean that they’re bad, but it doesn’t mean they’re great either. The fabric is happily a good start. They use a combination of Polyester, Nylon, and Spandex. The result is a sock that feels comfortable and soft to the touch. Additionally, it’s woven in such a way that it has creditable wicking credentials.
The toe has an invisible seam to prevent friction and possible blisters. Plus, the heel is made so that the socks won’t ride up or down. The ankle tops also stay nicely in place. We’ve got to hand it to LIN that these are very comfortable and have stacks of breathability and wicking ability. The quality for the price is more than reasonable. It’s just the styling. It’s so, so wrong.
Just look at the images of the cycling stars they’ve used, and no doubt haven’t paid for. Julian Alaphilippe and Peter Sagan, to name but two. Cycling superstars that they’ve matched the colors of their jerseys to the colors of LIN socks.
But professional cyclists will never wear socks like this. They can’t because UCI rules ban them from it. And they have to wear calf-length socks without exception. LIN should know this.
And this is the whole point…
If you’re going to make socks that claim to have links to road cycling, rather than other kinds of cycling, do your homework and check you understand what style and design road cyclists wear.
Finally, using the image of professional athletes in your advertising without their knowledge, which we’re close to certain is the case, is not cool, not cool at all.
- Seamless toes.
- Reinforced toes and heels.
- Poor design.
- Poor graphics.
9 Lin 7 Pack Cycling Socks for Men and Women Funny Color Biking Socks Performance Athletic Crew Socks – Best Cool Cycling Socks
This is interesting because a lot of our moans and niggles about the last pack of LIN socks have been sorted out, and we’re much happier with these. So, what have they done differently, and why are we much more likely to recommend them to you?
Firstly, there’s no unsolicited use of professional cyclists’ images. Secondly, they’ve got the length of the socks right too. Other than in one photo, they show people riding road bikes, which is fine because these are calf-length road bike socks. The UCI will approve, and you could rock up to any competitive event wearing these without getting knocked back.
Thirdly, the colors and designs are much, much better. They’ve used their own LIN logo, ditched the cheesy graphics, and also added in some decent colors. Most of the colors are in the various jerseys awarded to category leaders in Grand Tours, but that’s fine.
Finally, like the last packs of LIN socks we reviewed, you get decent quality socks that are made well, with good quality fabric and some great qualities. These are highly breathable, have high wicking qualities, have reinforced heels and toes, plus the toes are seamless. In short, they offer lots of quality and features at their price-point.
- High wicking properties.
- Good length and design.
- Good value.
- Only one size.
10 Swiftwick- PURSUIT SEVEN UltraLight Cycling and Mountain Biking Socks, Merino Wool – Best Cycling Socks for Winter
We have to have to hand it to Swiftwick; they know how to design and make premium cycling socks. The PURSUIT SEVEN UltraLight Cycling and Mountain Biking Socks are very much first-class and on point in terms of both quality and design.
These are all year round socks. They’re made from high-grade Merino Wool, which is excellent at regulating your temperature. They can be worn comfortably on all but the coldest winter days.
What did we love?
They feel beautiful and soft against your skin and do an excellent job of wicking away moisture. They have seamless toes, and the upper channels also provide excellent ventilation to increase breathability during the hotter months or on longer rides.
Though a lot of socks we’ve reviewed have reinforced toes and heels, these take it to a whole new level. The thickness and quality of both is class-leading. These are made to last.
But not just that…
The length is approximately seven inches, which is fine for most cyclists. The colors are very dark, which is also fine as they are aimed at predominantly non-road cyclists. There are lots of shades of black and grey to choose from, so you won’t feel reticent cycling on loose and wet trails.
The socks also come in a wide range of sizes, so you’ll have no problems finding something suitable.
- They feel beautiful and soft.
- First-class toe and heel reinforcement.
- Strong wicking.
- High ventilation through the upper channels.
- Good temperature regulating qualities.
Best Cycling Socks Buying Guide
Breathability and Wicking Properties
A combination of the fabric and the socks’ weave pattern are the two elements that will determine the level of breathability and wicking properties. The best fabrics for improving both of these are Merino Wool, Polyester, Olefin, or Coolmax. All of these will do a great job and keep your feet cool and dry.
Though most of the best socks for cycling have ventilation channels and mesh weaves built into the design, the…
….stand out as offering the very best in breathability. Made from Polyester, these are a good example of how breathable and high wicking socks should be made.
The least expensive of these materials is Polyester. However, despite its low cost and common use, it’s still a great choice and has plenty of other good features, such as being hard wearing and being able to retain its shape.
The most expensive material is Merino Wool, which is the main component of…
Merino Wool has the added benefits of being super-soft to the touch and having excellent regulating temperatures in cold as well as hot weather.
Not all socks offer any significant levels of compression. However, there are plenty of benefits, and it’s a feature that we think is worth seeking out and paying for. Compression around the feet can help to increase blood flow and circulation. This can further help to reduce fatigue, cramping, and swelling.
Realistically, the effects are generally small, but never the less we still maintain they are worth having. If you’ve ever suffered from sore feet either during or after a ride, we sure you’ll agree with us on this one. The compression shouldn’t be too strong to feel uncomfortable. In this respect, we think that the socks from CHARMKING tread this balance very well.
Toes and Heels
Toes and heels are two of the most important parts of the socks. These are liable to wear the quickest and so need to have the most reinforcement to prevent your socks from taking an early trip to the tip. Most socks have some level of reinforcement, but it’s not till you get to the more expensive socks, like the ones from Swithwick, that you find high levels of extra material and stitching.
We also recommend looking for socks with seamless toes as this is likely to reduce rubbing and the likelihood of blistering. Additionally, at the heels, a specially designed ‘Y’ shape will prevent them from slipping up and down.
Length matters for road cyclists and not so much for anyone else. Why? It’s a bit of a mix between tradition and rules. Traditionally, road cyclists have always worn mid-calf length socks. It’s part of the look and also a part of history the UCI and most professional, as well as amateur cycling organizations, want to maintain.
The upshot is that if you wear the wrong length of socks to a race, even a small local race, you might get turned away. Consequently, manufactures need to understand the quirks of the sport if they want to be taken seriously.
All the big-name cycling apparel manufactures, such as Castelli, would never dream of making the wrong length. The newcomers need to pull theirs up and sort themselves out.
As for mountain bikers, gravel riders, triathletes, or anyone else on a bike… anything goes!
For all of your bike safety needs…
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So, which are the Best Cycling Socks?
There you have it. Lots of styles and designs to choose from for every kind of cycling and every kind of budget. The best cycling socks for your specific needs are likely to vary greatly. It’s hard to choose just one pair that stands out from the rest.
However, if we had to take a single pair home with us, it would be the…
These are our top pick because of their incredible quality, their high level of breathability, the inclusion of reinforced toes and heels, and their compression qualities. Plus, the cool graphics make them look super-special.
Enjoy your bikes and enjoy your rides.