Embers Winter Quarter socks and Falke BC3 Cross Country socks


Posh foot underwear (funderwear?). Do you get what you pay for?

Embers and Falke
Winter Quarter socks and BC3 Cross Country socks
Embers, embersmerino.com and Falke, falke.com
£9.00/pair and £13.00/pair
by Jenn for Three months.
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This is a tale of two socks. Well, a tale of two pairs of socks, though in the interests of comparative testing I’ve just been out for a ride in one of each. I don’t think anybody noticed…

Embers specialises in merino outdoors kit and these are its winter-weight socks. At a near 50-50 split between sheep and synthetic fibres (there’s a bit of elastane in there for stretch and shape retention too), they wicked well and stayed warm. The double-knit construction adds padding and insulation; they’re extremely comfortable and exceptionally cosy, with just one problem: they don’t wash well.

I know the whole point of merino is that you don’t have to wash it as often as some other fabrics, but that doesn’t apply to socks; these came out of the first 30ºC wash feeling like cardboard and haven’t improved from there. A bit of a major flaw in a product that is going to see repeated dirtying and washing.

At the other end of the spectrum is Falke: a sock specialist making everything from cycling socks to suspenders. The BC3s have complicated, multi-weight (and multi-fibre) construction, with a thicker knit under forefoot, heel and over the ankle bones to provide a little more cushioning, while midfoot and arch get a tighter, lighter knit for more support with ventilation. They’re still soft, snug and comfortable after just as many wears/washes as the Embers and have held on to their stretch nicely, too. Are they worth the extra £4 a pair? After three months of wash and wear, they still look – and, more importantly for my delicate toes, feel – like new. So yes, I think they are.

Overall: Posh foot underwear (funderwear?). I like a bargain as much as the next girl but here, you do get what you pay for.

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