Mini Test: Socks

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We get lots of socks through the letterbox here at Singletrack.

Put your left foot in, your left foot out... and so on.
Put your left foot in, your left foot out… and so on.

Unsurprisingly they rarely hang around the office for long – you can never have enough socks, particularly merino ones, or ones with nice patterns on. Yet they’re not particularly glamorous (especially after a few wears), so don’t often get reviewed.

Here’s a selection of the best-loved socks that have been doing their time on the feet of Barney, Dan, Dave and Jenn this winter. Be thankful nobody’s invented Smell-o-vision yet.

Bontrager Swiftwick 5in

£11.99, bontrager.com

We have previously been rather sceptical about socks which claim to be ‘supportive’, but these puppies are the proof. Middling in weight, so suitable for the spring weather that’s just around the corner, they’re tightly woven and surprisingly compressive – putting them on is like giving your feet a little hug (well, not that we’ve ever done that, but you know what we mean…). The 5in cuff is long enough to protect ankles, and the waffle-texture to the sole gives a little extra cushioning, though thanks to the compact synthetic weave they’re not chunky enough to affect the fit of your shoes. They also don’t stink – surprising, for a synthetic material, and very welcome.

Castelli Venti

£16.00, from Saddleback, saddleback.co.uk

These took us by surprise – they don’t look or feel like a merino sock, but merino they are; 100% sheep, in fact. On the foot they’re supportive and close-fitting in the way we’d expect a synthetic knit sock to be, proof perhaps that premium price tags can sometimes be worth paying. Unsurprisingly (because they’re wool) they’re nice and warm, and make a good autumn/spring sock for middling conditions where you’re not quite sure which way the weather’s going to go. The 20cm cuff isn’t quite 20cm now they’re been through a few wash/rinse cycles, but there’s still plenty of height there for tucking into your tights when the mercury plummets. Nice red/black Tron colour scheme, too. (Too young to remember Tron? Educate yourself, young ‘un.)

Endura Baabaa Merino Winter

£10.00, from Endura, endurasport.com

Tagged as a winter sock, these aren’t super heavy and with a 38% wool/37% acrylic/14% elastane/11% nylon mix, they’re not quite as warm as a full merino sock. They do wick a little better though, and breathe well, thanks to the rather natty fishnet weave on the top of the foot. Still nicely stretchy after lots of wear and tear, and just a hint of cardboardiness about the subtly branded cuff. We’d prefer a little more length for winter wear, though – we have delicate ankles…

Sock Guy ‘General Lee’ 6in Crew

£9.95, from Silverfish, silverfish-uk.com

These are currently Barney’s favourite socks, exclusively and unashamedly because of the Dukes of Hazzard connection (again – educate lies within). Other designs are available. They are synthetic – a 75% acrylic, 15% nylon, and 10% Spandex mix – so breathe extremely well and dry rapidly if you’ve been unfortunate enough to splash through a puddle. Obviously being synthetic they’re not quite as warm as a merino sock, but they do wick well enough to function as undersocks if you want to double up for extra cosiness. They’re also holding up remarkably well to repeated wears, with little in the way of pulled threads or bagginess despite the soft, lightweight feel.

Teko Heavyweight Hiking

£18.00, from Teko, tekoforlife.co.uk

As you’d expect from the name, Teko’s Heavyweight Hiking socks are indeed heavyweight, and as good for hiking as they are for riding. (We’ve discovered they’re pretty good at loafing in front of the fire too, though that’s not very rad.) They’re 75% merino wool, with 24% polyamide and 1% elastic to make sure they hug your toes and spring back into shape after each wash and wear. As you can probably tell from the pictures, they’ve gone rather cardboardy after repeated washings but that doesn’t stop them being comfy once on. They’re substantially cushioned, and very warm, with a pile-textured finish to the inner face – so perfect winter boot fare.

Teko Ultralight MTB

£15.00, from Teko, tekoforlife.co.uk

A bike-specific sock from Teko, this time – with added synthetic content (59% merino wool, 38% polyamide, 3% elastic) to help them withstand the rigours of grit, graunch and grind. These puppies are tall – another 20cm cuff, so ideal for tucking your jeans into – and nicely ribbed around the midfoot for additional support and resilience to abrasion. They’ve also got the size woven into the bottom – very handy if you live in a household where more than one person is into their technical sockage – and are left/right specific, which is of no help at all if you frequently get dressed in the dark.

Review Info

Brand:Bontrager, Castelli, Endura, Sock Guy, Teko
Product:Socks!
From:Trek UK, bontrager.com; Saddleback, saddleback.co.uk; Endura, endurasport.com; Silverfish, silverfish-uk.com; Teko, tekoforlife.co.uk
Price:£9.95 to £18.00
Tested:by Barney, Dan, Dave and Jenn for

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