Sockdoping. Sock game. Call it what you will, the humble sock is just as important a part of your overall cycling outfit as your jersey (and arguably even more so than those plain black bib shorts you insist on wearing!). And thankfully they’re a lot cheaper than jerseys, shorts, helmets or shoes, so we can perhaps be excused for indulging in a little N+1 action.
While a lot of bigger kit manufacturers will offer socks as part of their range, due to the sizing issues and quantities required, a lot of smaller brands can’t justify producing and selling their own dedicated socks. And so, here are five producers of cycling socks that I’ve found, paid for, and liked.
In no particular order… Let me know if you agree with my selection or think another brand deserves to make my Top 5!
1. PONGO London
“For those that ride” says Pongo’s website. And indeed, they only sell socks for cycling (although some pesky runners seem to trying to steal their styling cues from us cyclists).
They’ve got an impressively wide range, meaning there’s a pretty darned good chance that you’ll find something on their pages to match your latest favourite outfit. Quality is good and prices reasonable too.
Pongo recently launched a line of aero socks which, while not the most exciting designs (more colour please), are comfortable and, who knows, may even be worth a watt or two.
2. Ridge Supply
Probably most famous for their 2015 “skyline” design, now available in more variations than you can shake a stick at, Ridge Supply aren’t dedicated to just cycling, supporting other lesser activities such as hiking and (again) running. Newer designs like “20 percent” are still eye-catching and again there’s a good chance you’ll find something that has the look you’re after.
The biggest downsides to Ridge Supply for UK and European cyclists are that it can be tricky to get stock locally (and the international shipping rates on the Ridge Supply website are well above average). Still, nice socks if you can get them.
3. MB Wear
The brainchild of two fromer pro cyclists, MB Wear has transitioned to more block colours than it once offered (I have older pairs with really cool graphics on them), although they retain the somewhat marmite (for those of not from Britain: “you either love or hate”) ‘fun’ range of graphic socks.
Slightly thinner than the socks from Ridge Supply, these are definitely summer socks, but they wash well and fit nicely. You’ll find these a lot in cycling shops in Mallorca, or just as easily online (and they ship to the UK).
4. Handlebar Mustache
Another small American outfit who have made a name for themselves for delivering out-of-the-ordinary sock designs and great quality (I have several pairs more than a few years old that are still entirely serviceable). Again, the designs can be a bit hit-or-miss for my tastes but occasionally you find ‘the one’ that will match that one kit you’ve been struggling to pair up.
Again, problematic for UK cyclists unless you’re lucky to find a local stockiest or happy to pay international shipping rates.
5. New Champ Socks
Back to Britain for our final mention. New Champ Socks is a fairly new startup based in Wiltshire. Being quite new, the range isn’t the widest, but they have some nice designs on offer with a few colour combinations you might not find elsewhere. I’ve used their merino wool socks for a few winters and have been very pleased with them. If you like something a little quirky, they’re well worth a look.
Who else have I missed? Who should be featured here?!
You spoke, I listened!
Nudo.cc - not a brand I've tried myself, but I've heard good things and I like some of their designs. Worth a look if you need a sock that's "just right" for that special kit.