Cyclists love the best cycling socks, and the bolder, brighter and brasher, the better. Your socks are a real opportunity to make a statement on the weekend group ride and, with so many designs out there, there’s no shortage of options.
And, as an added bonus, some cycling socks can also keep your feet warm and prevent your cycling shoes from chafing. They're made for your road bike but considering how cold you can get on an electric bike, they are handy for those too.
Good quality socks can go a long way to improving the comfort of your ride, and there is more art and science to their construction than you might think. Thick socks are no good and impact on the fit of your shoes, potentially restricting blood flow in the process, so the best socks will be made from a high-wicking, breathable fabric.
With that in mind, we’ve selected three of the best pairs of cycling socks. They combine eye-catching style with quality design.
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How to choose the best cycling socks
First of all, you might want to consider what weather you are going to ride in your new cycling socks. Thankfully, there are many different cycling sock variations in this day and age and you can pick one for any and every weather. The Northwave Ultralight Socks are good for summer rides while the Endura BaaBaa Merino Winter Cycling Sock II – as the name suggests – is probably better suited for winter cycling adventures. And there is the transition period; for the in-between days, get the Castelli Transition 18 Cycling Socks.
There is also the question of fabrics and materials used in the socks. Most cycling socks are made of composite blend nowadays and contain a little bit of everything: a few yarns of wool, some spandex and nylon, too. The winter ones tend to be more wool than spandex while the summer ones are the other way around.
Let's not forget about style either: you can go subtle with either white of black socks – like the Castelli Quindici Soft 15cm Cuff Wool Sock – or go bold with zebra-stripes like looking Primal Electric Shock Socks. Your call.
Best cycling socks, in order
1. DeFeet Aireator 6" Handlebar Mustache Mind the Gap Socks
Best cycling socks: the gold standard of socks for cycling
Reasons to buy
If DeFeet knows how to do one thing properly, it’s socks. In fact, the company specialises in socks. The Aireator was DeFeet’s original sock in 1992 and continues to set the standard. The Aireator has an open mesh construction, ensuring excellent breathability and quick-drying performance, ideal for those sweaty summer rides.
The socks are available in a range of cuff heights, with a single or double-layer cuff, and more designs than you could possibly wish for, including the rather jazzy ‘Barnstormer’ and ‘Sugarskull’ socks we’ve pictured here.
2. dhb Classic Thermal Socks
Best cheap cycling socks: these will keep you warm at minimal expense
Reasons to buy
Budget needn’t mean low quality, and that’s certainly the case with the dhb Classic Thermal Socks. These striking socks are less snazzy than dHB’s summer socks, but then winter riding in chilly conditions is a serious business.
The socks are made of are hollow-cored Thermolite fibres which trap air against the body, ‘creating a warm barrier against the cold outer air’. Moisture is wicked away to keep your feet dry, and dHB promises an excellent warmth-to-weight ratio, should you fear your Strava segment times are being compromised by ‘heavy socks’.
3. Paul Smith Allez Up Long Socks
Best premium cycling socks: add a touch of haute couture class to your ride
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
Sir Paul Smith is a cycling fanatic, so perhaps it’s no surprise to see these cycling-inspired socks from the fashion designer. The Allez socks are made from a stretchy, high-wicking mix of nylon and spandex, and come in three vibrant designs to add a splash of colour to your feet as they turn the pedals. The extra-long cuff is bang on-trend, too.
They’re a bit pricey for cycling socks, but these offer style in abundance – perfect for fashion-conscious riders or as a gift.