Best Cycling Socks

When most cyclists select the gear they’ll need when they set out on their bikes, many of them often overlook purchasing the right kind of socks to help keep them comfortable on all of their cycling adventures. Socks might not sound important, but in fact, a good pair of cycling socks can be very helpful when you are on the go. Cycling socks are designed to give you the support and comfort you need while also allowing your feet to breathe so you don’t wind up overheating in your own sweat, or even worse, getting blisters from your feet rubbing against your shoes.

While finding a good pair of cycling socks can help give you a lot of comfort and assistance, there are so many options to pick from, we’ve decided to help save you some time by putting together a list of the ten best cycling socks you’ll come across on the market today. We’ll also cover some of the important criteria points to evaluation to help you make a better decision and to ensure that you get the right pair of socks to meet your needs.

10 Best Cycling Socks

 

 

Swiftwick Aspire

Swiftwick’s Aspire Four Socks give you a lot of comfort and support for all of your cycling activities. Made with olefin fibers to be very breathable, you’ll also get the support you need manufactured into this high-quality, durable sock.
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Materials:

Swiftwick’s Aspire Four Socks are made with olefin fibers, which is a high-quality, light fiber that helps to wick moisture away. Also, the olefin fibers make these socks very strong and durable, keeping them abrasion resistant.

Breathability:

The olefin fibers designed into these socks make them very breathable. So, you’ll get a lot of great ventilation. Also, the way the upper is designed in the sock helps to increase ventilation, so you’ll never have to worry about your feet overheating while you are on the go.

Comfort:

Designed with arch band support, you’ll have socks that keep their shape as well as providing a lot of support. The toe is also seamless so you won’t have to worry about chaffing, and all of this helps to make the socks feel very comfortable.

Value:

These socks aren’t cheap, and you only get one pair when you purchase them. However, they are very durable and long-lasting, so these socks are actually a bargain if you are looking for something that will last you many seasons.
Pros
  • Comfortable

  • Durable

  • Great ventilation

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Can be hard to get on

  

Capo Meryl

Capo’s Meryl socks offer you a unique design that’s made to help cut back on bacterial growth and odor. Plus, these socks are designed for comfort and also provide excellent ventilation so that your feet will always feel great each time you are on your bike.
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Materials:

Capo’s Meryl socks are comprised out of an interesting material called Meryl Skinlife, which is both hypoallergenic and helps prevent the development of bacteria inside of your socks. This also means you won’t have to worry about a lot of odor, since these socks help balance out what you’ll need as you are on the go.

Breathability:

The fibers inside of these socks were designed to still ventilate well, so you will get the breathability you want with these socks. Plus, with their ability to keep bacteria development down, you won’t feel too sweaty or have to worry about embarrassing odor issues.

Comfort:

The interior area of these socks is very soft to the touch, so your feet will stay cozy and comfortable while you are on the go. However, these socks don’t offer a lot of specific support or stability features, so if you feel you need those in your socks, these might not be the socks for you.

Value:

These socks are a bit expensive, and you only get one pair for their price. However, they are quite durable and you should be able to use them for quite some time, so you do get a lot of bang for your buck with this purchase.
Pros
  • Keeps odor down

  • Comfortable

  • Good ventilation

Cons
  • Could have more supportive structure

  • Could offer more stability

  

Giro Merino Seasonal

Giro’s Merino Seasonal Wool Socks are made with comfort in mind, since the merino wool blend feels great against your skin. These socks also help to cut back on odor and do a great job of providing plenty of ventilation for your feet.
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Materials:

Designed out of polyester and a merino wool blend for extra comfort, these socks also come with a nylon reinforced toe and heel. They are designed to fit well and help wick moisture away from your skin so that your feet always feel great.

Breathability:

The design of these socks ventilates well, and allows your feet to breathe while you are on the go so you don’t need to worry about your feet drowning in sweat. Also, the materials that make these socks breathable also help them to keep down the growth of odor-causing bacteria, so you won’t need to worry about your socks smelling.

Comfort:

These socks have a nylon reinforced toe and heel to provide extra support and stability while you are on your bike. Also, the use of merino wool in the material makes these socks very comfortable and soft to the touch.

Value:

These socks can vary in price range depending on size and color, so keep that in mind before you make your purchase. They are a bit more expensive than some other options, but well worth the price for the level of comfort you’ll get.
Pros
  • Comfortable

  • Keeps odor down

  • Ventilates well

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Could be more durable

  

FITS Light Hiker Quarter

FITS Light Hiker Quarter
FITS Light Hiker Quarter Socks come with a unique design that provides extra comfort and cushioning where you really need it. You’ll love how supportive and stable the socks feel, and you’ll also get good ventilation whenever you wear them.
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Materials:

FITS Light Hiker Quarter Socks are comprised out of 70% merino wool, 23% nylon, 4% polyester, and 3% lycra, these socks give you the perfect combination of comfort, flexibility, and support. These socks are designed to boost both ventilation and comfort while you are busy riding.

Breathability:

These socks are lightweight and do breathe fairly well. With the extra cushioning built into them, they aren’t quite as breathable as some other socks on our list, but they do offer some ventilation.

Comfort:

The cushioning in these socks helps provide you with the extra support and stability you’ll need. Plus, these socks are designed to prevent rubbing and chaffing so you won’t need to worry about blisters when you wear them.

Value:

You’ll only get one pair of socks with your purchase, and these socks do run on the expensive side of the market. However, they have a lot of comfortable properties that make them well worth the value, and they are quite durable.
Pros
  • Comfortable

  • Great cushioning

  • Flexible

  • Good support

Cons
  • Could ventilate better

  • Wool can feel bulky

Sockwell’s Athletic Elevation

Sockwell’s Athletic Elevation
Sockwell’s Athletic Elevation Socks are designed to give you the performance boost you need whenever you ride your bike. You’ll get compression with these socks, which will help prevent fatigue and soreness while boosting blood circulation to your legs.
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Materials:

Sockwell’s Athletic Elevation Socks are comprised of 31% merino wool, 31% bamboo rayon, 30% stretch nylon, and 8% Spandex materials, creating an effective combination of comfort and support. These socks are designed to compress as you ride your bike, helping to give you more support and better blood circulation.

Breathability:

These socks provide you with decent ventilation, and are designed more for their compression characteristics. So, if you know you sweat a lot when you are on your bike and want a lot of breathability, these might not be the socks for you.

Comfort:

These socks are designed for comfort, and are have a light layer of cushioning. The fit over the calf of your leg and help compress your lower leg and foot to prevent fatigue, provide support, and boost blood flow.

Value:

These socks are a bit expensive, and you only get one pair with your purchase. However, they are very durable and will last quite a while, so they are a decent investment.
Pros
  • Good compression

  • Excellent stability and support

  • Comfortable

Cons
  • Could have better ventilation

  • Could come in more colors

CEP Women’s Recovery

CEP Women’s Recovery
CEP Women’s Recovery Socks give you a soft, comfortable sock designed to compress your lower legs and feet to help reduce fatigue and soreness. You’ll get a lot of stability and flexibility, plus a boost in blood circulation when you wear these socks.
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Materials:

CEP’s Women’s Recovery Socks are made from 74% polyamide, 15% merino wool and 11% elastane, offering you a lot of comfort and flexibility by design. You’ll get a soft feel with the merino wool in these socks, and the freedom to move easily while you are on your bike.

Breathability:

These socks offer decent breathability with their compression design, although the merino wool in the socks does cut back on some ventilation. If you want a lot of ventilation and odor control in your socks, these might not be the socks for you.

Comfort:

These socks are designed to compress and are long by design, so they help to reduce swelling, soreness and fatigue each time you ride your bike. The support and comfort you’ll get with that will increase your blood flow and help keep you going.

Value:

These socks are very durable and designed to last quite some time, but they do run on the expensive end of things. While they are a good investment, if you are shopping on a budget, you might want to look elsewhere since these socks do cost a bit.
Pros
  • Comfortable

  • Stable

  • Good compression

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Could breathe better

Pearl Izumi Ride Elite

Pearl Izumi Ride Elite
If having socks that provide great breathability and ventilation is a priority for you, then you might want to consider Pearl Izumi’s Ride Elite socks. They are designed to help control perspiration and vent them out of your socks while providing a lot of comfort.
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Materials:

Pearl Izumi advertises their Ride Elite socks as being made with 100% other fibers, focusing on their ELITE transfer yarns to promote these socks. Those yarns are developed to help wick moisture away, and the socks are meant to reduce rubbing, chaffing and blisters.

Breathability:

The ELITE transfer yarn in these socks helps to increase the ability of these socks to wick moisture away. That means you get excellent ventilation with these socks, which is worth it if you hate the feel of wet, sweaty feet when you ride your bike.

Comfort:

These socks have an anatomic arch compression to help boost blood circulation and provide extra support and stability to your feet. You’ll also get a flat toe seam so you don’t have to worry about your toes rubbing as you ride.

Value:

These socks are average priced when compared to some of the other socks on our list, so you do get a decent value with them. They aren’t as durable as some more expensive socks, but they do offer a lot of performance benefits for the money.
Pros
  • Comfortable

  • Great ventilation

  • Good foot compression

Cons
  • Could be more durable

  • Could be higher for better compression

Pearl Izumi Attack

Pearl Izumi Attack
Peral Izumi’s Attack socks offer you a durable option in cycling socks that comes with a lifetime warranty, so you know these socks are built to last. They offer a lot of flexibility and also provide great ventilation, so you’ll never need to worry about your feet overheating.
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Materials:

Pearl Izumi’s Attack socks are made with a combination of 61% polyester, 35% nylon, and 4% spandex, which makes them comfortable and flexible. You’ll get decent ventilation with these socks, which are built to last.

Breathability:

These socks feature a blend of synthetic materials that helps promote moisture-wicking capabilities from the interior of the socks. That means these socks ventilate well, and you won’t need to worry about your feet overheating when you are on the go.

Comfort:

These socks are designed for comfort, but they don’t offer any added cushioning or compression characteristics. So, if those are features you feel you really need, these might not be the best choice in socks for you.

Value:

These socks are expensive when compared to some of the other products on our list, but they do come with a lifetime warranty. That means the manufacturer stands behind this product, and you’ll get a lot of durability out of them.
Pros
  • Durable

  • Great ventilation

  • Lifetime warranty

Cons
  • No cushioning

  • No compression

Swiftwick Pursuit

Swiftwick Pursuit
Swiftquick’s Pursuit Four Socks are designed with olefin fibers to help boost ventilation and provide a lot of comfort each time you are on the go. The socks are lightweight and designed to boost your performance on all of your cycling adventures.
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Materials:

Swiftquick’s Pursuit Four Socks are made with olefin fibers, which provide you a high-quality material that is made to feel comfortable and also wick moisture away. You’ll love how lightweight these socks feel, and the comfort that you’ll also get.

Breathability:

The olefin fibers in these socks help to ventilate your feet well, and the socks also feature a channeled upper to improve breathability even more. That means you’ll never have to worry about your feet overheating.

Comfort:

These socks are decently comfortable, and don’t have a lot of extra cushioning in them. Also, not everybody finds olefin fibers to feel that great against your skin, but that’s something you’ll have to judge for yourself if you try these socks on.

Value:

These socks are affordable compared to some of the other socks on our list, and do offer you a good value for what you get. You’ll get a good pair of socks that should help your feet stay dry whenever you get active.
Pros
  • Great ventilation

  • Good value

  • Lightweight

Cons
  • Could be more comfortable

  • Could be more durable

Sockguy World Bicycle Relief

Sockguy World Bicycle Relief
Sockguy’s World Bicycle Relief socks are made to compress your feet to help prevent soreness and fatigue. You’ll get a lot of support and comfort with these socks, which are made to also boost your blood flow while you work out.
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Materials:

Comprised out of a combination of polyester and spandex materials, these socks are manufactured from synthetic materials that are designed to feel comfortable and provide you with plenty of compression. You’ll get stability, support and a lot of flexibility each time you wear them on your bike rides.

Breathability:

Made with a mesh upper, you get a lot of airflow and breathability with these socks. They have a great ventilation system, so if you worry about perspiring a lot while you are active, these socks will help take care of that and keep your feet very dry.

Comfort:

These socks offer a good amount of compression, which helps with comfort while lowering the feeling of fatigue. They also offer a lot of arch support and have a friction free sole, so they feel comfortable when you wear them.

Value:

These socks are affordable, so if you are shopping on a budget, you might want to consider purchasing them. They aren’t as durable as some other options on our list, but they do offer a lot of good performance features and benefits if you are looking to save a bit of money when you shop.
Pros
  • Affordable

  • Good compression

  • Good support

  • Nice ventilation

Cons
  • Could be more durable

  • Socks can fray

Criteria Used For The Evaluation

Purchasing cycling socks can bring you a wide variety of benefits when you are on your bike, and give you extra levels of comfort and support. Some cycling socks are made with breathability and ventilation in mind, while others provide you with cushioning, support and stability. You’ll also find socks that are developed to provide you with extra amounts of compression while you ride, which can help boost blood flow and prevent fatigue and soreness as you ride.

You might be wondering if you really do need a pair of cycling socks when you ride your bike, or if regular socks will do. The truth of the matter is that cycling socks are made to reduce chaffing, prevent blisters, ventilate out your perspiration, and also provide you with stability and support (as well as compression on occasion) to increase your performance. While socks might not seem like an important part of your gear, when you consider how often you use your feet when you are cycling, and knowing that you are powering your movements through your feet, should be enough to convince you that you’ll want to make sure your feet stay comfortable throughout your ride. The better your feet feel, the better you will ride, and the better your performance will be.

The type of socks you’ll really need will be your own decision, but in our product list above we provided you with several criteria points for evaluation when we analyzed each product specifically. We’ll break down those categories in a bit more detail below to help provide you with a good idea of what you’ll need to look for and know about so you can make your decision about the type of socks that will be best for you.

Materials

What’s interesting about the materials you’ll find in these socks is how much they have changed and evolved over the last two decades. We no longer find cycling socks that have natural fibers in them, since synthetic fibers provide better performance features while people are on their bikes. Why is this a factor nowadays?

Natural Fibers

Natural fibers you’ll often find in other types of clothing and even other types of socks are usually made from things like cotton. While cotton provides a lot of comfort for daily wear, if you are performing an activity that will make you sweat a lot, then cotton won’t really be the material you want. Cotton absorbs moisture and can’t wick it away, meaning you’ll wind up with a lot of perspiration in your socks when you are very active. Also, cotton can expand its material when it has accumulated a lot of moisture, and that can create a lot of foot problems for you. Your feet can rub raw or blister when you wear cotton socks to do some kind of high-performance activity, and that includes cycling.

Synthetic Fibers

Nowadays, most socks made for sports including cycling are comprised out of synthetic materials. Many of the socks on our product list have synthetic fibers like nylon and polyester manufactured into them, and this is because synthetic fibers perform far better for sports activities than natural fibers do.

Another nice thing about synthetic materials in socks is that their ability to be tightly woven also makes them a lot more durable and long lasting when compared to natural fibers. So, the sock will last longer while also repelling trail debris and ventilating the sweat out of the socks. That means you’ll stay much more comfortable and experience far less rubbing or other issues when you are on the trails.

You’ve probably also noticed that many of the socks on our list also have merino wool in them, which is a natural fiber. Merino wool is better than regular wool at creating comfort while still allowing for ventilation, so this is certainly a benefit merino wool has over natural wool.  However, even with merino wool, your socks won’t breathe as well as socks that are made with synthetic materials, so there is a big of a balance and trade-off here. Merino wool is often used in socks that are cushioned, so the material and setup will give you some breathability, but it won’t be as effective as some other materials.

Some other brands use olefin fibers in their socks, which are great for adding durability and ventilation, but not always comfortable for everybody. So, if you aren’t sure about what materials you think will feel comfortable on your feet, it’s probably a good idea to try on the socks before you buy them. That way, you get a chance to feel them out so you can figure out what you think feels best on your skin.

Breathability

Another important thing you’ll want to consider before purchasing your socks is the level of breathability you need compared to how much ventilation you find in the socks themselves. All of the products on our list do offer some degree of ventilation, but some give you more breathability than others. That’s because breathability can sometimes be affected by the cushioning in the socks, and the materials the socks use to create this cushioning. While cushioned socks on our list are still breathable, they won’t be as breathable as socks without cushioning. So, how much breathability do you really need with your socks? In a way, that is up to your personal preference, how much you sweat, and how much of your own perspiration you can handle.

What we do know about our feet is that the bottom of your foot has a lot of sweat glands on it, more than what you’ll find anywhere else on your body. So, because of this, even if you think you don’t sweat a lot, there’s a good chance your feet sweat out more than you do, and you’ll need to factor that in when you make your decision. No matter what you think, your feet are going to sweat when you are very active, simply because that is how our bodies are designed.

Natural fibers don’t do a great job of ventilating well. As we discussed above, natural fibers like cotton tend to absorb the moisture from your sweat instead of wicking them out, allowing the perspiration to build up inside of your socks, which can cause other problems like blisters and chaffing. On the other hand, synthetic fibers are better at wicking away moisture and do a great job of ventilating even when dealing with the larger amount of sweat that can be poured out by people’s feet. Some natural fibers, like merino wool, are still found in cycling socks, and merino wool still has the problem of retaining some moisture, although it doesn’t retain as much moisture as cotton does. As such, merino wool socks, typically designed for cushioning, can breathe, but won’t breathe and ventilate as well as socks with synthetic fibers in them.  In comparison, olefin fibers, which are very hydrophobic, breathe very well and do a great job of getting rid of the moisture form your perspiration, but olefin fibers do not feel as comfortable on your feet as merino wool. So, you’ll have to decide how you want to trade these features off when you select your socks.

Synthetic fibers usually already have ventilating potential, simply by their design, so that makes them more effective with ventilation. They will dry out more easily and get the water vapor from your sweat to the outside of the sock so you won’t wind up soaking your feet in your own sweat.

Comfort

The level of comfort varies widely in our product list, and much about comfort will depend on what you are looking for and what you feel will be comfortable for your feet. Some of the socks on our list provide you with extra support and stability through compression, which can help reduce fatigue and soreness while increasing blood flow. These types of socks really help people who are just getting started or have injuries, as they’ll feel a lot more comfortable with the increased blood flow.

Also, some of these socks have extra cushioning and support in them, while others don’t. Cycling socks don’t typically provide ample amounts of cushioning for shock absorption because they don’t have to, but there are certain levels of cushioning and support offered by some of these socks. Some people find they do need the extra cushioning and support, while others don’t need it.

How much sweat you can handle with your socks is also going to be an important part of choosing your cycling socks, and how comfortable you feel. Since socks that ventilate better don’t have as much cushioning, and socks with cushioning don’t ventilate as well, you need to focus on finding the balance between these two concepts that is right for you.

Value

The value you are getting for the money you’ll spend on your socks is something else you’ll need to think about. If you are shopping on a budget, this becomes very important, because cycling socks do tend to be more expensive than regular socks. However, typically, when you spend more money on these types of socks, you wind up with a more durable sock. So, you do get a decent investment even if you wind up purchasing socks that cost more. However, if you are shopping on a budget, then you might need to sacrifice durability to get socks that are in the right price range for you.

Other Important Factors To Consider

Besides the criteria points we used to evaluate each product on our list, there are some other things you’ll want to consider before you purchase a pair of cycling socks. We’ll discuss those concepts in a bit more detail below.

Thermal Protection

Many cycling socks also offer thermal protection if you plan on cycling when the weather is colder. These types of socks are made with special materials that are designed to boost the overall warmth you’ll feel in your feet as you move. While you still need socks that can ventilate well when you ride your bike, if you are riding in the cold, you can get something that has merino wool in it. While merino wool doesn’t ventilate as well as synthetic materials, it does ventilate well enough to still protect your feet while creating a lot of warmth. So, if you know the climate is likely to be colder where you will be cycling, it might be a good idea to consider getting socks with merino wool in them. Some manufacturers offer socks that have merino wool in them plus other materials to boost the sock’s ability to ventilate. So, if you still worry about sweating with a merino wool sock, then look for socks that have a combination of materials in them, plus merino wool.

Fit

If your socks fit right, then you shouldn’t even notice that they are there when you are out on your bike. Most of the socks on our list are made to fit closely while providing support and flexibility, and also feature seamless toes so you won’t feel rubbing or other irritation. Cycling socks are made to give you fewer pressure points so that you don’t feel them as you ride, and that can really promote overall feelings of comfort when you are on your bike.

Many of the socks on our list are also designed to fit your feet more tightly because they actually help to compress your lower legs and feet and increase blood flow. That can provide extra support while cutting back on fatigue and muscle soreness, which can also help you ride for longer periods of time.

 

FAQs

Q: Do I really need cycling socks?

Unless you want to deal with blisters and chaffing, then yes. You do need to purchase cycling socks since they are designed to give your feet the support you’ll need while you are on your bike. Also, most of them are made to ventilate well so you don’t wind up with extra foot problems, and you can feel great while you are on your bike all day long.

Q: How do I match socks with my shoes?

Fit is an important part of comfort, and you can get cycling socks that go just below your knee, or slightly below your ankle. Really, you need to find a good pair of socks that matches your cycling shoes to get the right feel, and then you’ll experience a lot of comfort. Most of these socks are also designed to be lightweight and flexible, making it easy for you to move with your bike, and they work with you so you don’t have to experience fatigue when you are on your bike.

Q: How do I buy socks that reduce bacteria?

One plus of using synthetic materials in cycling socks is how they can help cut back on bacterial and microbial problems that can create further health problems for your feet. By cutting back on these issues, you won’t have to worry about having foot problems, and you’ll be able to ride for long periods of time without any worry or concern about how your feet are feeling.

Q: What do I need to know about natural fibers in socks?

We don’t find cotton or any natural fibers commonly in clothes made for sports and other types of activities. The main reason is that cotton doesn’t do a good job of protecting or supporting your feet at all, nor can it ventilate the sweat you’ll experience while you are moving often well. Cotton provides you with great comfort for everyday wear, but not for sportswear. If you wind up using cotton socks for any type of activity, you’ll wind up increasing your chances for foot problems like blisters and other uncomfortable occurrences.

Q: What do I need to know about breathability?

How much breathability you want and need will be something you’ll need to decide on since people’s bodies and comfort levels vary. Just be aware that your feet will sweat more than the rest of your body when you are cycling, and try to assess how much ventilation and cushioning you’ll need from there. Once you can assess that, you should be able to pick a good pair of socks for yourself.

Q: Why are synthetic materials so popular?

Synthetic materials can be tightly woven, and that helps the socks compress, fit your feet’s natural shape better, and also increases the sock’s ability to wick moisture away from your feet as you sweat. Also, with dry feet, you won’t have to worry so much about dirt, sand, or trail debris building up and sticking inside of your socks and shoes. If your feet are dry and not wet, the trail debris is less likely to settle inside or outside of your socks, further decreasing your chances of experiencing painful rubbing, chaffing, or blisters.

 

 

Sources

  1. Taylor Jones, The Science of Cycling Socks: Six Things to Know , Informational Cycling Website, May 17, 2017
  2. Cycling Hacks, Elevate Your Sock Game: 9 of the Best Cycling Socks, Informational Cycling Website, Oct 16, 2016
  3. Bicycling Staff, These Are the 10 Best Socks for Almost Any Ride, Informational Cycling Website, Apr 28, 2017