This post discusses five things to know about cycling socks and why they are so crucial for your cycling performance.
Cycling clothing has long ceased to be just sportswear. An arsenal of technical clothing is available to anyone who wants to buy clothing designed and manufactured to promote the best performance without neglecting design.
What was once reserved for high-level professionals has become accessible to all types of cycling enthusiasts who want to train and compete while wearing quality accessories. Socks are a perfect example of this evolution.
Anyone who has spent a few hours riding a bike knows that every detail of the bike and the outfit we wear is hugely important.
Wearing good socks is as essential as wearing suitable gloves or the right sunglasses.
Adapting the foot to the shoe is the key to success.
Yes, the shoe makes contact with the bike thanks, in most cases, to clipless pedals, but what allows the foot to enter the shoe quickly?
The importance of adjustment is crucial to make each of our pedal strokes efficient, but also to avoid friction and the dreaded blisters. Today, most cycling socks are seamless, precisely to prevent the effects of constant conflict on different parts of the foot.
The fact that cycling socks are padded in some places is not a design quirk but serves a specific purpose.
They are responsible for perspiration.
Our feet are one of the body parts with the most sweat glands (about 250,000 per foot, if you’re curious). That’s why these extremities take the brunt of long days of riding.
If we add to the emission of sweat the heat generated inside the shoe by the force of pedalling, we understand why it is essential that our socks offer good breathability.
Synthetic fibres are light and resistant to bacteria.
The synthetic fibres with which most cycling socks are made today perform better than natural fibres. Lighter and more breathable because their fibres are hydrophobic, polyester and nylon are great allies for sports use.
Although they are very absorbent, they have the advantage of not accumulating sweat and keeping the feet dry, which helps to keep the feet warm.
Another advantage of synthetic fibres is that they prevent the proliferation of fungi and bacteria. If you take your socks off after a long day of cycling and hardly notice any smell, it’s the socks’ fault.
Cushions for comfort
The fact that cycling socks are padded in some places is not a design quirk but serves a specific purpose. Specifically, prevent chafing and blisters that can lead to even more severe ailments and ruin any cyclist’s best training or racing intentions.
Many have special padding on the instep and top of the foot, designed to cushion pressure from shoes and straps.
What about compression stockings?
Socks that constantly compress the legs up to the knee or hip (depending on the model) arrived in cycling from the world of running a few years ago.
They have their proponents, who claim they promote blood circulation and help muscles recover by allowing more oxygen to be delivered to the muscles. But this textile accessory also has its opponents, who do not trust the supposed properties of the garment and attribute the benefits, or supposed ones, to the placebo effect.
In reality, no scientific studies link its use to measurable improvements, although it may help cyclists with specific circulation problems in the legs.