The-Rules-about-Cycling-Socks Pro Cycling Outlet

In your day-to-day life, choosing a pair of socks to wear probably doesn’t go much beyond, "Are there two? These will do!" But in the road cycling world, cycling socks are not only important, but even controversial.

Here’s a countdown of cycling sock squabbles you might accidentally get into if you don’t know.

#4 Not wearing cycling socks at all/wearing non-active wear socks

Arguably, the no-sock look in mainstream fashion has become a trend because it looks better and avoids tan lines. In cycling, as with any sport where shoes are necessary, going sockless is only going to lead to blisters and smelly shoes.

Beware though! Don’t just go for regular socks as cycling socks are specifically designed to be thin and lightweight so as to reduce the energy loss from friction caused by your feet moving around inside your shoes. They’re also made of moisture-wicking material which will extend the life of your shoes. 

It’s much cheaper to replace socks than shoes, so don’t skip the socks to save money.

#3  Wearing the wrong colour socks. 

It’s not enough to choose socks made specifically for cycling. There are unwritten rules about the colour. 

Some people mock white socks with black shoes or black socks with white shoes. Others see the contrast as THE thing that completes your look. You’ll never please everybody with this one so you could go for bright and colourful instead. But, if the colour clashes with your bike or outfit, somebody somewhere will be giving you the sock side-eye.

#2 Wearing socks under/over winter tights

Again, both of these are wrong in someone’s eyes so you can’t win. In general older riders have favoured socks under tights where they aren’t seen. Younger riders, especially those that dare to team bright designs or white socks with black shoes, are happy to show off their socks and make them a feature. 

In terms of comfort, either under or over probably feels good but make sure the socks are tight enough not to bunch up or roll down, whether you go for hidden or out and proud.

#1 Wearing the wrong height socks

This one could actually get you disqualified from a competition. The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) introduced a rule in 2018 mandating the maximum height of sock to no higher than “half the distance between the middle of the lateral malleolus and the middle of the fibula head.” 

That’s about halfway up the calf and, yes, they do measure. 

The reason is that some Pro socks are more aerodynamic than bare skin, potentially shaving off a couple of watts which can be the difference between winning and losing a race. 

In the end comfort should be your guiding principle when it comes to choosing socks because, frankly, height or colour aside, wearing badly fitting socks, sucks.

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