Finding the perfect cycling socks may be low on your priority list, but the right pair will keep you comfortable, dry, and improve your performance in the saddle. If you’ve never shopped for cycling socks, we’ve selected eight of the best options with biker recommendations, customer reviews, and comfort features in mind. To help you shop, we’ve also included some tips on what to look for.
Can I wear any socks for cycling?
Technically, you can wear any socks for cycling, but regular socks are not as comfortable while you ride.
Naturally, you might wonder, “What’s the difference between cycling socks and regular socks?” Cycling socks are very much like regular socks, but there are a few key differences:
- Extra padding: Cycling socks have strategic padding to provide better support and comfort while you ride. The padding keeps your feet from rubbing against the inside of your shoes when you’re pedaling.
- More insulation: If biking outdoors, your feet are exposed to external hot or cold temperatures. Cycling socks are made with thicker fabric and help protect your feet from the elements without trapping excess moisture.
- Better breathability and comfort: You’re bound to get hot and sweaty when biking. Cycling socks help wick moisture away from the skin and to the outer layers of the sock, where it can evaporate more quickly. This helps prevent overheating, blisters, and unwanted odors.
How to choose cycling socks
When buying cycling socks, there are a few key features to look for:
- Sock material: Many cycling socks are made of synthetic blends, which provide an ideal balance of breathability and moisture management. Although you can buy cycling socks made of wool or cotton, they come with a higher risk of overheating or chafing.
- Sock height: Cycling socks vary significantly in height. Options range from no-show socks to sitting just above the ankle, mid-calf, or over the knee. Ankle socks are popular among cyclists, but it’s mostly a matter of personal preference.
- Sock thickness: The thickness of your cycling socks will make a difference too. You want them to be snug but not too tight, and the fit of your cycling shoes will also have an impact here. For instance, thinner socks may be more comfortable if your shoes fit tighter. Or, if your shoes are looser, thicker socks can provide a more secure fit.
- Sock style: The way the socks look might not matter to you at all, but some cyclists may prefer socks that are also aesthetically appealing. Consider options like colors, textures, and designs if you prefer a particular style.
The best cycling socks check all these boxes but can vary from person to person. You might have to experiment to find the fit and style you prefer while biking.
The 8 best socks for cyclists
Swiftwick socks are renowned for their quality and design. Although they’re more expensive than most other cycling socks, they are thin and lightweight for enhanced comfort. The minimal cushioning is supportive without being suffocating or holding onto excess moisture. They also come in various cuff lengths and designs. Essentially, they’re the perfect cycling sock!
These cycling socks are more affordable than our top pick, but they still offer excellent breathability, are quick drying, and provide adequate ventilation. They’re also extremely comfortable to help keep you on the saddle longer. The Assos GT Socks C2 will keep you cool even for warmer days biking outdoors. And with odor resistance and light compression, what’s not to love?
The Aireator is the original DeFeet sock, and they’re popular for a reason. Aside from being made in the USA and manufactured from recycled water bottles, they’re incredibly comfortable and breathable. Perfect for hot days or hours spent riding indoors, they’ll keep your feet cool and dry, even under the most intense conditions. There’s also a great variety of styles to choose from.
These cycling socks are medium-thickness and have incredible features for a decent price. They’re a desirable mid-ankle height with a lip that helps prevent uncomfortable rubbing while you ride. They also feature padded toes and heels to prevent blisters and are made with a unique fabric called CatalystAF, which excels at keeping your feet dry and combatting odors.
If you prefer no-show socks that fit inside snug cycling shoes, these are it. They’re practically invisible under your shoes and feature a raised, cushioned tab to protect your feet from blisters. These ankle socks also feature mesh ventilation for enhanced breathability and supportive compression. Plus, they come in a set of six, so you’ll be set for a while!
These high-rise rocks stretch six inches up your leg and provide the perfect amount of compression to help relieve cramps and fatigue. In addition to the extra support, they’re made with moisture-wicking material that reduces friction. They’re also thin enough to be comfortably cool.
Want more speed? These cycling socks are designed to help you cycle faster with a focus on aerodynamic efficiency. The bottom half of the sock (the part that covers your feet) is comfortable and padded for the best possible ride, while the top half is made with grooved Lyrica to reduce drag. If you’re willing to spend a little extra to get more speed, these socks are for you.
If you tend to be hard on your cycling socks, the Rapha Pro Team Socks are some of the most durable on the market. Featuring various heights and colors, these soft and comfortable socks will last for months without fraying or ripping. They’re made with lightweight, breathable material for enhanced comfort and performance and are highly compressive, too.
Are bike socks worth it?
It depends. If you bike regularly with Vingo or outdoors, you’re more likely to prioritize comfort, especially if you complete long rides frequently! In this case, investing in a solid pair of bike socks is a good idea. Your feet will thank you, and your enhanced comfort may also translate into better performance.