When you plan a short day-trip or a longer bicycle tour, make sure you select the right cycling socks to ensure that your feet are as comfortable as possible once you hit the road or trail. A well-designed pair of socks that fits appropriately and is suitable for your particular bicycling needs will breathe well while regulating temperature in both hot and cold environments. When your day trips turn into tours, quality cycling socks protect your feet from blisters and minimize discomfort. To help you select the best cycling sock for your particular needs, we offer our top recommendations for cycling socks below.
Our Selection Method
When ranking our cycling socks choices, we focused primarily on cost, comfort (padding, materials), durability and aesthetics. We added extra points for socks that are manufactured in the US using sustainable practices. In most cases, higher-end socks rely heavily on Merino wool to help reduce odor and increase warmth and durability. When in doubt, focus on the composition of materials and the reputation of the manufacturer. Although we pointed you primarily to Amazon and Darn Tough to purchase your cycling socks, you may also want to check out REI’s most recent sock sales since they often offer deals. Last time we checked, REI was offering three socks for the price of four.
1. DeFeet Woolie Boolie 6-Inch Socks
These work particularly well in warm, cold or mild weather as they provide excellent circulation and are made of 49% nylon, 48% American Merino wool, 3% lycra. These DeFeet socks provide a seamless fit, but may feel a little tight if your cycling shoes are already snug. | $10.95 at Amazon
Defeet socks are made in the US and are literally a perfect fit for cycling. For most, these socks extend high enough up on the calf to protect the lower ankle. They come in several different designs such as the Woolie Boolie 6″, the Aireator, the Wooleator, and the 3″ Aireator 3″ Townee Socks (with cool cycling wheel logos). If you’re partial to the Woolie Boolie 6″, you should also consider the Woolie Boolie 4″ socks. Although these will quickly become your “go to” cycling socks, these are also popular for running, skiing and day-to-day office work. These socks are our number one pick for cycling socks.
2. Swiftwick Aspire One Socks
The Swiftwick Aspire One works particularly well for all four seasons. They are made of 66% Merino wool, 32% nylon and 2% spandex and are designed and manufactured in the US. Note the slightly higher percentage of merino wool compared to the DeFeet socks. These Swiftwick socks absorb moisture and are engineered with fine-gauge merino wool that produces a soft, no-itch feel from cuff to toe. The Swiftwick Aspire One has a thin profile and its light cushion provides a responsive feel to keep you in sync with your feet. Swiftwick uses “‘high tenacity fibers” in areas where there is more abrasion. | $14.99 at Amazon
3. Giro GE20170 Winter Merino Wool Socks
The Giro GE20170 Winter sock shines in cold and extremely cold weather. It’s made of a winter-weight Merino wool. High-rise 6 inch cuff fits with tights and warmers. These are slightly thicker (and warmer) than any Swiftwick socks, which is why they are such an ideal option for winter. | $19.95 at Amazon
If you’re looking for a sock that will keep your toes warm in the coldest of weather, this is it. We don’t recommend dual purposing these socks for skiing, but they do the job if you’re on a fat tire bike or cycling when it’s below 30 or 40 degrees. These are odor resistant, but don’t forget to dry these on a clothes line to ensure they don’t shrink.
4. Showers Pass Crosspoint WP Waterproof Socks
The Showers Pass Crosspoint WP Waterproof sock resembles the Giro 20170, but it’s especially comfortable in very wet weather–think spring in the Northeast of year-round in the Pacific Northwest. This sock relies on a proprietary waterproof, breathable Artex membrane, which covers the interior merino wool lining. The Artex membrane is micro-porous, which allows your feet to breath while performing high endurance activities. Since these socks include an interior and exterior layer, they have amply cushion. | $39.00 at Amazon
These socks fit like any other pair of socks even though you’re essentially wearing a liner covered by a porous membrane. They are not inexpensive, but if you plan on cycling on wet trails or puddle-filled roads, these socks will provide both warmth and dryness.
5. Darn Tough Micro Crew Ultralight Socks
Darn Tough’s socks are all weather socks that perform well in cold or warm weather. These are made of 53% nylon, 42% Merino wool and 5% lycra spandex. These socks do not rely on traditional seems, but are smooth fitting and provide heel and arch cushion for added comfort. Darn Tough makes a point of only adding cushion where it’s needed, especially for skiers and bicyclists.
$19.00 at Darn Tough Socks (Men) // (Women). These socks can also be purchased at Amazon and are manufactured in the great state of Vermont.
Darn Tough socks makes phenomenal socks that are functionally solid, while casting coolness vibes in every direction. We particularly like the stars and stripe model shown in the photo above (middle), but you can spend hours perusing their lineup of sock designs. Thankfully, these socks are also very high in terms of utility, so you can rest assured you’ll be modeling Yankee thriftiness as you drop some extra dollars on your purchase.
The micro crew model is extra light and reaches slightly above boot height. One of the best features of these socks is their lifetime warranty, which covers any and all damage–no questions asked. If you’re considering some Vermont-made Darn Tough socks, you may want to read over their FAQ page where they offer more detailed information about their warranty and topics like sock weights. Note that Darn Tough uses nine different sock weights: ultra-light, light, padded light, ultra-light cushion, light cushion, padded cushion, cushion, full cushion and extra cushion.
6. Pearl Izumi Ride Elite Thermal Socks
Pearl Izumi Ride Elite socks are made of 54% Merino wool, 44% nylon and 2% spandex. The Elite Thermal Wool sock is an ultra warm cold-weather sock. It’s made with full Merino wool coverage in the heel and toe areas, but no additional bulk. Cushioning is strategically placed under the foot, and anatomic arch compression give the sock a performance fit that’s perfect for cold-weather cycling. | $20.00 at Amazon
These are good cold weather cycling socks. These are only slightly thinner than standard medium-weight hiking and hunting socks. Like other wool socks, make sure you use a gentle wash and hang dry. They are only slightly thicker than a “summer weight” wool sock, yet they are still thin enough to fit comfortably inside a cycling shoe. The Giro 20170 is warmer than the Pearl Izumi sock based on the higher wool content of the Giro.
7. Castelli Rosso Corsa 9 Socks
Castelli Rosso Corsa 9 Socks are constructed from Meryl Skinlife outer fabric that actively pulls moisture away from the surface of your skin to keep your feet cool and comfortable. Having said that, these are best worn in warm and mild weather. The fabric has a silver ion treatment that prevents the growth of bacteria. The main part of the sock features Air Mesh to further enhance cooling effects. Extra mid-foot support is provided by an area of high-density elastic. That’s harder to quantify than their breathability, but they do feel very comfortable especially on longer rides and during bouts of hard pedaling. There’s a flat seam at the toe to keep comfort high. | $16.99 at Amazon
The Castelli is a unique sock in several ways. First, it doesn’t rely on the traditional mix of merino wool, nylon and lycra or spandex. Instead, this sock relies on its own polyester mix that breathes well and is very thin.
8. Wigwam Merino Comfort Hiker F2322 Socks
Wigwam Merino Comfort Hiker socks are made in Wisconsin and consist of 67% merino wool, 21% stretch nylon, 7% elastic (rubber) and 5% acrylic. They are particularly good for cold weather riding and have more padding than might be needed for a short ride. For longer trips, the Wigwam Merino Lite Hiker has less padding, but is also lighter and will fit more easily in snug cycling shoes. | $16.99 at Amazon
It’s hard to go wrong buying socks when they are US manufactured by a company that has been producing socks for more than 110 years. These merino wool midweight hiking socks are a good solution for the cyclist who is looking for more padding and warmth. These socks won’t shrink or bunch up and the high merino wool content means there is no itchy or scratchy feel. These will also double as excellent shoes for hiking, snow shoeing or for any cold outdoor activity. Like other wool socks, please don’t put these in your dryer.
9. Darn Tough Yeti Over-the-Calf Socks
These socks are excellent four-season socks and are designed especially for women. These socks are made of 68% merino wool, 28% nylon, 4% Lycra spandex. Mid-level cushion density under foot. A warm and ultra-comfortable choice when conditions demand it that relies on more sticking per inch to create a more comfortable, high-performance sock. There is sufficient padding on the bottom of these socks and they provide coverage over the calf. | $25.95 at Amazon
This is our top pick for women’s cycling socks if you’re looking for versatility, unbeatable style and a lifetime unconditional guarantee. For warm or cold weather, these will carry over into just about any outdoor activity and most surely generate conversation as your friends admire them. Darn Socks describes these beauties as a “burly, beast of an all-mountain performance sock.” We agree and are confident this sock will ultimately sit in your sock drawer for much longer than any other lower-quality (and lower-cost) alternative.
10. VeloToze Active Compression Socks
VeloToze Active Compression socks are made of a merino wool mix. The company does not offer a detailed breakdown of the material composition. They are well padded. These socks are designed in California and manufactured in Malaysia. | $20.00 at Amazon
11. CloudLine Merino Wool Ultra Light Socks
The Cloudline Merino Wool Ultra Light socks are made of 59% ultra soft merino wool, 34% nylon and 7% spandex. Like most of our high-end picks, they are made from an ultra-fine micron merino wool and designed for long-lasting softness. These Cloudline socks have reinforced heels and toe zones for durability and comfort. | $17.99 at Amazon
We own a pair of Cloudline socks and thoroughly enjoy these socks. They are attractive, comfortable socks that can be used for cycling or other outdoor activities. They will not bunch up, hug your leg without slipping and provide excellent heel support. These are an excellent “all around” sock that can be purchased in six different punchy colors.