The best summer cycling socks are made from lightweight, breathable fabrics that keep your feet cool and dry in hot weather, and will be far more comfortable than regular sports socks.
Usually made from synthetics such as polyester or nylon, cycling socks help wick sweat away from your feet when the weather is warm
A few summer cycling socks are made from light, thin Merino wool, which you might find more comfortable and less whiffy
With a vast range of colours and patterns available, cycling socks are a good place to brighten up your outfit
Most summer cycling socks are made from polyester because it’s breathable, can be woven into thin fabrics and wicks sweat away from the skin. Polyester fabrics also dry quickly, which helps stop your feet getting sweaty.
Socks are also made from Merino wool, which has the advantage of not holding odours like man-made fabrics.
Many cycling socks will have mesh panels strategically placed to further help keep your feet cool. For durability, some will have a harder-wearing material in the sole, heel and toe area.
Cycling socks will also have a cuff which prevents them from sliding down your ankle. The height of that cuff is a subject of great debate among style-conscious riders and that debate is in turn a source of mystification among the rest of us.
Some say cycling socks should be no higher than 5in, but there has been a trend in recent years for much higher socks. As far as we're concerned, you can wear whatever you like, but there’s even a UCI rule about sock length. We kid you not. Some might say if you’re worried about sock length you should spend more time riding your bike.
Lastly, there is colour. For traditionalists it’s white cycling socks all the way, but there are many more colourful options and designs available if you want to make a statement. And for all the Wiggo fans there are black socks. Some say white socks for racing, black socks for training. Wear whatever makes you happy.
To that end, here are 19 pairs that should do just that.
Of course, we simply must start with the coolest cycling socks of them all, our very own road.cc socks. You can buy them, in white or classic black, in the shop here.
The ashmei Classic Chequered Merino Socks offer loads of comfort and are very breathable when the temperatures start to soar. They are at the upper end in terms of price, but the quality and detailing justify it.
Merino is well known for being soft against the skin and these ashmei socks certainly follow that theme. They are very comfortable, and even on long, hot rides my feet still felt fresh and cool throughout.
These MP Magic Red Crew sports socks are part of its antibacterial range, using 'three metal infused' technology. It's hard to judge their antibacterial prowess, but I can say that they're extremely comfortable, their padding makes them ideal for the winter months, and they seem to live up to the anti-pong claims.
Designed for multisport activities, these socks are claimed to offer fast moisture wicking, good arch support and extra cushioning. However, their main highlight is the infusion of silver, copper and zinc interwoven within the fabric and designed to remove odours and kill microbes.
The fabric used for the Le Col Cycling Socks is very soft and has excellent wicking properties. These feel great against the skin, mile after mile.
Le Col uses a nylon yarn for the socks and when you put them on they feel absolutely lovely. The fabric is soft but because of the knit weave they're also quite supportive – not in a compressive way, just secure. The sock moves with your foot rather than allowing your foot to move around within it.
These Pongo Grey Breton Stripe socks are comfy and suit warm weather rides. The length is great and the styling means they're not just for the bike. They're pricey though.
Pongo does its Breton socks in all sorts of colours, so if you like the design but the neon pink and yellow isn't for you, there are a few more subtle options.
All keen road cyclists would agree that the success of a pair of socks lies in two fundamental aspects: colour and length. The Attaquer Vertical Logo socks have a great length that seems to be the trending at the moment: enough to see the calf, but keeping the ankle to one's imagination. Normally, colour for me is simple: white in summer, black in winter. However, to my surprise, the navy looked great – though accompanying navy bib shorts are probably a must, too. The white lettering stands out and adds a bit of interest.
Fit-wise, I had nothing to complain about. They never fell down or felt too tight, delivering just the right level of support.
Defeet has often been at the top of the sock game and these Cyclismo Tabs confirm that things are still good. Great fabrics, excellent construction and so comfortable.
Made from 66% nylon, 31% recycled polyester and 3% Lycra, the Cyclismos have a very soft feel to the parts of the foot that are inside the shoe and a more robust, compressive setup for the cuff to keep everything in place.
Teko's Adrenalin socks are soft and comfortable technical socks for cycling in warm weather. Teko actually calls these running socks, but they're perfectly suited to cycling and, well, most other situations involving exercise too. At their core is a technical 'Evapor8' yarn that's breathable and very soft against the skin, with what Teko calls an 'Arch Wrap' system that provides support around the circumference of your foot arch. The heels and toes also benefit from additional padding, while the underside is cushioned too.
Kalf's High Socks are going to get you noticed. Bright orange, with effective reflectors on the back, they are as eye-catching as they are comfortable. They are available in several other colours if bright orange isn't your thing. A cycling sock needs to cling to your foot so that it doesn't bunch up and rub while you pedal. The Kalf socks stay put while riding, but are stretchy enough that they slip off without resistance afterwards. A real pleasure.
The Madison Roadrace Premios are a very good pair of socks: they're really well made, with a compressive foot-hugging fit and a hard-wearing weave.
Q36.5 Plus You Socks are supposed to be luxury winter shoe-liners, but they're very comfortable in warm weather too and if you need to wear the same socks for several days at a time, they resist getting whiffy.
The Q36.5 Plus You Socks are described as an 'avant-garde winter sock constructed with superior natural thermic merino wool and silk threads'. Apparently, these materials also ensure weight is kept to an absolute minimum.
If your feet run cold (sorry), DeFeet's wool blend Wooleators are great year-round socks that don't overheat even in warm weather. There's a multibuy discount on them too, so you can get three pairs for just £37!
There's little to fault with the Altura Dry Elite Socks, other than their £10.99 RRP. You can find them cheaper, though, and they're very comfortable. The fit is excellent with the contrasting heel and sections sitting exactly where I'd want them. The same can be said for the cut around the calf; the medium-weight fabric has plenty of elasticity and there's no specific place in which it's focused, meaning that they grip across a large area rather than being held up by one ring of elastic sewn into the hem, so almost no pinching of your calf muscles.
These Assos équipeSock_evo7s are made from a fabric that is thin and very breathable and manages sweat really well, resulting in cooler and drier feet compared with wearing standard cotton socks. Put simply, they're more comfortable than plain old socks.
DeFeet are well known for their high quality socks and a common choice with discerning cyclists who care about the socks they wear. They do a big old range these days with loads of colour options, even a hi-vis pair, or these, with Tour de France King of the Mountain polka dots.
London’s Condor produce these Race socks, made from a soft micro-fibre yarn with a light mesh upper section to avoid overheating. The cuff is double thickness and they’re 7cm tall, and they’re neatly finished with a red stripe and Condor logo on the back.
Rapha's Pro Team socks are good for performance minded cyclists who want lightweight socks that are highly breathable. They’re made with a more durable material in the heel and toe, so they don’t wear out too easily, and the cuff is also made from more hard-wearing material. They’re available in two lengths, and you can choose from a wide range of colurs and patterns, with up to 20% off if you buy three pairs.
California's SockGuy is one of the most well known cycling sock makers, with a vast range of patterns and styles. These Crash Test Dummy socks will surely make you stand out on the club run or in a sportive. They’re made from 75% acrylic, 15% nylon, and 10% Lycra.
Rapha's women's socks have a sleek and nicely-contoured fit with no bunching up or intrusive seams. The fabric wicks moisture away quickly, and the smoothness of the fabric means nothing interferes with how well your shoes fit.
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David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.