Kalf's Tall 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 quickly became the first pair I reached for when I delved into my sock drawer before a ride. And 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. All too often this is achieved by making the socks so tight and grippy that they're hard to remove. I've got a pair from another manufacturer with which I have genuinely almost injured myself trying to get them off after a hard ride, so tightly did they adhere to my feet. These from Kalf are far better than most other socks I've tried. They stay put while riding, but are stretchy enough that they slip off without resistance afterwards. A real pleasure.
The fabric is quite thin, and intended for summer use. Nevertheless, I found myself comfortable in these down to single-digit temperatures. The fabric is called Meryl Skinlife, which incorporates silver particles that provide an anti-bacterial effect, reducing smells. I found this really effective and never noticed any odour building up in these socks, even on the return leg of a two-way commute. Because the treatment is built into the fabric, it won't wash out over time and should remain effective, keeping your feet sociable for the life of the socks.
As you'll see from the photos, these are intended to be eye-catching. The pair I tested were arrestingly orange, but if that doesn't appeal they're also available in several other colours including black. Whatever colour you go for, the socks feature the same arrow-shaped arrangement of reflective dots that I previously liked on Kalf's winter socks. It's a comfort having this sort of biomotion-enhancing reflector so effectively displayed.
Overall, these are a great choice for a pair of socks that perform well and have enough extra technical features to distinguish them from other offerings out there.
Comfortable, conspicuous, easy to wear, and they fight smells – cracking socks
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Kalf Tall Sock
Size tested: Large
Tell us what the product is for
These are summer cycling socks, although I happily wore them into autumn without problems.
Evans says, "The Kalf Tall Sock stays odour-free for longer thanks to the Meryl Skinlife yarn, which incorporates silver micro-particles to keep bacteria at bay for more than 100 washes. The three chevrons on the back of the sock are reflective on the pink and black designs.
Kalf creates stylish high-performance cycling apparel for riders who recognise that the devil is in the detail when it comes to their riding experience.
Sometimes we don't recognise the difference the details make until they are presented to us, and very often there are details that we don't notice at all until they are taken away. These are the details that contribute to the function, comfort and everyday usability of a garment, and they can be very subtle - right down to the method used to join fabrics to ensure the cut of a jersey is perfect, and remains so wash after wash, or the way a zipper sits when closed. Kalf is all about these small details making a garment that is first out of the drawer every time.
Kalf is exclusively available in the UK at Evans Cycles."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The socks are lightweight and breathable and use a Meryl Skinlife® yarn which incorporates silver micro-particles to keep bacteria away for over 100 washes.
Evans says, "Meryl Skinlife is part of a new breed of 'intelligent' polyamide yarns. It incorporates silver micro-particles to help keep microbes – and odours – at bay. Because of the way the particles are integrated into the fabric, their anti-microbial effect is permanent."
These were still looking great after quite a few wears and washes.
£12 for a pair of socks is neither cheap nor overly expensive, but these are excellent socks so I think they're good value.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
They still look fine after several washes.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
They stayed put on my feet but were still easy to slip off afterwards.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It seems comparable to other quality socks, especially given the technical aspects of these socks.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
These are comfortable socks that stay put but are easy to remove at the end of a ride. Some useful technical features make them better than run-of-the-mill socks. They're excellent – a real pleasure to wear.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale Synapse My best bike is: Whyte Wessex One
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, mountain biking, audax and long-distance riding
A research psychologist by day, Ian spends quite a lot of time on bikes, particularly commuting between Bristol and Bath or doing audax rides. For years he was an ultradistance runner, but this came to an end when he realised getting back onto a bicycle offered the chance to race over much more preposterous distances. In recent years he has ridden in the Transcontinental Race, the TransWales and the North Cape 4000. He has even finished first in some of these.