There's nothing like doing a ride in new socks, is there? Magic. Some socks stay feeling good for a long time after they're new, and the Castelli Riga 9s are certainly one of those socks. Plus, they look Pro, and that's very important in a sock.
Fourteen quid's an awful lot for a pair of socks, so you'd expect Castelli to be reeling out the proprietary technologies to justify the price. And you won't be disappointed as you read that these socks are made from Meryl Skinlife antibacterial fabric. "There is no [bacterial] migration from fabric to skin. Thanks to the presence of the exclusive bacteriostatic agent in the polymeric matrix (which is inherent in the fibre..... not deposited on the fabrics surface) there is no migration from fabric to skin (avoiding induction of allergy)", I learnt by looking at the manufacturer's website. As a layman I take that to mean that should mean they shouldn't pong so much after a hot 100km. And fair dos, they're better than most synthetic socks in that regard.
But it's the comfort and the look that make these better than a bog-standard cycling sock. They're quite close fitting but never tight, and hard wearing on the bottom too, and the cuff with its big castelli logo and solid colour band looks just so. And I've done some long rides, including a 350km epic, in them and felt fresh as a daisy. At least in the sock department. And I like to think I was looking good at the cafe stops too... no-one said anything though.
The only downside is the price, really; you can pick up a very nice pair of Coolmax socks for half what you'd pay for these Castellis. So they're Sunday best really, which is a shame because they're comfy enough that you'd be happy to wear them every day.
Good quality summer socks that feel and look good on the bike
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Make and model: Castelli Riga 9 socks
Size tested: XL
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Cool, stylish, lightweight socks for hot summer riding. The meryl skinlife antibacterial fabric keeps the socks fresh and a mesh upper provides ventilation, evaporation and comfort.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The lightweight 9cm sock for hot weather
Meryl Skinlife antibacterial fibres
Mesh foot part for warm-weather comfort
9cm single-layer ankle cuff folds to become 6cm sock
Very nicely made socks, these
Wearing well after some long stints
Just right for summer
£14 ain't cheap but they're good
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well indeed
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Pretty much everything
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Pretty much nothing, other than that they're a bit spendy
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 38 Height: 190cm Weight: 98kg
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Genesis Equilibrium with SRAM Apex
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.