24 February 2008

bikefix Exclusive Review: SwiftWick NaturWool 2Sox

Now you can buy Swiftwick socks and arm warmers directly from Bikefix, with free shipping! Visit our store!

Why review riding socks? Its certainly not something I really saw us doing- everyone has so many, and they tend to be chosen as much for the logo as the sock itself. The other day, though, I realized that after about 16 or 18 months in service, these SwiftWick (formerly WickWear) wool socks almost never make it into the sock drawer. That's because, during the cooler 8 months of the year, they go directly from the drying rack onto my feet.

Regular readers might be forgiven for thinking that I'm not a big fan of wool. It can be fairly expensive, require particular care, and doesn't always perform as well as more modern fabric. For a cool- or wet-weather sock, though, wool is hard to beat. Over the years, I've owned and worn through a number of pair of wool cycling socks. Smartwool's seem to wear out more quickly than I'd like, Sock Guy's have an oddly placed seam that irritates my little toe, and DeFeet's Woolie Boolies are nice, durable and dense but not particularly cozy. That said, I still prefer wool socks from fall through spring thanks to their insulating (even when wet/damp), wicking, and comfort.

I came across these rather fetching Ibis-branded socks the fall before last. To be honest, it was the cool color (I bought a light blue pair first) and reversible cuff that did it for me initially. It turns out, though, that they were really, really comfortable. The 60%/30%/10% merino wool/nylon/Lycra blend is very soft (not at all scratchy), and the fairly complex knit is cushiony on the bottom and heel and dense over the top of the foot (helping to prevent hot spots) and just right around my bony cyclist's ankles. The toe seam is apparently burried somewhere in the fluff, but it's hidden so well that I can't feel it with my toes, even in snug riding shoes. The flip-able cuff that drew me to the socks in the first place is the only disappointment. Flipping them down doesn't really provide for more cooling- rather than a long-ish (3in) but wicking layer, you get a shorter (1.5in) double-layer. As neat an idea as it is, I never really bother.

18 months on, the Ibis Mojo is long gone, but the socks are still being ridden. Not only are the American made SwiftWicks my favorite cool-weather riding socks, but I've been using them for hiking as well and (save for some furriness around the logos) they look like new. That's got to be about 50 wear/wash cycles for each of 2 pair, which doesn't sound like much but is pretty impressive when you consider that many folks' favorite riding shorts may only see 20 or 30 rides per year. The company goes into additional detail about the construction on their website, and the socks are available for custom order, with a 60pc minimum. I'm not sure who other than MBA and Ibis are selling their socks, but they're certainly worth seeking out.

www.swiftwick.com

marc

1 comment:

Sharp Emmons said...

Hello!

WickWear is now SwiftWick! We make the current offering of socks for Ibis, Jittery Joes, Luna, HOSS and several other pro and amateur teams.

We offer a Standard Knit line, as well as custom orders. Dealer inquiries are welcome.

I invite you to visit us at http://www.swiftwick.com

Thanks for your interest in our superb socks!

Please contact us. We would love to send you some socks for review. We know you will be impressed!

Thanks!

Sharp Emmons
sharpie@swiftwick.com