14 October 2008

bikefix Exclusive Review: Swiftwick One Merino socks

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

OK, I know- how much can one say about socks? Well, it turns out that, when they're the right socks, one can't say enough. The beauty queens of the cycling world, socks are often chosen for their looks more than their on-bike behavior. I first came across Swiftwick's 2Sox a couple of years ago, when they were probably the only actual Ibis products that our local shop could get a hold of. They quickly became 3-season favorites for their comfort, unobtrusive toe seam (I hate toe seams), and wide comfortable temperature range.

This spring, Sharp from Swiftwick sent out a pair of his Four Ole's and this pair of One Merino's. The One Merino's are just about the right hight socks for me. As cool as tall socks look, I find that they feel a bit odd and uncomfortable in warmer temperatures. Lower cuffs can allow dirt and twigs in during my (alarmingly regular) hike-a-bikes. When I received them, I didn't foresee them getting much use until fall. Sharp wouldn't have any of it, though, and berated me until agreed to consider wearing wool year-round.

For short rides in 90 degree temperatures, the Swiftwicks are really too much sock. For shorter rides in the 70's, too, I still reach for lighter socks. That said, if I'm headed out for any ride, on road or off, that even hints at becoming epic (ie: featuring rain, walking or the shedding of big man tears). As it turns out, this includes nearly every ride I do with Charlie, and for those rides, the One Merinos are where it's at.

Made in the USA of a 60/30/10% wool/nylon/Lycra blend, the One Merino's reassuringly dense, providing a fair bit of both support and cushion. They're channeled along the top of the foot, the cuff is nice and snug, and they're soft. Mmm... S O F T. After 7 months of near-constant use (and probably improper sock-drawer balling technique), they feel (as close as I can tell) like new. I've worn them during August snowstorms, monsoon season deluges, running and hiking (sacrilege, I know), and have never been disappointed. My only complaint (and it's a stretch, really) is that they loosen up when they get saturated with water and can then feel a bit saggy around the toes. A bit saggy- but still less than some companies' socks are when new and dry.

While the low-profile Swiftwick logo suits me well, they do a good business in custom socks. If you're an industry type and want people to actually look forward to wearing your logo'd gear, this would be a great place to start. Otherwise, Swiftwick socks are available through dealers or their website. The One Merino's run an industry-standard $13.45 and are available in "Zero" and "Four" inch (from the ankle bone, I think) heights. I tried on their new knit arm warmers at Interbike (which fit my spindly arms much better than others I've tried/owned) but they're not on the website yet (too bad- it's that time of year).

marc

www.swiftwick.com

8 comments:

Charlie Nickell said...

Marc,

Great review. I also wear the socks and they're by far the best on the market; keep it up.

Never stop,

Charlie

Greg said...

I like them so much I'm sleeping in them! They are best running socks I've even run across. I'm using all my other socks as dishrags. Nice review!

Anonymous said...

I wasn't a sock person until I received a pair of Swiftwicks to try on. Now they are all I wear - running, biking, hiking or just hanging out around the house. My husband says they are the best biking socks he's worn by far. He loves them so much he wears them to work!

Anonymous said...

I am not an athlete, but aftwer wearing these socks, my feet were dry and pain free after spending ten hours on my feet walking around at University of Oregon football game last weekend. Don Baglien Roseburg, Oregon

Lisa said...

I've been wearing Swiftwicks for about 6 months now and love them. I don't have any issues with them being too hot in the summer months, and I live in Georgia where the heat and humidity make summer months unpleasant to say the least. My preference are the Fours, as I like the added protection around the ankle from thorns, etc. I use the Olefin socks for short rides less than 2 hours and the Merino for long rides, hikes, and trail runs.

Julia Radmann said...

I haven't had a blister since I started wearing Swiftwicks.. and that says a lot.
At Interbike I also got a chance to try out their new Twelves, the knee high compression socks, and absolutely love them. After standing up at a trade show booth for three days, these socks saved my legs. I love wearing them after 12+ hr races and when travelling on a plane, etc.

Anonymous said...

Just when I thought the running, cycling and adventure market couldn't possibly handle another sock company, Swiftwick proves me wrong. I've been wearing them to do everything in for months and absolutely love them! These guys are on to something and continue to impress.

Jamie Dial- Tennessee

Anonymous said...

Hey Marc,

thought I'd let you know I checked the site and the arm warmers are available under SLEEVES.