06 January 2010

bikefix Exclusive Review: Swiftwick Four and Seven Merino socks

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

Over three years ago, I picked up a pair of substantial wool socks at a local bike shop- mostly on account of their color (gray and light blue- two of my favorites). They (and the orange pair I later picked up) became my favorite fall, winter and spring socks. Made by Swiftwick in North Carolina, the 2Sox have held up great and are still in service- remarkable given the amount of use they see. Over the past few years, the company has changed names (from WickWear) and added several products to their line. Four and Seven Merino reviewed here are an evolution of the 2Sox- happily, the company hasn't messed with what works.

While many cyclists like to wear the thinnest socks possible, I don't mind a bit of cushion in mine. Swiftwick's Merino socks, which come in Zero, One, Two, Four, Seven, and Twelve inch heights (above the ankle) have just enough soft wool on their bottoms to make the inevitable hikes a bit more pleasant without taking up too much space in snug shoes. The material is denser along the top of the foot and up the calf, where they provide mild compression and (surprisingly) enough grip to stay up for a whole day's riding (though they will relax a bit when they get completely soaked). There are none of the irritating toe seams that can drive me nuts in tight riding shoes, either.

While I find the Swiftwicks comfortable up into the 60s (I find the Fours and Sevens are a bit tall for warm weather but will ride my Zeroes until it gets really hot), it's in cooler weather that they get the most use. With a heavy Neoprene shoe cover, I find the Swiftwicks comfortable for morning commutes down into the mid-20s. Come closing time, when temperatures are up into the 50s, they're just as comfortable. Such is the magic of wool.

From about October through March, I wear almost nothing else- which is about as high a praise as I can give anything. I also pull them out for any big rides where rain or pushing are a possibility- pretty much any ride with Charlie. My Merino Swiftwicks also get pressed into service for hiking trips. Are Swiftwick's Merino socks perfect? I can't think of anything I'd change. Their US manufacture, environmentally sustainable operation and $13 (Zero) - $23 (Twelve) prices are even reasonable. I really can't recommend them enough.

marc

www.swiftwick.com

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