Sometimes the little things count for a lot. Yes, cycling comfort starts with a bike fit, but once you've got your core worked out, it's time to get things right at the extremities. And no extremity is more important on the bike than your feet. Slogging away, directly in the line of fire for the elements, you need socks that fit well, and keep you as warm and dry as you want.
Socks? Socks are socks, no? Every cycling store has walls and bins of socks which seem to vary only in colors and logos, at least on the lightweight end. [The thick winter sock technologies are a bit more complex.] Right?
Well... not in today's rapidly escalating bike technology world. So we bring you Thirty 48, a new material and performance. The company is named after the number of centimeters in a foot (the unit of measure, not the body part), which is a clever little entry point, and perhaps more significantly they call themselves the Sock Geeks. What gives them such a right? Innovation:
- Left and right socks are constructed to match the shape of that foot only
- Their patented material, called CatalystAF, wicks away moisture while generating airflow and allowing your skin to breathe
- The construction even includes elastic arch support, which if nothing else cuts down on friction.
The cycling socks are hands-down the best lightweight socks I've ever tried. For $9.99 a pair you are actually getting socks that resemble what the pros get from their high-end kit-makers, socks that have been thought out to make them as comfortable and functional as possible.
Years ago Rock Racing sent us a couple of their kits, tricked out in every way imaginable, and no matter what one thought of the ill-fated squad, it was clear that the team and its fancy-jeans sponsor had created higher-end stuff for the big boys. The socks too were a completely different animal than what was on the rack at my LBS. I have them still, six years later, long after dozens of regular socks disintegrated. So yeah, there are socks and there are socks.
Like those Rock Racing socks, the Thirty 48 Cy-series cycling socks fit my foot quite differently than anything else -- a very firm, snug sensation while still having plenty of give for comfort. The performance, after several rides, is that I don't notice anything about them at all. My feet stay comfortable and dry. Whether the extra construction heft around the heels and foot balls end up warding off holes is something I won't know for several more months. But given the attention to detail in the design, I'd be surprised if they didn't hold up better than the rest.
Thirty 48 also make running versions, constructed along the same lines, as well as compression socks for the lower leg, to increase circulation in any workout. From what I have in front of me, I'd expect those lines to perform well too. Considering the price is in line with the endless supply of cheap stuff, bearing silly designs and minimal technology, Thirty 48 's Cy socks will give you a good deal more in return. You'll know it the moment you slip them on.