Friday, August 20, 2010

Gear: Socks for Hot Summer Riding

 "If your feet don't hurt and your ass doesn't hurt, you've won half the battle of riding long."   The Gospel According to Darwin

I recently read an article about avoiding hot-foot on summer rides, then Diane mentioned that she'd grabbed heavy wool socks today for a road ride and her feet felt "yucky" hot. The topic of socks is one to which I've given some thought. For me, one of the benefits of road riding over riding the mountain bike is that it gives me some time to contemplate the minutiae of life instead of rapidly processing a stream of complex thoughts like, "tree" "rock" "root", as is necessary for my safe passage down single track.  As we enter warm weather each spring, I always relish the shedding of long-finger gloves, arm and knee warmers, ear covers and my beloved DeFeet Blaze winter wool socks in favor of the freedom of short sleeves, fingerless gloves, bare legs and sheer summer socks. That's the set-up until it gets really hot. I've noticed that when the pavement is really cooking that I get hot-foot, particularly at the ball of my foot, when wearing thin uncushioned socks. It may sound like a minor problem, but long rides can be painful enough without volunteering to up the ante. Many of my triathlete friends don't wear socks at all, but I can't roll that way. Call me delicate. My solution is to choose wool blend socks, preferably with some cushion in the area of the heel and the ball of your foot, but thin and loosely knit elsewhere. Here are some of my favorite socks for varying warm weather conditions:

The socks on the left are Bridgedale X-Hale multisport socks. They look a little fluffy for summer, but have great wicking properties and a little cushion just where you need it. The cushion also seems to allow for better blood circulation and allow a little air under the foot. They are my "go to" socks for long rides when the heat is on.
In the center are DeFeet Wool-E-Ators, great lightweight wool socks with good wicking and no cushion.
On the right are basic DeFeet Cool Max summer socks. They're great socks, but just don't cut it for me on long rides when it's really hot.

Many folks seem to be able to get by with whatever they pull out of the drawer, but for my comfort, it pays to be particular. If you're one of those folks who can stick your wet, bare, sandy foot into the shoes that you've left clipped onto your pedals in a triathlon transition area and then ride happily away, you have my admiration.


joseph said...

wool blend socks are much more comfortable for riding. Mind you, i don't think it is that practical to ride when it is really hot, it is better just to stay out of the heat!

Ironman said...

"Call me delicate", NO Comment! HA!

dewonn43 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dewonn43 said...

Hey ... Glad to see you included me in your list of friends (triathletes w/o sox)

Rmooney said...

when I go without sox I put a combo of baby powder and vasoline in my bike/running shoes, It keeps the hot spots away, I don't know witch one, or if it is a combo of the two

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