Prendas Ciclismo Meraklon Oversocks £7.95
What, exactly, is the point of wearing socks over your shoes, apart from experiencing the thrill of having non-cyclists within earshot impertinently observing that you have forgotten your shoes or have put them and your socks on in the wrong order?
The practice seems top have emerged in the late 1970s when Continental pros began pulling socks over their shoes for the spring classics. Invariably run in grotty conditions, these took a heavy toll of lightweight racing shoes made of thin, fine leather and the pros must have found that socks, while doing nothing to keep out water, kept off the grit that actually does the damage.
This is what they still do, very effectively, as I find after every wet ride when I peel them off and road grit and grime with them. In warm weather I wear – almost invariably – Prendas Ciclismo oversocks directly over the shoes even when it is raining. For winter riding I pull on a pair of thin overshoes before adding the oversocks. This may seem futile given that, when wet, they contribute little to keeping the feet warm, but hold on; not only do they collect any grit thrown up by the front tyre, but they hold a large part of the water than otherwise runs down the leg into the overshoes. The result is marginally reduced wetting, minimal grit penetration and somewhat warmer feet.
It is, of course, a lot easier to wash socks than shoes. Furthermore, today’s cycling footwear is, with its Velcro straps, ratchet fixture systems and fancy finishes, even more vulnerable and worthy of protection from scuffing and avoidable damage. The Prendas items hold up well to both wear and regular washing – one pair is still going after a year – and keep their shape thanks to the Meraklon fabric and elasticated cuff.