Long past are the days of tying leather and animal hide to our feet for protection. I am happy to say that humanity has made leaps and bounds in the development of footwear. Unfortunately for you though, there are so many different sock choices that it can be a little overwhelming. Swiftwick stopped by the Art’s shop the other day and gave us the 411 on their great product lineup and let us try out a few different styles—here’s what we learned.
Swiftwick has varying product lines that aim to meet the needs of a specific group of people or athletic discipline. Art’s carries socks that are great for cyclists both because of fit and ability to keep your foot cool and dry. We will go into more detail about each sock variation and details that make them great. Keep in mind while you are reading that each of these socks is available in different cuff lengths; varying from zero to twelve inches. This is denoted in their naming structure. For instance the Aspire Zero would have a super low, “no-show” cuff, and the Aspire Four would have a four-inch cuff.
Performance – Considered the original Swiftwick compression sock, the Performance line minimizes friction on the toes using abrasion resistant nylon sock material.
Art’s Buyer Jerald’s post-ride thoughts on the Swiftwick Performance Four: “The Swiftwick Performance Olefin is my favorite all around cycling sock. The compression around the foot is spot on to provide a secure fit without discomfort. I own the Aspire as well but I actually prefer the thicker fabric of the Performance because the extra cushion seems to improve the overall fit with my shoe as it compresses. It breathes incredibly well also. In my opinion, the four-inch cuff is the perfect height for a cycling sock. It is stylish and the compression cuff never slips down while riding.”
Aspire – An ideal fit for a narrower foot, these socks feature thinner terry loop weaves and lighter materials. They also offer more compression than other socks in the line-up.
Our resident Swiftwick expert, Jerald, chimes in again: “When the weather turns warm, I reach for the Swiftwick Aspire. The thinner fabric improves breathability while still maintaining durability. I go for the four-inch cuff height and I love the multitude of color options to add a little flavor to my kit. The Aspire is a no brainer for anyone who wants a hot weather sock, prefers a thinner fabric, or wants to diversify their sock drawer.”
Pulse – This minimalist sock is the thinnest and lightest in the Swiftwick line, featuring an advanced anti-microbial bonding process that defends against odor. The ultra-thin footbed will make it seem like the sock isn’t even there.
Pursuit – Featuring American Merino Wool, this sock wicks away sweat while providing your foot with padding and support. Naturally occurring Merino wool fiber can absorb up to 30% of its weight with water without feeling wet!
Art’s Content Manager Daniel shares his thoughts after testing the Swiftwick Pursuit: “Tested on 2-3 hour mountain bike rides in the cool, moist redwoods of Northern California, the Swiftwick Pursuit socks were definitely up for the task. While the socks felt bulky when first pulled on, inside the shoe the 60% Merino wool Pursuit compressed nicely and helped to eliminate hot spots without making my shoes feel tight. Even on extended hike a bike sections with super stiff carbon soled shoes, the Pursuit always felt comfortable. On rides with variable temperatures is where they really excelled however; in these conditions the Pursuits kept my feet at a constant, comfortable temperature.
After throwing them in the wash with no special care given, save washing in cold water and air-drying them, the socks didn’t deteriorate or shrink. My overall experience was so positive with the Swiftwick Pursuit Seven socks that I plan on making them my go-to sock every time the mercury drops below 65 degrees.”
Sustain – Considered the most sustainable, this sock uses Repreve material, a postindustrial recycled nylon, to cut energy use, water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
My thoughts after testing the Swiftwick Sustain Four socks: “Swiftwick made no compromises in quality with their Sustain product line. I was initially skeptical of the recycled material, however the REPREVE postindustrial nylon is extremely comfortable. Not only does it help conserve water and cut greenhouse gas emissions, it also prevents blisters and makes me happy. Swiftwick’s contoured design was noticeable during my road and mountain rides. It seemed to eliminate a couple hot spots that I usually get in my road shoes. I never knew what a postitive difference the right sock could make and will definitely be picking up another pair of Swiftwicks”
Medical Recovery Compression Sock – Designed with graduated compression, this sock puts 20 mmHg of pressure at the ankle, tapering to 15 mmHg at the top of the calf. This increases the body’s rate of blood flow, helping the body to flush out toxins generated by intense muscular activity and speed up muscle repair.
Feel free to check out this Learning Center Document that compares all of the different socks with detailed feature lists for each. Once you have a handle on all the features and have decided on a cuff length, head on over to our Swiftwick page and step into the most comfortable socks you’ll ever own.