How much a difference can they make?
That was my attitude toward cycling-specific socks for years. Sure, cycling-specific apparels like jersey and padded short improved both on-bike performance and comfort considerably. But a pair of socks? I’ve been using standard cotton socks for years, feeling just fine even on 200+ km rides—until I gave compression socks a try recently. While perhaps not as significant as cycling-specific short and jersey, I must admit, they do make difference—especially on hours of constant, continuous pedalling motion.
So, when @cycling.cub, a new Bandung-based cycling wear brand, sent me their newly launched socks for a review, I was intrigued. How does it stack against existing competition—or does it even perform as well as others currently available on the market?
Disclaimer: while the product reviewed here is provided by @cycling.cub, the content is based on my personal judgment and opinion.
First Impression & The Ride
The socks come with minimalist, reusable packaging, as well as minimal graphic—just plain black socks with the brand’s logo in white. To be fair, it’s the basic graphic style commonly found on other brands too. While it’s by no means ugly, it looks generic. I personally think the brand would benefit from slightly more distinct styling—visually, it’ll help the brand stand out on the market instead of being just another socks from just another brand.
Taking it out of the package brought me the familiar smell and texture of knitted polyamide—the most common, tried-and-true fabric used for most cycling socks. It’s certainly not as comfy as cotton for general use, but it stretches well and dries quickly. With tight fit design, the fabric stays in place like second skin, preventing rubbing and chafing on countless repetitive movement—exactly what we need during cycling.
Speaking about fit, however, I was concerned with that fact that the socks come as an all-size model instead of being available in different sizes like most brand’s offerings. And when I put them on for the first time, I could sense it wasn’t as tight fitting as the ones I had tried before—to the point I was worried it’d slide around like standard cotton socks. A 75 km training ride convinced me that my concern was unfounded; the socks stayed firm in position despite hours of pedalling—just like it was supposed to be. In fact, being slightly less tight than the ones I had tried before, gave it a slight edge in term of comfort; it felt snug and stable without feeling squeezy.
Still, an all-size model means it can be a perfect size for my 42-sized feet, but may not be for others—especially those on the smaller and larger end of the spectrum. Without testing, I’m guessing it’d be a tad too loose for those with 38 or smaller-sized feet, and could be too tight for those with 45 or larger-sized ones.
By now, it’s clear that @cycling.cub’s compression socks work just as expected. It does its intended jobs well. On the other hand, it might look like the socks has nothing particularly striking compared to heaps of others. So why bother investing time and resources to review it?
The biggest strength of this socks, to me, is its value-for-money. Retailed at Rp150,000 (US$ 10 at the time of writing), the pricetag is easily a quarter of big brand’s offerings, and almost half of local brand’s ones, while retaining most of the values they offered. As such, it is suitable for those looking to give a cycling-specific socks a try, or those looking to add their cycling socks stocks—especially those with average-sized feet.
Naturally, the all-size approach of the socks means its optimal fit is only suitable for certain feet sizes. As such, if you have smaller or larger-than-average feet, and is looking for perfectly tailored cycling socks, then you might be better served by other, albeit pricier, options out there—at least for now. But if you happen to have average-sized feet like me—and don’t mind its low-profile, generic look—then the value of this compression socks is just hard to beat.
Pros: hard-to-beat value-for-money, good performance and comfort.
Cons: all-size model diminished value for those with smaller or larger-than-average feet; could do better with distinct graphic and styling.
Overall rating: 4/5