I’m not holding back on it. I’m a Swiftwick convert. At last year’s Interbike, we ran into the kind people at Swiftwick and reviewed their revolutionary socks. This year at Interbike, we deliberately stopped by the Swiftwick booth to see what’s new in the world of fine footwear. Although we weren’t quite talked into getting a tattoo (Interbike is a place of surprises. And Swiftwick was running a free tattoo parlor), we were swayed by their new offerings for 2015/2016. In fact, they were also making a strong showing as “the official sock of Cross Vegas” and the new sponsors of the Maxxis Shimano Cyclocross Team.
The big new players in the Swiftwick line this year: The Vision Eight, Pursuit Thin Wool, and revamped Performance.
PURSUIT Thin Wool
While we didn’t get a chance to try out the new wool options, we notice the aesthetics on the Pursuit Thin Wool–simple yet stylin’. If you’re into the thermal properties of wool, but you can’t stand a thick sock, Swiftwick has reduced the bulk of these by 50%. At $19.99, they seem to be priced relatively well for the quality.
Meanwhile, Swiftwick also re-introduced their Performance line with improvements to the elasticity and durability of the sock. We did try the Performance, and these live up to all the claims that Swiftwick makes about them–easy compression that helps to reduce muscle fatigue from vibration–these are a sturdy, all-day sock. Available in classic white or black, the Performance has unmatched moisture management: yes, they stay dry. They’re also now available with seamless linked-toe technology to reduce irritation. Priced from $9.99-24.99 depending on length. We tried out the Twelve, which was a little on the long side for my taste, but still super comfortable.
Colors: 12 to choose from to match pretty much any kit.
Length: 8″ cuff
Upsides: Cool aesthetics with so many color combos that you’re almost sure to find one that looks good with your favorite cycling kit. Doesn’t fall down, even on long rides, and the light compression stays comfortable without being constricting.
Downsides: A little on the long side than what’s trending for roadies these days, and a little high for those of us with shorter legs.
I’m not sure what it is. There’s nothing I get stoked over quite as much as cycling socks. And trying on a new pair of Swiftwicks is a better rush than descending at 55mph–it just makes me happy.
Designed with the purpose of matching your team kit, Swiftwick actually researched the most popular team colors across several pro sports to make certain that the Vision Eight would go with the majority of kits out on the road today. Even though none of my current kits have even a stripe of orange in them, I wasn’t let down by the pair the kind folks at Swiftwick handed to me (I’ve definitely got to get a pair of the green ones though).
The Vision Eights performed really well on long and short rides as well as a full day walking Interbike . . . and . . . *cough* . . . Disneyland. Miles and hours added together and still the sock didn’t fall down or stretch out. Even my muscular (a better term than oversized) calves stayed comfortable in them.
Thin and cool, these socks completely avoid blistering or hot spots from bunching. And the feel of the fabric stays comfortable without leaving deep ridges in my skin–something that I find irritating about most compression socks. Basically, these stay up and keep your blood flowing properly without cutting into your skin or feeling too tight.
In my opinion, Swiftwick socks are the downright best I have ever worn. And the Vision Eight lives up to the legacy.
Grab your own pair of Vision Eights at Swiftwick’s site, or ask for them at your local bike shop.
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