Versus shot into the sock doping hall of fame with their legendary turquoise and yellow banana socks. They have successfully followed up with a range of funky socks in fun designs to accentuate almost any kit and bike combo. Their Summer Party range includes mouthwatering liquorice, pineapple, ice cream and watermelon designs. Away from the flash of the funky socks ranges, Versus also do more understated designs using solid colours with lines and stripes.
Versus Socks are widely available at bike shops, and more conveniently, online here, and delivery is free if you order four pairs or more. Prices range from R90 to R110 per pair depending on the model and design.
On the foot, the Versus socks look the part, and feel inoffensive. Repeated washing does cause them to fade and fray quickly around the graphics, but for fun factor they are up there with the best. The trail socks are a bit shorter and feature a much thicker material with a double cuff for better protection and durability but they are a bit warmer in summer.
Sox are relative newcomers to the local sock game. Their range features mainly simple designs in eye-catching colours. The socks sell for R119 per pair, and are available online here. Delivery is free if you buy three or more pairs.
When worn the Sox have a comfortable fit, they feel light and breathable, but not thin and flimsy. This is achieved by using a variety of material types in different areas of the sock - the stretchy fabric over the ankle helps with comfort, fit, and cooling while the thicker panel over the ball of the foot provides some relief. The length is spot on, and the bright colours are unmissable on the road and trail.
Founded locally in 2014, Sexy Socks focus on giving back. For every pair of socks sold, a pair is donated to a child in one of South Africa’s township schools. They can be found in 60 stores countrywide (the list is on the website), or can be ordered online here. The cycling range features 6 designs, with predominantly simple, eye-catching geometric patterns, and they retail for R149 per pair.
Sexy Socks look set to make great winter socks. The double cuff means they are thicker than the others, and this does make them seem warmer when you first put them on, but is not noticeable while riding. They have shown no signs of wear and tear after washing, and the quality and comfort is unparalleled.
The Cyclist Co.
Another local company, The Cyclist Co. offer a range of products centred around the cycling lifestyle: socks, off bike apparel, coffee and cycling-inspired art. The socks feature a classic striped design and are available in a range of 5 colours. They retail for R100 a pair and can be ordered online here. Delivery is R50 countrywide or free if you spend R500 or more.
The Cyclist Co. striped design blends classic and fun. The socks are light and breathable, but on the long side if you have short legs. Two of our four testers have developed holes in their socks during the four-month test period, but the colours have withstood washing well.
Probably the most recent of all the newcomers to the South African sock scene, Trace Apparel are currently available at Olympic Cycles, and online here. They are available in six colourful designs, retailing for R100 per pair.
The Trace Apparel socks are a comfortable fit and forget affair. They use thicker material on the heel and toes which works well to provide padding and protection. The colour of our pre-production sample socks has faded slightly after a few mud baths and washes but they still maintain their original charm.
MB Wear FUN Socks
An international brand, handmade in Italy and available from Chris Willemse Cycles, for the hefty sum of R399 per pair. They include technological features like a thin polypropylene layer at contact points to reduce vibrations and jarring, a hexagonal design to improve moisture wicking, and silver ions for anti-bacterial properties.
The designs are beautifully detailed and intricate, and they are as comfortable as the price tag suggests. But on the foot the material stretches and the colours fade somewhat as the pattern is deformed. They are the lightest socks we tested, at 30g per pair, so if you are a serious weight weenie, and not on a budget they may be worth a look.