Just because you have a women's kit doesn't mean you have a kit for women.
Sockturday: Victory Chimp
Victory Chimp is a really fun company. Socks, accessories, cycling art, and a jersey thrown in there – all with the tongue-in-cheek humor of the pursuit of this perfect cycling being. They even made little chimp (Chimp Jr.) cycling caps! I look forward to sporting a pair on my feet soon and I hope you do, too.
What is your favorite VC sock/shoe combo?
Right now I love the Hill Repeats socks in orange with my new Giro Privateers I got for cross season (also in orange). I’ve went a bit mad on orange at the minute – bike, lid, socks and shoes. Still looks good after being dragged through the mud for an hour.
Do you adhere to the height rules or answer demand instead?
Victory Chimp was founded on one simple rule, only make the art and apparel that makes me smile when I wear it, or see it up on my walls. All Victory Chimp socks have a 6″ cuff which I reckon is the perfect cycling sock height. It gives me a nice big canvas for my patterns and looks good stopping just before the calf. We use a double cuff so they stay up where they should during the ride.
Do you make your own socks or do you use another company to manufacture your designs?
All of our socks are designed here in Northern Ireland and made in Italy. We work with a fellow family-run company to produce the highest quality combination of style and performance. We know colours and patterns, they know high-performing technical socks. It’s the ideal partnership.
Why do you think cycling socks are so much fun to wear and design?
I think the current interest in cycling socks is at least partly to do with their accessibility. There’s a welcome explosion of great patterns and colours across all cycling apparel right now and socks are about the easiest entry point to inject a bit of personality into your kit. Even if you’re restricted to club or team kit, you can still usually express yourself a little in your sock choice. They can spice up a bland kit, or be the finishing touch to a great one.
On the design side, anything that challenges you and applies restrictions can be the most fun work. With socks, the design has to work right around the leg, at a relatively small size and within the limitations of the yarn. It’s fun to see what you can do within these limits and how you can push them.
Why do you not offer a women’s sock different from a men’s? Oftentimes, especially for smaller footed women the design is off when worn and fit can sometimes be not quite right.
I’m aware of this issue which is why I wanted to make a unisex sock which looked and felt good on everyone. We achieved this by using a new nylon fabric, combined with a flat seam and elasticated arch construction with a little elastane for a snug fit. We offer three sizes covering EU 36-47 / US 4-13 / UK 3-12 and are confident in the great fit provided from the smallest to largest feet. The socks were tested on both women and men and continue to be popular across the board. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive on both sides of release.
Do you consider mixed materials in your socks for specific purposes – warmer weather, cooler weather, wet weather, road versus CX, etc? Do materials make a beneficial difference to athletes?
Yes, we select fabrics based on the specific demands of a particular season or discipline. Using only the highest quality performance fabric as standard we create super comfortable cycling socks, breathable and durable enough to withstand the rigours of high-intensity racing. The innovative new high-wicking fabric keeps you cool in the summer months and warm when the temperature starts to drop as well as including antibacterial and odour-eliminating properties. Equally as important to comfort and performance is the overall sock construction. We use a breathable mesh upper alongside with a padded footbed (on the pressure point at the cleat) for all day comfort. How much of a performance benefit all this provides is subjective, but I’m a firm believer in the idea that if you feel good and look good, you’ll go further, faster.
What is your design inspiration? The meaning behind your designs and patterns?
I take inspiration from my twin obsessions of cycling, chimpanzees and the (mostly imagined) intersections of both. This can result in visualising a silly pun or considering the more animalistic aspects of our sport. A lot of ideas come during long rides, the point at which messy remnants of thoughts from the day drift off and the mind clears. I’m constantly inspired by the local rural landscape of Northern Ireland, the direct connection to it that cycling provides and often enough its surreal portrayal in Flann O’Brien’s ‘The Third Policeman’.
Anything new to look out for soon?
I’m currently developing cyclocross/winter socks, expanding our Chimp Jr. range (starting with the new baby and kid sized caps) as well as putting together kit releases for Spring/Summer 2017. Lots of ideas in the works, so stay in touch with our social media accounts for news.