Sockturday: Victory Chimp

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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.

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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.
Photo by Lovely Bicycle

Photo by Lovely Bicycle

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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Sockturday: Sokhyte

sokhyte_logo_text_orange_1472867095__29069 12317516_898542893556850_680755880_aOh those Aussies, another brand coming out of that country and changing the style of cycling everywhere. Introducing Sokhyte from Melbourne, a brand of “tall” cycling sock influenced by their Dutch roots. This first collection, featured in this interview, is called The Business. But keep a close eye on their website and Instagram for the release of their new collection any day now, called The Hype. Looking forward to it myself!

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What is your favorite Sokhyte sock/shoe combo?

Shimano make a road shoe (R171), this shoe is 1/2 black and 1/2 white. The sokhyte® shoe/sock combo works well with these, the rider can wear any color without crossing the line of a miss match.

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Do you adhere to the height rules or answer demand instead?
All our sokhyte® socks are strictly 6″ in height, we use a double leg cuff allowing maximum height all day without compromise. We believe a 6″ (double leg cuff) height is perfect for cyclist and athletes alike – allowing our design to stand out. All our socks are pre-shrunk so the length is kept throughout the lifetime of the socks.
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Do you make your own socks or do you use another company to manufacture your designs?
We use a maker in Melbourne. All our socks and packaging are made in Australia. Supporting local business is important to us and our branding.
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Why do you think socks are so much fun to wear and design?
Cycling has fast become fashion first, possibly performance second in terms of riding and racing. There are many events around Australia that focus on the journey and memory, rather than crossing the line first. Gran Fondo events have taken over a huge amount of local racing. This type of event has allowed the rider to become individual and wear what they see fit, rather than having to wear a sponsor, or club kit at a race. We offer many colors to help the rider find that mix in a race or Fondo type event, and offer custom request to suit clubs, teams etc.
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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.
We offer a sizing from 35-45+ EU, this covers every size, including juniors, women and large EU sizes of 45+. There is no difference with our womens/mens cut as we use a mixture of cotton, nylon and elastane. This is very important when constructing a performance based sock as the elastane component allows the sock to hold its shape for longer, compared with socks using less elastic. So if a person needs a size 35 EU pair of socks, they can be assured it will stay that size for the lifetime of the socks.
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Do you consider mixed materials in your socks for specific purposes – warmer weather, cooler weather, wet weather, etc?
Do materials make a beneficial difference to athletes? We use cotton (60%), nylon (36%) and elastane (4%). This is the perfect mix of thread, it allows the foot to breath, extract sweat and keep the foot comfortable during any type weather. We will look at Merino Wool in the future as well as Bamboo, however we believe our construction, combined with the double leg cuff is perfect.
What is your design inspiration? The meaning behind your designs and patterns?
The first and foremost important part of our design and production is the construction of our socks. We offer a double 6″ leg cuff that we think is perfect for fit, comfort and performance. The reason for this is the socks will never sag or slide down the leg, in any form of event such as an Ironman, Marathon or Cycling event. Our designs are carefully thought out, we research as many brands as we can and try and find a design, or mixture of artwork that is different to the rest. We offer the riders a base color sock, with artwork/patterns added to them. We like to keep our sock designs clean and simple, rather than crossing the line of too many colors in one design.
**Anything new to look out for soon?
We will offer 4-6 color options per design in any given season, toward the end of the season we will promote a new design, and roll it out over the previous design. This will give the wearer a new option of design and color all year round. We will keep our offerings to around 6-10 as too many options can confuse a retailer when it comes to merchandising the shop space.