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: Sock Guy

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Well, you can’t get much more ubiquitous than Sock Guy. They are hands-down my favorite brand. Every single pair fits perfectly, washes well, holds up, and looks sharp. They have numerous original and collaborations that offer a broad range of design and color for endless days of #sockdoping. They care about what they make for you, and their growth and popularity prove that. Welcome to Sock Guy.

What is your favorite SockGuy sock/shoe combo? Or (if not cycling) what has been the most touching story you’ve received about your sock design?
Our favorite SockGuy sock/shoe combo is any SockGuy sock in any sort of shoe. Whether that is a cycling shoe, running shoe, boot, loafer, moccasin, clog, croc, oxford, slip on, wing tip, chelsea or boat shoe. As long as people are stoked and wearing comfy, good looking socks that is what we are all about.
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Do you believe in any height “rules” or do you prefer to let the design dictate the style?
All personal preference. Rules are made to be broken. That being said, a good crew length sock is wonderful for all types of cycling these days.
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How did SockGuy start? What made it successful, or what was the growth turning point?
SockGuy started in 1996 and started out as a custom sock manufacturer. People loved the fun funky designs that we made. From there, there was demand for a retail line. We’ve been going strong since! We’re celebrating our 20th anniversary this year.
-Do you feel that your size now allows you to work with groups you would not have been able to previously? We have had the pleasure of working with some amazing groups/teams. Too many local teams and clubs to name. But we are really proud to work with some of the best Women’s teams in cycling. We sponsor the LUNA Chix, Team Twenty16 Pro Cycling as well as the Raleigh/Clement Pro CX Team. We also make the Panda Power socks worn by Amanda Nauman:
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CXLA_151122__9234.jpgSide Note: Amanda Nauman is a CX racer from Southern California that competes on a national level now. I actually DO already own her Panda Socks and I practically live in them!

Why do you think cycling socks are so much fun to wear/design?
Socks in general are just fun! Socks are one of the easiest ways to add some flair to your kit/look with out going to wild if you don’t want too.
Do you feel that there is need for a women’s sock versus a men’s? Do you use a custom mold for women?
That’s a tough one. One thing that sets SockGuy apart from the other sock brands is our patent Stretch-to-Fit sizing system. It’s uni-sex and it’s literally big feet little feet. The materials we use in our socks allow us to do this and fit pretty much everyone very will with these two sizes.
Do you think you design with a woman in mind? What woman would that be? Do you have different demographics in mind when you design a sock or a collection?
Yes, absolutely. Our primary market is Cycling, so typically the women we are targeting are cyclists or athletes in general. We actually just finished sorting out our Fall ’16 line and that process took three women and four men to complete. We tried to get everyone’s perspective. The owner is a guy, so he gets final say, haha!
What types of mixed materials do you consider for the different athletes you serve? and why?
We offer three different materials and multiple “builds”. Our classic socks are made from Micro Denier Acrylic, our Wool socks are made from TurboWool and our SGX socks are made from a PolyPro blend. The second part of this question is tough. We really want people to try them all and see what suits them best. We don’t want to tell them what they like.
What is your design inspiration? The meaning behind your designs and patterns?
Anything and everything! We are based in SoCal so we have beach culture right down the street from our office. We just want to keep it fun for everyone.
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Kitsbow cycling sock by Sock Guy

Any releases to look out for this year?
Fall ’16 is about to drop just before InterBike.

 

Sockturday: MBwear

11856720_902139256523955_1357516414_aMBwear is an Italian sock brand and sportwear company founded by pro cyclist Marco Bandiero. Never shying away from color and pattern, they are known for their lightweight material that incorporates some stretch and antibacterial properties. With so many to choose from, MBwear will have #sockdoping on lockdown for you.

What is your favorite MB cycling sock/shoe combo?
We like so much our Original with Giro shoes.
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Do you make your own socks or do you use another company to manufacture your designs?
We make our socks in our factory. Design is totally decide by our two owners Tiziano and Marco [Bandiero]. For fun collection we have a partnership with Simone Andretta, a good designer.
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Why do you think cycling socks are so much fun to wear/design?
Cause today people are day by day more exigent when you talk about appearance. We try to offer them the best design with a top quality.
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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 there may be rubbing inside a shoe from seams that are not quite right.
We offer Two sizes (36/40 and 41/46). Moreover we have our Original available in 12cm height, 3cm less compared to our standard.
When will the website be up and running to purchase? Where else can someone purchase your socks?
Our website will be up for the end of March but the e-commerce will be operating since December. Now you can buy our socks in normal shops and online (shopforcycling.com and All4cycling.com).
Customize socks can be create by writing an e-mail to info@wearmb.com
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What is your design inspiration? The meaning behind your designs and patterns?
Our socks was created to be simple, elegant and to be the Best in the world about quality. They have to give you style and be a second skin.
After an year from our foundation, We saw some fixed races and we decide to create our Fun collection. We worked a lot to obtain a high quality printed socks bit now we have it and all the people can externalize their personality by choose a Fun socks.
Tiziano and Marco are professional rider, they travel a lot and our design contain contamination of all they see around the world.
Sorry for my English.

Sockturday: Oxeego

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Oxeego Sport Socks is out of Italy so you can already guess that the fit and feel will be of excellent quality. They think about the sock as a tool for an athlete, and consider more aspects of its function and form than most sock companies. Carlo was very kind to take some time out to answer our questions.

What is the history behind Oxeego?

Oxeego is a family business. We inherited the values of the traditional Italian culture, based on commitment, work, research and innovation. We work in order to create quality products with respect of the tradition founded on human values and based on the principle of caring for people. We invest on research to ensure maximum benefit for the skin, the muscles and the entire lymphatic system and blood, making the sport activity more powerful. Our goal is to commit ourselves to the service of the ones who love themselves taking care of their active life style, their bodies creating scientifically tested products, handle manufactured and love to use.

What is your favorite Oxeego sock/shoe combo?

Probably the Oxeego Pixels Ocean with the Specialized S-Works 6 Road, seen at the last UCI Road World Championships in Richmond 2015.

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Do you adhere to the height rules or answer demand instead?

We definitely think as outsiders and try to spread a different way to live the cycling socks, developing high and tight socks renewing the rules. Do you make your own socks or do you use another company to manufacture your designs? Our products are manufactured and designed entirely in our company based in Italy and the designs are achieved by our dedicated Design Department.

Why do you think cycling socks are so much fun to wear/design?

In the recent last years all the cycling apparel has undergone a great change and an evolution also in aesthetic terms. This process could not also exclude socks that become a custom item with a multitude of design to show during our rides. Wear socks with eye-catching design is now a must to match your kit, and design new models is always very simolante!

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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 there may be rubbing inside a shoe from seams that are not quite right.

Oxeego socks are seamless and can be worn by men and women at the same time, we provide different design and colours for women’s taste, fitted and high transpiration with strengthened in the tip and heel with maximum breathability zones around the arch and instep of the foot.

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?

For all sports we’ve designed and manufactured specific socks with custom structure for all the purpoes, using our technologies Oxee O² and materials which recycles the energy emitted by the body thereby increasing the oxygenation up to 24% and helping to improve physical activity. Oxeego products include winter socks for the cold bike rides, for running or hiking and trekking, for gym training or ski and snowboard, and a big range of after sport and compression socks.

What is your design inspiration?

Any meaning behind your designs and patterns? Our Design Department is always looking for new ideas and modern solutions to keep updated and appealing whole product range, as in any fashion sector, designs and patterns are applied to test socks in order to evaluate the performance in real time.

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Anything new for 2016 we should look out for?

For 2016 we’ll extend our products range with new models, graphics and design always keeping high quality of our products strictly made in Italy.

Sockturday: Ridge Supply

Matt Hawkins in the master behind the curtain of Ridge Supply Socks. A compelling story of injury on the bike brings him to see a passion through to fruition and Ridge Supply was born. The now almost iconic Skyline sock resembles the rolling Blue Ridge Mountains of the east coast, the country’s most beautiful mountain range.

What is your favorite Ridge Supply sock/shoe combo?

My personal favorite combo is The Skyline Yellow with Giro Empire Yellow Shoes.
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Do you adhere to the height rules or answer demand instead?
There are no height rules, that is a myth.
**All Ridge Supply socks are 6 inches in height.
Do you make your own socks or do you use another company to manufacture your designs?
Ridge Supply socks are Made in the USA by DeFeet.
Why do you not offer a women’s sock different from a men’s?
Our socks are sized for feet but are not gender specific.  The fit is the finest in the world, in my opinion.
Do you design with men or women in mind?
I am a cyclist designing for cyclists…gender specific designs often miss the mark… if a design is good both men and women will want to wear it.
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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?
We offer Coolmax footbeds for excellent breathability, we offer wool blends, winter wool blends, and overstocks for foul weather.  The socks are battle tested at the highest levels of all disciplines of the sport and are performance articles of kit that have the perfect blend of form and function.
What is your design inspiration? The meaning behind your designs and patterns?
The Skyline sock was designed with the Blue Ridge Mountains in mind, but every cyclist dreams of riding in the mountains or catching a mountain view on their ride… so those Skyline socks tell that story for our customers… and we offer them in every color you need to match any kit.
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Sockturday: Handlebar Mustache

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Owned by a Boulder husband and wife team, Brett and Ashley, Handlebar Mustache is a cycling company making high-quality socks, tees and kit. Their genuine love for riding and for making people even happier on their own bikes shines through even in my brief interaction with ‘HBStache’ and I’m stoked to bring you an interview with them on this Sockturday.

Their socks will surely get comments on your ride, and with so many to choose from you won’t have the same pair as anyone else in your bunch. Their philosophy of the company is as authentic as their philosophy of life so the quality and design of their products remains as true from day 1 to day 501. Find your personality in sock doping with HBStache.

What is your favorite HBStache sock/shoe combo? 

That is a tough one…like choosing between your children. The one I am excited about is our Prep in the City with my new white Sub6’s. Waiting till the weather completely clears here in CO before wearing them though. Ashley has her eyes on some of the new Sidi’s like the ones our friend Megan Hottman is wearing. 

 

 

Do you adhere to the height rules or answer demand instead?

6” is our go to length. We have been asked for others on occasion, but we won’t make “Gilbert length” socks. Our new Foiled fold down can be a solution for someone wanting a 4” sock for example. They can just turn it down a bit.

Do you make your own socks or do you use another company to create your designs?
We have had a relationship with Defeet since 2012. They have been great partners for us to manufacture the socks. We design them, and they produce 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 there may be rubbing inside a shoe from seams that are not quite right.
My wife is very finicky about toe seams and sock fit, but they work well for her. We also sell a lot of socks to women and keeping the sizing unisex allows us to carry more designs in our line.  We haven’t been asked about a WSD sock before, or gotten any negative feedback about fit, but who knows what the future holds. 

Do you design with men or women in mind?
We don’t think of gender when we create a sock design. We create designs we want to wear, and don’t see a boundary based on colors etc. The first bike and skateboard I picked out were hot pink, so I guess I’ve never bought into the whole boys wear blue and girls wear pink concept.
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?
Most of our socks are the same blend, we feel it to be the most versatile 60% Nylon, 39% COOLMAX® EcoMade, 1% Lycra®. We have wanted to add a warmer sock for years, but being vegan wool was out of the question. This year we added our Winter in the City socks (66% THERMOLITE® polyester, 32% Nylon, 2% Lycra®) which has been amazing. They are very warm and wick like nothing we have ever worn. This became the go to CX sock for many of our customers. Lots of miles logged on fat bikes in these as well. 
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What is your design inspiration? The meaning behind your designs and patterns?
Sockspiration can happen for us literally anywhere. We have made socks inspired by art on the wall of a restaurant, a men’s tie, street art, and quite often just playing with an idea that one of us had while riding.
Can you explain the fold down sock? Never seen that before! (Referring to Foiled Fold Down sock)
The sock is double cuffed, which allows it to be worn at 6” or folded down to 3” if someone wanted. The polka dots on the inside we just to added for a bit of fun. Ash came up with this idea after we started playing with a Foiled design at World’s in Richmond. This one has become my new favorite MTB sock based on the double cuff’s little extra layer of protection around the ankle/shin.
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