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.

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.

Sockturday: Versus

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Versus is a sock you MUST have in your drawer. The guys are so fun and cool to chat with and their interview below shows it. It’s the right balance between technical and fun, much like you like your own cycling life. And best of all, they are the first to note the sizing difference between male and female feet! Keep your eyes peeled (no pun intended) and go bananas (pun intended) for new styles coming soon!
What is your favorite Versus sock/shoe combo?
Versus Jelly Bean socks and Specialized S-Works road shoes.
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Do you adhere to the height rules or answer demand instead?
We try and keep the majority of cyclists happy. We have our longer socks (Premium Race and Premium Trail) and also our mid-length Race and Trail socks – that’s not too high and not too short.
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Do you make your own socks or do you use another company to manufacture your designs?
We work with local South African manufacturers that help us to develop our socks, but we do all the designing ourselves.
Why do you think cycling socks are so much fun to wear and design?
Cycling socks are like spices to a chef. It gives that extra touch of flavour to a cycling kit.
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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.
Stay tuned it’s coming soon 😉
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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? 
We use polyester, nylon and cotton in our socks, with structured breathable panels at the right places for maximum breathability and comfort. Our Trail and Premium Trail socks are thicker in the foot area, which is mostly used by mountain bikers. Our Race and Premium Race socks are thinner in the foot area and preferred by road cyclists.
Do materials make a beneficial difference to athletes?
Yes it does, but it’s mostly personal preference.
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What is your design inspiration? The meaning behind your designs and patterns?
We continuously create new designs and samples. If it looks cool, we ask the public for their feedback and if they like it as well, we set it into production 🙂
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Anything new to look out for soon?
Yes definitely! Check our social media in October!

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: 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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