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: Ursa Minor

12671720_971710189580730_4044020088678711479_o.jpgI first noticed this brand around the time of the tragic Orlando club shooting in the States. They had a wonderful message of positivity and love and just so happened to have a rainbow sock for purchase to show support for LGBT communities everywhere. But that’s not all they are. They are exploration-positive, outdoor-positive and on point with their message of “finding your own north” whatever that may be for you.

Welcome to Ursa Minor.

What is the history behind your brand? Ursa Minor also feels more exploration and adventure and perhaps less cycling, so how/why cycling socks?

We started Ursa Minor in late 2015 with the ultimate purpose is to make products in the US for exploration and adventure. One of the main focuses of the brand is cycling and socks were a natural fit for us. Most of our explorations and adventuring have been on bikes however we want to build products that are functional as much on a bike or trail as they are going out to a restaurant.

What is your favorite Ursa Minor sock/shoe combo?

I don’t really have a favorite sock/shoe combo. We try to keep our designs functional by using a color palettes that will not prohibit you from wearing our products with a shoe, kit or any garment.

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Do you adhere to cycling sock height rules or answer demand or function instead?

We don’t really follow of any height rules. We just want people to just be happy wearing our products.

Do you make your own socks or do you use another company to manufacture your designs?

 Our socks are all US made by Defeet. I have to give a shout out to Shane, Hope, Brad, Scott and Rob. They have really been extremely supportive and have worked with us on product development and have been instrumental in developing products that perform well for men and women equally.

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

Socks are awesome in the fact that there are so many players in the sock game. It seems like there are more and more options and companies showing up each month offering really unique designs and people seem really dig them. I personally love designing socks and garments that perform extremely well and look good to boot.  The beautiful thing about cycling socks is the fact that they can complete a kit and can be a focal point which can really express what you are feeling during that ride, hike or just simply hanging out.

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Do you really make a woman’s sock or simply market different colors and designs to women? 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 run unisex sizing and colorways right now at Ursa. One really great thing we have noticed in the market is we see men and women are wearing the same color ways and styles. If the design is solid it works for anyone. We also try to keep in mind how the design will be represented on multiple sizes and foot profiles.

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?

Absolutely! Our Hi-Vis Oso is engineered with COOLMAX® Ecomade in the body for moisture control and Cordura in the heels and toes for padding and enhanced durability. For colder weather we have a Thermolite East to West color-block sock which performs like wool in terms of warmth and has a lightweight feel with less bulk in the shoe and we have some time tested classic Wool designs coming down the pipe. Our Against the Grain and Sky Bear are thinner designs built on Defeet’s Aireator profile.

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Anything new for 2016 we should look out for? Any expansion of products to come?

In addition to new sock styles coming in 2016, we are working on some exciting stuff in the base layer arena as well as some riding apparel.

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Sockturday: Acht Supply

ACHT_LOGO-symAcht Supply is an Italian tech wear company making strong design prepared to ride. The beauty of Acht Supply, and why I am drawn to their products so much, is the simplicity of the graphic design in combination with the color choices. It’s a designer’s dream, really. A kind of “Why didn’t I think of that?!” moment that makes you think designing for cycling is so easy. It isn’t. These socks blend with your kit without overpowering your kit, if you know what I mean. But the design conveys style and strength, complimentary to your cycling lifestyle. Here’s what they said in their own words.

What is your favorite Acht Supply sock/shoe combo? 

We don’t have a specific sock/shoe combo, there are many amazing shoe brands out there and we love to see our products paired in the most original ways by our customers and fans all over the world!

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How did Acht Supply begin as a company? 

Acht Supply started from my willingness to combine my passion for cycling (and sports in general) and technical apparel; in 2012 we started making socks and apparel for us and our friends, and then it became a full-time job.

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

As regards socks height, we follow our own rules: in our opinion, the perfect height is never above the calf or below the ankle.

Do you make your own socks or do you use another company to manufacture your designs?

Acht Supply socks are entirely made by us and 100% made in Italy: from the first idea to the distribution and selling, passing through design, development and manufacturing.

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

In Italy, socks are often an underestimated cycling accessory, but we feel they can really make a statement and we love to express our creativity in designing our products. However, we always combine aesthetics with comfort and performances, since we consider socks as one of the most important technical elements of 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 there may be rubbing inside a shoe from seams that are not quite right.

Thanks to the quality of our yarns, all Acht Supply models are conceived to guarantee the best fit to both women and men. Furthermore, we also offer customized socks for teams, and in order to deliver the best result to our clients, we develop our products and sizes according to their specific needs.

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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?

Materials are the most crucial element we take into consideration when designing socks: each material is suitable for a different objective and functionality. That’s why we pay the utmost attention to choosing the best materials available, because we know they will make a difference for anyone wearing our socks. For example, our Reflective Socks, which we just launched this winter, have been specifically designed with technical yarn and Merino wool to guarantee thermoregulation, breathability, and maximum comfort.

What is your design inspiration? Any meaning behind your designs and patterns?

I like to say that we never leave anything to chance, especially regarding designs and patterns: each of our patterns has a special meaning.

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Anything we can look forward to in 2016?

In 2016 we aim to expand our business not only in Italy (where we are based) and Europe, but also overseas. We will continue to research and test new materials and models, but also have many projects underway in the field of cycling apparel.

 

Sockturday: Larga

LARGA is a collection of socks that are made in the USA and designed by Patrick Jacinto. A college varsity swimmer, turned tri-athlete who fell in love with the sport of cycling. Born and raised in Manila, Philippines and now living with his wife and 3 children in Los Angeles, CA. Patrick together with his wife Lorayn (also an avid cyclist) owns and operates 100% of the company. The name LARGA comes from the Tagalog (Austronesian language) word that means “GO”.

What is your favorite Larga socks/shoe combo?

My favorite shoe/sock combos are the Maestro with black or white cycling shoes. In this case, black&white shoes! And one of our bestsellers, Bam-Bam socks with white cycling shoes.

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

With regards to cycling socks, 3-6 inches should do it. I like the socks to hit about mid-calf.

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Do you make your own socks or do you use another company to manufacture your designs?

We use a company here in the USA to manufacture our socks that specializes in cycling socks.

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

Cycling socks are the last piece of a cycling clothing that is often overlooked. More often than not, it is neglected. We here at Larga believe that cycling socks can make or break a cycling outfit. That is why we are here to promote that cycling socks are fun to wear. We want cyclist to look forward to wearing their cycling socks as much as they can’t wait to wear their cycling kit and go out for a ride!

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Why do you not offer a women’s sock different from a men’s? Oftentimes, especially for a smaller footed women the designs is off when worn on the foot and there may be rubbing inside a shoe from seams that are not quite right?

Our socks are unisex. Our designs are not specifically for men but inspired by what’s out there! Our socks are loved by both genders. With regards to seams, we have not received any complaints whatsoever with our socks rubbing inside the shoe.

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 do! In the Spring and Summer, we would use COOLMAX which is a fast drying fabric. In the Fall and Winter, we would go with Wool socks. We believe that the materials used on any apparel can impact the athletes performance in one way or the other. In our case, you don’t want your feet to feel the heat in the Summer days and  cold in the Winter.

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What is your design inspiration? Any meaning behind your designs and patterns?

My design inspiration comes from my family. They are the once that keep me going and design more socks! However, I usually get my design creativeness from what I see in my everyday life. It can be an awesome architecture, a pattern I randomly see. My designs have no limits and boundaries just like our minds!

What is in store for 2016?

A lot’s in store for this year! We have only been in the industry for a year and we see endless possibilities! We would be distributing our socks to bike stores around the world! We are working on our new packaging and our new and improved website just became live 2 days ago! 2016 will be grand! Here is a preview of what’s in store for 2016.

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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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