Rule 28: Dissenting Opinion

Submitted Evidence "A" photo credit © Chris Protopapas

Rule #28: “White is old school cool. Black is cool too, but were given a bad image by a Texan whose were too long.  If you feel you must go colored, make sure they damn well match your kit.”

You bet white is old school and for good reason, it is the only color of cycling socks that is truly acceptable. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, what color did Merckx wear? What color did Jesus wear in his all-too-short cycling career, Kelly, Coppi, Rik Van Steenbergen, Rik Van Looy, I could go on and on. Not one of them have worn anything but white socks. Years back, black shorts were a regulation of the cyclist’s uniform. It may have not occurred to people to try other colors but black shorts were the only allowed color. Perhaps white socks fell under the same regulations; I’ll let @Oli answer that question. Black socks, god damn it people, are not cool, maybe on a mountain bike while getting wicked air, but not in the world of road riding.

I’m obviously outnumbered by the other Keepers here or the Rule would be three words, “Socks are white.” Every one of the Keeper’s executive board meetings seems to end with me drunkenly banging the table, paraphrasing Bones, “In the name of humanity, Jim, Rule #28 must be revised,” as I slowly slide off my chair and disappear under the table into a puddle of my own sick.

Only in the last fifteen years have the standards been lowered and now it’s a total confusion of bad taste. Again I implore the jury, have we no pride in our guns? A tanned, shaved, well-honed gun can only be properly punctuated by a white sock. Granted the sock pool has become so fouled it’s nearly impossible to even find all-white socks so I won’t be an absolutists (cognoscenti?) but please, mostly white. I won’t even argue length, I find tall socks (Wiggo tall) an abomination but I guess that shows how damn old I am.

Let’s reverse the trend. We have wasted too much energy worrying about podium caps when not many of us are on the podium yet each and every day we ride we make a decision about our socks. If you want to look Pro, get in the know, have a sack, don’t wear black. Write your local Keeper and make your position known.

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211 Replies to “Rule 28: Dissenting Opinion”

  1. @wiscot
    Speaking of which, I would humbly request that the picture of Merckx at the top of this story never be moved from its perch on the main page. I am a happier, better person when greeted by it every time I drop by…

  2. @mcsqueak

    Yes, a palate-cleansing sorbet.
    While we all may have our minor disagreements on both style and substance, this has been a reminder that, like world hunger and seasonal epidemics of Uggs footwear, there is still much work to be done.

  3. @ChrisO
    Actually, many track bikes of the early era did have left-hand drivetrains – it’s easy to do with a fixed wheel. Not sure when or why it became the standard we know now though…

  4. Ruling please. These socks will be worn in my silver/black Sidi Genius 4s, with my Roadworks kit (dark blue jersey, predominantly, and black shorts), with my white helment.

  5. @Oli
    Don’t try to simplify things mate! More information please. Will you be riding your bike or sipping espresso? Training or racing? Wet or dry weather? Will you be laying down some serious V or on recovery? Will you be on time or V minutes late? Will you have your stem slammed? Will you be on the rivet or need to slip back to recruit your hammies? All this information needs to be brought into the equation…

  6. @Marcus

    Easy champ! Uggs are possibly Australia’s greatest invention!

    With them being made of sheepskin, I figured they were Kiwi in origin.

    And, I’m with @xyxax for the following reason:

  7. @Oli

    Ruling please. These socks will be worn in my silver/black Sidi Genius 4s, with my Roadworks kit (dark blue jersey, predominantly, and black shorts), with my white helment.

    While I’m a massive fan of celeste, I’m afraid those socks may only be paired with the Bianchi Kit I’m sure you have laying around. I know I’ve got one of these kits, I can only assume you do as well (not that it ever gets worn).

  8. @Oli:
    celeste is a thing of beauty, glad I am not the only one here that enjoys the Italian, unmistakable flare and passion that goes with such a color. Its a love hate relationship, as many of my buddies wouldn’t get caught dead riding such and poke fun at the color, calling it bilious or snot rocket flare. Whatever, read’m and weep, Coppi rode it, Pantani rode it, and that settles it.

    PS: frank, can you please rebutt the eternal second german from the mix up in the above picture, as he was accidentally wearing the Italian celeste kit. Must have been a fundraiser for beer drinking, partying and crack dealing. Grazie friend.

    Actually, back on point, those socks need white shoes bro.

  9. @frank
    that picture is priceless but that really does say alot
    -did he lose a bet?
    -ok, maybe he got mixed up w/girlfriend, I mean she is hot, and put her shoes on?
    -com’n, whats the deal?

    I mean, I would certainly not think less of him if he came out w/uggs on and a bold coffee, or a quad SHOT of espresso, or w/a dark ale, but a pink drink on top of that? That is just wrong, as SHE has the JO

  10. @frank
    I do have a pair of the shorts that were recently donated to me, but not the jersey. I stopped buying team kit in the 90s. I pretty much only wear my own kit these days.

    White shoes I have none, and new shoes aren’t on the cards just yet sorry.

  11. @Pedale.Forchetta

    That year the guy above should have win the Tour…

    YES! My favorite Tour ever.


    I do have a pair of the shorts that were recently donated to me, but not the jersey. I stopped buying team kit in the 90s. I pretty much only wear my own kit these days.

    I know what you mean. But Ulli was so cool that year, I bought the kit. Never really wore it. Just bought it in homage.

  12. @frank
    Thanks for reinforcing the point visually. I dare not post more fuggly photos at present as I haven’t yet sorted through all the hate mail from the last time.

    Accessing my vast knowledge of all things Australian (and a popular internet search engine), I would put the bionic ear, the wave-piercing catamaran, and Kiwi (why?) shoe polish (our household brand since forever), as superior examples of OZ inventiveness.

    I’m still trying to figure out how you got your foot into the inky void of deep space to take that photo.

  13. I maintain that if Dave had shouted at HAL like I just shouted at you the whole mess could have been cleared up quick smart…not sure Frank Poole would agree though.

  14. You sir, are on the money. Black socks in general have to be the biggest fashion faux-pas possible. They are allowed on two occasions.
    1. You are in the NBA.
    2. You’re wearing a suit.

    Otherwise, it looks like you’re an accountant who forgot to bring his proper socks to work.

  15. While I very much appreciate the arguments laid out here for “socks are white”, in practice I’ve found it difficult to acquire said foot garments.

    As I wear wool socks exclusively, which seem to be easily only available in (borrowing from dog breeding parlance) ACOW (any color other than white)*.

    Strange, considering that, if memory serves me well, sheep are naturally quite white.

    *- I’ve found that Smartwool rocks an ultrawhite color they call ‘Silver’ but they only make a couple of styles in this color and the ones I’ve found at stores are quite thin, where as I prefer a rather thick sock, even for summer riding, as my foot is slightly narrow and this helps assure a snug fit in my cycling slippers.

  16. @Mikael Liddy
    Despite the lack of photo, I’d say yes.

    You just said a mouthful son. I too like wool socks, very thin ones and I have a drawer of old smartwool socks, all of which were called white and aren’t quite there. Woolistic made a nice pair but, but, but selling them in the USA was too much trouble. !*^@?!*#.
    I settle for mostly white assos socks these days.

  17. @DerHoggz
    So far so good, I tried on four pairs of Shimano’s and none of them felt as good as the Avenirs. I almost got a pair of Lake CX331 from BonkTown but didn’t want to buy shoes without trying them on first.

    I only have about 200 miles on the Mavics. We’ll see how they are when they get some more miles.

  18. @Batt57

    At least your legs are Rule #33 compliant.

    Well the three inches we can see are, at least.

    Someone who could wear socks like that is probably capable of leaving their hairline below their shorts line.

  19. @Batt57

    Yeah, I liked them the most out of ones I tried, but finances dictate I must remain with my black MTB shoes. Is the sole stiff so far, any hot spots or the likes? Seems like a good value.

  20. @Batt57
    First look at this, but come on! When showing up for the first time and (hopefully) having read the rules, to post such a picture. Hopefully, after the pic was taken, you tossed those tube socks into the bike-cleaning rag box and slipped on a nice, virginal all-white pair of ankle-length socks. Why would you desecrate such a fine pair of shoes? Why?

  21. @Batt57
    Ha! Mission accomplished.
    My guess is that with those cankles you need something to hide them. Black is very slimming. Either that or it’s the distortion of the phone camera lens.
    Re the Mavics. I’ve had my Pro’s for two weeks now and I love em.

  22. @frank
    My question is, how are they going to carry that stuff while riding their fixies? A shameful way to dress in public. Maybe they just came from the Garmin launch. The sartorial bar at that shindig is lying flat on the floor.

  23. So, not sure where to post this, and this article seemed as good a place as any, but I was hugely encouraged on reading an interview with Cav in The Times yesterday: ‘… he still feels a thrill every time he pulls on the rainbow jersey, although he insists that he is not about to follow some of the fashion disasters of his predecessors who daubed the bands on every spare inch of kit. “They were talking among the team, the [Sky] management, and thought I wanted extravagance, rainbows everywhere. I want the opposite. A lot of the sponsors want it everywhere but I didn’t win a rainbow helmet, I won a rainbow jersey. I’m a student of the sport. I like adhering to the traditions. I saw a picture of Eddie Merckx. I want to look like that. It’s my jersey, the biggest honour in cycling and I go out training in it every day. But I don’t want bands everywhere. The bands need to be treated with respect”…’

    He’s really growing on me… And I’ve been a fan for years. I’m now a BIG fan (at 88kg winter training weight, what other kind of fan could I be). #Cav4SPOTY oh, wrong website

  24. I read somewhere the original tour riders wore black socks. Black socks were easier to make look clean as the riders had to wash there own cloths each day

  25. @DerHoggz


    Are those Avenirs? How are they?

    Avenirs good for certain rides — and rain shoe. And (calling all V) help me to determine an unrelenting pair other than Zxellium Ultimate (Black) for race events — and intense days training ??

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