The case for black socks...and orange patent leather shoes.

The case for black socks...and orange patent leather shoes.

On Rule #28: The Case for Black Socks

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  1. Rule #28 //
    Socks can be any damn colour you like.

    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. Tip: DeFeet Wool-E-Ators rule.

Science has proven that people who wear crazy socks are smarter than those boring snooze factories who wear simple plain socks. I know the data supporting the claims is legitimate because I read it on LinkedIn. Also, when I say “read”, I mean that I glanced briefly at the title while simultaneously performing several other critical activities like checking YouTube for videos of uncoordinated animals and what the weather is like on Mars.

Rule #28 stands out amongst the others as a particularly vague swan for the reasons outlined in the above article, which I assume are that in a world of limited and regimented acceptable conventions in gender style choices, socks present an opportunity to fly our Freak Flag and throw in a few pieces of flair without upsetting the boss, partner, or parents. Even though every Velominatus, the most dedicated and elite of the Cycling Aesthetes, holds white socks in the highest regard, there should always be room for other choices within the Cyclist’s daily style program.

Despite the implication on my intelligence, my own sock choice is rather understated and dictated in part by the employment of the Orange Damsels – my beloved custom orange patent-leather Bont Vaypors. These shoes already make a bit of a statement themselves, so my sock choice needs to be solid and carefully coordinated in order to avoid a conflict between my ankle and foot decorum. For instance, the orange hi-vis DeFeets I ride on the road in bad weather don’t quite match the orange of my shoes, pulling the choke on the ol’ OCD engine. I have therefore allowed myself to wear socks in any color so long as they are either black or white.

The case for white socks is already clear and does not need to be revisited. The case for black socks, however, begins with the principles laid out by Rule #8, wherein the colors of satellite components should normally be matched to their nearest adjacent contact point on the frame. It then follows by extension that the same is true for kit: assuming the mandatory black bibs, black socks bridge the gap between them and whatever shoes you might be wearing. Much like matching the cuffs to the collars, matching the socks to the bibs to black provides a uniform platform from which to build your style program.

Go bold with the choice of socks if you must, but remember to always keep it classy. And, if in doubt, build a solid foundation of color from which to build.

// Breaking The Rules // Kit // La Vie Velominatus // Look Pro // Musings from the V-Bunker

  1. @sthilzy

    Fill in the blanks?

    Black shoes = _________ sock colour

    White shoes = _________ sock colour

    Blue shoes = _________ sock colour

    Orange shoes = _______ sock colour

    Silver shoes = ________ sock colour

    Red shoes = _________ sock colour

    Yellow shoes = ________ sock colour

    White.

  2. @frank

    @chris

    @Teocalli

    Only time for black socks is winter Rule #9 conditions with full leggings where they can’t be seen.

    I’d also argue that they be seen if worn with knee warmers.

    But never with black shoes. Black shoes and black socks should only ever be worn with a suit. Do it on a bike and it looks like you’ve forgotten your trousers.

    You might as well start wearing socks with your sandals.

    Oooooooooh. The woolies in Birkenstock Grunger from the 90’s! Haven’t seen that animal since, oh, long before you were born!

    I’m with Buck on this, you’ve lost the plot.

    I’ve been around for a long, long year, since long before you and grunge were born. This is what I refer to, much more horrific:

  3. @sthilzy

    Fill in the blanks?

    Black shoes = _________ sock colour

    White shoes = _________ sock colour

    Blue shoes = _________ sock colour

    Orange shoes = _______ sock colour

    Silver shoes = ________ sock colour

    Red shoes = _________ sock colour

    Yellow shoes = ________ sock colour

    Answer to question 1 is WHITE. Every other question is a trick question, because your shoes should be black.

  4. @frank

    It’s the only appropriate eyewear to pair with black socks. Given the over-abundance of flashing lights on your bike, though, maybe you’ll like these, too. I can have a pair sent out for you to try and write about. Although I’m guessing you’ve probably already gone down this rabbit hole. Looking forward to the article.

  5. @Haldy

    Man…..y’all just need to relax..go with the flow. Bikes are supposed to be fun..be creative..expressive..we here at Single Malt Velo have a very strong sock game going on….

    Dude! Is Frahnk paying you to put up posts like this? I still think that this entire thread has to be a hoax and this is the punch-line.

    Either that or you are one of those “Super Colour” vision people that see the world in totally different hues than all of the rest of us.

    http://www.popsci.com/article/science/woman-sees-100-times-more-colors-average-person

  6. @Buck Rogers

    @Haldy

    Man…..y’all just need to relax..go with the flow. Bikes are supposed to be fun..be creative..expressive..we here at Single Malt Velo have a very strong sock game going on….

    Dude! Is Frahnk paying you to put up posts like this? I still think that this entire thread has to be a hoax and this is the punch-line.

    Either that or you are one of those “Super Colour” vision people that see the world in totally different hues than all of the rest of us.

    http://www.popsci.com/article/science/woman-sees-100-times-more-colors-average-person

    I actually think the basis of this article was formed in @frank‘s head when I was calling his splits at the Improbable Hour. Every lap, lap after lap..as he was staring down hammering away…he saw my :mismatched” but carefully styled to go with my kit..socks..as I was yelling at him and his mind must have tucked away the formations of the article as he blazed through the pain of the Hour.

    Paid..Ha! I just like to be the Dark Side( or is it the colorful one?) of the Force in his world. He likes to call me a savage when he sees some of my habits( since things in the world of the trackie..where I am the Keeper to his Pedalwan) are not always to his liking. :-)

    I mean let’s talk sock length…in the world of the trackie…no socks or very very low ankle socks is the long standing tradition….I can see the twitch developing now on @frank‘s face…

  7. @Rick

    Socks sometimes have a mind of their own. I sort and fold laundry as well but invariably, I wind up with singles. I have no idea where their mates go…..eaten by the dryer?

    Which is why I keep an “orphans and widows” sock-box

  8. OK, mates. I ride white shoes with black socks for all my kits except for the Bontrager that has neon yellow accents, so I opt for the matching neon socks. I ride black shoes with any damn color I want as long as it is in OCD keeping with the kit and the bike (I have four: white, yellow, red, and black). However, the “Bontrager” rule also applies should that be the “kit de jour.”

    I no longer wear white socks. It was cool when I wore Bass Weejuns in the ’60s; but no more.

    And by the way, you should always match your shoes to your belt and purse. Just sayin.

  9. @Haldy

    @Buck Rogers

    @Haldy

    Man…..y’all just need to relax..go with the flow. Bikes are supposed to be fun..be creative..expressive..we here at Single Malt Velo have a very strong sock game going on….

    Dude! Is Frahnk paying you to put up posts like this? I still think that this entire thread has to be a hoax and this is the punch-line.

    Either that or you are one of those “Super Colour” vision people that see the world in totally different hues than all of the rest of us.

    http://www.popsci.com/article/science/woman-sees-100-times-more-colors-average-person

    I actually think the basis of this article was formed in @frank‘s head when I was calling his splits at the Improbable Hour. Every lap, lap after lap..as he was staring down hammering away…he saw my :mismatched” but carefully styled to go with my kit..socks..as I was yelling at him and his mind must have tucked away the formations of the article as he blazed through the pain of the Hour.

    Paid..Ha! I just like to be the Dark Side( or is it the colorful one?) of the Force in his world. He likes to call me a savage when he sees some of my habits( since things in the world of the trackie..where I am the Keeper to his Pedalwan) are not always to his liking. :-)

    I mean let’s talk sock length…in the world of the trackie…no socks or very very low ankle socks is the long standing tradition….I can see the twitch developing now on @frank‘s face…

    Ha! I just KNEW that you were a bad influence on him!!!

    But I am mostly with you on sock length, shorter, not too long!

  10. Hey, guys! EPMSs are cool now. So long as they’re black. Dutchmen can totally rock do-rags on the bike—so long as they’re boss orange. Also, Frank’s had a change of heart. His n+1 will be a 68cm frame. And, actually, bigger bikes and less seatpost are the way to go. Also: spacers (lots of ’em) are awesome! Up is down. Black is white.* Everything you thought you knew is wrong.

    *White remains white. Only sock colour.

  11. @KogaLover

    @Rick

    Socks sometimes have a mind of their own. I sort and fold laundry as well but invariably, I wind up with singles. I have no idea where their mates go…..eaten by the dryer?

    Which is why I keep an “orphans and widows” sock-box

    With my system, I never have more than one orphan or widow.

  12. I’m a very big fan of basic, plain bibs and jersey with some colorful socks. But, I also love white socks too. For college sports…all white low top cleats with all white mid-calf socks. Oh man, so pretty.

    I wear black socks for all cross/mtn/off road riding. I also wear black socks for Rule #9 rides. White socks, never, ever get as white as they were after a few hours absorbing road grime and various petroleum products. I’m not about to ruin some nice socks by riding in white in hammering rain. Besides, riding in those conditions already means I’m a badass, so I’m not worried about sock color.

    Black shoes for cross/mtn. White or white/silver for road riding. I’ve never liked black cleats for any sports I played and I don’t like black road shoes.

  13. Who is riding fi'zi:k shoes? Saw a riding pal in some nice looking ones, but they looked pretty wide. I have very narrow feet. Wondering if they tend to run a bit wide. I currently ride in Sidis.

  14. @Ron

    Who is riding fi’zi:k shoes? Saw a riding pal in some nice looking ones, but they looked pretty wide. I have very narrow feet. Wondering if they tend to run a bit wide. I currently ride in Sidis.

    I’ve been riding fi’zi:k R3’s for the past couple of years. Love them. I wore Sidi Tecnos (the originals) years ago and they feel about the same fit-wise. They’re Italian so you have to expect more narrow than wide.

    And on the subject of socks …

  15. All right… this thread just keeps getting better and I think we all knew it was only a matter of time before @chuckp came along to put things in to perspective. It’s all good fun yes. But dang, the leader, mtn and pts all combined in one sock sox ??? That’s a, come on man… anywho… the real travesty of sartorial splendor has to belong to baseball and the pants thing:

    Sox used to mean something with your baseball uniform but now??? Although, come to think of it, the latest w/basketball players and their fascination with yoga pants strikes me as very odd too:

    Cheers all

  16. @Buck Rogers

    Just got a pair of these dandies from The Athletic. They have strong sock games which makes following Rule #28 challenging. But part of me feels like when you’re in your mid-40s and riding for 30 years…I can live a little.

  17. @MtnGoat

    I’m not a regular poster here but I check in once in a while to read what you ladies are yammering about. Full disclosure: I taught myself to ride a bike going on 50 years ago and was die-hard before it was cool. When I finally got into racing, “cool” was Marressi or Duegi (and their solid wood soles) and no socks, which seemed to cause acid reflux within the USCF.

    But this:

    “Black is cool too, but were given a bad image by a Texan whose were too long.”

    Maybe this will spark some memories. Black socks were given a bad image by the dorks in high school gym class. Sorry to offend but that was something I couldn’t unsee and to this day indicates a clear fashion tone-deafness.

    Hugs.

    Funny boy. We always like to be referred to as ladies. Especially vehemently when arguing over sock color. I owned a pair of Marressi black leather shoes and they, along with my Campagnolo component boxes, turned me into a life long Italophile. Those shoes were my most favorite shoes ever.

    “Black is cool too, but were given a bad image by a Texan whose were too long.” – I was over-ruled on this line, slap fights in the bunker over it.

  18. @Gianni

    @MtnGoat

    I’m not a regular poster here but I check in once in a while to read what you ladies are yammering about. Full disclosure: I taught myself to ride a bike going on 50 years ago and was die-hard before it was cool. When I finally got into racing, “cool” was Marressi or Duegi (and their solid wood soles) and no socks, which seemed to cause acid reflux within the USCF.

    But this:

    “Black is cool too, but were given a bad image by a Texan whose were too long.”

    Maybe this will spark some memories. Black socks were given a bad image by the dorks in high school gym class. Sorry to offend but that was something I couldn’t unsee and to this day indicates a clear fashion tone-deafness.

    Hugs.

    Funny boy. We always like to be referred to as ladies. Especially vehemently when arguing over sock color. I owned a pair of Marressi black leather shoes and they, along with my Campagnolo component boxes, turned me into a life long Italophile. Those shoes were my most favorite shoes ever.

    “Black is cool too, but were given a bad image by a Texan whose were too long.” – I was over-ruled on this line, slap fights in the bunker over it.

    >>> …the “dorks” in HS gym class <<< today? I suspect that would be the kids in the all white sox. Truth be told. My kiddo’s would love @chuckp ‘s socks for sure. They have the same stars and bars sox and wear ’em all the time. Yeti’s on sox? They love ’em. You might catch a kid with white sox BUT will have black stripe up the back and say Nike Elite’s. Go to any sporting goods outfit and check out what the kids are checking out. There ain’t a white sock to be seen. I suppose we could all just chalk it up to being crazy times.

    A recent snapshot of my daughter and I. I’d raced earlier and was shelled. Must have been the black sox? Not the extra 10 lbs and lack of miles in the legs. The young lady on the other hand just knocked off her first ever podium in a Category race against adults after having podium’d also a Jr’s event earlier. I’m sure was the sox! Cheers all

  19. @Randy C

    Sorry mate, but those Depends should be worn inside your trousers, non? Isn’t there a Rule for that?

    More Full Disclosure: I do love what’s happened to cycling kit over the years, including the damn socks. I must, in light of my previous statement of rebelliousness and socklessness. But isn’t it a bit schizophrenic to worship the Dayes of Yore and traditions noble, and accept non-white socks? My hairnet spins.

    And I do miss my Marressis which had that sole wedge which was just what the doctor ordered to rein in my cowboy legs and pronated foots. When can we go back to the Christophes?

  20. @Ron

    Who is riding fi’zi:k shoes? Saw a riding pal in some nice looking ones, but they looked pretty wide. I have very narrow feet. Wondering if they tend to run a bit wide. I currently ride in Sidis.

    I do – M3B Uomos to be exact (rule breaking in that they are two bolt, MTB shoes, rule abiding in that they are a) Italian b) hand made c) leather and d) black).

    I also own Sidis and on comparison the fi’zi:k shoes are actually narrower. They are also much more padded inside, so much so that for the first long ride I took with them my left foot kept going to sleep. After a couple more rides they broke in very nicely and I can say that they are probably the most comfortable shoes I have for riding. The carbon sole makes them stiff as an incredibly stiff thing too.

    A little difficult to walk in due to said stiffness, but then again I wear them for cycling, not ambulation.

  21. @Ron

    Who is riding fi’zi:k shoes? Saw a riding pal in some nice looking ones, but they looked pretty wide. I have very narrow feet. Wondering if they tend to run a bit wide. I currently ride in Sidis.

    Had a pair of the latest R3B road shoes and have to say I was under-impressed with them and sold them after 2 months. Never had hot spots on the ball of my foot before, they felt like I was pedaling on a broom handle. I didn’t think the construction quality was anywhere near Sidi. Love fi'zi:k saddles and tape, not a fan of the shoes.

  22. Thanks for the feedback on the fi'zi:k shoes. Ugh oh, hot spots. I use newer Sidis with Super Feet inserts. Great fit, but I do get some numbness on longer rides. I really can’t tell if this just comes with riding in super stiff carbon soled shoes or what. I also get a sore next, but I fractured a vertebrae in college sports and I think that unless I get really, really dedicated about yoga & stretching, I’ll just have to deal with it. Sitting at a desk and looking at a monitor for hours a day does help. Oh well.

    Love seeing LeMan in the hi viz kit. Suddenly ever single jogger I see on the MUP is wearing at least 3 pieces of neon gear. Glad to see that more and more manual laborers in the U.S. are wearing it too.

    When is the Acid Oranje V-Jersey coming out?

  23. @Rick

    @KogaLover

    @Rick

    Socks sometimes have a mind of their own. I sort and fold laundry as well but invariably, I wind up with singles. I have no idea where their mates go…..eaten by the dryer?

    Which is why I keep an “orphans and widows” sock-box

    With my system, I never have more than one orphan or widow.

    I am a big fan of and adhere to the BSS, and for many years would only have one orphan at a time…until the velominippers arrived. Now we have an “orphans and widows” box. How we end up with so many singles is one of the great riddles of our time.

    As for the black/white discussion, I will continue to roll with the shoe/sock combo (white/black) I started riding with prior to finding The Way until one or the other wears out. I’d rather save up for n+1, more bibs, lighter wheels or some other more functional kit before replacing the socks or shoes. Even if Frank always asks if I’m on my way to a tennis match with Venus when I show up to a PNW cogal. They’re DeFeet Aereators, and they’re awesome. I can’t fathom riding in anything else.

  24. Funniest post – and comments!! – on the V-site in ages. Excellent rabbit hole for Friday procrastination.

    FWIW:

    White socks with Detto Pietros.

    Black socks with anything and everything else.

  25. @chuckp

    Is that bike lying down? Is it wounded?

  26. @wiscot

    @fenlander

    Like my black sock/white Giro combo,seen here on the Tour of Cambridgeshire;

    I know it’s classic but not really a fan of white socks,always reminds me of these two;

    Looking pretty pro there Mr. Fenlander! I didn’t know Cambridgeshire had hills . . .

    Thanks;not really a hill as such more a long ramp.

  27. @Gianni

    @fenlander

    Like my black sock/white Giro combo,seen here on the Tour of Cambridgeshire;

    I know it’s classic but not really a fan of white socks,always reminds me of these two;

    Those white Giros would look even more awesome with white socks. I’ll give you a lot of leeway for invoking Beavis and Butthead into this argument though. Very nice.

    Might have to try the white socks then(maybe).

    As for coloured socks have some of these for winter;

    https://this-is-cambridge.com/shop/socks/omloop-merino-winter-socks/

    Might get some of their summer ones too.

  28. @Haldy

    Man…..y’all just need to relax..go with the flow. Bikes are supposed to be fun..be creative..expressive..we here at Single Malt Velo have a very strong sock game going on….

    Looks like those TIC ones mixed up! Nice.

    1. Documentary proof that wearing white socks makes you faster …

  29. Captions disappeared!

    1) Winners wear white socks. Fact.

    2) White socks will make you go faster than Team Sky. Fact.

    3) Chicks dig guys in white socks. Fact.

  30. @Nik_L

    1 – almost look like V-socks

    3 – what has he got in his hand, almost looks like he was on his way to dope testing when he was dragged onto the podium!

  31. @Steampunk

    …and credibility goes to zero.

    @Nik_L

    And, apparently, gets you the girl. I always loved those lightweights with the white spokes/rim strip. Very cool look.

  32. @chuckp

    ‘Tis adorable the way you hold your footsies together like that, sonny jim.

    @Canucklehead

    @Buck Rogers

    Just got a pair of these dandies from The Athletic. They have strong sock games which makes following Rule #28 challenging. But part of me feels like when you’re in your mid-40s and riding for 30 years…I can live a little.

    But that still doesn’t mean you can pull that off. That is some serious action there. One needs to OWN the sock game to bring that shit.

  33. @MtnGoat

    @Randy C

    Sorry mate, but those Depends should be worn inside your trousers, non? Isn’t there a Rule for that?

    More Full Disclosure: I do love what’s happened to cycling kit over the years, including the damn socks. I must, in light of my previous statement of rebelliousness and socklessness. But isn’t it a bit schizophrenic to worship the Dayes of Yore and traditions noble, and accept non-white socks? My hairnet spins.

    And I do miss my Marressis which had that sole wedge which was just what the doctor ordered to rein in my cowboy legs and pronated foots. When can we go back to the Christophes?

    I would say the bibs drooped over the pants is very Pro; Alpine racers have been doing it for eons.

  34. @frank

    @Steampunk

    …and credibility goes to zero.

    @Nik_L

    And, apparently, gets you the girl. I always loved those lightweights with the white spokes/rim strip. Very cool look.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XzFNLJIpUQ

    You must shop at the same place as these guys.

  35. @RM2RIDE

    @chuckp

    Is that bike lying down? Is it wounded?

    Just taking a rest after a ride.

  36. @frank

    Oh good: I guess that makes me a Seattle-based Keeper, then.

  37. @Rick

    Those dudes could climb!

  38. @Steampunk

    @Rick

    Those dudes could climb!

    Must have been the socks!

  39. @Haldy

    Man…..y’all just need to relax..go with the flow. Bikes are supposed to be fun..be creative..expressive..we here at Single Malt Velo have a very strong sock game going on….

    Just… fucking… NO.

  40. @brett

    @Haldy

    Man…..y’all just need to relax..go with the flow. Bikes are supposed to be fun..be creative..expressive..we here at Single Malt Velo have a very strong sock game going on….

    Just… fucking… NO.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6cxNR9ML8k

  41. The more Brett says “no” the more I want to say “yes”.

  42. Wait, I didn’t mean it like that!

  43. @Oli

    The more Brett says “no” the more I want to say “yes”.

    @Oli

    Wait, I didn’t mean it like that!

    We don’t judge around here!

  44. @frank

    @Oli

    The more Brett says “no” the more I want to say “yes”.

    @Oli

    Wait, I didn’t mean it like that!

    We don’t judge around here!

    We don’t??!! Wait..I thought that was the whole point….?

  45. I’ve been away for a few weeks, WTF has happened?

  46. @Haldy

    @frank

    @Oli

    The more Brett says “no” the more I want to say “yes”.

    @Oli

    Wait, I didn’t mean it like that!

    We don’t judge around here!

    We don’t??!! Wait..I thought that was the whole point….?

    Well, we do, but not about that stuff.

  47. @frank

    @Haldy

    @frank

    @Oli

    The more Brett says “no” the more I want to say “yes”.

    @Oli

    Wait, I didn’t mean it like that!

    We don’t judge around here!

    We don’t??!! Wait..I thought that was the whole point….?

    Well, we do, but not about that stuff.

    Fair enough point, and I agree. I meant more in general.

  48. Long time lurker but this post and all the accompanying images are making me feel a bit queasy. Socks should be white and shoes should be white.

  49. @Jamie Maidment

    Only a bit queasy? I have just spent the last hour cleaning the bathroom after vomiting all over the place.

    What is it with cycling becoming golf? Have we all become blind?

    Crazy socks and crazy kit need to be banned. In a few years time there will be a lot of people looking back at photos and saying “Why did I wear pyjamas on the bike?”

    Unless your age starts with the number 1, in which case you can be excused through lack of knowledge/experience, it is time to leave the pyjamas in the bedroom.

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