Velominati’s Sock Height Calculator: Refining the Goldilocks Principle

Firstly, all you kids, kindly get off my lawn. Especially you kids who wear too tall black socks with white cycling shoes. Get off my lawn and stop racing in my favorite bike races. There’s no call for that. Why should my Milan-Sanremo enjoyment be ruined by this? It’s a sunny day, no snow, no rain, white socks not good enough, eh? Riding along the Ligurian coast from Milan to Sanremo without two seconds consideration about sock selection, eh? Just thinking about Sock Height not good enough, EH?

Winnipegcyclechick’s stellar treatise on sock height should be required reading for everyone, even non-cyclists. People should have this knowledge. Mongols on the Steppes; Тийм ээ, тийм, би энэ оймс өндөр мэднэ.*

While we have lost the battle on sock color the final battles on height continues. We can use the VSP generator between VSP runs to work on other important 1st world problems. To this end, straight outta the Velominati bunker we have this: the sock height calculator.

S = A/π – √B ± (B/A) / (1/CS¹)

Where:

  • A= Lower leg length measured from inner ankle protuberance to top of the inner tibia in cm.
  • B= Distance between inner ankle protuberance to bottom of calf in cm.
  • S= Sock height measured above inner ankle protuberance in cm.
  • CS¹= Calf Shame factor on a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 equals no shame (some pride) and 10 equals great shame (seppuku or calf implants are fantasized about equally).

The term CS¹ has become most controversial in peer review but most agree a correction factor should be available for individual taste.

*In English: Yes, Yes, I know of this sock height.

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83 Replies to “Velominati’s Sock Height Calculator: Refining the Goldilocks Principle”

  1. If we’re going all science on this mofo:

    inner ankle protruberance = medial malleolus

    top of inner tibia = medial condyle

    bottom of calf = distal gastrocnemius

  2. Ever since my ruptured Achilles and consequential muscle loss on the right, my calves are still different (since 2011) – so do I need to wear socks of different heights?

  3. If I’m reading this correctly, having great shame actually leads to *higher* sock heights. Surely that can’t be right.

  4. It’s important to note that there are sock merchants who only sell socks within the proper length range, 10-12cm.  People like alpine.cc, or handlebar mustache, etc. sell socks for every whimsy, but all the proper length.  Knee socks are for ladies of the night, and ankle socks are for long distance runners.

  5. @Teocalli

    Ever since my ruptured Achilles and consequential muscle loss on the right, my calves are still different (since 2011) – so do I need to wear socks of different heights?

    Yes, two different lengths.

  6. @Owen

    If I’m reading this correctly, having great shame actually leads to *higher* sock heights. Surely that can’t be right.

    Oh yes, calf shaming. it’s a problem. People, ahem…, try to compensate for their lack of calf by overcompensating with too tall socks. Twiggo, for starters.

    Would I make this up? Who would go to this kind of trouble to fabricate all this. That person would have to be insane, FFS!

  7. Seriously? too much work just trying to punch in those variable in..i’m just gonna wear whatever socks i can get my hands on..can’t give two s*** about what others think.

  8. @Owen

    If I’m reading this correctly, having great shame actually leads to *higher* sock heights. Surely that can’t be right.

    And, chapeau sir for actually reading the post down far enough to correctly get that. You are bucking a trend.

  9. It’s much easier than all this.

    Golden Ratio, Fibonacci Sequence, whatever you want to call it.

    Top of the sock should be 38.196% of the distance from the bottom of your heel to the center of your knee, leaving 61.8033% exposed.

    This all goes to maximizing the V (naturally).  Don’t believe me? Go compare this to riders in your favorite reference photos.

    See? It’s like science n shit.

  10. @litvi

    It’s much easier than all this.

    Golden Ratio, Fibonacci Sequence, whatever you want to call it.

    Top of the sock should be 38.196% of the distance from the bottom of your heel to the center of your knee, leaving 61.8033% exposed.

    This all goes to maximizing the V (naturally). Don’t believe me? Go compare this to riders in your favorite reference photos.

    See? It’s like science n shit.

    what he said.

  11. I personally would recommend you ditch the entire curriculum on socks. You just know. Proper sick height is the Masonic secret handshake of the cyclist. It’s the secret decoder ring of the velominatus, the ‘Joe sent me’ of the sister and brotherhood of the road. If you can’t work it out from watching those who went before, do you even deserve the knowledge? Leave the slide rule in the desk. You just know.

  12. That would be ‘proper sock fight’ or ‘paper sock hate’ or even ‘proper sock height’. Whatever. You know what I mean. You just know…..

  13. Can someone smarter than me rearrange the equation to give CS as the output.  Also is it OK to fold down too long socks to the correct height.

  14. Since we are on the subject of socks, when will the awesome V-socks be in stock again?

  15. Though I no longer adhere to the principle, due to unavailability, my standard is based on Descente white socks, vertically ribbed, with a tasteful logo in blue or red, 9-10 cm high.

    That said, I’ve since gone to the darkside, 12-13 cm with a little color.  Shoot me.

  16. Tried to read this,  made fuck all sense to me.  When in doubt, just think WWLBD:

  17.  

    White and a bit above the malleolus (2-5 cm).  That should be the end of the discussion, esp for Velominati.

  18. Gracias for the shout-out G. With your scientific prowess and my keen ability to colour things, we are unstoppable.

  19. @mach_Bar @Gianni

    @Teocalli

    Love your comment :-) made me laugh so much. You could try different colours as well to balance the imbalance.

    This is troubling as I fear the consequence will be that I can only climb clockwise spirals and will now be pouring over maps seeking out such climbs.

  20. @Buck Rogers

    White and a bit above the malleolus (2-5 cm). That should be the end of the discussion, esp for Velominati.

    Must we also wear terry cloth head bands and sport our cables with at least a 14 inch radius above the bars as well?  Evolution of fashion.  Socks between 9-12cm. If your legs are longer, pull the socks up. Shorter legs? Calf stretches and drink more milk.

    Sock color? GQ states in fundamental dress: socks should always be as dark or DARKER than shoes. The only reason they wore white socks with black shoes is because colored athletic socks had not been invented yet. The dye would run into your feet causing serious injury and/or death. Fact.

  21. @fignons barber

    “The dye would run into your feet causing serious injury and/or death. Fact”

    Too true, too true. I remember the first time we saw a rider out wearing colorful socks – we pulled him over and jabbed him with an epi-pen so as to prevent anaphylactic shock. The poor guy pulled through, but it was touch and go for about 30 minutes there. He just started hyperventilating and screaming incoherent obscenities, ranting about why’d we do that and he wasn’t allergic to bee stings. The dye was evidently too powerful for his immune system, we got there just in time.

  22. @Major VVald

    @fignons barber

    “The dye would run into your feet causing serious injury and/or death. Fact”

    Too true, too true. I remember the first time we saw a rider out wearing colorful socks – we pulled him over and jabbed him with an epi-pen so as to prevent anaphylactic shock. The poor guy pulled through, but it was touch and go for about 30 minutes there. He just started hyperventilating and screaming incoherent obscenities, ranting about why’d we do that and he wasn’t allergic to bee stings. The dye was evidently too powerful for his immune system, we got there just in time.

    After all it’s why the Druids died out – all that Woade did them in.

  23. @fignons barber

    @Buck Rogers

    White and a bit above the malleolus (2-5 cm). That should be the end of the discussion, esp for Velominati.

    Must we also wear terry cloth head bands and sport our cables with at least a 14 inch radius above the bars as well? Evolution of fashion. Socks between 9-12cm. If your legs are longer, pull the socks up. Shorter legs? Calf stretches and drink more milk.

    Sock color? GQ states in fundamental dress: socks should always be as dark or DARKER than shoes. The only reason they wore white socks with black shoes is because colored athletic socks had not been invented yet. The dye would run into your feet causing serious injury and/or death. Fact.

    Bullshit!  When fashion reaches its apex, one should not try to change it.  The discussion is socks, not head bands.  Stay on target, Mate!

  24. And while we’re on the subject of socks and sock color (white always, unless hidden by overshoes or Blgian booties) I’ve just ordered a pair of shoes so black they suck light into them. I’ll be wearing them with white socks. I’m not a savage after all.

    As for length @litvi has it right – and I’d say his height is the maximum.

  25. @litvi

    It’s much easier than all this.

    Golden Ratio, Fibonacci Sequence, whatever you want to call it.

    Top of the sock should be 38.196% of the distance from the bottom of your heel to the center of your knee, leaving 61.8033% exposed.

    This all goes to maximizing the V (naturally). Don’t believe me? Go compare this to riders in your favorite reference photos.

    See? It’s like science n shit.

    Fucking genius! I’ll pull the punch cards out of the VSP generator.

  26. @Buck Rogers

    @fignons barber

    @Buck Rogers

    White and a bit above the malleolus (2-5 cm). That should be the end of the discussion, esp for Velominati.

    Must we also wear terry cloth head bands and sport our cables with at least a 14 inch radius above the bars as well? Evolution of fashion. Socks between 9-12cm. If your legs are longer, pull the socks up. Shorter legs? Calf stretches and drink more milk.

    Sock color? GQ states in fundamental dress: socks should always be as dark or DARKER than shoes. The only reason they wore white socks with black shoes is because colored athletic socks had not been invented yet. The dye would run into your feet causing serious injury and/or death. Fact.

    Bullshit! When fashion reaches its apex, one should not try to change it. The discussion is socks, not head bands. Stay on target, Mate!

    Bless You Bucky. You are just as old school as I am. I like your thought process…WWLBD. That keeps it all simple, unless it gets you into more shoving matches and fist fights. 

  27. Fashion and Good Taste (Class) are not necessarily the same thing (or even substitute – are seldom the same thing).

  28. It’s a little known fact that for men sock height is directly related to penis length. Do with that as you will.

  29. @Clank

    I personally would recommend you ditch the entire curriculum on socks. You just know. Proper sick height is the Masonic secret handshake of the cyclist. It’s the secret decoder ring of the velominatus, the ‘Joe sent me’ of the sister and brotherhood of the road. If you can’t work it out from watching those who went before, do you even deserve the knowledge? Leave the slide rule in the desk. You just know.

    Well, I’d like to ditch it but this tall sock thing has driven me to it. I’m forced out of my bunker into the blinding light of day to fight this fight. The Velominati are cool, I’m ranting to the masses here.

  30. @Winnipeg CycleChick

    Gracias for the shout-out G. With your scientific prowess and my keen ability to colour things, we are unstoppable.

    Our pleasure to promote your awesome colouring skills. They are razor sharp and my scientific prowess was questionable even when I was peaking. For some reason I can’t resist falling back on a stupid formula for a laugh. I’m easily amused.

  31. @Oli

    It’s a little known fact that for men sock height is directly related to penis length. Do with that as you will.

    Inversely proportionally, to a pont, and then it becomes proportion, right???

  32. Of course we are being stupid, there is a simple empirical guide to sock length….

  33. @Buck Rogers

    @fignons barber

    @Buck Rogers

    White and a bit above the malleolus (2-5 cm). That should be the end of the discussion, esp for Velominati.

    Must we also wear terry cloth head bands and sport our cables with at least a 14 inch radius above the bars as well? Evolution of fashion. Socks between 9-12cm. If your legs are longer, pull the socks up. Shorter legs? Calf stretches and drink more milk.

    Sock color? GQ states in fundamental dress: socks should always be as dark or DARKER than shoes. The only reason they wore white socks with black shoes is because colored athletic socks had not been invented yet. The dye would run into your feet causing serious injury and/or death. Fact.

    Bullshit! When fashion reaches its apex, one should not try to change it. The discussion is socks, not head bands. Stay on target, Mate!

    This is genius debate here folks. Me, firmly in the camp of evolution, get knocked back on my heels with that response and thinking dang, why fix perfect after all ? BUT, then I figure seriously, is it the triathletes with their shorty sox that have ultimately co-opted the apex ? No ! Evolution counts for better in the end. Anywho… I was in a new shop jersey today (for which this photo was snapped) feeling particularly fantastic with the new kit on a beautiful spring day before Easter when in retrospect, ultimately it was the subconscious positive mojo being generated by the perfect shorts and sox length! Sure the knees are ugly but they’ve been around for a while. What ya gonna do… Cheers

     

  34. That being said on the days where I’m feeling more partial to some modern length & colour, the white shoes are perfectly suited to the job.

  35. @justDave

    Hugh Carthy at Catalunya this year. Need I say more?

    Yes you need to please… I’m not sure if this is an example of good sock length, bad shorts length or a slightly unhealthy looking weight.

  36. @hubbard

    Seriously? too much work just trying to punch in those variable in..i’m just gonna wear whatever socks i can get my hands on..can’t give two s*** about what others think.

    Wrong place.

    It’s not about caring how someone else feels about your aesthetic choices and appearance. It’s all about pride in making sure you look aVVesome, at all times. Pride, take pride.

  37. Life-long mid-calf enthusiast, for most sports (not ice hockey, skiing, snowboarding or futbol). I have serious skankles. No need to show those off. The only benefit of breaking my tibia was that my lower leg grew back thicker. The VMH has lower legs twice the size of mine. Upper guns are good, lower legs remain in the Chicken Leg category, no matter what.

  38. Black shoes, white socks, black shorts…is that a line from an Ian Dury song? Carthy is only 21,  6 foot three inches tall, and yes, a little it of an ectomorph. But unhealthy? He just finished ninth overall in Catlunya, between Froome and Uran. Personally, I would cut him a little bit of slack on the shorts length…

  39. @Mikael Liddy

    Black Shoes? Check

    White Socks at perfect height? Check

    V-Logo maximising awesome factor? Check

    Here endeth the lesson

    Bang. Perfect. Hubbards take note, this is how it’s done.

    To my everlasting shame, I’ve found the Specialized socks to be nearly perfect (for my height). I have tried taller, more heavily patterned socks, only for them to get really loose, the colours run and fade too quickly, and then they look like rubbish. Good business model to sell lots of socks, but durability shouldn’t be overlooked.

    De Feet socks, additionally, always, ALWAYS look spot on.

    It’s heartening to see how much time, thought and excel has gone into this.

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