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Castelli Bandito 18 Socks Unisex

 45g L/XL (Euro 40-43 US 8-10 UK 7-10) £22

The Castelli Bandito 18 Socks are a merino blend sock that aims to fit into your shoes with no more bulk that your light summer socks. I have been testing them out during a UK cold snap, with temperatures down to -5C, and you have become very fond of their comfy feel on and off the bike – trouble is, so have others, so they are now in the cycling cupboard and not the sock drawer.


Pros: thin, warm, snug fit, XXL size available.


Cons: tight fitting so may have sizing issues for wide feet.

Spec/materials 4.5/5

The Castelli Bandito 18 Socks are “cool” weather socks with merino wool added into the blend to offer greater warmth – although that should not make them unsuitable for warmer weather as merino blends are good at wicking, as well as giving a touch of luxury. The blend is 60% wool, 30% Polyamide, 10% Elastane – warmth, stretch, breathability, durability. They come about a third of the way up the calf.


They come in a variety of colours and have the Castelli name in white lettering down the back of the calf/ankle. 18cms of cuff is designed to keep things covered whether wearing “knee warmers or full tights.”


The heel is shaped and stretchy so it shapes itself to the heel rather than being more rigidly boxed. Likewise, the toe. The top of the cuff is elasticated. There are seams, but they are soft.

test review castelli cycling socks gar
test review cycling bike gear socks
tst review socks castelli bicycle cycling gear

Size and fit 4/5

Ours were the L/XL. Fit felt perfect from the off – or, rather, the on. No struggle to pull them over the toes despite my feet being toward the top of the size guide. The tactile, stretchy fabric glided over the foot and up the calf. Despite feeling a tad spacious at first, there’s no slippage and they fit nicely.  That member of my household who feels that my socks are hers for the taking, commented that the socks felt tight. Good, I thought, they are meant to be, and I might event find them where I expect them to be when I want to go out for a ride.


Although seemingly tough and quite warm, the fabric feels light and, like the Fizik Winter Socks I tested recently, they aren’t bulky and should fit easily into any shoes – cycling specific or not.


Castelli recommend using your Euro shoe size when consulting the size guide, and going up if you are between sizes. The size guide seems pretty much spot on: S/M (EU 36-39), L/XL (EU 40-43), 2XL (EU 44-47).

Care and durability 4/5

I have just thrown these in the machine wash with the everyday contents of the laundry basket. Their dark colour scores over white socks for simplicity. This seems to have had no ill-effects. After a spin, the socks have exited the machine almost dry. An hour on the line or less over the radiator, and they are ready to go. Hand-wash and things will take much longer. Think overnight in a hotel or hostel drying room; longer when camping.


Having worn these in different situations for several weeks – minus a few days in the wash – they still look good as new. 

Performance 4/5

First ride was with the temperature at -1C. I was pleased to find that half an hour later toes were still comfortable. Things were ok fine half-an-hour later. Had I been heading out for an all-day trip, I’d probably have added overshoes – but I’d do that with just about any sock when the weather hits freezing and below.


As things have warmed up, the socks have felt comfortable: feet warm, but not becoming sweaty – mind you, we are well away from the heady heights of an English summer heat-wave. To compensate, I have worn these down the gym for some indoor work and under thick hiking socks. They have not let me down.


Although they claim no specific pong-preventing properties, they feel clean and the merino element probably helps to keep things fresh. I do not think I’d feel embarrassed by these in a bunkhouse mid-way through a multi-day tour.

test review cycling gear socks

Value 3.75/5

£22 for long-lasting, well-made, and comfy socks is by no means outrageous, although you will find plenty of competition. I found the Fizik Winter Cycling Socks very effective – and they are cheaper. They are shorter in length, so the Bandito may well suit those who prefer a bit more calf-coverage.


Swiftwick’s Merino 7 Socks come in around the same price. A twin pack of Endura’s BaaBaa Merino Socks is a little more expensive, but, of course, you get two, however, there are only two size choices.


On that note, it is worth mentioning that not all merino blends are equal. The Bandito is a strong blend, plenty have a lot less merino in the mix. Smart Wool offer the Crew Cushion Sock at £16.99. This has a 50% merino content and is a cycling specific sock targetted at the multi-discipline rider.

castelli bandito 18 sock cycling review test


The Castelli Bandito Sock will suit any type of cycling – and will be fine off the bike, too. Coolmax might suit better in the height of summer and adding some extra warmth may be necessary in the depths of winter, but this is a well-made sock that accommodates itself to your foot and has not let me down yet.

Verdict 4/5 Very good socks for all types of cycling, so long as your partner is not nicking them.


Steve Dyster





Ryton On Dunsmore

Coventry  CV8 3FH


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