PRENDAS CICLISMO BORDEAUX PARIS RACE COOLMAX SOCKS
The Prendas Ciclismo Bordeaux Paris Race Coolmax socks are a very affordable staple, clearly inspired by old school Peugeot team kits. Though not season specific, the middleweight weave enhances the snug fit of cycling shoes, while keeping feet temperate in cold to moderate conditions.
Pros: Inexpensive, timeless design, good overall performance, easy to care for.
Cons: Cut favours narrower feet.
These are made in Italy, from Coolmax, a popular technical yarn designed to maintain a temperate and hygienic climate. Hardly exotic, this blend basically boils down to Polyester (70%) Polyamide (28%) and Lycra (2%). One that offers a good performance to price ratio. It’s also very hard wearing and low maintenance.
They’re a mid-length design, which offers decent protection, without looking weird, whether paired with race slippers, more traditional touring shoes, or winter booties (the latter being my default during a relatively chill, early season test period).
Not a Peugeot fan? The bold two-tone, checkerboard pattern is very distinctive but equally chameleon-like. Black is the default colour for shorts/tights and ¾ lengths, afterall. Being road biased, I wasn’t surprised by a lack of cushioning around the heel and toe box.
This is similarly comprehensive, and in line with many other brands. XS (36-38), S/M, (39-41), L (42/43) and XL (44-46). Ours were Large, which fitted me perfectly (not surprising, given I’m a 43 in street shoes) very precisely. I am also blessed with relatively thin feet, too, which undoubtedly helped. With these things in mind, it might be an idea to go assize up, if you’re not sure.
Being a road biased design, I wasn’t surprised by the lack of reinforcement around the heel and toe box sections. This ensures great fit with all cycling specific footwear, from traditional stiff soled race shoes, to trainer type SPD and winter booties.
The first couple of weeks were spent riding in cold, dry conditions. Worn with my leather touring shoes, climate control was better than I was expecting. With the mercury wandering between 6 and 8 degrees, they did a decent job of retaining and regulating warmth.
Not on par with some Merino mixes, including these Smartwool PHD Outdoor Light Crew Socks and Polaris Challenge Merino Ride Socks but switching to stiffer soled slippers with acres of mesh, there wasn’t any hint of chill. If anything, man-made uppers induce a clammier inner climate, especially given a couple of hours, at 100rpm.
With temperatures hitting 23 degrees, paired with leather touring shoes, the familiar misty dampness kicked in around the balls and toe-box. On milder rides, that familiar dampness creeps in, given 30 minutes sustained effort but my feet never got beyond that tepid, mildly clammy phase.
Obviously, you’ll get a soaking, caught in a sharp shower, wearing synthetic shoes with acres of mesh. Forgotten to pack overshoes? Bargain on forty minutes, a break in the cloud and a decent breeze, before they’re predominantly dry.
Despite being a relatively thin blend, I’ve not felt any soreness, or discomfort full stop, especially around the ball and heel sections. Admittedly, I’ve not ridden further than 80 odd miles in one sitting, but a good indicator, nonetheless.
I am also quite susceptible to athletes’ foot and similar infections, but no hint of redness, let alone anything more serious.
Pushing things to their logical conclusion, I wore ours for eight hours every day, for four consecutive days (without washing).
Not something I’d advocate, with socks, regardless of material. Nonetheless, with temperatures ranging between 15 and 18 degrees, there was a mild whiff but nothing like a full-on funk. They can be hand, or machine washed at 30 degrees. Ours have emerged smelling fresh and fitting fine.
Talking of funky, the checker pattern is very eye-catching, offering some additional presence around dusk and beyond, without screaming “safety” like day glows do. Though not a trail sock, I’ve frequently vanished along bridle paths and forest trails. The sensible cuff height has also offered reasonable defence from thistles/other prickly overgrowth. Fine for cyclocross but I’d look to a tall trail model, such as Polaris Challenge Merino Ride Socks for gravel, or similarly extended rough-stuff.
Sure, some mega stores can offer bundles for less, and Merino blends can be had for £8.99 from some discounters. Nonetheless, £6.99 is still very competitive, relative to the specification and overall performance.
Sizing is perhaps a little precise for some tastes and they favour those with slender feet. On paper, there’s nothing to set pulses racing, spec-wise. That said; they look sharp and perform to the standards I require of a three season, road biased sock.