PRENDAS CICLISMO COOLMAX WINTER CYCLING SOCKS
The Prendas Ciclismo Winter Coolmax Socks are designed to provide warmth without bulk, which can spoil the snug fit of a traditional road shoe. In my opinion, they've succeeded in making a good value, cool season staple. However, they wouldn’t be my first choice when it’s bitterly cold.
Pros: Stylish design, great fit, good comfort to price ratio, simple to care for.
Cons: A bit thin for bitterly cold rides.
These are a sharp, timeless black/ two tone grey synthetic blend with red Prendas detailing. Coolmax All Season fibres are a synthetic weave designed to wick moisture efficiently. Hollow fibres theoretically retain warmth, without impairing the former qualities.
Left and right specific models are arguably the last word in precision fit. Yes, I’ve deliberately switched them around and am here to say they’re genuinely different. Red L&R detailing is handy when you're rushing to get them on, and out the door.
Tog weight is much closer to spring/summer than traditional winter socks. Cuff height and padding around the toe and heel sections, continue the middleweight, ergonomic theme.
Now, I'm usually a 43 when it comes to socks. Large by Prendas and indeed, most brands' sizing charts. The Winter Coolmax were a notch more precise, something to bear in mind, when buying online.
Naysayers have suggested left/right specific socks are a sales gimmick. Sure, I wouldn't be consigning my draw full of traditional cycling socks to the rag pile. However, long-term experience with other brands, suggests there is a discernible improvement in ergonomics, and ultimately, comfort.
Very straightforward, with the usual provisos. I've popped ours in with the household wash at 40 degrees with no issues. Coolmax all season is marketed as being particularly hardy, in these respects. Great news for the careless. Bad news if you've accidently gone a size bigger and were hoping to shrink them!
Talking of which, ours accidentally found themselves caught up in a duvet. This led to them bouncing around the drier, on a cotton cycle but they emerged unscathed.
Overall, these have performed to a decent standard. Given the primarily wet conditions, winter booties were my default However, I've alternated between traditional Quoc Pham touring and synthetic gravel cum touring/commuter shoes.
Fit was universally good throughout. Not that I'd expect anything different, but there's been no gathering, bunching. or similar discomfort after a day's riding. Elasticated cuffs keep everything in situ, without encroaching, or tell-tale branding. I don't like overshoes, hence why I default to winter booties when things get cold and wet.
While construction renders them impervious, their neoprene cuffs can get pretty soggy and transfers from there. What's significant is their drying time and odour management.
Performance doesn't rival pure merino, or the Follow Hollow , it's good by synthetic standards. No issues with comfort, or nasty niffs. Even when I've worn them on two consecutive days and 60 miles apiece.
In terms of inner climate, factors such as rider circulation and shoe choice play their part. Synthetics felt a little clammier. Never exceeded a warm glow with genuine leather uppers, such as the Quoc Pham. This remained so, when temperatures drifting into the low teens.
Misty dampness was most apparent around the tops and balls of my feet. At the other extreme, with the air temperature close to zero, they've retained warmth. Cuff length is road-centric and for the most part, fine. Most of us will have switched from 3/4 lengths, to full blown tights by time the mercury's slid to 7 degrees or so.
However, the Follow Hollow and Smart Wool PHD are longer in the calves and their elastics are more tenacious. This coupled with their natural fibres means I've remained slightly warmer and drier, in comparable conditions. I've also found the latter's length translates better mixed terrain outings.
A consideration for cross and winter gravel events, especially if you turn a high cadence. After a couple of hours at 95rpm on my fixed, the right always needed a gentle, upward adjustment.
At the other extreme, +3 degrees and below, save for winter booties, chill was quite palpable, even when dry and cantering along at a steady 90-95rpm.
£8.99 is pretty much the going rate for standard synthetic socks, although a little dearer than the Bordeaux Paris Race cousins. While very affordable, the Coolmax Winter also face stiff competition from store branded merino blends.
Otherwise, those seeking something more natural/exotic will need to pay a bit more. Steve found the Chapeau! Winter Wool Socks a good bet.
Ultimately, the Prendas Ciclismo Coolmax Winter Socks are capable staples. I like the classic, yet slightly funky design and great fit. However, they might not align with everyone’s idea of winter.