Throughout history, cycling has always been innovative and obsessed with new ways of optimizing the sport or making the ride more comfortable and pleasurable. Cycling is continuously evolving and new exciting products are presented each season. While some have taken years to develop others are stable classics which are updated, re-tweaked and remixed into more modernized versions. Faster, better, stronger. But some products remain as they are. As the saying goes; “If it ain’t broke, why fix it”? Enter - THE COVER SOCK.
The Cover Sock - or Over Socks as they are equally called - is a sure sign that Spring is upon us. It is the strange cousin of winter overshoes, who appears at the party when it becomes too hot for winter overshoes, while it still being too cold to ride without anything over your toes and feet. But why a sock over your shoes?
To understand, we need to look to Belgium and to Football. Cover Socks in cycling originate back to the 1980s. Back in the 1980s apparel, in general, wasn’t as advanced as what you’ll find today, but the weather and the conditions were the same. Tough, wet, muddy and brutal as you see in Paris-Roubaix, Tour of Flanders and all the other Belgian Classics. Some things never change. To keep their shoes and toes protected on the muddy cobbles riders started to wear thicker Football socks and pull them over their shoes. This is partly also why cover socks are affectionately called “Belgian Booties”. In order for riders to clip into their pedals, they would cut a long hole over their cleats, and one over their heel, to better position the socks over the shoes. Today, these holes are often pre-manufactured and stitched as in the GripGrab Primavera Mid Season Cover Socks.
Optimizing is a major word in cycling. Save a gram here, optimize there to take the overall win is how the term Marginal Gains was conceived. This is why riders in the 1980’s started choosing socks instead of shoe covers, which are heavier and if wet become even heavier. Overshoes are equally difficult to remove mid-race and for most riders too expensive to simply throw away. Whereas a sock can easily be discarded if not needed anymore or if it’s too dirty.
Among cycling aficionados, it is de rigeur to wear white cover socks, and the look is often completed with pristine white cycling shoes underneath. White is however a sensitive colour for road dirt, and over the years it has become fashionable to wear Black, Grey, Pink and in low-light hours bright Yellow.
Cover Socks are not just a cycling fashion item. They serve a higher purpose and function even when the thought of its use is peculiar. Nevertheless, they will ease your cold morning rides on a crisp Spring day, and keep your toes warm. As an added bonus they will keep your shoes clean and dandy from road dirt until summer finally comes along.
Just don’t wear Cover Socks if it rains. For rainy days you will need a different weapon, but that’s an entirely different story:
GripGrab Primera Midseason Cover Socks are part of our Primavera Essentials, which include our award-winning Merino Gloves. These essentials will get you through Spring comfortably even in temperatures ranging from -0 Degrees Celsius to +10 Degrees.