Socks, as we know by now, are one of the most indispensable items in our bike clothing department. Besides protecting your pinkies from the roughness of the insides of the shoes and the elements of the weather, they must be able to provide some form of cooling for the legs, as the legs do dissipate heat as well! This factor is important especially in tropical areas such as Singapore, where we do not receive any snow or cold weather.
Catlike is a Spanish based company that has had much exposure and experience with sporting accessories such as helmets, eyewear and socks, and is famous with its sponsorship of these accessories for the Orbea professional cycling team.
First glimpses of the socks
The Catlike 37 degrees are a pair of multi-size socks, which are suitable for feet sizes 41-46. The packaging certainly makes a deep impression, and stands out very much compared to the packaging from other manufacturers. This shows us the drive and passion Catlike has for marketing its products. At the back of the packaging is a detailed explanation about the products, from the choice of material, to the specifications. These specifications are also available from the Catlike website (www.catlike.es). The socks look great, with red Catlike wordings and logos which are aggressive. A black and white version is available too, which is the same for the lower cut models. Having gone over the looks of the socks, how do they perform?
When I first put on the pair of Catlike 37 degrees, I can immediately feel the Coolnet? technology at work. This is especially so in air-conditioned places, where I can feel my legs freezing after about 10 to 15 minutes, compared to socks from other makers where my feet still feel warm. The cooling sensation is further enhanced when I am cycling. The meshes on the instep provide high breathability, compared to socks from other manufacturers, where I often experience the feeling of being wrapped up in heat. Unlike the majority of manufacturers who stick to a one-piece design for their socks, Catlike has this mesh-like fabric (called Supplex? fibre), on strategic locations of the foot, especially the instep, where heat-build up is supposedly higher than most areas of the foot. The wind generated through cycling will effectively carry away the heat that escapes from the Supplex? fibre. The area around the toes and soles are very comfortable, and the elastic ankle cuffs provide good grip and comfort.
The only problem about the cuffs is that, being thicker, they tend to absorb water readily and moisture will eventually seep into the entire sock due to capillary action, thus getting the whole sock and foot wet. However, this product is specifically designed for high temperatures, so this small problem can be overlooked. As can be expected, characteristic of any quality textile-based product, excess moisture in any one portion is absorbed and diffused throughout the sock to facilitate evaporation. Performance wise, this pair of socks is considered excellent, taking into account the amount of effort spent on its design, and the success in achieving the aim of this design.
As it is widely known, durability is a big issue when it comes to clothing items, especially socks. They must be able to take repeated washings without losing its elasticity and form. Everyone has had this experience of their socks losing its form and elasticity after prolonged use, whether normal or cycling-specific ones. This is especially so at the ankle cuff area, which a high level of elasticity is required. Failure of the ankle cuffs give socks a characteristic pretty much reminiscent of those ?bubble socks? that used to be in fashion years ago in Japan.
In terms of durability, Catlike?s 37 degrees are indeed rated on the higher end of the scale. The Supplex? fibre used in the construction of this pair of socks, are made by Dupont, which is very famous for its high levels of technology used in developing new materials. The Supplex? material used provides the soft supple touch of cotton, and yet the strength, durability and performance advantages of nylon. Thus, we have a pair of socks resistant to abrasions, punctures and tears. It is also odor-, wind-, and water-resistant, and when Supplex? does get wet, it dries quickly. So comfortable have I found these socks to be, that in actual fact, I have worn this pair of socks more frequently than the original pair that I was using, even to the extent of wearing them for my daily, non-cycling use as well!
After testing out these pair of socks for 2 months, I must say that I am indeed convinced of the high standards of Catlike?s products. I used to be quite brand-conscious. My experience with socks that lost their elasticity after repeated washings had further added on to this cynicism of cycling socks. This pair of socks has certainly met its standards of effective heat dissipation while not sacrificing comfort to the feet. I would strongly recommend this pair of socks for people who are constantly frustrated about having to chuck their socks into the bin after they have deformed and have lost their elasticity due to long term usage.
For those interested in knowing the properties of the fabric, I?ve included the link of the webpage. http://www.fabriclink.com/pk/Supplex/home.html