I have always loved learning about new things (auto-didactic) and for a long time I was trying to think of one of the most neglected pieces of riding gear that we think is completely undifferentiated and then find something new about that topic. I think I have found a new topic with socks for adventure riding.
The only thing I know about socks is that when I did the IDBDR last year probably the one thing that smelled the worst was my socks! I figured maybe the best way was just to buy a pack of them at a Wal-Mart or something, wear them for a day and then throw them away. I also have noticed that I tend to get leg cramps in my tent at night as well as find that sometimes my lower legs itch like crazy after a ride. So maybe there could be something to a sock made specifically for motorcycle riders?
I did reach out to KLiM ($10-$96) for this article but got no response. I did, however, get the chance to speak with Moto-Skiveez' Shawn Lupcho and he gave me the 411 on their Compression Riding Sock with Aloe ($24.95; sizes S, L, XL). I have not tried these socks myself yet and Moto-Skiveez is not paying for this article in any way but I am motivated to go buy a pair myself now. I had also heard of Ugly Socks but found they support groups who shut down riding areas.
Compression Riding Sock from Moto-Skiveez (image from ADVPulse's Rob Dabney)
Rev'It's Socks Tour Summer
The first pair of motorcycle-specific socks I got was RevIt's Socks Tour Summer ($39.99). They are positioned as helping deal better with heat and moisture but since they don't address odor and cost so much, I was reluctant to go back down that road. I found they lose their soft feel pretty quickly too and are really hard to pull onto your feet unless your skin is bone-dry.
Icon Raiden's sock
These Compression Riding Socks from Moto-Skiveez have three main points of differentiation: compression, feel & odor control
Shawn (Moto-Skiveez) found a particular study from the UK while researching problems motorcyclists have with their legs that indicates a higher incidence of venous lower leg issues among motorcyclists than the general population. Their sock provides a low amount compression to help deal with that swelling (edema). The itching and cramps I experience are also related to lower limb venous issues associated with riding that compression can address.
Many compression socks out there work to reduce swelling but are poorly tolerated by the wearer because they are too tight and made from synthetic materials that don't feel very good on the skin. These socks are made with 40% natural Aloe Vera fiber that has a very good feel (better feel & wicking than cotton) that will address chafing.
This Aloe Vera fiber also serves an anti-microbial and anti-odor function. Aloe Vera fiber is also found in gauzes and bandages for this reason.
I first heard of these socks from Dennis Godwin (GS Trophy '16) and he raves about them. He even let me sniff his socks after wearing them all day (yes, I went there) and to my surprise they did not stink. Rob Dabney of ADVPulse was challenged to wear one of these socks on one leg and another sock on the other leg and judge for himself... he decided the one from Moto-Skiveez was much better. Dusty Wessels reported he wore these socks while on a ride with RawHyde for three days straight and even though they got soaking wet, they didn't stink.
So I hope we've all learned something here? There are solutions out there for various lower leg issues like swelling, cramps, itching as well as odor. I thought a sock was just a sock but figured out there are a number of reasons you may want to pass on that 8-pack of tube socks the next time you're in the Wal-Marts.
I will be sure to report back once I get myself a pair of these and can do a more complete product review. If you do have experience with these socks or any other gear, feel free to leave us your review so other riders can learn from your experience.