Hell-bent on finding the best in the industry, for research purposes, I have set about trialling some high-end products. The intent is to see what is being done right, and what can be improved upon for eventual inclusion in the OORR product range.
Starting with the Assos.com Yankee sock G1 cycling socks, I will be reviewing products that interest me, on a regular basis, including a healthy selection of eco products related to cycling.
These socks (not eco) were purchased in store from www.ewbikes.com in Fullerton (Los Angeles, CA). I chose them for their initial appeal, being a quality brand, and the black and white look (to match my kit).
The sizing on the pack was simple to understand using both Euro and US standards, and fitted well. The packaging was simple and attractive (though not recycled), giving a quality feel to a product that is hard to dress up. I loved that the pack also displays a temperature range - it takes the guess work out of sock use for the consumer, so you can go in buying with confidence.
Made with 70% Polyamide and 30% Elastan , there are a vast array of potential outcomes for performance, depending on the knit pattern, weight, and fabric treatment. These socks are definitely a summer weight knit, and feel light on your feet, breathing well.
Disappointingly, the first time I pulled them on, a ragged fingernail caught the stitching and damaged the sock. My nail managed to pull a big loop right out of the sock on the upper side. I put this down to the stitching being a little too open weave - something they have done intentionally to allow the socks to breathe more and reduce the overall weight of the socks. This is not something I desire in my socks. I would rather sacrifice a little weight, and have a sock I can wear 100 times - and not have to worry about doing my nails before I put them on!
Additionally, I'm not convinced their yarn blend is the way to go with performance socks. Despite the superior breatheability of the knit, I have found that my feet sweat much more in poly, unless it is blended with cotton or merino. Being inside the shoe, my feet don't get much chance to dry. Blending seems to be the way to go, so there is something else there (other than elastic - really just present for shape and stretch) to absorb the moisture that is being wicked away by the poly knit.
Logo - I really love the Assos 'A' for many reasons, not least of which is how recognisable their simple 'A' is. Branding is usually high-up on the agenda when designing product, and Assos is no exception to the rule. Instead of being central on the back so you can wear either sock on either foot, some brands position their logo on opposite sides, so you wear the socks on specific feet to display the logo on the outside of your ankle. I suspected that was the strategy with these socks, but not so. The logo is in a different place on each sock, but one at the front and one at the back. I love asymmetrical design, but for me, socks need to have symmetry. It just doesn't look right any other way.
While these socks live up to the high quality standards that we have come to expect with the Assos brand, I feel they are let down by the weird positioning of the logo. The socks breathe exceptionally well, but the lack of cotton or merino in the fabric blend made my feet sweat more, without any moisture absorption properties. That alone wouldn't stop me buying them - They are nice socks and i'd still wear them if the Logos were symmetrical!