Review: Belgian Boys Club Winter High Top Socks (€25.00)
(2018) It is deep into winter and people are desperate to get out-of-doors. Late December into early January saw intense cold that made riding outside a flirtation with insanity. I coped with the Arctic temperatures by regularly refreshing my weather app to see if anything changed in the last fifteen minutes. It had not. With the opportunities being as they may I had to decide to either ride indoors or to endlessly layer up and have a go outside. Having the right equipment is what makes the latter option a possibility.
I have tried in vain to like shoe covers. I got some as a gift several years ago. It took several more years to realize they were two different sizes. It took a third of that time to put proper tears in them in any number of places. I struggled to clip out at exactly two stopping points, one a major intersection with every direction stopped. I laughed at capsizing because what else was there to do? At no point during those rides did I ever think how glad I was to have shoe covers on. For me it’s either Belgian booties and winter tech socks or just plain winter tech socks and raw shoes. That last option is always a hope-for-the-best scenario. Often when I opt to look pro without shoe accessories I can be observed waddling around my house post-ride convinced my feet are frozen solid.
A company has to know what an off-season cyclist is looking for in a sock to turn that cold forecast into a ride possibility. Some dedicated riders have winter cycling boots that do the trick. Others have just a single pair of cycling shoes that are designed to handle the heat of the summer and not one iota of consideration about the potential cold of winter. Those breezy vents that feel so great in August are the weak point in February. A good designer anticipates this and creates a sock to overcome the discrepancy.
This is the first year for Belgian Boys Club to offer winter riding socks in the form of Winter High Top Socks. The company has offered numerous off-season accessories, notably the Antwerpen long sleeve jersey and the ever-elusive winter riding cap, among others. It is no surprise items designed for Belgian weather cross over well into the cold and humid winters in the northeast United States. But what’s so big about a tech winter sock?
For starters the socks are designed with wind resistant panels down the front of the shin. The toes also have wind resistant panels, an area typically at risk of cold breezes due to summer venting. The foot beds of the sock are also insulated for those under-the-sole vents that could put a hardy rider at risk for frostbite. In typical Belgian Boys Club style, the socks feature a reflective stripe around the top for those low light conditions in the morning or at sunset for extra visibility. The Lion of Flanders is also reflective though it would only be visible, as one gets ready prior to sunrise and a flashlight. They also take the guesswork out of which foot each sock is meant for by labeling the toebox.
But did these socks hold up to the cold outing several weeks ago? As a matter of fact they did. During a ride with temperatures hovering in the low twenties, the Belgian Boys Club Winter High Top Socks combined with Belgian booties performed admirably in humid and windy conditions. These tech socks were extremely comfortable and even the cuffs sealed off any windy conditions.
These are certainly going to become the go-to sock for any rough conditions. We’ll know when we need to wear them. It’ll be the tipping point of staring out of a frosted house windy wondering if it is even worth going out on the bike. When searching inward for enough fortitude to kit up, one thought will clinch us to say no to the trainer and yes to the frozen road: At least your feet will be taken care of. The rest of the excuses are on you.