Review: Rapha Pro Team Socks ($20 USD)
(2018) There’s always that cliché ‘function over fashion.’ There is a belief that putting all your effort into looking the part detracts from the actual acting the part. After my last race I concluded I needed a pair of socks to match the new team kit and found Rapha’s Pro Team socks close enough to the team colors. I figured having the solid color was enough of an invite aboard the pro team. We continue our sock review with the regular height socks by Rapha.
Navy blue has always held a deep meaning to me throughout my hockey career. My early jerseys were a mixture of black, navy, and white. High school jerseys, though more royal than navy, were dark enough to get away with the midnight shade. College hockey saw mustard, navy, and silver. Almost any team I skated for had a navy contrast. Even men’s league managed to match the college colors.
It was in high school where I earned my athletic work ethic for the decades to come. While I wasn’t varsity material for much of my career I pushed myself farther into efforts than I thought possible. I wanted to be the scrappy athlete who had to be pinned down before defeat. When I wanted to quit races because it was hurting too much, I thought back to the hockey practices in high school and found the inspiration to give a harder effort. Sometimes I closed the gap down; sometimes I retreated somewhere along the back straightaway out of sight of spectators.
With the return to navy blue for sport, I feel those old efforts coming back. It is engrained in the psyche to stay in the mix for one more lap. “Drop out next lap,” I’ll say. Five laps later I am still arguing with myself about when to pull the plug. Next thing I know the race is over and I was in the bunch somewhere.
Those are the recollections when I pull on the Rapha Pro Team socks. With significant amount of races remaining for the 2018 season I have looked to Rapha’s reliable efforts in cycling apparel to match the team kit. Made in Italy, these socks are a mixture of expansion as well as compression. They slip on easily, yet they stay put for the entire ride. After taking them around a three-hour ride yesterday they remained at the original set height. They ventilated well throughout the rising temperatures of the day.
Rapha brings three sock lengths to the sale floor this season. The navy socks come in regular height only. There are short socks with color options. The regular socks come quite high above the ankle. They are most likely what riders are looking for these days. Rapha does make tall socks in other colors though I cannot imagine just how tall they are when the regular height is satisfying.
Strange to say these socks have ‘left’ and ‘right’ labels. I can’t imagine anyone noticing putting them on the wrong foot. The recognizable six dashes on the back of each sock fall in the same area. Should they be put on in a hurry I doubt anyone would chase the wearer down to inform him his socks are reversed. And that’s exactly the point of these socks. They are not flashy.
I completely believe the wearer would blend in with the rest of the riding group, hardly attracting attention with irony on the socks or dayglo colors. There are not trippy patterns or protest slogans. They are simply navy blue as Rapha intended them to be. Without the dashes on the back cuff, it is a wonder whether anyone would be able to tell they were Rapha socks at all.
I don’t foresee a race victory in my future, so being the rider who wears the loud socks in a race is not for me. I have always believed anyone who wears ironical gear should back it up. I would like to think if I find myself with a chance to get on one of the steps for the race, I’ll look down during the sprint and see the navy blue socks and think back to all those efforts. I hope the flicker of days gone by stoke the engines just enough to power across the line. When I look up from the socks, I would like to be pleasantly surprised. If not, Rapha’s socks will certainly make feel a little bit better about the sting.