Review: Mad Alchemy’s Viva La ‘Murica Socks ($14 USD)
(2018) I once found a bin of old shirts in my grandparent’s house full of my uncle’s clothes. Each level I dug down felt as if I was going farther back in time. These were the shirts he wore in the seventies, and they featured simple block colors with bold stripes. One shirt in particular was blood red. Where the sleeves connected the shirt was a heavy stretchy material that had two navy stripes with a white strip down the middle. Add in the navy ringer collar and it was easily my favorite shirt into my teen years. Considering few people commented how out of style I was, it led me to believe basic stripes were timeless.
I wondered how a solid color field, broken by two stripes of any given color, could ever by considered out of style. For example, have a subject put on a pair of white tube socks replete with red and blue stripes and hardly any passerby would mention a lack of style. Perhaps Urban Outfitter fans would give a nod in agreement to the vintage sock design. White socks with red and white stripes at the top harken back to the seventies and eighties. They were the gym sock, the informal sock, the buy-them-by-the-bag sock. They were – and continue to be - recognizable anywhere.
A few weeks ago Mad Alchemy posted a cycling version of the vintage gym sock on their social media page and I was sent back to the comfort of my uncle’s hand-me-down t-shirt. I was so caught up in the memory I immediately added them to my online cart and completed the order. Imagine my excitement when the expected delivery date was pushed up a day and they came sooner than expected.
Here’s the interesting thing about Mad Alchemy’s Viva La ‘Murica socks: they don’t have to be American oriented. Pulling the socks out of the packaging and I managed my excitement to the first time I could wear the socks. As I stared at them I saw the French flag in the color combination. While I was at it, the flag of Holland was brought to my attention as another possibility. These socks are more than America; they are what you want them to be. Roll up to the group ride with vintage socks, America socks, French chaussettes, or Dutch sokken. Or they could simply be cool Mad Alchemy socks.
I wore Mad Alchemy’s Resist socks on my successful summit of Devil’s Kitchen a few weeks back in the Tour of the Catskills. On two separate occasions riders asked me if my socks said ‘Resist’ up the backs of them. When I said they did they both replied their support of wearing such socks. I hope wearing the Viva La ‘Murica socks will have me questioned by Americans, Dutch, French, and Serbian nationals. If they ask whether those socks represent the respective inquiries I’ll simply throw my support behind their inquisitive comment and say, “It is.” That’s yet another enjoyable part of cycling. Our group is global and timeless.