Review by James Parchman
[This Review was originally published in the December 2007 issue of Rider magazine]
Hey, a product is a product, and there is much that can be learned and written about specialized motorcycle socks. First of all, a dearth of moto-specific socks exists outside your basic, and very tall, motocross version. This is important because no article of wearing apparel provides such instant gratification as a pair of just-purchased socks.
Even the oldest and hardest-worn boots seem rejuvenated with the addition of cushy new foot wraps. Unfortunately, that feeling usually doesn’t survive many wearing cycles. While footwear comes pre-shaped for each foot, and tuned by size, width, and even gender to give a relatively close fit, most socks fall into the 1 or maybe 2 sizes-fits-all club. This is done for cost reasons, with the end result being a happy medium that becomes less happy if your foot is outside the norm, and after multiple wash and dry cycles.
In developing the SOKz line, the folks at CIMA International went not to China, but to a small factory in Italy to create a product that addresses those myriad sensations we feel inside our boots–fit, cold, heat and perspiration–and did so with a bit of styling panache. SOKz technology incorporates a coming trend in clothing design: the use of intelligent fibers that respond to environmental changes. Used initially in military uniforms, these materials actually change composition to match terrain and climatic conditions.
The three SOKz styles are named Ceramic, Silver and Arrow. Each is available in short (below calf) and tall (above calf) lengths, and multiple men’s and women’s sizes. The Arrow blends Cool-Max with other materials including cotton and wool to keep feet cool. By contrast, the Ceramic contains ceramic and wood fibers, helping insulate feet from cold. The Silver gets the nod as the neither too hot nor cold version by incorporating a smidgen of the metal, which serves as an antibacterial and odor fighter.
After many wearings (and washings) we found having a specific left and right sock is a great idea. SOKz fit us well and the extra padding at wear points, but not elsewhere, prevented bulkiness found in motocross-style socks. The short version might work for shoes, but is height challenged for boot applications, and some users found them susceptible to sagging (short and tall are priced the same).
SOKz are available at CIMA’s Real-Rider website and at selected motorcycle products retailers. At $15-$25 they’re pricier than your typical cotton tubes but the fit and features, not to mention spiff, make them worth your consideration.
For more information contact Cima International, 1585 Beverly Court, No. 118, Aurora, Illinois 60502; (866) 243-5638; www.real-rider.com