Swiftwick Aspire and Sustain socks
Sizes Tested: Size large, lengths zero and one
Intended use: Covering your unsightly feet while keeping them cool and dry
Rider: 5’9”, 150 lbs, Size 10 foot
Test locations: Mostly around Whitefish, Montana, and one day at dirt demo at Interbike
Test Duration: A little over a month
I’ve been riding in the Aspire and Sustain Swiftwick socks for just over a month now, and I’ve found them to be well-designed bike socks for the environmentally conscious.
Socks aren’t typically the first place I look to save the environment, but Swiftwick is big on the earth-friendly aspects of their footwear. Most socks are made with synthetic fibers (Nylon, spandex, etc.), so the more those fibers are made in an environmentally conscious way, the better.
The Sustain sock is made from 30 percent “Repreve” fibers, a “postindustrial recycled nylon,” which basically means it’s comprised of old recycled carpets and products of a similar ilk that are spun into the Repreve yarn.
Both the Aspire and Sustain socks use Olefin fiber, which Swiftwick says is “the only Nobel prize winning fiber.” Technically, the Nobel went to the process by which the Olefin fibers are made—I’m not going to act like I understand that process (called Olefin metathesis), but essentially, it produces less nasty byproducts and hazardous wastes than might be produced during the manufacture of other synthetic fibers.
Long story short? Olefin is better for the environment, and it appears to still have the qualities that we want in a sock (moisture wicking abilities, resistance to deterioration, etc.). So that’s a good thing.
Fit / Sizing
Aside from their environmentally-friendly composition, the socks are pretty straight forward: they’re comfortable, they’re thin, they wick moisture reasonably well, and once I start riding in them, I completely forget about them. And that’s a good thing—if I notice my socks, that can only mean that they’re doing something irritating.
Swiftwick socks come in six lengths, which are labeled based on how many inches above the ankle they reach. So a zero sits below the ankle while the tallest, a twelve, comes above the calf. I used a zero and a one, both in a size large. They fit my size 10 foot well—they didn’t seem to run small or large.
Swiftwick calls these compression socks, but the ones I’ve used don’t seem to be significantly tighter than any other “normal” bike sock I’ve worn. Swiftwick says that compression around the foot bed is important, and while the socks I used have a band of tighter material around the midfoot and a different texture on the bottom, they didn’t compress my foot in any noteworthy way. I can’t say I felt a difference between either the Sustain / Aspire and any other bike sock I’ve worn.
If you need a pair of socks and you want to make an environmentally-conscious purchase, the Swiftwicks are worth looking at. They’re comfortable, they fit well, and they’re priced competitively with other bikes socks on the market.