Castelli Merino Wool Socks

One of the perks of writing about cycling gear is that from time to time you receive schwag. From jerseys to courier bags to T-shirts by the pound, bike companies spend untold dollars giving this stuff to journalists. Knowing that all this stuff is a drain on bottom line, I try to be mindful and respectful when I am the recipient of said schwag.

Honestly, some of the stuff isn’t that exciting, but every now and then some item clears the bar of wearable and vaults up into the territory of real find. Take these Merino wool socks from Castelli. Unless a pair of socks is hideous in appearance or so coarse as to be uncomfortable (both happen), they are likely to make it into my rotation. I’ve got so many pairs of socks I could go a month—maybe more—and not worry about dirty socks.

These are part of the Garmin-Cervelo kit, which explains the Garmin blue at the back of the sock, as shown above.

They are thinner than most wool socks, making them perfect for warm weather and come in three sizes, so unlike some socks, these actually came in a size that fit my foot. Perhaps their best feature is that they are available as part of Castelli’s Service Course custom clothing program. The only possible knock against the sock is that it has pilled a bit since these images were taken.

When it comes to great cycling clothing, touting the benefits of Assos can at times be a bit like shooting apples in a barrel—it’s that easy. The reason I do review Assos products is to show just how good a piece of apparel can be.

For reasons I can’t explain, Castelli doesn’t seem to receive the respect it deserves. This sock is a perfect example of just how good Castelli’s clothing is. Given that their stuff is noticeably less expensive than Assos’ and yet usually significantly better than anything offered by their similarly priced competitors, I can’t fathom why their stuff isn’t more popular.

Just to be super-explicit about this: When it comes to custom clothing, they are in the top three of all the clothing I’ve ever worn. These socks are a perfect example of the company’s attention to detail.

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  1. Chris

    I have absolutely loved the Castelli pieces I have had over the years. My one complaint, and I hear it is much better recently, is the quality control. The Castelli Free bibs I have are the most comfortable I have ever worn (haven’t tried Assos yet) but they started falling apart fairly quickly. For $230 retail I expect perfection. Fortuantely I didn’t pay that, but still… I also have a Castelli jersey that has a super short zipper (which I normally detest), but it doesn’t matter as it breathes better than any of my other jerseys. It is so amazingly comfortable when it is warm out that I hardly miss a long zip.

  2. Touriste-Routier

    I think in general Castelli offers the best value of any clothing company. Unlike most manufacturers they offer a complete line (I can’t think of anything I need that they don’t have), and their innovation is unprecedented.

    The one thing that irks me is their lack of consistency in sizing. I never know whether I need a large or a medium in jackets, vests, or jerseys. Their dearth of dealers in my area committed to the line means web shopping, which unfortunately means occasional returns for size corrections.

  3. Robot

    I think Castelli has the best style for the money. I’ve had quality issues. For me, Descente is the best value. Understated, stylistically, but solid functionally, and very well wearing.

    Because I’m sometimes a style whore though, I have plenty of Castelli.

  4. Souleur

    hmm…style whore. I hadn’t thought of it that way, but perhaps some of us are.

    I love the Castelli stuff. Its Italian, what can you say. They have developed clothing that has changed cycling, not many can say that…ie bib shorts. So, i find myself going back time and again and buying castelli, thank goodness i just bought the Leggaro rain jacket, here in the ozarks, its paid dividends this week.

    I don’t actually have their socks though, so thanks, will be looking into some summer ones.

  5. Matt Wilkinson

    Absolutely agree with souleur, although surely you should expect Castelli stuff to be stylish as it is Italian!! Definitely somewhere where I need to shop more. Probably won’t need these summer ones for a while, but at least ive got good time to find the style thats right for me!

  6. Andrey

    In cold weather, when we head for the sock drawer we go looking for a pair of socks made from Merino wool . Our comfort, and sometimes our sanity, depends on it. The Castelli Merino Socks have some technical details that make them as good as any we’ve ever seen.

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