DEFEET Cold Weather Gear: Hot Stuff!
Most of us know DeFeet as the guys who make the best darn cycling socks around, and you’ve probably all owned at least one pair at sometime. With a solid foothold in the sock market, they’ve expanded into a big variety of technical base- and outer wear, designed to keep you comfortable in all conditions. Check out what they’ve got to keep you warm in winter…
In The Beginning…
A lot of you first tried DeFeet socks about 10 years ago, and if you were like me, you thought – “huh, cool name, I get it, I think…” Then you actually pulled on a pair the their Air-E-Ators‚ socks, and were blown away by how much dryer and more comfortable your feet were in your cycling shoes, and then a few months later you noticed the DeFeets hadn’t disintegrated like all your other cycling socks.
The main man at DeFeet is Shane Cooper. He started the company because he was tired of crappy cycling socks that didn’t last more tan 2 weeks, and also because he had the fortuitous means to be the son of and Englishman, who happened to be a parts distributor for a company that made hosiery machines. Are you with me…?
So Shane “acquired” one of these machines and started making socks. I can just imagine young Shane, tinkering in his garage over the sock machine, the only light coming from an exposed bulb hanging by a wire late into he night… So, as they used to say in the Letters section of a certain men’s journal… one thing led to another…. and today DeFeet is the standard by which all other performance socks are measured. In fact, DeFeet holds a number of patents, and has been the first to truly technically socks, specifically designed for cycling and other sports.
Let’s Start At The Bottom – Socks
My biggest problem with winter riding has been keeping my feet warm, and living in Vancouver, we deal with cold AND rain from November to March. I’m happy to say my riding and winter fitness is at a record high this year, thanks in no small part to the range of warm, wool socks from DeFeet.
The range includes:
The original Wool-E-Ator – a classically styled cycling sock, perfect for cool Fall or Spring days. They’re made of that comfy Merino wool, so they don’t itch – just keep you nice and toasty. The great thing about wool, is that it’s natural properties allow the passage of air, so your feet stay warm, but don’t sweat like they would in cotton, or other materials.
Blaze Performance Trail Sock – a heavier weight wool with a slightly taller cuff, extra material on the foot top, puncture resistant heel. The sock was originally meant as a sock for running and hiking, hence the extra padding on the foot top. These have become my sock-o-choice for Dec/Jan riding, because I no longer have to wear two thinner socks inside my shoes. The Blaze’s are thick and completely warm – I’ve had no probs in temps of low 40’s with the use of a neoprene booty. I’ve also started wearing them around the house, erm – I mean Worldwide HQ of PezCycling News – a real foot-favorite.
Woolie Boolie – a multi function mid weight sock with a thinner foot top that fits inside tighter cycling shoes.
All DeFeet socks are designed as a series of separate panels, each providing a different function at various points around the foot, and joined together in perfect harmony…
The cuffs are flat-knit and designed to not roll, sag, or lose shape, and were one of the first improvements Shane brought to the cycling sock. The heels and toes are patented “En-Duro-Skin‚” – separate pieces made to last in these high-wear zones. The foot top is where the whole breathable sock trend started, when others began copying DeFeet’s Air-E-Ator‚ mesh weave (another patent). The foot bottoms are designed so your foot can breathe, without the sock wearing out – cool durability it is!
When DeFeet saw the success of their thinking in the sock line, they began looking at base layers on other parts of the body, and how these could be improved to keep cyclists more comfortable – cooler, dryer, warmer. Thus the “Un-D” line was born, and includes some very nice base layers for the upper body. The line is designed to be worn like a 2nd skin, and the materials are soft, very thin, and very functional. The long sleeve Un-D-Shirt is a perfect base for cold days – wear it under a long sleeve jersey and jacket, and you’re good to go.
Consider this a shield against the cold. Even on only cool days, the wind chill can set my molars snappin’, and when you’ve got only 4% body fat – you need to take care of yourself! The Un-D-Flector is worn over your base layer, and under a jersey or jacket, and gives a complete shield against the cold air on your chest. I’ll be doing another test on this in the Spring – when I descend 1000 meters from the top of our local climb – where it will be shorts-weather at the bottom, but almost freezing at the top. Those spring descents at 70kph can be chiller! And it folds up tiny – like a small handkerchief, so it’s a snap to stow and much more convenient than packing along yesterday’s paper!
ArmSkins Another key member of DeFeet’s “outie veil” of warmth – these are knitted with a patented no vertical seam design which allows for a more uniform grip all the way up the arm. The “securl” top rolls down at the top and holds it in place. Same cuff as on the Air-E-Ator sock – cool and warm.
Slipstream Consider this the sock as outer-wear! Made primarily from cordura to keep cold out, the slipstream is like a super tough sock you pull over your shoes. You actually have to cut a slot into the bottom for your cleats, but after several ears, mine have yet to show any sign of unwanted tearing along the cut, and do a ice job of keeping the cool air off my feet.
All the Defeet gear is avaliable at a bike shop near you, and priced to fit nicley into the budget. But if you’re like me, staying warm in the cold is worth it at any price…
Get more info on all the DeFeet gear, including custom sock program for your team or club, at their website: www.DeFeet.com
And COMING SOON! The all new and ready for public consumption PEZCYCLING NEWS Air-E-Ator socks by DeFeet!