Merino Wool Cycling Socks

icebreakersocks.jpgNothing makes me go ‘ahhhhhhhhh’ quite so much during a bike ride as the perfect pair of socks.

Yes, that’s right. Socks.

This seemingly ordinary and small part of my bike touring wardrobe has become the part I obsess most about. If my feet are happy, so is the rest of me.

The best socks Andrew and I have found for touring are made of merino wool from sustainably raised New Zealand sheep.

We discovered merino wool socks at a small sports shop about a month into our world bike trip. It took us a few minutes to get over the initial sticker shock of $15-20 U.S. for a single pair, but after riding through our first day of terrible rain our feet were clammy and cold. The allure of a warm, soft pair of socks temporarily overcame our tight budget. Fast forward 4 years and now we wouldn’t be without merino wool socks.

What’s so great about merino wool? For a start, it’s not like the itchy wool sweaters you might have worn as a kid. It’s lightweight, soft, breathable and — perhaps most importantly for a bike tourist — odour free.

icebreakersocks2.jpgThe ability of these socks to pull sweat away from the skin, as well as the wool’s natural anti-microbial properties, mean they don’t get stinky, even after wearing them up to 5 days in a row without washing. They are also incredibly comfortable. Sports models tend to come with extra cushioning around pressure points.

When it comes to the question of which merino wool socks to buy, there are dozens of brands to pick from. The socks we’ve bought and tried are from two of the biggest names in the business: Icebreaker and Smartwool.

On the surface, there’s not much between them. Both companies offer a range of sizes and styles, including specific cycling socks. Our first pair of merino wool socks came from Smartwool. They lasted a long time and we loved them. Our opinion has changed, however.

After buying our first pair of Smartwool socks, the quality seemed to go downhill. Recent socks we’ve bought from Smartwool wore out too quickly. We now favour Icebreaker socks, because we find they last a lot longer. Durability is important when you’re paying $20 U.S. for a pair of socks!

We could write a whole essay on how the Icebreaker socks we bought in New Zealand are in nearly perfect shape, despite being 15 months old, including 5 months of constant use as we biked across North America. Or we could tell you how the last 3 pairs of Smartwool socks we’ve tried have all developed holes after just a few weeks, even though they weren’t subjected to the rigours of a daily bike tour (and how it took us a long time to get a replacement for one pair through customer service). A picture is worth 1,000 words though, so take a look at this one.


For us, the photo says it all. The Icebreaker socks (on the left) have been used intensely for over a year but don’t show a fraction of the wear that the much younger Smartwool socks do. The Smartwool socks in this picture saw irregular use over 6 months. For this reason, Icebreaker is now our favourite brand.

In our experience, other Icebreaker products are equally as tough. The very first Icebreaker tops we bought in 2006 have been worn regularly over the past 4 years, handwashed and wrung out in more hotels than we can count and they are still going. The first tiny holes only appeared a few months ago.

This review is based on Icebreaker and Smartwool socks that we bought with our own money. We were not paid or bribed to give this review and it reflects our honest opinion of the products concerned.


  1. Sara
    12th July 2010 at 1:57 am #

    I’ve used Smartwool in the past, with the problems you mention. I’ll definitely give IceBreaker in the future!

    • Tonya
      13th July 2010 at 5:54 pm #

      I would LOVE to win some new icebreaker socks! I am training for two multi-day cycling fundraisers (for American Lung Association & Multiple Sclerosis) and would love to give the socks I win a try! One event will be three days in the Columbia Gorge and then the other will be 5 days in the San Juan Islands. Both cycling events are fundraisers and right now all my money is going to these charities as I have steep fundraising goals for myself. I would love to be hooked up!

  2. John Augustine
    12th July 2010 at 2:50 am #

    I use Wal-Mart socks because I can’t afford to buy Icebreaker socks.

    • Dani
      14th July 2010 at 5:18 am #

      You probably buy twice as many cheap socks! Save your money, invest in a few good pairs of Icebreaker socks. I assure you’ll see a huge savings in $ while decreasing the hassle of always having to buy more new socks.

  3. Tal Danzig
    12th July 2010 at 4:10 am #

    I love icebreaker products, though I’ve yet to try any of their socks.
    Wool clothing of various weights is my preferred cycling clothing 95% of the time with lightweight layers for summer and layers for the winter. I’ve definitely noticed that my icebreaker stuff holds up better to wear that some other brands I’ve worn.

  4. lysanne
    12th July 2010 at 4:25 am #

    I’ve just bought two shirts in merino wool. If their socks are as great as their shirt, I’ll have to buy at least 3 pairs for my rtw!!!!

  5. Anthony Policano
    12th July 2010 at 6:49 am #

    these r the best sox. smartwool sox rule too. i’d love to get some new ones b4 my eastern europe cycling adventure in september! love ’em! xxo, anthony p of

  6. Adam Kilpatrick
    12th July 2010 at 6:55 am #

    I plead with you, I need to win some nice, smell-resistant Icebreaker socks, not for me, but for my mate Stephen. He only ever wears plain white cotton socks on tour, and the smell is horrendous! His feet look even worse, the skin is falling apart, and dare I mention there is some kind of mould going on down there (could be the terrible company he keeps)! Its so bad, that for our upcoming big trip to Sweden, we are taking a tent each, but I fear it shall not be enough…he sometimes rides upwind of me!

    I have a sore nose from the peg,


  7. Jodi
    12th July 2010 at 6:57 am #

    Whoa! What’s that smell??? Oh, it’s me! But I’m not even out the door yet, how can that be? Synthetics, pffft!

    Thankfully, I discovered merino wool after buying and being very dissatisfied with synthetic cycling clothes. Not even out the front door and I stank! Now, I wear merino wool shirts, sweaters, socks and even undies! They’re just amazing. My temperature is almost perfectly regulated and if I get wet I stay comfortable. Best thing, even after long rides and days and days of use there’s absolutely no smell! I’m still incredulous and ask my husband to smell the pits of my jersey.

    Unfortunately, my husband and I recently bought a few pairs each of the Smartwool socks. I noticed after the first time I wore one pair on my commute to work (only 14 km round trip) that the socks were wearing thin and pilling, basically falling apart! My husband has had the same experience. We were not expecting this, after having such a great experience with virtually all our other merino wool stuff. Disappointed, but we’ll save up our money and give Icebreaker a try. We’ve heard good things about them.

  8. Dennis
    12th July 2010 at 7:00 am #

    I Love wool. I have a Smartwool shirt with lots of holes in it. Maybe I should get some Smartwool socks so I can have matching holes? Or, even better, try (or win!) some Icebreaker socks as an introduction to the Icebreaker brand.

    Thanks for the feet’s up on the quality comparison between brands.

  9. celine
    12th July 2010 at 7:06 am #

    we’d love to try some socks! on our last trip, we brought one pair of socks for each day, plus one spare. The reason for this is… all we had were cotton, and we were pretty sure we wouldn’t manage to get them washed, clean, and dry by the time it’s time to wear them.

    On one hand, we were used to them already, and it didn’t rain, so it worked out OK. On the other hand, somehow, somebody’s extra large ostrich feet managed to make socks fill up the whole front pannier!!!

  10. jennifer
    12th July 2010 at 8:17 am #

    I have never tried Icebreaker socks, but I have a very awesome sweater! There is perhaps nothing I like more than a cozy pair of merino socks – I would love to try these!

  11. Joshua Huber
    12th July 2010 at 8:41 am #

    Hey guys!

    I found you while searching for info on my first long touring trip! I’m doing a 10 week bike tour of New Zealand this October and I’d love to be using some great new Icebreaker Socks!!!

    I be sure to send you a photo of them after I’m all done!


  12. Angus Macdonald
    12th July 2010 at 8:46 am #

    Would love a pair

  13. Michael
    12th July 2010 at 8:48 am #

    I love merino! Nothing beats a garment that doesn’t stink after a few hours (poly). I have a pair of Smartwool ski socks, they don’t even stink after wearing them all day (sometimes two days when backpacking) I would love to have some cycling specific socks for my bike journeys this summer and fall. Thanks for the chance to win some!

  14. tine
    12th July 2010 at 9:44 am #

    I love merino stuff (socks, shirts,…). I’m quite a sweating girl (when I think of doing something active, I’m already starting to sweat :-)). Merino shirts and socks are THE solution. My boyfriend also strongly appreciates the odour-free aspect.

  15. Paul Evans
    12th July 2010 at 9:48 am #

    I have been an outdoors worker who has worn nothing but wool socks for close to 40 years and have seen vast improvements in that time.I have just had to throw away 3 of 6 sets of wool socks after 22 years of service.Hows that for value.Anyways , I have used new age coolmax etc; and found them to be ok, but I own about 6 pairs of wool socks for cycling and every day hiking and walking.Travel overseas regularly and use them all the time in all sorts of weather, walking and cycling.We aussies used to live off the sheeps back, now we walk all over ,courtesy of the sheep, in comfort.

  16. patrizia
    12th July 2010 at 9:52 am #

    merino wool socks do definitively the best job you can wish for! having tiny feets it’s a biiig challenge for me to find proper fitting socks. and knowing that they will cost big money you expect outstanding quality. my search was long and exhausting but fruitful. i found my little gems by bridgedale. hands down – these merino wool socks provide all the goodies they promise: cosy warm and comfy, stay-dry and smell-resistant – no matter if cycling or hiking. now here comes my disappointment. after having them washed in one of the innumerable guesthouses in nepal they came back totally out of shape. meaning, the feet-part is still in order but the hem at the edge of the “sock-entrance” has been completely worn out (only by one crucial wash!). god knows how the heck they washed that pair of socks. i can only imagine a fierce wire brush to damage the elastic hem like that. i loved nepal and its extremely friendly people very much – so i couldn’t be mad at the old lady in the laundry shop. but now i end up pulling up my socks every 5 steps i take – which, you can imagine, may look a bit awkward. it’s not the best way for a “lady” to to walk down the street, i reckon 😉 how on earth will i ever find new socks for my miniature feets again? i will have to scan through every single outdoor shop in the southern hemisphere and hoping to be lucky… i get sick only by the thought of it! you have now made me totally curious about icebraker socks – i would be extremely happy to test out their quality and give back some comments and experiences. we are soon getting ready for some serious cycling where socks will be on the daily base again. japan, new zealand, australia… here we coooome! greets and sunshine from malaysia, p

  17. graeme dickey
    12th July 2010 at 9:56 am #

    We are about to embark on the eurovelo6 route across europe and are taking quite a lot of icebreaker gear with us but I didn’t know icebreaker made socks!! – we had better get some before leaving New Zealand!!

  18. Allan Gibson
    12th July 2010 at 10:53 am #

    It started with an Icebreaker long sleeve top (superb), then Icebreaker longjohns (superb and a warm ‘bottom’), i now have T shirts and even the boxers shorts (yep you guessed it, my ‘bottom’ is totally roasting now!!), all i need is the socks to complete the set…..

    happy cycle touring folks, i’m a newbie and loving it 🙂

  19. Hap
    12th July 2010 at 10:55 am #

    I myself love my icebreaker socks, or should I say sock. A couple of months ago one of my icebreaker socks fell into the communal laundry void. But since I still have one perfectly good sock I can’t bring myself to fork out $20 for a new pair. I was thinking I could amputate a leg but then that posed the problem of how I would cycle Southern Africa with only one leg next year. Ummm…………what to do

  20. Andrew Powell
    12th July 2010 at 10:58 am #

    Having now done quite a few UK tours I feel it would be a good time to upgrade some of my very basic gear!
    I hadn’t really considered socks, or indeed merino wool socks, but now feel educated enough to check out Icebreaker.

  21. bill rawling
    12th July 2010 at 11:30 am #

    Cycle wear is akin to mountaineering gear, effectively it must be reliable and practical, not just fashionable! These socks seem ideal for intended purpose (does what it says on the tin!) I must get some.

  22. siyar
    12th July 2010 at 11:44 am #

    i once bought 3pair of icebreaker sock, but then when i came home i realised that i left the plastic bag somewhere in the shopping centre where i took a break. I knew before reading this article everything about the quality of icebreak sock. But since i had lost my first 3pairs, i decided not to buy new ones, because im so stupid, to lose them in the first place .

  23. Anthony Riley
    12th July 2010 at 11:48 am #

    In September 2009 I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. 2 years prior to this I had been a keen mountaineer and considered myself to be in could physical health. Over the next 18 months my health deteriorated to a point I could no long walk 200 metres without my symptoms coming on. As the disease modifying therapy kicked in I began to regain health since January 2010. Though there has been permanent damage making my climbing days over I have been inspired by and your bike touring basics. So much so I bought myself a bike, some panniers and I am on my first tour this summer in the Netherlands. I can’t wait! cycle touring is a new lease of life for me that strangely does not irritate my MS. These socks would be great for me and just another motivational aid to not let this thing beat me. Not use to fessing up and giving a hard luck story but if I am lucky enough to get the sock my pride will get over it 🙂

  24. dardedunya
    12th July 2010 at 11:49 am #

    i think im worth these socks because, i am going to cycle 2300 kilometers to raise money for action aid, which is a charity, that helps childeren in poor countries iver the whole world

  25. Sandy Millar
    12th July 2010 at 12:06 pm #

    Hi, I used to work on a farm with sheep. Since then, I have decided that there is no point to sheep. After reading the reviews about Merino socks I am prepared to be persuaded that my views and prejidices may be wrong and that sheep can rightly be justified in the sock trade. Sorry if you have a pet sheep.

  26. Logan
    12th July 2010 at 12:16 pm #

    Me and my girlfriend have recently got back into cycling, kicked off after a conversation about cycling London to Paris with my Uncle. We then thought about cycling Europe when I finish university, so we bought bikes and have been working towards getting in shape.
    Sadly though as student funds are limited currently so every little helps, and socks that might save our relationship after a long day in the saddle could be a good place to start.

  27. Peter K
    12th July 2010 at 1:01 pm #

    Going to be cycling Norway in the 29th of July. I’d like socks that don’t look and/or smell like decaying cow tongues by the end of it. SAVE ME WITH QUICK DRYING WOOL! Thanks guys 🙂

  28. Gard
    12th July 2010 at 1:43 pm #

    Here in Tassie my poor feet freeze every time I ride for m ore than 30 minutes or so. That makes even short 50k rides less pleasant than they should be. I want to do a (nearly) 500k tour in the spring and I want my feet to be happy while I do. Would love to take a pair or 2 of there socks for a trip around NE Tasmania with me.

  29. Philip Salen
    12th July 2010 at 2:47 pm #

    Icebreaker socks sound great!! My wife is going to be real happy if I get these socks because 1) they are stinky resistant (my wonderful wife has a sensitive nose- I can’t smell that much can I?) and 2) they are hole resistant. Plus, I would be proud to wear wool socks harvested from humanely treated, New Zealand grass fed sheep. I will be able to do my daily bicycle commute stink and guilt free.

  30. Krystal
    12th July 2010 at 3:34 pm #

    I’m not trying to “win” the socks ’cause all I’ve got is wool stuff. I found out a few years ago it’s the best choice for warmth even while sweaty and wet. The smartwool stuff falling apart does surprise me though! I have lots of SW, socks and they seem fine so far…

    Here’s the thing – I’m doing the Northern Tier and then the Pacific Coast next May. An early start for East to West. My plan is to use Keen Bike sandals while layering merino socks for warmth. What say you? Warm enough for Maine in May? I’ve heard that sandals and layered socks are warmer then close toed shoes!

    Opinions please…

  31. Gabriel Sierra
    12th July 2010 at 4:04 pm #

    I can not just use any sock; I sweat a lot and my feet often pay the price of a long day cycling. My toes seems to like digging holes in my socks, even with good pedicure! Cotton socks get drenched in sweat, poly are just to harsh. Ice Breaker Merino wool socks seem to be the answer I have been looking for to make my bicycle tours more into sight seeing and less into feet minding. If I get these socks, I can share my experience with all the followers of my podcast, so they also enjoy the Ice Breaker Merino wool socks on their own tours.

  32. Mark Eisinger
    12th July 2010 at 4:22 pm #

    I went on a cycling date the other evening in Washington DC. I had trouble starting conversation…I think Icebreakers may have helped!

  33. William Ramey
    12th July 2010 at 5:39 pm #

    I will begin my world cycling tour on April 1, 2011 from Kansas City, MO. The only item I lack is good pairs of cycling socks. I have not found good cycling socks as of yet and would be interested in trying them out and posting a candid review after a few months. In the past, I know for sure that during the colder or the wetter months while cycling, if my feet were not warm and comfortable, the ride quickly becomes painful. Thus, if these socks are good as you say they are, I will not be an April’s Fool.

  34. Eric Hendrickson
    12th July 2010 at 6:05 pm #

    On a recent trip I returned with several pairs of worn out smart wool socks. On the trip it rained for 12 days in a row, you might know biking along the northeast coast of Canada (our favorite location) We got use to the rain and biking in it but wet/cold feet were always an issue, even with covers. It would be nice to have something that was quick drying that did not wear out and looked shape. Plus, I would be proud to wear wool socks harvested from New Zealand grass fed sheep. While I will perhaps never get a chance to bike in New Zealand I would be wearing something from there which is almost the same, not really.

  35. Ardan Labrie
    12th July 2010 at 7:21 pm #

    Socks are socks…or aren’t they? Only to truly convince me is by experiencing it myself…send me 2 pairs & I will gladly put them to the test by biking with them for 6 month through Asia! Me (ardan) & my grilfriend (Line) from Belgium are planning a big trip through Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Laos & Cambodja. Chck out our homepage for more information. The info is finding its way gradually while we are preparing…help us to prepare by getting us the right socks!

    Thanks, Ardan

    • friedel
      13th July 2010 at 9:27 am #

      Sounds like a wonderful trip Ardan. That is such a great part of the world to explore by bike. Have a curry and an iced coffee for us.

  36. Frank Sanders
    12th July 2010 at 7:23 pm #

    I should win the socks because I can’t imagine wearing wool sock so when I win them, I’m betting they are as good as you say because I keep hearing about them, I will be a great, vocal convert to wool socks.

  37. Rachael Ayres
    12th July 2010 at 10:27 pm #

    What chance would I have of winning socks that come from my country? But oh, if I did, what a novelty they would be – you see, I knit all my own socks and my hubby’s and our eight kids’ socks too. On our recent fifteen month trip only the handknit socks did not get holes – the few remaining “shop socks” we started the trip with did not last the distance and I was converted to being a perpetual sock knitter for the rest of my days!

  38. Roman Anderlich
    12th July 2010 at 11:10 pm #

    As I pondered the gist of your article on quality Ice Breaker products, I recalled the numerous “eyelets” I quickly developed on my Wig Wam and Smart Wool socks. Over the top of my laptop, I am counting the young potatoes in front of me…or are they my big toes…sticking through the holes of my wigwams…not to mention the “natural feeling” of walking on heels with windows in them…airconditioned socks are great, but I am just too broke to support the planned obsolescence. Does “‘smart’ wool” stand for “buy me again soon?!”

  39. Avi Nash
    13th July 2010 at 1:27 am #

    I don’t know if I will ever see NZ but this will certainly bring a bit of NZ to me.

  40. Alan Shea
    13th July 2010 at 3:54 am #

    Great idea for a contest, I wouldn’t know one pair of socks fron the ones I buy at COSTCO. If I do win them I will wear them with pride, if I don’t I have a couple of bikes for sale—-cheap—-real cheap. Take care love Alan/Carol/Maggie

    OK–you can disqualify me(Andrew’s big brother)

    • friedel
      13th July 2010 at 6:13 am #

      Ha ha, good one Alan! You know, we can’t send you any Icebreaker socks because you are one of those ‘disqualified’ family members. But we’d be pleased to send you a pair of bright orange socks from the Netherlands!!

  41. anna
    13th July 2010 at 5:11 am #

    I need some new icebreaker socks because I lost all my underwear on a bus in Mexico. The incident taught me a valuable lesson – buses are trouble and I should stick to two wheels.

  42. friedel
    13th July 2010 at 9:24 am #

    Great comments everyone! Keep them coming. Some of them really have me laughing, we have some creative people in our bike touring community 🙂

  43. Travelling Toddler
    13th July 2010 at 11:08 am #

    My dad is the sock king, he buys a new pack of socks every other week. Let me show him who the man in the house is!

    These socks look awesome and will come in very handy my maiden cycle tour with my fiance and our toddler 🙂

  44. Donald
    13th July 2010 at 2:12 pm #

    I love Icebreaker gear….but I haven’t tried their socks yet. I love the feeling of new socks….there is nothing better than the first time you put on a pair of new socks. What could be better? Well 3 pairs of new socks 🙂

  45. JaHa
    13th July 2010 at 2:17 pm #

    I have a few of the Icebreaker run/bike lite micro socks in my rotation and on the days when I get to run or bike in them my feet thank me, and so does my workout partner because he can’t smell my feet. They have held up great for over a year now and I would purchase some more whenever, if ever, they wear out.

  46. Ross Dobson
    13th July 2010 at 2:41 pm #

    ahhhhhhhhh socks? Luxury! Would love to have socks.We used to ride barefoot, in winter without pedals.

  47. Marcel
    13th July 2010 at 2:44 pm #

    I use common socks – mostly because i had experience, that more expensive socks i tried didn’t last long enough. I bought merino top this winter and it’s great. If merino socks are as good as the top, then they would be the ultimate socks i think :).

  48. Luka
    13th July 2010 at 3:18 pm #

    Based on the very positive thoughts about Icebreaker underwear on some crazyguyonabike story I’ve bought myself a nice Icebreaker shirt. While expensive, it does the job very nicely 🙂 so using a pair of socks this good seems a very good idea indeed!

  49. Scott Parson
    13th July 2010 at 3:26 pm #

    I have never had any serious problems with Smartwool but would love to try Icebreakers!

  50. Paul Reinheimer
    13th July 2010 at 3:27 pm #

    I’ve started wearing the Ice Breaker cycling socks for my longer rides, and my feet really do seem to appreciate it. The extra padding on the toes is nice, without being thick the whole way through.

    Now, for a (fictional) story:
    I was riding along a hilly path in New Zealand a few weeks back. As I came around a slow downhill turn, I came face to face with thousands of disgruntled sheep. Perhaps it was the ill weather (quite windy, likely thunderstorms soon), perhaps it was simply that I’d intruded on their terrain. Either way, it was clear that there were many, and they were grumpy… with me. A larger ram walked over, to size me up before the trampling. Walking closer, it seemed to zone in on my (ice breaker) socks. I shook a bit (I’d like to say from the stiff wind, but truth be told my Arcteryx Celeris jacket kept it from me) as the animal stepped closer and sniffed deeply at my sock. After smelling the sock it looked right into me, and I would swear there was both a small nod, and look of respect in those deep eyes. When I looked back at the pack previously covering the road, it was cleared, the animals had gone back to grazing. I rode off quite thankful for that mornings wardrobe selections.

  51. eric
    13th July 2010 at 3:29 pm #

    Have tons of Smartwool socks and they all wear this way…would love to try icebreakers

  52. Bryan
    13th July 2010 at 4:14 pm #

    Instead of purchasing another vehicle to see the world in, I decided to hop on my bicycle. The more I get in the saddle the more I appreciate what the world looks like on top of two wheels. My gear is slowly being updated and I just got a pair of socks made from recycled bottles thinking they would be good, but now these Icebreaker socks have me scratched my curiosity. Wouldn’t mind trying a pair to compare to my pair made from old plastic bottles.

  53. Nicoline Norgaard
    13th July 2010 at 4:22 pm #

    Inspiring trip you two! My boyfriend got his Koga Miyata bike stolen just before we moved to Norway (still struggling with the insurance pay-out), so next year (the season ends in November with piles of snow and even Schwalbe tyres with spikes won’t help) we travel to Belgium for a Koga for me and ID Worx to him and ride all the way home to Holmenkollen (you know the place where the World Ski Championship is held in 2011). I am happy with my SmartWool biking socks (EVERYthing else of mine is Icebreaker: trailrun, kayak, cycle, climbing, pilates, travel, casual, everyday undies, except swimming -funny that), but Davy really needs a pair in size medium, and coming from you guys will be a top story! I am sure we will both feel the positive energy on the roads riding the world! Tusen takk and enjoy the ride! Joie de vivre, toujours et partout…

  54. Jeffrey Brotherton
    13th July 2010 at 5:40 pm #

    Socks that are comfortable over a long ride…right. I don’t believe it and being from Missouri need to be shown. The only way you can convince me is to provide me a pair of these socks to try out and let me, the skeptic, write a review about them.

  55. Maria - Vancouver
    13th July 2010 at 6:16 pm #

    Once you try Icebreaker you no longer look at the price! I am working my way to converting my whole wardrobe over to Icebreaker. My feet don’t sweat in these socks and it’s true about the long wear and durability.

  56. Grant Mehring
    13th July 2010 at 6:42 pm #

    Although I am not an bike tourer, per say, I am an avid bike commuter, which I guess is my version of bike touring as I don’t have the means to head out for months at a time, though I aspire to. Everyday use of merino wool socks has been something I have been itching to get into, but haven’t yet got rolling. Where I have seen the use of merino wool socks a necessity is in my hobby of adventure racing. My first two races I wore standard cotton socks, and have vowed never again to repeat that terrible mistake! Not only did I ruin the cotton socks, but my feet were wrecked and soggy and overall not desirable!! Not the case when wearing merino socks during adventure races!! Sustainable clothing is also a passion of mine, and merino socks fit the bill almost completely!!!! Thanks so much for the great review of before unknown to me differences between Smartwool and Icebreaker socks!!! Appresh!!

  57. Holly
    13th July 2010 at 7:03 pm #

    Y’know, I was going to write in, but I think Adam Kilpatrick’s story takes it.

  58. Kristina
    13th July 2010 at 7:19 pm #

    Neat website, just bookmarked. Anyway, I’m addicted to Icebreaker – have been for a couple of years now. My collection is one item short of double digits now, and will keep growing, but I’m not commenting for me…

    My boyfriend is very focussed on sport – running, cycling (road and mountain), climbing, multisport… I’ve been saving up to get him an icebreaker long sleeve top, but this made me remember how many pairs of socks he has which are falling apart (some of which look much like the socks in your picture on the right!). Icebreaker is awesome, expensive, but worth every cent. Just need to get my boyfriend kitted up with it now. 😀

  59. Scott
    13th July 2010 at 7:36 pm #

    I have tried merino wool socks before for athletic activities such as running and cycling and unfortunately they never hold up. I love the feel of them and my feet stay dry, but they blow out after about 2-3months use. At $15-$20 bucks a pair, that is an expensive habit. I would love to put Icebreakers socks through the test. The company that makes a lightweight, durable merino wool sock will be worth a fortune!!

  60. James
    13th July 2010 at 7:39 pm #

    I absolutely love merino wool clothing. I enjoy hiking and I have several pair of socks that have lasted for over 10 years…and this is after snagging on a branch and ripping! I am slowly converting all base layers to Icebreakers as it has solved my sweating problems in the winter. The breathe extremely well under a waterproof shell unlike many synthetic base layers…plus being anti-microbial Icebreakers doesn’t stink after skiing in it for a week! I have some SmartWool socks, but they are falling apart like the author’s and I need some new ones!

  61. Beau Links
    13th July 2010 at 7:47 pm #

    I took a brake from reading about Merino sheep to check my email only to find a review about Merino wool socks. Hilarious.

  62. Michelle
    13th July 2010 at 7:57 pm #

    I have 4 Icebreaker products and love them to bits; they withstand all my intense love. I’m so happy to hear that Icebreaker also makes socks; I was thinking I was going to have to break out the knitting needles to get a decent pair! Long live Sheep!

  63. Denise
    13th July 2010 at 9:08 pm #

    I’d love to try Icebreaker socks! I shop at REI when I can get to one and buy Smartwool. Well, they USED to last longer, now they are useless in about 6 months! Horrible! They get stiff and scratchy too. I switched to Keen socks a few years ago, but they stopped making them. So I had to buy more Smartwool! Show me the light with Icebreaker! I love Icebreaker shirts and I love the underwear even more! So the socks must be good!

  64. David Cohen
    13th July 2010 at 11:51 pm #

    I’ve used merino socks before and they are the tops – the Icebreakers sound great. Baaahhhhhhh……

  65. mark
    14th July 2010 at 12:05 am #

    I never spent that much time thinking about socks before a cycle tour. A little older now and hoping for drier, warmer feet on my visit to Ireland this October. I’ll definitely try some merino wool on this tour. All this talk of socks inspired a Limerick.

    When I cycle in Ireland or France.
    I tend not to jog, skip or dance.
    My socks must stay dry
    and thus I shall buy
    Icebreaker socks in advance.

    Remember what the Irish say. “It never rains in a pub!”
    Happy touring.

    • friedel
      16th July 2010 at 7:25 am #

      Ha ha, you definitely have me laughing here. I can’t decide which I like more, the limerick or the important slogan: “It never rains in a pub!” 🙂

  66. Anna
    14th July 2010 at 1:18 am #

    I love my Icebreaker socks. I have several light weight pairs for skiing, hiking and biking. But best of all are there casual socks. They are the VERY BEST to wear with my Dansko clogs. I wear Icebreaker socks everyday and have found that they DO NOT pill like other brands, wash up great, don’t shrink and never smell (Even after several days of hiking in the same socks) What more could you ask for? Thanks for making my feet comfy and warm 🙂

  67. Sandra
    14th July 2010 at 1:46 am #

    Because I can’t afford them 🙂

  68. grant
    14th July 2010 at 2:09 am #

    Well what can i say, Icebreaker rocks my socks!

  69. catie
    14th July 2010 at 3:04 am #

    I’d love to get some Icebreaker socks. I’m training to traverse Iceland on foot, 300 kilometers north to south. My trip will take about 20 days, through the harsh Highlands, where the terrain will be mostly volcanic rocks, and weather will be horizontal rain most of the time, and the occasional sun. I’ve been using Smartwool hiking socks for training. Unfortunately they don’t cut it. The Smartwools just ball up on the inside every time I wash them, and they get thinner and thinner very quickly. I need socks that will be durable, cushiony, and don’t keep odor. Icebreakers will be a great choice. I’ll be taking 2 Icebreaker shirts, 2 IB undies, 1 IB hat on the trip. 3 pairs of IB socks would be great.

  70. Steve McNelley
    14th July 2010 at 4:08 am #

    Great review!- nice looking kiwi product.

    And, you want to know why I feel I deserve a a pair of these socks? well, I just started out on a tour of Australia last week, and i only got 300Km into the journey when I had to stop and rest due to tendonitis in my left achilles tendon, AAHHHHHHHH!!! I see a doc tomorrow for it (I’m in a little country town at present) but I could really do with a superior pair of socks to help keep that heal warm during our winter right now.

    Anyhow, enough of the sob story, I’m still enjoying myself and have been inudated with local hospitality!

    Cheers for the reading,

  71. DPeach
    14th July 2010 at 4:38 am #

    Bicycle tours have requirments
    And sometimes hostile environments.
    Merino wool socks
    From Icebreaker knocks
    One’s cotton into retirement.

  72. Stuart Woolger
    14th July 2010 at 5:06 am #

    I have almost finished my first ever long distance cycle tour; the Trans Am. When I get to Astoria I will need to buy lots of new kit for the next leg of my journey, not sure where that will be, any suggestions gratefully received. To get some free socks would be great! Pretty please….

  73. Paula
    14th July 2010 at 6:00 am #

    Icebreaker socks! Haven’t tried them out but wear Icebreaker everything-else and LOVE Icebreaker. I’d love to take a few pairs with me on my cycling trip around Europe next year.

  74. Alfred
    14th July 2010 at 8:55 am #

    Icebreaker Merino wool socks – shear delight!

  75. Rik & Paula
    14th July 2010 at 2:36 pm #

    Sorry a bit off topic, but almost our entire casual wardrode is icebreaker (Rik is a kiwi) – so already heavily converted.

    But the BEST SOCKS ever are a possum merino blend – they’re warm, they breathe, not itchy, super soft, lightweight etc and WAY more comfortable socks than anything else we’ve ever encountered
    A possum is a introduced predator in NZ (from Australia – protected there) and they breed like rabbits…
    We also have possum merino scarf’s, beanies, gloves and jumpers: the perfect gear in cold weather after a hard day’s ride – check out

  76. Le
    14th July 2010 at 3:09 pm #

    We have had the same sad experience with Smartwool socks at our house. The good news is that about that time we found Icebreaker merino.

    Please tell me you are also wearing Icebreaker base layers and sweaters. Their clothing literally makes me smile on cold days when I wear it into the office. We would love some Icebreaker socks at out house, they would make our feet as happy as our bodies.

    • friedel
      18th July 2010 at 9:13 am #

      We are indeed wearing other things from Icebreaker. During our trip, we each bought 2 Icebreaker tops, and 1 underlayer for me for sleeping in. So cozy!

  77. Paul Letourneau
    14th July 2010 at 6:55 pm #

    I have a pair of Icebreaker socks… amongst other icebreaker products… and love them! Thanks for being so damn awesome Icebreaker!

  78. Ingrid
    14th July 2010 at 9:16 pm #

    We are actually in La Seu d’Urgell, 10 km south of Andorra, in the middle of the Pyrenees. We climb almost every day between 850 and 1200 m height with up to 42°. But it does not feel like hell, it is paradise (nature and view). It feels more like a sauna. Now we know how the meet in a hamburger feels, with the boiling heat rising from the street and the sun grilling us from the top. We cicle in waterproof Shimano SH-MT90 shoes. Since years I wear ProFeet Titanium socks. They are also made from merino wool and normally do not stinks even after a week or two. But now, in this heat the distribute the smell of heat suffering cyclists after 5 days. That’s a very good result I find. We use as well Icebreaker shirts. Best quality!

  79. Adrian Wagner
    15th July 2010 at 2:22 am #

    Wow. Cool. We’ve been cycling for 15 month around Asia now and socks are always an issue. Early on in Indonesia it was actually a problem finding socks altogether, as nobody wears shoes; only sandals. Since then we’ve gone through batches of cheap Malay, Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese socks, as it’s not too easy to find quality products in smaller towns. Now we’re heading for the Himalayas, and a few pairs of quality socks might come in handy up there.

  80. Una D
    15th July 2010 at 3:23 am #

    Icebreaker socks are fabulous! Went running yesterday in the frost and the only extremity that wasn’t so cold it was about to drop off were my feet, that were lovely and toasty in my Icebreaker socks!

  81. frank
    15th July 2010 at 9:11 am #

    I should get a pair as i cycled with two Canadians who took me to the coldest part of Australia and i froze my little ass off one night so come on send em over hugs and kisses xx

  82. Imelda Bargas
    15th July 2010 at 11:45 pm #

    I’d love to win some ice breaker socks. I’ve tried out icebreaker clothes and underwear before and I’m a convert but I’ve never tried the socks. They look like a great improvement on my current slazenger ones!

  83. Matt
    16th July 2010 at 12:06 am #

    Winning some Icebreaker socks would be great! I’m definitely a comfortable clothes nut and my feet are at the top of my list. I’m full time military and a search and rescue volunteer so my feet spend plenty of time in uncomfortable situations. I’ve always used socks from “the other guy”, but after seeing your comparison on this site I would love the chance to try out some Icebreaker and see how they measure up. Cheers!

  84. Nicola
    16th July 2010 at 3:37 am #

    I have to admit that I have an unhealthy addition to the icebreaker brand. Since moving back to NZ 6 years ago I told myself at any cost I would block out the cold and I have found icebreaker certainly does that. However my sock stock pile is looking a little unhealthy so 3 pairs of new socks would be greatly appreciated. Go the ICEBREAKER!!

  85. Andy Whitty
    16th July 2010 at 7:32 pm #

    I’ve just come back from a cycle tour of the Alps and Pyrenees. Three of us went light carrying a small tent and minimum clothing. The European roadies were very friendly, but slightly bemused by three English men cycling in just black cycling shorts, with odds and ends gaffa taped to our iron steds. The socks I cycled in were Polyester Karrimor types, not a brilliant choice looking back. Two weeks in, soaking wet I tried to dry them out on a hand drier in a restaurant. I held them over the vent for just to long and the started to melt, on the seam! I managed to stitch them up and they made it to the ferry one and a half weeks later.

    A tip I would like to share with everyone. Carry Dental floss a large sewing neddle and gaffa tape. We had a tyre burst on a Sunday in Switzerland. We sewed it up with dental floss and it got us 180 miles and over the Furkapass (2436m) to the next bike shop!

  86. kellie
    16th July 2010 at 11:45 pm #

    Love the Icebreaker, love NZ merino!

  87. Melissa
    17th July 2010 at 5:59 pm #

    Very cool. As a knitter, I’m quite familiar with the benefits of wool, but had never given much thought to wearing wool socks while cycling. I’d love the opportunity to test them myself.

  88. The struggling immortal
    18th July 2010 at 7:40 am #

    After an on off relationship with leukaemia (twice) I’m finally ready to consider doing a round Ireland tour in aug. Merino rocks, icebreaker make THE best merino stuff, but without merino sheep I dunno where a cyclist would be.
    And to think 18months ago I’d never heard of the stuff!

    Good merino socks pay for themselves over and over, I can only hope and imagine what a free pair would be like.

    Instnantly comfy, instantly perfect. And totally free.

    Love the website guys, love the journey you are on, love your updates on Twitter. Would love to win some socks!

  89. gerardo
    18th July 2010 at 9:05 am #

    I love merino,is pure nature anf they dont stink

  90. Lee Hughes
    18th July 2010 at 10:47 am #

    Because I love sheep 🙂

  91. Hope
    18th July 2010 at 12:47 pm #

    I’m a mature ‘newbie’ cyclist and I’m planning to do the Rail Trail shortly and would love some Icebreaker Merino socks to wear on the trail, “I’ll have my ‘socks’ to keep me warm” 🙂

  92. Family on Bikes
    18th July 2010 at 2:53 pm #

    I would love a few pairs of Icebreakers wool socks – for my son. You say they don’t stink, that’s why. This kid… well, let me tell you about this kid. His feet make riding past 2-week-old roadkill smell nice. Give me rank, bean-induced farts any day. Yes – his feet really do smell that bad.

    The problem is that his feet are growing way too fast for us to be able to afford nice merino wool socks for him. Hubby and I wear only merino, but we just can’t afford them for the kid. So – pick us for the new socks and save us from a few terrible, horrible, gag-packed nights in the tent – until he outgrows them anyway.

    We’ll be forever grateful.
    Nancy, John, Daryl (I won’t put Davy’s name here as he doesn’t seem to care.)

  93. Agustin
    18th July 2010 at 3:08 pm #

    I have an Icebraker winter sweater since 2007 100 X 100 merino wool, and its like the first day! It,s a very good brand!

  94. Adam M-T
    18th July 2010 at 3:44 pm #

    I have been using Smart Wool socks for the past 2 years during my winter commutes. While they are cozy i agree they do wear out quickly as they only last me about a season of daily use. Im on my first long distance tour of the northern tier and it would have been great to have a nice pair of these. Ive been wearing keen cycling sandles so havent had the need for socks on this trip but my up coming winter commutes isnt to far away and im in dire need of some nice wool socks once again!!

  95. Shirley
    18th July 2010 at 5:55 pm #

    Will definitely be looking for the Icebreakers – just purchased a couple pairs of Smartwool and they are wonderfully comfy – but I’m in it for the long haul so will look for some with more longevity. I’m basically cheep too – so longer wear equals more for my money. Usually knit my own socks but wanted some shorter ones. Thanks for the ino.

  96. Chris Leakey
    18th July 2010 at 6:06 pm #

    Not had the pleasure of trying the Icebreaker Merino Wool socks yet but would love the chance. Firstly to save people from my smelly feet. When we took the ferry from North to South Island, NZ I took my shoes off for a sleep. The couple next to us kept making horrible disgusted faces at me for the rest of the journey. Liz even moved a bit further away from me and tried to encourage me to put my shoes back on. Kept the shoes off until Picton. Secondly Liz my partner can never get her feet warm in the winter cycling months, she insists on putting her icy cold feet against my lukewarm ones in the tent. We hope (visa depending) to be in China in about four months waiting out the worst of the -30 degrees celsius Gobi desert winter, before cycling it early spring to Mongolia, so those lovely warm sounding Icebreaker Merino wool socks would be wonderful and will hopefully last us the rest of our trip back to England.

  97. Fred Bouwman
    18th July 2010 at 6:14 pm #

    I am leaving in 2 weeks on a 2 year bike trip that will take me to the Philippines where I will volunteer for 6 months in an orphanage. I will bike in hot/cold/wet/dry conditions and will be bringing 3 pairs of socks which coincidentally, is the exact number I could win. I would love to try Icebreakers and would write a nice entry on my website to praise the virtues of the socks.