The Ultimate Guide to Sock Height

It's Saturday morning. You've reached the end of another epic ride marked with stunning defeats and glorious victories. You've fought hard and won the respect and admiration of your riding buddies, with the exception of the one you accidentally nailed in the face with a snot rocket. As you park your bike against the window of your favorite post-ride café, you catch a glimpse of your reflection.

From your fine Italian helmet to your brilliant white shoes, you are resplendent in your perfectly matched cycling kit. Your bulging quads taper upward to a trim waist and slim torso. Your arms are birdlike—lean, tanned and sinewy. Looking past your reflection, you see a table of café patrons looking back at you with amused expressions. They clearly do not see what you see. What they see staring at them through the glass is a tyrannosaurus rex dressed up like a rodeo clown.

Let's face it—cycling fashion is an acquired taste. While the general uniform hasn't changed much over the years, like all fashion, it has been subject to the whims and nuances of fickle trends. Oddly, one of the most notable and hotly debated topics is the length of our socks. In a sport riddled with cheating, scandals and controversy, apparently we are nothing if not sticklers for proper hosiery.

Of course what length of cycling socks you wear is your choice. You can base it on comfort, style or even the phase of the moon if you want. But if you prefer a more strategic approach, here is a rundown of five basic zones to help you make an informed choice.

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