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Should you wear your socks over or under your leg warmers?

An age-old debate rages every season, when the cycling etiquette aficionados cover their legs to protect from the wet and cold, on how a cyclist's socks should be worn

It’s an age-old debate that rages every autumn as the leg warmers and full leg bib tights get pulled from the back of the cupboard. Should you be wearing your socks over or under your tights? While the decision has barely any repercussions on your riding experience, cycling etiquette is nuanced so the question is asked and we are here to provide the semblance of an answer for you. So let the debate rage. Here are the definitive reasons you can wear your socks over or under your leg warmers, cause at the end of the day it’s entirely your decision:

Socks under

1) Logically, socks go on before leg warmers

In the normal sequence of getting dressed for a ride, it would seem logical that socks would make it onto your feet before you put your leg warmers or tights on. While this is certainly not set in stone, if you do put them on first they would naturally be covered once you are fully kitted up. So maybe the extra trouble of adjusting them to put them over your leg warmers isn’t worth it.

2) General cycling consensus

The majority of cyclists seem to agree that socks belong underneath leg warmers. Why this is isn’t entirely clear but it may just be what cyclists are used to. The fact is, most people tend to wear their socks underneath. Cycling is a little cliquey and spotting someone wearing their socks over their leg warmers can be a sign they are new to the sport. Or maybe, they just know what’s up. Getting away from that exclusivity is probably a good thing to grow cycling and welcome all people, regardless of how they want to wear their socks, into your riding group.

3) More comfortable

A lot of leg warmers and bib tights use zippers to secure the area around your ankle. If you are wearing your socks over your tights, your skin will be directly against the zipper which may get uncomfortable in your pedal stroke. Even just having your sock as a barrier between the inner grippy lining of your warmers and ankle may be desirable.

Socks over

1) Show off your threads

Fun, stylish and cool looking socks are very trendy with cyclists who spend good hard, earned money to sport the latest trend. Simply wanting to show off your $30 pair of socks is reason enough to put them over your tights where everyone can see an admire them. The flash of colour in the cold and dreary season can be a welcome style choice as well.

2) You can do whatever you want

While you may encounter a snobby cyclist who will tease you for wearing your socks over your leg warmers, you as an individual and cyclists get to express your style and personally however you choose is fitting. So disregard the comments (you probably don’t want to ride with this elitist in the future anyway) and do your thing.

3) The Belgian pros do it

Tom Boonen once went for a ride with his socks over his leg warmers. If you need a pros endorsement to take part in a trend, the Belgian cycling legend is your saving grace. Boonen is not alone, in Belgian where pro riders frequently head out for long, wet and cold rides, it’s a bit of a fashion trend to sport the socks over the bib tights or leg warmers. They don’t always do it, but when they do we take notice.

So what do you think, should cyclists in Canada wear their socks over or under their leg warmers and bib tights? Let the debate rage on.