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How can you tell high-end socks from run of the mill cycling socks? Asymmetry. That’s right, DeMarchi’s highfalutin’ Contour Evo socks left- and right- specific. If you have to ask why, kick off your shoes and have a look at those ugly ol’ feet. Going to foot-specific knits allows sockmakers to minimize excess material that can bunch and become uncomfortable in snug-fitting cycling shoes. In Italian company DeMarchi’s case, it also means that arch support can be targeted at the outside of the foot, where it’s apparently needed most. Does it work? Pass the break for our two cents…
With a traditional (just above the ankle) cuff, the Contour EVOs are tall enough to keep dirt and debris out of the gap formed by the Achiles’ heel without being so tall as to be hot. The flat toe seam combines with the asymmetric knit to prevent annoying bunches of fabric over the smallest toes. While it is cool enough for all but the hottest days, the Lycra/polypropylene fabric isn’t as airy as some and should keep the DeMarchis in rotation from spring through late fall.
Despite claiming to fit size 40-43 feet, the mediums could stand to be a little snugger on size 43.5 feet- riders looking for a snug sock might want to size down. They’re not quite as technical feeling or supportive as GORE’s Xenon Race socks- but aren’t quite as dear. The black/white/orange (white/black/orange is also available) color blocks are attractive- but we’d jsut as soon the secondary colors not peek out from the tops of riding shoes. Even so, DeMarchi’s Contour Evos are comfortable for long rides in a wide range of temperatures and poised to become three season favorites. The $18 price is close enough to lesser socks to make the jump easily worthwhile.
…or it would have been had the Contours held up. Three months after our initial review (about nine more ride/wash cycles), after a particularly grueling 50mi unsanctioned race, the DeMarchis’ Achilles heel showed itself. Or rather Achilles’ toe. With somewhere between fifteen and twenty rides under them, the Contours had begun to wear through at each big toe. This sort of wear is extremely unusual for a sock of any quality- and unacceptable for a premium sock. With a more sturdy toe, the Contours could be worthy of consideration. Until then, it would be best to steer clear.