Handlebar Mustache Socks Review
Handlebar Mustache Socks $12 - $23
Although they don’t feature seamless construction, I’ve found that my Handlebar Mustache socks are comfortable, remain in place and unnoticed in the saddle, and don’t lead to hot spots.
Even after more than two years and thousands of combined miles, they’ve held up well to use multiple times per week.
- Reputable company with more than a decade in business
- Competitive price
- My three pairs have held up very very, despite frequent wear over thousands miles (on and off the bike)
- No discomfort or hotspots — these socks remain largely unnoticed when riding
- Snappy, easily recognizable designs (depending on your preference, of course)
- No seamless technology
- Small holes have formed in the toe and heel of one of my pairs (still completely wearable and functional)
- Only one length available (6″)
User Review( votes)
I’ve worn three pairs of Handlebar Mustache cycling socks across thousands of combined miles. Here, I’ll discuss which materials their lineup contains, how they compare to competitors, and what I’ve experienced.
About the Handlebar Mustache Socks Lineup
According to their website, co-founders Ashley and Brett Richard came up with the idea for Handlebar Mustache socks while listening to a book on tape about earning a living doing what you love—which is an idea we can certainly get behind here at TreadBikely.
Fast-forward 10+ years and they now boast an extensive line of popular cycling socks featuring unique designs, thoughtful details, and comfortable materials, with men’s sizes 7 to 12+ available, along with women’s sizes 4 through 13.
Not only are they competitively priced, but the company also donates one pair of socks to homeless shelters for every two pars sold. Here’s a glance at the lineup they currently offer:
Regular Weight Socks: $12 – $16
These light-density socks are made from a blend of nylon (60%), COOLMAX EcoMade (39%, from recycled plastic bottles), and Lycra (1%). They also feature a 6″ stay fast cuff to help everything remain in place while riding, which I’ve found works quite well (more soon).
Winter Socks: $18 – $23
Handlebar Mustache’s thicker, mid-density Winter Socks use THERMOLITE as their foundation, which they describe as “a special hollow core performance fiber that provides soft warmth without adding extra weight.” In fact, they claim it’s 30% lighter than similar socks constructed from merino wool.
The website also advertises that these socks also deliver a faster drying rate with quicker moisture wicking than the Regular versions.
Handlebar Mustache Shoe Covers: $25
Compared to their socks, Handlebar Mustache currently only offers two Shoe Cover design options: Hi-Vis Yellow with Kelly Green, Carolina Blue, and Black Diamonds, or Red with Celeste, Charcoal, and Black Diamonds. They’re also only available in S/M and L/XL sizes.
These 6” slipstream covers are made from 56% Cordura, 32% Lycra, 7% elastic, and 5% nylon. Compared to many third-party covers, customers are responsible for adding holes that match the cleat alignment of their shoes.
My Experience With Handlebar Mustache Socks
I currently own three different pairs of Handlebar Mustache Regular Weight cycling socks, two of which I ordered from the company’s website and one I picked up from a local bike shop:
- FU Cancer in Black
- Wall in Carolina Blue
- Belgie Plus in Belgian Blue
I’ve ridden with the first two pairs for well over two years, and the third since May 2018, and I have mostly positive experiences to report.
Specifically, I tend to form hotspots inside my shoe when riding, and I’ve only found a couple of pairs of socks (along with proper shoe fit, of course) that can alleviate the issue. Handlebar Mustache is one.
They remain firmly in place whether riding road or mountain, with little-to-no noticeable movement. Granted, the StayFast band definitely leaves a mark in my skin when pulling the socks off afterward, but they’re entirely comfortable and unnoticeable while riding.
None of my pairs of Handlebar Mustache socks have bunched, creased, rubbed, or caused blisters or raw spots at any point, and I’ve found they deliver sufficient padding, without any “dead” spots inside my shoes.
The only small negative I’d point out is that my Wall pair has developed a small hole in the toe, which hasn’t grown noticeably in quite some time (see below images).
Bottom line: Considering the amount of time I’ve ridden with them, I’d highly recommend Handlebar Mustache’s socks based on their durability, comfort, and overall value.
Still, are there other cycling socks that might deliver equal—or even better—value?
How Does Handlebar Mustache Compare to Other Cycling Socks?
Like any other part of your cycling setup, the ‘perfect’ pair of socks will primarily come down to your specific needs and preferences. Still, whether you’re considering Handlebar Mustache or any other brand, there are a handful of overarching guidelines you can follow to ensure maximum comfort.
1.Conditions Where You Ride
Your first consideration is to choose a material and construction, based on the conditions where you primarily ride. As just one (admittedly simplistic) example, merino wool socks with extra cushioning and added height might work perfect in cold, snowy climates, but would probably cause undue stress when cycling around the US Gulf Coast.
Pro tip: While the ideal cycling sock length is mostly a matter of personal preference, according to Taylor Jones at Bike Exchange, longer socks regulate temperature better than shorter options.
2. The Right Materials For Your Needs
From a materials perspective, Taylor goes on to point out:
Synthetic materials such as nylon and polyester have many benefits over their natural fiber counterparts. They can be woven much closer together, which allows the sock to better conform to the shape of the foot, wick moisture more effectively and minimize road grime and dirt from working its way into the fibers.
The high thread count also means colorfastness over the life of the sock so that they won’t fade prematurely.
Finally, synthetic blends “also often feature antibacterial or antimicrobial fibers woven into the sock that balances the levels of bacteria on your skin. This reduces the chance of skin irritations and importantly, prevents the sock from retaining odor.”
3. Fit & Finish
Like any other piece of athletic equipment, you’ll want to ensure that your cycling socks fit snugly and don’t contain excess cushioning (cycling socks typically contain less padding than similar socks designed for other sports, such as hiking).
Along these same lines, some sock lines, such as those from Darn Tough, (another brand I frequently use) feature seamless construction, which could help promote comfort and further reduce the chances of rubbing and hot spots.
With these details in mind, here are several popular brands competing for many of the same cycling customers as Handlebar Mustache, along with how their core criteria compare:
|Brand||Pricing Per Pair||Materials||Lengths Available|
|Handlebar Mustache Socks||$14 – $23||Regular Weight: 60%), COOLMAX EcoMade (39%, from recycled plastic bottles), and Lycra (1%) Winter: of 68% THERMOLITE polyester, 32% nylon, and 2% Lycra||6.5”|
|Castelli Quindici Soft Sock||$16 – $20||Merino wool blend||5.9”|
|Darn Tough Stage Crew Ultra-Light||$19||49% nylon, 45% merino wool, 6% Lycra spandex||6”|
|DEFEET Aireater||$13||60% Nylon, 39% Recycled Polyester, 1% Lycra||5”|
|Rapha Pro Team Socks||$20||50% Meryl Skinlife, 25% Nylon, 25% Elastane||Short, Regular and Extra Long|
|Smartwool PhD Cycle Light Elite||$20||46% Merino Wool, 49% Nylon, 5% Elastane||Mini (3.75”), Crew (8.5”)|
|SockGuy Classic Bike||$11 – $13||Micro-Denier Acrylic||3” – 8″|
|Stance Bike||$16 – $18||Wool Feel360™||2” – 7”|
|Swiftwick Cycling Socks||$14 – $22||Various nylon, olefin, merino wool, and spandex blends.||N/A|
What’s the Bottom Line About Handlebar Mustache Socks?
The fact of the matter is that buying socks—whether for cycling or any other activity—isn’t rocket science.
Style, obviously, is largely a matter of personal preference, although I think Handlebar Mustache’s socks feature unique designs that look great, whether on or off the bike.
In fact, not only have strangers complimented my socks multiple times while riding, I even had one person recognize the brand when I was wearing them on a hike with my family in the foothills.
With these positives in mind, it can take some trial and error before landing on the exact combination of materials, thicknesses, seams, and lengths that meets your specific cycling needs. And like most other sock manufacturers, Handlebar Mustache doesn’t accept returns on opened/worn merchandise. So, as soon as you try a pair, you own it.
As someone who frequently experiences hotspots with many other brands, though, based on my long-term experience, Handlebar Mustache’s socks fit comfortably, stay in place, and remain primarily unnoticed when cranking the pedals.
And when you’re in the middle of a pain cave, one of the last things I want to deal with is aching feet. Given this, I’d recommend you try a pair and see if you experience the same.
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