Q36.5 and the Sartorial Elevation of the Lowly Cycling Sock
As a bona-fide bicycling boss lady, I do have a preference for the, shall we say, “pricey” cycling gear. Not for its label appeal, but more for its thoughtful design and durability. When I heard tale of a luxury line of cycling clothing, with an eco-friendly soul, Italian roots, and the quizzical name of Q36.5, my curiosity was piqued.
With its overtly tech-y moniker (derived from the latin quaerere for “research,” and a human’s body temp in celsius) the brand name Q36.5 is meant to evoke the future-thinking science behind all its sartorial splendor. Q36.5 founder Luigi Bergamo, formerly Assos’ lead R&D designer, is arguably the 21st-Century standard-bearer for sustainably manufactured, high performance, haute couture cycling clothing. (Look out Yvon Chouinard).
Along with his cohorts, Bergamo has developed a quiver of proprietary fabrics utilizing locally sourced and/or recycled materials, all tested and manufactured within 350km of their HQ in Bolzano, Italy. Who doesn’t love a small carbon footprint? Foot being the operative word here.
Q36.5 puts the “Q” in Gucci. And, I was getting a chance to put the “Q” in (and over) my fancy carbon cycling shoes. Yes, after hyping all that high fashion and technology, we’re talking about socks … stay with me.
Q36.5 Gateway Drug
From the sweltering Dog Days of summer, to Jack Frost nippin’ at more than your nose, it’s often our feet that get left out in the cold—literally.
Q36.5’s line of temperature-range and season-specific cycling clothing – and socks—brings high technology textiles right down to your toes. After slipping into my first pair, I quickly realized, these socks were just the gateway drug to some of the best cycling apparel on the market.
Don’t say you weren’t warned.
Summertime and the Riding is Easy
80°F, sunshine, and nominal breezes, in other words, damn near perfect. I kitted up and donned the Q36.5 Leggera Sock in white ($25). Whilst sliding them over my feet, I couldn’t help but think of a condom ad from long ago. Super thin, with dozens of woven ridges and waffle weaves in strategic locations, the Leggera Socks were urging me to “let go … for a ride.”
Designed for the elite cyclist, who might prefer a snugger fitting shoe for enhanced pedal power, the Leggera Sock is constructed of a silky soft microfilament with a high elastane content, that ensures a seamless, just tight-enough fit with no creasing. Location-specific weaves at the toe, heel, and instep, are all engineered to work in concert to wick moisture and heat away from your feet – exceedingly well.
It was as close to riding barefoot as I care to get.
Moreover, these seemingly simple socks belie their advanced technology, while harkening the EuroPro kits of yesteryear—the ubiquitous white anklets that briefly interrupted a roadmap of vascularity—towards a sleek black shoe.
Two signature red and green stripes above the toe box pay homage to Italy’s flag—and the country’s storied textile history. Not ridiculously tall, the Leggera Sock is just the right height too.
Wintertime and the Riding is Breezy
Even though I cut cleat holes in countless pairs of woolen socks back in my “Broke Bitch” days of bike racing, I’ve always been skeptical of knitted shoe covers. The Q36.5 Copriscarpa Overshoe ($32) made with Cordura® hanged my mind.
On a 40°F, overcast, gusty, with a chance-of-rain day meant covering myself from head to toe for a ride on Giacomo. I chose the overshoe in “Persimmon” (don’t call it “safety orange,” even though it is). That hot pop of color ensures I’ll be noticed from afar – never a bad thing on the bike.
I checked in with my feet about 30 minutes into a brisk ride. Not hot, not cold, and damn sure not wet. More like snug as a bug in a rug. On the downhills, I could feel air circulating through the overshoes, and allowing enough air to penetrate my shoes to keep my feet dry, and surprisingly warm.
The overshoe’s use of Cordura gives it a beefy stiffness for added durability, while the extra long collar provided another layer of warmth for my lower legs—and a certain “Belgian” style. Lastly, I experienced no interference between cleat and pedals when clipping in or out, but be prepared to wrestle them on and off your shoes. It’s a small price to pay for toasty toes.
And Everything in Between
This forward-thinking, eco-conscious company eschews the trendy, “fast fashion” approach to cycling apparel. No matter the weather, or the temperature, you can kit up from head to toe, in sustainable, high-performance cycling clothing designed for optimal performance, with a 4-year (or more) life span.
Function, married to fashion. As if I needed anything else to love about Q36.5.
Final thought: Gimme more.