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by Matt Wikstrom
January 10, 2017
In this month’s edition of Product Picks, Australian tech editor Matt Wikstrom takes a look at some gloves from Pearl Izumi, socks from Versus, a backpack with modular contents from Skin Grows Back, tubular tape from Effetto Mariposa, and a novel weather forecast app from Epic Ride Weather while David Rome shares his thoughts on a new electric pump from Fumpa.
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Versus is a South African company brought to life by two mountain bikers, Jurgens Uys and Hanno Lategan. They were on a ride in Jonkershoek national reserve outside of Cape Town when conversation turned to socks. It was a business opportunity that they couldn’t dismiss and now their mission is simple: to create “affordable, comfortable, durable and just outright sexy socks.”
Versus makes socks for Race and Trail use, where the latter offers extra cushioning for the soles of the feet. In both instances, Race and Trail socks have a 5-inch dual-layer cuff and a mesh weave for the top of the foot to improve breathability. Premium Race and Trail socks go a step further with a 6-inch cuff made from a single layer of fabric.
All Versus socks are made in South Africa in a choice of two broad styles: funky and basic. Repeating patterns of ice cream, watermelon, liquorice and pineapple are currently used for the funky styles, while various stripes, bands and colours are used for the basic styles. In all instances, shoppers while find a choice of two sizes, UK 4-7/US 4.5-7.5/EUR 36-40 and UK 7-11/US 7.5-11.5/EUR 40-45.
I spent a few weeks riding in Versus Race and Premium Race socks, and both performed flawlessly. The cuffs in particular were very comfortable with just enough hold to keep the socks up without cutting into the skin.
Comparing the two socks, I found I preferred the feel of the single-layer cuff of the Premium Race socks but I can’t say that they were more comfortable because of it. Indeed, both types of socks provided the same kind of fit and level of comfort, so I think shoppers can let their preference for any given style decide the matter for them (though it’s worth noting that Premium socks are a little more expensive).
Price: AUD$20-25 (~US$14-18).