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Review: Swiftwick’s Flite XT & Vision socks offer comfortable compression & solid fit

Swiftwick socks, 4 pairs
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Swiftwick has been making athletic socks for several years now, and if you aren’t yet familiar with the brand I’d suggest checking them out. Swiftwick puts a major emphasis on providing an excellent fit with their socks, and after riding in a few pairs I’d say they have achieved that goal. Read on for the technical details and my impressions of their Flite XT and Vision socks…

Flite XT socks

Swiftwick-Flite-XT socks-pair

New for 2018, the Flite XT socks feature Swiftwick’s own Gripdry fiber, which is a nanofiber that employs micro treads to provide a bit of tackiness on the outside of the heels and under the toes. The grippy patches help keep the socks stable inside your shoes, eliminating any chance of friction. The Gripdry fibers are blended with moisture-wicking Olefin, so the entire sock will keep your feet happy and dry.

Flite XT socks also utilize Swiftwick’s Anklelock technology, which provides a little extra support around the ankle and heel.  The Flite XT’s provide medium cushioning, with moderate compression. I rode the ‘Five’ model (with a 5” cuff), but they are also available in a ‘Zero’ style which cuts off right at the top of your shoe.

The Flite XT socks come in sizes S-XL. The Zero cuff style is available in gray, pink, or royal blue, and the Five comes in black or pink. MSRP is $19.99 USD for the Zero cuff, and $23.99 for the Five.

Vision Socks

Swiftwick Vision socks, Five and Seven styles
*Pictured here are the Vision Five in Yellow and the Vision Seven in Blue.

The Vision line offers high-performance socks that feature Swiftwick’s core technologies, like their Y-heel contour, seamless toe, and arch band support.  Their signature Olefin footbed and channeled upper fabric increase ventilation and wick away perspiration. The Vision socks provide medium cushion and moderate compression.

The Vision line offers a wide selection of creative designs that Swiftwick feels are fun, but not downright silly. The company also donates a percentage of all Vision sock sales to charitable initiatives. Vision socks come in One, Four, Five, Seven and Eight cuff lengths. Check out Swiftwick’s website to see the many patterns available. Pricing varies from $9.99-$21.99.

Ride impressions:

Swiftwick Flite XT socks, heel cups

Swiftwick makes perfecting the fit of their socks a high priority, and it shows as soon as you pull them on. In fact, before you even do, you can see how the Flite XT’s shaped Gripdry heel cups maintain some roundness instead of laying out flat.

With or without the Gripdry heel and toe, I found both the Flite XT and Vision socks stayed in place perfectly on my feet. I’ve done a few rides in both models now and found none of my pairs have moved a millimeter down my legs or shifted around inside my shoes at all.

Swiftwick Vision socks, Five and Seven lengths

I liked both the Five and the Seven length cuff, but I’d say the Five is a great choice for enjoying some support while not feeling too covered up on hotter days. I noticed the Vision socks didn’t pick up any odor after a few hours of riding, but the Flite XT’s did get a bit funky after my first test ride.

Under the beating sun of Sun Valley, Idaho, both pairs of socks kept my feet dry and sufficiently cool while I dripped with sweat and struggled to breathe at high elevation! Their sizing is on point, as my 9.5 feet just fit into the medium socks.

Swiftwick socks, Steve Fisher riding Happy Trail, Pemberton, B.C.

Swiftwick’s moderate compression socks provide a very comfortable fit that’s snug enough to keep them firmly in position but not half as tight as other compression socks I’ve ridden. I am a big fan of Dissent Labs skin tight socks, but I like how the Swiftwicks do just as good a job of staying perfectly in place without being such a task to put on.

Swiftwick socks are available online and at retail shops across the USA.


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Jon D
Jon D
5 years ago

Beware anyone claiming it a good thing that their socks “provide a bit of tackiness on the outside of the heels and under the toes. The grippy patches help keep the socks stable inside your shoes, eliminating any chance of friction.” We have decades of research that shows that you want the outside of the sock to be the *slippery* part. If the sock sticks to your foot and slides in the shoe, the abrasion is borne by the sock+shoe. If the sock sticks to the shoe and slides against your foot, the abrasion is borne by the sock+skin. (If your foot is going to shift in the shoe, no amount of sock stickiness will prevent that; the goal, then, is to manage what sticks and what slips.)

Talk to any runner, podiatrist, endurance cyclist, etc. Socks that stick to your shoe are BAD.

5 years ago

My wife gave me a pair of these socks for Christmas. They are almost a tad too tight if you ask me. I don’t mind compression to a certain degree but for me personally they are a bit too tight.

5 years ago

Jon D is definitely correct. Long distance hikers know that the sock should be sliding against the shoe, not against your foot.

Swiftwicks are the highest quality socks that I have seen, but they are on the tight side, so next time, I’m going to order a size larger than their sizing chart indicates. Some people like the compression though.

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