Dear John

I received a comment on my last KoS entry disagreeing with my take on how tall socks fit into the style spectrum. I was going to reply by just commenting exclusively to John, but I thought a full blog entry was in order.

John wrote:
“Tall socks?? Sorry son, you have not been in the game long enough. Tall socks are so lame. Lance et al. started this lame look but it will be a footnote in history, like the mullet.
If you look like Moser you are doing well…….ok, I’m an old git, behind the times but really, the King is wrong here.”

So without further ado…

Dear John,

You disagreed with me, which I prefaced in the third paragraph of the now very well commented KoS blog was unwanted and therefore would warrant not being published as a result of this being my blog and I am the self appointed dictator thereof. Yet I still published your comment. Why? Because you did it without being a turd, so I not only thank you, but I figure this opportunity could continue the forum style banter taking place in the form of comments below.

You also misused your punctuation, so I would like to make a small point of correcting that. This is in no way a personal dig on you; you see, I think I’m a pretty normal person, but I’m downright OCD when it comes to blatant incorrect punctuation. Double question marks and double exclamation points should never be used. Anything more than one bothers me. Periods should only be used one at a time or three at a time. Seven, as you used, is 2.667 x unnecessary.

Also, John, you are very correct when you say the mullet will just be a footnote in history. However, it will be a long and awesome footnote full of PBR and trashy mustaches and stone washed jean shorts.

I do stand by my initial comment about tall socks being considerably more stylish than short or ankle socks, however, so allow me to discuss this with you.

You end by saying “the King is wrong here.” Well, no I am in fact very right here. I certainly hope we can agree that style for the most part is arbitrary and subjective. However, to be considered stylish is to be the “going” or “in” or “happening” trend of the time and right now tall socks are definitely in style. Sure, there’s a pre-tall socks and post-tall socks era (namely the date when they started to exist), but for the current time being, short socks look dated or lame or triathlon’esque… which, as a road cyclist myself, is therefore considered lame.

To help with your case, however, I certainly don’t propose we yank them up to our mid-calfs, as some people do, because that too looks stupid and is therefore asking for criticism from the KoS. For the sake of ballparking it, I’ll say that your socks should be about 4-6 inches above your ankle.

Your friend,



  1. Fintan Mac Coitir

    Your majest! Greetings from your subjects in Ireland. While not quite OCD, I tend to see the glaring mistakes made by the great and not so great when it comes to punctuation. I have, in fact, corrected your own mixtakes in the past. You won’t remember that. Apropos your style missive…I would find it difficult to take anyone who dressed head to toe in white, seriously. Is this treasonous? That said, your Maj, I would gladly wear one of your cast-offs as I ride around County Clare.

  2. Jason Schweitzer

    I’m a big fan of compromise and a staunch opponent of extremes. As a designer, I feel that a sock below the ankle bone should be reserved for sneakers with shorts. This is less about form and more about function. Namely, keeping your sneakers from stinking to high heaven. In road cycling, every component should be about form and function. Thus the short sock literally does not meet it’s visual requirement (if it is not seen) as part of the kit. The sock should be above the ankle bone at least two inches but no more than six. As you said, anything taller should only be worn if you are performing a period piece about the ABA. IMHO.

  3. David S.

    I believe that it is “CDO” not “OCD.” You have to put the letters (and everything for that matter) in proper alphabetical order. Otherwise it is wrong.

  4. redtdi

    Wow. Triathletes take some shrapnel! Do tan lines have any style guides, or is just asking about tan lines not stylish?

  5. Roddy Pattison

    I totally agree! 4-6 inches above the malleoli is de rigeur! (look at old footage of Fausto Coppi) I used to wear socks this length (sports socks- always white) and then started wearing below malleoli cycle socks. Thanks for pointing me back in the right direction. I must get some proper length cycle socks!

  6. Mari-jo Lamarche

    A debate on sucks, really? Anyway, I’m definitely on Ted’s side on that one. Much respect for a cyclist that can “afford”(meaning looking very sharp) wearing all white. I bet your friend John would never dare to do so!

    Bonne soirée,

  7. DeeDee315

    From what i’ve read about Maître Jacques, if he were alive, he would punch “Dear John” in the nose. Anquetil always wore tall socks & they were white. So not only did Lance et al, not start the tall sock fad, it’s been stylish forever. Fausto Coppi however liked short socks. Hmmm, sounds like this sock issue could be a cycling fashion conundrum.

  8. I want to be just like Ted King

    King Ted,
    I would gladly purchase and wear tall “Iamnottedking” socks if they were available.
    Today I rode in tall wool socks with some red crap on them, waved at all of the cyclist only to be blown off by most of the Freds. I did get a wave from a pro (I think it was Eric Bennett), as well as a bunch of chicks in bikinis riding beach cruisers. Hope to see you in S.B. next month.

  9. Susan

    Dear KOS,

    Does your advice extend to the female cyclist?

    2009 was the year of does it fit and getting my butt back out on the road and trails. There are rides where I looked like a clown, but not as bad as some of those pics in the original entry,

    2010 is the year of gear upgrade and I want to make sure I’m in KOS compliance, or at least look like less of a clown.

    If you know of a place where I can get women’s socks of correct height in size 5.5 (Euro 35), not 6 (Euro 36) that would be great. Shoes in Euro 35 would be cool too. I’ve been faking size 6 (36) by wearing winter weight wool socks even in high summer to make the shoes fit, mostly.

    Oh, and the socks I’m currently wearing are military grade that go up to the knee. I’m hiding them under tights but slouching them in summer didn’t work as on long rides they get sweat soaked and then start sliding around and abrading skin. That latter is 17 flavors of “no fun.”

    Suggestions? Shall I continue to go with “does it fit and damn the style consequences?”

  10. John Andrews

    Whew, that was exciting, a personal rebuttal. Fair enough Ted, you are right about style, subjectiveness and bad punctuation.
    While I have your attention(maybe), I was thrilled to see you in the back of the Astana bus in the Giro for a Lance video. And as a New Englander I so wanted you to zing Lance back when he slighted N.H. for being small. Grrrrrr. “At least N.H. has things in it, forests, rivers. Texas is 99% dirt and dead bloated cattle.” Booooyah! He needed it.
    OK, I’m done. Keep racing and writing. You rule.

  11. scott

    ???????Whats up,
    ?????????how is ur weather out there with GP

  12. Jacob

    Senor King,

    I apologize, first off, for the missing “enyay” above the n, but I feel most comfortable addressing you as such and do not know how to add it on this apple computer. I thought that I would preface this so that you could not nitpick my writing… although I’m sure you may find a mistake.

    Onto the good stuff. I understand you are an accomplished pro cyclist, but rules were around long before you wrote your KOS post, and I would like to bring those up here.

    In 2007, two authors, Dominic ‘the balls’ Guiver and Michael ‘polish pole smoker’ Flavell, two men whose names represented only the most professional of people, dedicated much time and deliberation to such a list of appropriate euro style rules that the Europeans themselves have been adopting. Within this holy text can be found an entry on the appropriate… sockage,

    “6. The socks of the Euro Cyclist shall extend to within two (2) cm. of the main bulge of the calf muscle, and shall never extend further than one (1) cm. past said primary calf muscle bulge. All socks SHALL BE WHITE in colour with prominent logo placement.”

    Shazaam. With a little research, I have effectively solved the debate. I recommend that you visit their page here,

    As a matter of fact, I recommend passing this on to your teammates and whoever designs those fancy white kits of yours.


    P.S. On an off note, we can agree on one thing… collegiate cycling is quite a bit o’ fun.

  13. firwave

    LOL…John Andrews, I was thinking the same thing re: Lance’s dig on NH. I’m up here in Maine and we know it’s not called “The Great State of” for nothing.

  14. Robert

    Thanks for correcting short socks style errors which I can say are now in the past. Long live the KoS.

  15. charley


    I applaud your interest in grammar. Does your appreciation extend to diction? If so, I request you reconsider your use of the word “very”. I find it a useless intensifier. Try “dreadful” or “fantastically”, and determine if this meets your needs. Best wishes next season.

  16. Rod

    Personally, my grammatic/punctuation pet peeve is when people use “,,,” instead of “…”. Drives me nuts.

  17. Ed

    Jose Manuel Fuente wore pretty high (tall) socks in the 1974 Giro.

  18. Tom Gilmartin

    I contend that when riding in sub-freezing temps style can be ignored. I once rode 25 miles at 4AM wearing 2 t-shirts, 2 sweatshirts, a full-on parka, diaper shorts, long-johns, sweatpants, actual ski pants, 2 pairs socks (one short, one tall with breadbags between), a winter hat stuffed under my helmet, ski face mask, and ski gloves. I’m sure that’s a run-on sentence. My water bottle didn’t freeze completely, but close. The only person I saw was a cop who looked at me like I was nuts as he went by. Style? We don’t need no stinking style!!! Extra exclamation points added on purpose. ! = Yelling. !! = Louder yelling. !!! = Veins popping out screaming.


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