Review: Pearly’s Possum Socks

Pearly's Logo

Product Tested: Pearly’s Possum Socks, Size Large

Website MSRP: $58

Specs: 45% Merino Wool
40% Possum
Durable Heel
Arch Support
Compression Fit

About Me: 6’1” 210lbs, 32 year old male. I’m a mountain biking enthusiast who enjoys rocking the 29er wheels.
Testing Grounds: All over the Southern California Trails, North Carolina, Winter Rides in the Mountains, Playing in the Snow

The color of the socks on Pearly’s website is more of a gray while the actual sock is tan. A simple clean “P” logo.

First Impressions: They’re simple with a nice, simple “P”. Very stealth except for the height, which reaches up to just below the calf bulge. Simple is what I am all about. I know that for most bikers, stealth isn’t the norm, but I like my jerseys clean and simple. I like my shorts black, gray or black/gray. Some peeps can rock the Pink Tuxedo and they look smoooooth. I can’t.

The next thing you will notice about these socks are that they’re THICK! They’re surprisingly deceiving in that way and all I could think about when I got the Pearly’s was: will they even fit in my shoes? The answer is they do fit, snugly, comfortably. The Pearly’s do compress around your foot making them extremely comfortable in the shoe. I did notice I could not ratchet down my shoes as much as I do with normal thin summer socks, but that is to be expected with thicker cold-weather socks. I never felt that my shoes were loose on my foot, though.

You will also notice the hair. Yes, there is real possum hair in there. It is a little weird to think about, so don’t. Just stick your foot in and you will realize exactly why the Pearly’s have become my go to sock in cold or wet weather conditions.

The Possum hair. You can actually see it. It is a little disturbing at first.

Strengths: Alright, let’s talk with about the elephant in the room. They’re $58 socks. Are they good enough to justify $58? That’s up to you. Hopefully this review will help you come to a decision.
The coldest I have ridden with these socks is the low 30’s, which I know is not as cold as it gets for some of our readers out there, but that’s cold enough for me. But before we talk about temps, let’s talk about comfort.
The Pearly’s are the most comfortable socks I have ever worn. Hands down, bar none. Unless it is hot outside, my feet CRAVE the warmth and comfort of the Pearly’s. The way the Pearly’s surround the feet, insulate and encase them is something akin to the blissful feeling you get when you reach the end of a physically exhausting day and climb under the covers. It is truly amazing. For this reason alone, I can see spending a nice sum on socks but $58, I think not. But this is not where the Pearly’s shine.

Where the Pearly’s show their worth is when you are out in cold or wet weather on the bike. When the temps drop to 30 degrees and all your bits start freezing off, that is when the Pearly’s come into their own. On those rides I can tell you with confidence that every part of me was cold save for my feet. During those rides, I typically start to assess my body and I realize that what I really want is for every part of my body to be warm and comfortable. If it costs me $58 for a pair of gloves to keep me warm, $58 for a head covering, $58 for leg coverings… it is worth it. So would $58 be too much to spend on socks? Not at that moment.

Works well with my short knee warmers. The gap on the right leg is about 2 inches and reflective of how they normally work. The gap on the left leg is after the knee warmers have crawled up a bit.

How the Merino Wool and Possum Hair mixture work together to make such a phenomenal sock is a little beyond my understanding. Initially, the sight of possum hair on my sock was disturbing but it works and the Pearly’s are not just cold weather socks. They worked very well when the temps heat up. On one particular ride, we started off in the 30’s and ended up in the low 60’s. I shed a lot of my clothing on that ride but never touched the socks.

They Pearly’s are also good when the going gets wet. The Pearly’s have similar qualities as wool socks in their wicking ability, probably because they are 45% wool. On one of my favorite trails, the trail crosses and re-crosses a stream multiple times. Normally my feet are uncomfortable and soaked at the end of this ride but the Pearly’s keep them warm and dry.

The durability of these socks has been impressive. I have worn nice wool socks over the years. I have had a number of pairs of Swiftwick socks, some Smartwool and a myriad of other no-name brands and name brand wool socks but the Pearly’s look like they will outlast them all. The reinforced heel and toe area is a smart move by Pearly’s to ensure durability. I have found that pretty much all my socks get holey in those two areas well before the function of the rest of the sock deteriorates. The Pearly’s, quite frankly, look as good almost one year into it as they did when I first got them. The heal and toe box are still in excellent condition, showing no signs of wear at all.

The darker part of the sock is reinforced with nylon which makes a difference in longevity/durability

Weaknesses: The only issue I have with the Pearly’s is the price. At $58 a pair, they are a major purchase. At the same time, when you put it into perspective, is $58 really all that much? Let’s consider a bike part that many of us give little thought to: the bike saddle. For a top of the line bike saddle, one that provides both excellent comfort and performance (less weight, in the saddle’s case), the cost could exceed $60. $100 to $200 is not out of the realm of possibility either. Even when I consider clothing, $58 socks is not exorbitant in comparison to other clothes. A great pair of biking shorts can easily climb into the $80 stratosphere and more. Jerseys can easily top $150 for the warm wool jerseys.
Is $58 for a premium pair of socks packed with technological goodness, too expensive? I will have to leave that up to you but I know that I can justify the addition of Pearly’s in my cycling wardrobe.

Conclusion: The Pearly’s are amazing socks. The combination of merino wool and possum hair makes for a comfortable, warm bed that my feet love getting in to. My normal sock problem-areas, the toe box and heel, are reinforced for extra durability and after a year of use, they look just as good as when I first got them.
As a regular sock to wear around the house or out into the cold, the Pearly’s are quite good but as a cycling sock, having to deal with the cold weather riding and wetness, this is where the Pearly’s excel. The Pearly’s rock in these conditions and has become my go-to sock when the weather turns cold or wet.

For more information about the Pearly’s Possum Socks, click here.

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MtnBikeRiders Holiday Gift Guide-2009

To help with your holiday shopping for the mountain biker in your life, I’ve come up with some great products that will make you a winner.

Clif bars holiday flavors. Yum. Out on the trail, you’ve got to have nourishment. Why not make it a Cranberry Orange Nut Bread, Sliced Pumpkin Pie or Iced Gingerbread? The holiday Clif bars are a seasonal item and make a great stocking stuffer for the mountain biker who has everything.

Uh, yeah. I want some pumpkin pie!

Wool socks: During the winter time our feet get cold out there on rides. I picked up a pair of Swiftwick Four Merino socks a couple of weeks ago and really like them. They definitely keep my feet toasty when out riding and they feel great with comfy sole support. OK, so this is Southern California so take the “toasty” comment with a grain of salt but a “prop” for the Swiftwick Socks is that the Merino wool socks are machine wash-able and can be put in the dryer on low.

Cold winter ride + Feet warm & toasty = GOOD

If the doldrums of winter are getting your mountain bike aficionado down, give him something he can upgrade on the bike. Changing new cables are recommended on a yearly basis, depending on the number of miles you put on the bike. For derailleur cables I like fully sealed systems but they can be pricey. Instead, I’ve tried and like Jagwire Ripcords. The Ripcords come in different colors including: merida green, white, red and SID blue to name a few.

White derailleurs cables, THAT’S HOT!

For those that have a hitch mount on your vehicle I cannot more highly recommend the Raxter Rack. This is the best rack system I have used and I trust all my bikes (and other people’s bikes) to it. I am always questioning the thought process behind purchasing a $3,000+ bike or two and transporting it on a $50 rack. Cheap racks are cheap for a reason: they have compromises. They compromise in how they hold your bike (rubbing the paint off your bike’s top tube… ask me how I know), they compromise in materials (cheap metal that won’t support the bike’s weight) or they compromise in design (allowing exhaust from the tailpipes to heat up a bike’s tires in transport). The Raxter rack holds the bike securely, by the wheels so no paint rub, uses sturdy materials (nearly 3 years: looks great, functions PERFECTLY) and is designed extremely well. It’s also really easy to use!

Did I mention that RL likes it too?

OK, this last one is spendy: if your mountain biker buddy has not tried a 29er, it is time to get ‘em on the big wheels. As proclaimed by one prominent mountain biking magazine, the 29er hardtail will replace the 26” hardtail. I can promise you, your mountain biker buddy will go absolutely gaa gaa with a 29er hardtail in the garage. I would personally start off with a Sette Razzo, which has a great balance of component spec and low price. Or, if you have money to burn, a Kona King Kahuna would be a great addition to any bike stable.

29ers ROCK!

Happy Holidays and please add your holiday suggestions in the comments section below.