HomeReviews & TechM2O Crew Plus Compression Socks in Review

M2O Crew Plus Compression Socks in Review

I never thought that I’d need to check my cycling socks for ‘L’ or ‘R’ markings before putting them on. But with the M2O (Mountains to Ocean) ‘Crew Plus’ compression socks that I’d been provided with to test for Bicycles Network Australia, I did just that. Read on to find out what makes them better, or just different from regular cycling socks.


Compression socks, eh?

The mainstay of M2O is their range of compressions socks and calf sleeves. The medical benefits of compression garments (the field of ‘phlebology’; study of veins and venous systems) are well documented and used in a variety of settings and medical situations to provide support (typically post-operative), but also to treat a range of chronic conditions such as poor circulation, fluid build-up etc.

Australian cycling industry veteran and M2O founder, Trent Fitzgibbons, embarked on filling a niche that he saw in the market. A second niche actually as he also has a M2O chamois cream which we reviewed this last year on BNA. With his industry and athletic network contacts, he saw first-hand the increasing competitive demands placed on athletes and the need to improve their recovery to be better prepared for the next effort.

trent fitzgibbins m20 jet black

Leg & upper body compression wear has seen a huge uptake among professional athletes and is also now commonplace amongst amateurs as well. Trent just took it a step further with partners, including medical professionals, he developed a range of compression socks. The intention was to drive ‘active recovery’ during the exertion and they found that by focussing on the bottom of the body (i.e. feet and legs), that they could achieve this recovery.

As I don’t have a medical or professional sporting background, I’ll look at the socks from two aspects – purely as a ‘cycling sock’ and my judgement of the impact of the compression on my riding and subsequent ‘recovery’.


Crew Plus – socks with a little more

The market has, along with the explosion in cycling fashion range, seen a commensurate array of sock choice – from cycling kit matching colours, funky logos and statement to patterns and enough choice in sock length to keep you debating for days. The M2O range includes 5 sock lengths in a range colours, and recently they have adding graphics (Bolt) and ‘motivational text such as, Just send it, Ride Fast, Run Fast and No Mercy) in the taller Crew Plus and Knee High socks. Also new is the Pro-Grip sock with a rubbery pattern printed on the sole to increase foot connection (and restrict movement) within the shoe, though this is aimed more towards runners.

m2o sock height
The ‘Crew’ and ‘Crew Plus’ lengths reflect typical sock lengths that cyclists use, including me. Incidentally, the Crew Plus versions do meet the new UCI Rule 1.3.033 “Socks and overshoes used in competition may not rise above the height defined by half the distance between the middle of the lateral malleolus and the middle of the fibula head”. Unless you go for Knee High, you are safe if the race commissaires want to pull you over for a sock infringement!

m2o no mercy socks

m2o no ride fast socks

I’ll cover more about the compression aspects and potential benefits later.


Materials, texture, seams, and effort to get on!

The M2O range of compression wear is more than just moisture wicking yarn formed into a sock shape. Some of the core features promoted include anti-microbial technology, stain resistance, anti-bacterial and structure that promote moisture and heat transfer. The high grade nylon/lycra blend (there are Merino wool socks in their range as well) feel quite different from any other sock that I’ve tried, with the tailored elastic/compression zones being a significant contributor to that.

m2o compression socks review

The material used and construction of the socks (internal and external) are key indicators of the sock quality, which also translate quite well to how well they fit. What is also readily apparent, aside from the compression aspect, is that this is a sock that falls into the ‘mid-weight’ category – it’s not a thin sock, nor a thick winter weight sock, but for me it is just right. The material has a soft cotton-type feel which I feel is a key marker of good fabric/yarn. Cheap socks can feel plasticy and tend to move about on your feet inside your bike shoes. The other aspect I can see on closer examination of the compression socks are the different constructions and weaves used at various points in the sock, all without abrupt transitions or seams to impact comfort level when spending hours out on the road. The support zones around the balls of the feet are very different to that under the arch and around the heel. Given the slightly thicker/bulk of the fabric (compared to a traditional lightweight sock), the added cushioning is something that I greatly appreciated.

Then there is the compression! You need to take care to put the correct sock on the correct foot, hence the L (Left) and R (right) marking. It will be immediately obvious if you mix them up and getting them on properly is not just like slipping into them. If your technique isn’t quite right and you end up with a slight crease somewhere because you didn’t concentrate, it’s a faff to get it sorted – sometimes it’s easier to take it off and start again. With that whinge out of the way, it isn’t that hard, but requires a different technique and an element of concentration that other ‘normal’ cycling socks don’t. When on, they feel marvellous and the compression that is built in (the socks have 5 different sizes, based on foot size as well as calf circumference) and is quite noticeable initially, but soon feels comforting.

m2o size chart

So, what are they like ?

I’m not a professional athlete, you would probably label me as a dedicated ‘weekend warrior’ when it comes to my cycling. But I still value comfort and quality in the gear I use and the apparel I wear… without needing to follow all of the latest trends. Cycling socks tend to be last item of cyclewear that I pay attention to on the bike and the M2O compression socks were noticeable in how they felt in contrast to other socks that I have used.

m2o compression socks

The most surprising aspect of the socks is the additional arch support that I ‘felt’ when riding – it was almost like they worked with and enhanced the support that I already got from the G8 Archtech innersoles that I have used for years. I noticed when putting the shoes on, the fit was more snug that normal, but nothing like the thicker wool socks I wear in winter. I also noticed the slightly better support around the ankle at the start of the rides, but for me, the biggest thing was that after a short distance riding, I didn’t notice anything. Yep, nothing. Nada. The compression socks just blended in and did their job. It is simply what you want from good gear, they were well integrated– no slippage on the heel, no tight spots, no hotspots, no niggly rub points, just damn comfortable.

Whether I was on the CX bike or road bike, commuting or going for a KoM (and failing …), they just silently cosseted my feet and lower calves and did their job. The Crew Plus socks tended to slip down a little from their initial position, my larger calves taper significantly making, but the sag was only minor, and once they settled (at around ‘Crew’ height) they stayed put.


Is compression the latest ‘Marginal Gain’ ?

I did some background research to better understand the potential benefits of compression wear, specifically with compression socks for cycling. To be honest, there is not a huge amount of definitive research out there, and what is there is not that easy to decipher for non-medical types. Though there is research underway to better understand compression benefits during and post exercise for athletes, so stay tuned.

Compression garments are widely accepted and used predominantly for venous issues amongst others, compression use in the sporting field performance and recovery however can be summarised (with my paraphrasing) …“it doesn’t do harm, but most people report that they feel better when using compression garments”. Even the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) state, “..some findings are inconsistent and more research needs to be done into the physiological benefits, there is one consistent finding with athletes’ perceived recovery as most feel better recovered after wearing the compression garments”.

cycling compression review

I can honestly say that I didn’t feel any better or worse after wearing the M2O compression socks. I am fairly in-tune with my riding equipment and can recognise when things change but these remained fairly low-key. Whether I was tackling a 102 km ride and 1,700m climb through the Adelaide Hills or short 40km recovery rides – I have felt fine and without soreness or muscular fatigue although this is not something I can would specifically attribute to the socks… or any other strategy or gear.

As with all garments, they have a limited life, and speaking with Trent, you can expect to get a full 6 months of regular wear from a pair of socks before the compressions starts to reduce. The M2O socks are rated as ‘Class II Medical Devices’ – whilst this sounds ominous, it is a measure of their construction quality as well as consistency to meet & pass the required tests. For cyclists it is a welcome confirmation that they will continue to offer the compression you expect.

ride fast review

Something Good or just Different ?

At around $25 for a pair of the M2O Crew Plus compression socks, they tick all the boxes as a great cycling sock, with the potential benefits of compression as a free bonus. The fact that they come in 5 different lengths, 5 different sizes, a huge range of basic colours as well as some neat logo socks, means they are a pair of socks that will make a lot of cycling lovers happy.

Whilst the proven physiological or recovery benefits may not have yet been reliably measured, their accreditation, quality and comfort means they tick all of the necessary boxes for cycling socks. If you shy away from other more traditional style compression socks, the broad range of colours and length make the brand appealing.

More info: m2oindustries.com

Michael Bachmann
Michael Bachmann
is a recreational cyclist that with an extensive background in Mechanical/Manufacturing engineering, and hence have a habitual need/desire to embrace "reasoned innovation". He loves being different, hence his bikes; the Volagi Liscio2 and Cinelli Nuovo SuperCorsa.
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