If you frequent the MTB communities of social media you will have not doubt heard of FKD Life. First off, to clear any confusion that stands for Filthy King Designs – pull your mind out of the gutter!
While FKD are probably best for their water-resistant socks, available in all colours of the rainbow the 2 Greg’s have been working tirelessly to ‘listen to what’s wanted and deliver on that’. As a result, alongside the soon to launch custom shop, FKD now boast a stable of core stock covering everything from socks and jerseys to mugs, frame protection and laces.
No review of FKD products would be complete without mentioning the exceptional support FKD offer to those in need. Recently they have been donating £2 per pair of socks sold to support both Casey Gemma and Jamie Cable receive medical treatment after life changing injuries. This month the lads have gone full rainbow for Pride Month!
So, how does their gear stand up to the Tweed Valley trails?
FKD SOCAMO water-resistant socks – £12
Camo socks aren’t for everyone but with multiple colours and designs, including single colour options there should be something to suit everyone’s tastes.
Out of the box (complete with Haribo and Stickers) the socks are just as bright as the website would suggest. I’m fussy about riding gear and was surprised at just how soft these are. Their thin, but not too thin, supportive in the foot area, with a thicker, more durable material up the ankle and leg. Like a child I threw them on and headed for the sink. As advertised, they resisted water very well!
On the trail
I’m around a UK size 11 or 12 shoe and have to say getting the Cool-Lux material on and off is a bit of a battle. The foot area is incredibly stretchy, but the ankle/calf isn’t making it difficult to get the socks over my heel. Once they’re on though it’s like a little massage for your feet and that lack of stretch means they tops stay put and don’t need pulling up before every descent.
On the trail the socks offer good support and breath incredibly well. In temperatures from 5 degrees up to 20 in the last week my feet have never felt too hot or too cold. When things get wet though is when the FKD socks really come into their own. They’re not waterproof but the water-resistant material resists soaking up water meaning they dry in a heartbeat, stay much lighter than normal socks and keep your feet warmer as their not swimming in puddle water. As a result, I’ve actually preferred these in the wet to my Sealskinz…
**Speaking to the Greg’s they explained the Camo socks aren’t as stretchy as others due to the design not allowing it. The regular colours, factory and filthy versions all have stretchy uppers. In addition they have increased the width of the Camo socks and now do 6 sizes!**
FKD ‘Classic Mix’ Jersey – £39
Like their Socks FKD’s jerseys come in a colour range to suit any given taste as well as long and short sleeve options. Taking the jersey out of the bag the first thing you notice, like the socks is just how soft the material is. So soft I wondered how it could possibly stand up to the rigours of mountain biking. There is no swatch for cleaning your lenses but this is a deliberate omission by optician Greg due to their habit of gathering dust and scratching lenses.
In terms of sizing, I’m usually a medium and am really enjoying the return of the relaxed fit rather than looking like I’ve been stitched in! FKD recommend your usual size and when first trying the jersey on the body feels made to measure but the sleeve felt a bit long and loose (I was wrong – read on!)
On the bike
On the bike the FKD jersey is exceptional. I’d still opt to a short sleeve version in very warm weather, but the body is the right level of breathable (provided by the ‘honeycomb’ structure to the material) to regulate temperature well and has enough room to allow air to move freely inside. I’ve been deliberately brushing trees and bushes to test the material and haven’t managed to snag it once, my gopro hasn’t even managed to leave a wear make on the chest.
The sleeves are where things get interesting. As above I felt they were too long and too loose, I was wrong. The length on the bike is bang on so that the sleeve meets your glove, rather than leaving a chilly gap. The wide cut is big enough to let air circulate, pull up to wear as a ¾ sleeve and accommodate a large watch such as a Garmin Fenix. All this without snagging or being in the way!
I hate going all fan boy on things, but I’m hard pushed to fault the FKD socks and jersey. Yes the bold branding and bright colours (they do subtle as well) won’t be for everyone and I would like a bit more stretch around the ankle of the socks but they wash well and do what they say on the tin.
The socks are so comfy you forget you’re wearing them. They are breathable, don’t soak up water, don’t slip down and keep your feet at a nice temperature. You could pay a lot more than £12 for that service from a sock!
The jerseys are light, hard wearing and a very good, relaxed fit. They let air circulate, accommodate big watches and, if required, would get body armour under them.
I’m excited to see what FKD’s custom shop brings (maybe UKMTBChat logos on the sleeves!) and what’s next for Filthy King Designs!