Sealskinz Waterproof Socks

Words Jon Harris
Photos Jon Harris
Date Oct 20, 2014

Common sense is anything but. So the cliché goes, but what if I could hook you up with some for $58? Slightly more than half a c-note will get you a pair of Sealskinz waterproof socks that will keep the misery off your toes this winter. It adds up to a sensible choice, but only if they work as advertised.

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The Sealskinz waterproof socks, waiting for a puddle to go and splash in.

The 9-year old in each of us still likes to splash through puddles on our bikes, so even on drier winter days our feet can get a good soaking. Without investing in proper winter riding shoes you have two options for keeping your feet warm and dry; neoprene overshoes (booties) or the old plastic-bag-over-your-socks trick.

Booties negate much of the traction your shoes might provide so they are out for riding challenging trails. The plastic bag trick works but you’ll slip around in your shoes and marinate in your stinky foot sweat. A good pair of wool socks is helpful but it’s only a matter of time before your little piggies freeze up in protest.

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Sealskinz tell us the Merino wool inner material wicks away sweat and through the breathable membrane while keeping the stink down with it’s anti-microbial properties. Ask any Kiwi; sheep are amazing.

Sealskinz socks offer a good alternative to buying a pair of winter-specific shoes by sandwiching a waterproof and breathable membrane between a merino inner lining (which wicks well and resists odour), and a durable nylon outer.

The technology for sandwiching these layers together has been around for over 15 years and it’s no surprise the idea came from Great Britain. I started riding in England and a summer day there can do a great November impersonation, complete with rain, wind, and fog (only the cheesy moustaches are missing). Like riders of Vancouver and the Pacific Northwest, the British know the value of good wet weather gear.

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The elasticized cuff keeps the sock from slipping down to your ankles and also keeps any moisture from running down your leg. The angry seal will also keep any threatening aquatic attackers at bay.

In use they have worked as advertised. They have kept the water out and the added bonus is that, being windproof, they are also warm. You can get them in various lengths and thicknesses depending on how much coverage and warmth you need. I have two pairs, thin-weight and mid-weight that are both mid-length and I have worn them through torrential downpours when commuting and subjected them to numerous muddy toe-shots and drizzly days out on the trail. My feet have been kept warm and dry without feeling like they are being boiled in a bag.

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The socks are handmade in the UK and every one is tested for waterproofness. They live up to expectations, keeping your feet dry while you splash through every puddle in sight.

Sizing is something to make sure of. My size large socks are actually potentially a little too big for my size 10.5 feet and a medium pair that I tried on fit a little better. They feel strange when you first put them on as the air escapes from around your foot, but they soon feel snug and warm.

The socks aren’t overly bulky and the medium weight pair are about as thick as a pair of winter wool socks. Your usual shoes should accommodate them just fine. Early Sealskinz lived up to their name, feeling like you had an inflexible tube-shaped pelt wrapped uncomfortably around your feet. Thankfully they now fit snugly like a good sock should thanks to Sealskinz StretchDry technology.

If you don’t hang up your bike at this time of year and are still getting after it, this is a product I’d recommend. Starting at $58 CDN for the thinner version, it’s a little steep for socks, but for me there is value in comfort. Riding with frozen feet is no fun and when you have the right gear, and can look forward to happy toes, you are sure to ride more.

For more information go to the Sealskinz website. You can order via their on-line store (check out their gloves and over shoes too) and right now they are offering free shipping to some destinations.


What is your wet weather footwear solution?

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Comments

vonp
0
VonP  - Oct. 21, 2014, 10:36 a.m.

i just throw on those commuting boot sleeves you can get at MEC for $20. they're great and i haven't noticed anyone laughing. 🙂
hose them off, drip dry and ready to go next time.

Reply

andy-eunson
0
Andy Eunson  - Oct. 21, 2014, 9:55 a.m.

All this time I thought Sealskin socks were simply another of those stiff style socks like the ones I tried last year and tore quickly. These actually look decent. Anywhgere local one can try them?

Reply

climberbkr
0
Mark Obsniuk  - Oct. 21, 2014, 8:12 a.m.

Inuit have used vapor barrier for a very long time. The key is to have the water proof layer as close to your skin as possible. I ski with a poly pro sock liner, plastic bag then sock. That won't work here so I use a Gore-Tex sock from Rocky over my sock. It works well but I do use a booty as well. I hate wet shoes.

Reply

craw
0
Cr4w  - Oct. 21, 2014, 9:26 a.m.

You ski with plastic bags between your socks and your boot liner??

Reply

climberbkr
0
Mark Obsniuk  - Oct. 21, 2014, 10:03 a.m.

No, poly pro sock liner, plastic bag, sock then boot liner. My socks and liner never see sweat. Your foot will not continue to sweat minus a tiny amount. I do ski touring in the spring with this setup with zero issues. I'm not a low sweat person and was skeptical at first but it works.

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still-anonymous
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Still Anonymous  - Oct. 21, 2014, 10:19 a.m.

When I was younger we used to ride with plastic baggies over our socks (and under our shoes) in the winter. Our feet still got wet, but much less so, and it created a bit of a wetsuit effect. These socks look much better.

Reply

craw
0
Cr4w  - Oct. 21, 2014, 10:20 a.m.

What was all this designed to solve? I wear my liner socks in my boot liners and I never get wet or cold.

Reply

climberbkr
0
Mark Obsniuk  - Oct. 21, 2014, 1:07 p.m.

Then your lucky. Nearly everyone else I know complains about set boots in the winter. Before I incorporated the three layer system I did as well. My feet would get cold due to the sweat getting into the liner, Eventually the cold front on the outside would meet this moisture and drive the cold into the boot. A dry liner is way warmer then a damp one. As for the comments and thread I just wanted to comment that there are ways to mitigate the sweat factor when you use a membrane of some kind.

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