With winter here in the Northern hemisphere, nobody likes having wet and cold feet. Some type of waterproof footwear whether its road type over shoe covers, expensive waterproof shoes or waterproof socks are an essential piece of kit if you intend on making the most of pedalling through these wet and cold winter months. Mud, rain, snow and ice generally don’t make for great conditions for your feet. SealSkinz are the ‘go to’ market leader in protecting your extremities from mother nature.

As the name suggests these socks have been designed for mountain bikers. They are a mid weight and thickness sock with a triple layer construction. An outer material (90% Nylon, 10% Elastane). Then the hydrophilic membrane which is SealSkinz proprietary Stretchdry material which is flexible and stretchy, waterproof and still breathable to keep your feet dry. The inner layer is made of a mix fabric (35% Merino Wool, 33% Acrylic, 28% Polyester, 3% Elastane, 1% TPU) constructed to aid comfort and to keep your feet and toes warm. img_20170124_212138_485

This model also has a new Hydrostop feature designed to give a more secure fit between the top of the sock and your leg, reducing the chance of water ingress through the top. It is a sticky strip of taping that runs around the cuff of the sock creating a seal. This model with the Hyrdostop feature is available in ankle length and mid length (tested here).

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The SealSkinz mtb Mid-mid with Hydrostop strip, elasticated instep and ankle with heel reinforcement

I have used an early pair of SealSkinz for years that have lasted and stood the test of time very well with little signs of wear. The membrane on these older socks felt crispy and nowhere near as comfortable as this modern version. They were also only the ankle height model and on extremely wet rides would let water in through the top. This new pair has all but completely solved this issue by using the new Hydrostop feature.

The new socks are very comfortable and have a feel similar to a regular walking boot sock. This might be too thick for some types of shoe but I have had no problems bunching up or constricting with either my Five Ten flat pedal shoe or the Giro Terraduro trail clipless shoe. SealSkinz do make a thinner model which would aid this if you encounter issues, but the thinner socks just wouldn’t have the same level of warmth.img_20170124_212701_301

I have used this sock through the saturated, wet late autumn and all the winter so far on wet road commutes, gravel adventures and riding saturated mountain bike trails. The socks have performed well in all conditions. My feet remain very warm and mostly dry. On one ride up our local trails the weather was horrendous and the trails more like rivers. Splashing through deep puddles continuously did mean that a very small amount of water seeped into the sock but it acted much like a wetsuit and my skin soon warmed the water trapped within the membrane and stayed remarkably warm even with the temperature only a few degrees above freezing.

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Might look odd. An experiment to show how much the SealSkinz protect your feet.

After the last four months of almost continuous use the outer layer is just starting to bubble very slightly from wear around the top of the tongue of my Five Tens. Although not serious, I felt it did deserve a mention.

On a whole I have been impressed with these socks and would highly recommend them especially given the price. The comfort level and performance is good. I really rely upon these SealSkinz at this time of year and don’t think I could ride through winter without them now.

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You can clearly see how dry the sock is kept under a SealSkinz sock compared to just a normal sock exposed to the worst of the winter trail conditions

I am not sure you could completely prevent the ingress of water in the worst of conditions this country has to offer wearing them with only shorts. You could reduce the amount of water forced through the Hydrostop barrier considerably by pairing these socks with some good waterproof trousers. But feel that you would only suffer from over heating on all but the coldest of wet winter rides.

Key points:

Retail Price £37

Available from https://www.sealskinz.com/UK

Merino lined

Breathable, windproof and waterproof membrane

Renforced heel

Hydrostop taping

Pros

Robust

Keeps feet dry and warm

Great value for money

Cons

Some might find them too thick if worn with tight fitting shoes

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