SealSkinz Walking Socks
Waterproof socks that are excellent as camp wear, although possibly too warm as walking socks.
- Too warm to walk in for an extended period of time
I used to think waterproof socks were bit of a gimmick, and anyway they were for people who didn't have waterproof boots. Then one day last October this happened:
I had been enjoying myself walking on a muddy trail and feeling invincible in my Gore-tex-lined boots, until I went into a muddy patch that turned out to be a lot deeper than it looked and I got my feet wet. At the end of the day's walk I changed into dry socks, but my boots had not yet dried inside by the following morning so I had no choice but to get my new socks damp too.
This changed my mind about waterproof socks. Eventually I bought a pair of Sealskinz Walking Socks, and I used them for the first time a month ago on a long-distance hike in Britain's Lake District.
I should say first of all that the socks are not a gimmick. They really are waterproof. They are stretchy like normal socks and they are comfortable on the skin thanks to their mainly merino wool inner lining. They are mid-height. Waterproof socks … what an amazing world we live in.
The socks came in handy on my Lake District hike for two reasons. Firstly, after pitching my tent at the end of eight hours walking it felt like blessed relief to get my boots off. Now if you walk around on wet campsite grass in camp sandals you can expect to get wet feet, but my Sealskinz socks kept my feet warm and dry.
Secondly, one day while hiking I managed to submerge my boots in a muddy patch just like I had done last October. I took off my boots and socks and let my feet dry, then I wore my Sealskinz in my wet boots for the rest of the day's walk. This time the boots dried out overnight so I was able to switch back to normal hiking socks the following morning.
And that was a good thing because while the Sealskinz socks are comfortable to wear, walking in them is another matter. The Sealskinz range of socks can be confusing and it is not easy to tell how some models differ from others, but I do know that the Walking Socks are by no means the heaviest in the range.
Even so, they are thicker than ordinary hiking socks because they are made of three layers – a wool inner, a nylon outer, and the waterproof membrane in the middle. I found the socks too warm to walk in, at least in combination with waterproof boots, and my feet began to get clammy, which kind of defeats the purpose of waterproof socks.
In addition, my toes started hurting as I walked because of the extra thickness of the socks. Luckily I didn't get blisters or bruised toenails, but this is another reason why I was glad to change back to normal socks.
So, all in all:
these socks are really waterproof
I found them excellent as evening camp wear on wet grass
but, in my opinion, as walking socks they are for emergency use only. They are good to have in emergencies though.
As regards care, they can be washed like ordinary socks, but on a gentle setting. They obviously take longer to dry because of the waterproof membrane. The socks can be tumble-dried on low heat but I prefer to air-dry them – the outsides first, then I turn the socks inside out to dry the insides.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: £15 sterling
I agree with the previous reviewer. An hour or two, yes. Half a day, possibly. All day, for days on end, as in a week on the trail? No. Simply no.
- They are indeed waterproof.
- Odd fit and feel (not especially "rubbery" and certainly not uncomfortable, but a pair of Thor-los were quite obviously better and by a wide margin).
Expensive (for what they are). Nowhere near as comfortable or as cushioned as a good pair of Thorlos (or equivalent) and absolutely out of the question for all day, every day, long-distance trail walking.
Feet get too warm, "feel" and "fit" is mildly peculiar and a previously comfortable trail shoe no longer felt properly attached to my feet (some "give" and "play" that was disconcerting, despite experimentation with liner socks and lacing); Some loss of agility observed as my feet moved and shifted within the shoe.
They ARE waterproof, but at a cost.
However, if you are just standing around (wildlife photographer, parent standing in a muddy field watching sports) they may be worthwhile.
I agree with the other review above—possibly for brief use in awful conditions, but otherwise I cannot recommend these.
Many, many years of trail walking. None at all with waterproof socks.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: Too much.
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