Sealskinz Mid Weight Mid Length Socks are a good thing to have in the drawer once the cold and wet weather draws in. There are some UK conditions that will breach any foot fortifications, but these socks are a great last line of defence.
SealSkinz use a waterproof membrane in between inner and outer layers. In these socks the inner is a Merino mix, and the outer synthetic. They're totally waterproof, as SealSkinz are wont to demonstrate at trade shows by having an unlucky employee stand in a giant petri dish for the amusement of onlookers. They work though. Water doesn't get through. You can go out in the rain in these socks and trudge about on the lawn and your feet will stay toasty and dry.
The membrane stops the socks being anywhere near stretchy as normal socks, and there are two layers of fabric. That means two things. Firstly, it's important to get the right size. Specifically, make sure they're big enough because they can feel very constrictive if they're too small. Sizing information is available on the SealSkinz website. Secondly, there's more bulk than a normal sock. If your shoes are tight with your summer socks on, you may struggle to get them on wearing these.
Assuming that's all good, go out and ride in the rain and your feet will be dry even if your shoes are sopping wet. Well, up to a point. These socks suffer from the same Achilles heel that all fully waterproof footwear does: once water gets in – and there's a hole at the top – it doesn't have anywhere to go, so it stays in there. The trick is to make sure no water gets down the neck of the sock if you want your feet to stay dry.
My favoured approach is to pair them up with overshoes and make sure they're tucked right inside with the overshoes as tight as possible at the cuff. If you're wearing longs you can pull them over the top of the socks, then the overshoes up over the longs, creating a sort of labrynthine seal which is normally good for a few hours even in heavy rain.
The two layers of fabric mean they're warm, and even when they do inevitably get damp inside on the wettest rides the Merino mix inner remains comfortable and cosy. They're completely windproof, too, which is often as much of a boon on really cold days as the extra insulation. Thinner and thicker versions are available to suit your particular needs. They're certainly a useful thing to have around for bad conditions. £30 isn't cheap, but they'll definitely get some use.
Useful extra weaponry in the fight for warm, dry feet this winter
road.cc test report
Make and model: Sealskinz Mid Weight Mid Length Sock
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Mid weight, mid length sock, perfect for a multitude of activities & conditions.
Totally waterproof, breathable and windproof
Merino wool lining for moisture control & comfort
Elasticated ankle & insteps offer support and a comfortable fit
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
91% Nylon, 9% Elastane
35% Merino Wool, 34% Acrylic, 28% Polyester, 2% Elastodiene, 1% Elastane
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Feet stay drier longer and they're nice and warm
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
They're bulky, getting the right size is crucial for comfort
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
About the tester
Age: 42 Height: 190cm Weight: 100kg
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.