SealSkinz Thin Socklets bring waterproof practicality to snug-fitting cycling footwear, whether you're running through muddied streams, shouldering the 'crosser, bombing along with the chain-gang or on a week's tour. However, while they're genuinely waterproof to their elasticated cuff-lines, being completely sealed in can still leave feet feeling a bit rank after a few hours in synthetic footwear.
The Think Socklets are built in three layers. A protective outer shell surrounds a waterproof membrane to lock the elements out, while a mixture of Merino wool, Nylon and Elastane inside evicts moisture and helps retain an odour-free climate as the internal temperature rises.
This works like clockwork in milder, wetter weathers with street style commuter/touring shoes. An unexpected, heavy cloud burst quickly saturated my courier knickers. Rain droplets cascaded from the bottoms and funnelled along the tongue bellows to infiltrate my shoes. Smug in the knowledge of dry feet and humming 'Singing in the Rain', I raced along a relatively deserted causeway for a quick paddle in the North Sea.
Univega safely tethered to some street furniture and shoes decanted into its pannier, I sprinted across the sand and into the freezing waters. Despite a few curious glances and the attentions of a somewhat puzzled collie, I stood for ten minutes in complete comfort. The feeling of a soggy outer and dry inner is a little disconcerting to begin with though.
It's much the same story in all but the closest-fitting race slippers. Typical road and mountain bike shoes with acres of mesh were similarly compatible, with no trace of chafing over the course of a seventy-mile day ride.
However, the technology has limitations which become apparent on longer rides on warmer days. When it gets to around 20°C, there's not enough difference between inside and outside temperature to pump water vapour out and your feet get sweaty.
Should you return from a ride with soggy feet, purchase on laminate and similarly slippery floorings is reassuringly good. We're notoriously hard on socks, but our Thin Socklets still show no signs of wear after several weeks's use, despite being a smaller-than-ideal medium. They've even tolerated with the odd cross country run for good measure.
Effective waterproof socks for those who don't like overshoes in chilly to moderate conditions but efficiency wanes when the temperature rises.
road.cc test report
Make and model: SealSkinz Thin Socklet
Size tested: Medium
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?
"A thin Socklet with a fine Merino wool lining gives excellent wicking performance.
Elasticated instep provides support and ensures a comfortable fit. Suitable for runners and cyclists; keeps feet dry when wearing vented running shoes or from water entering the cleat fitting on cycle shoes".
Works fine and dandy with all but the closest fitting race shoes.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The inner lining has been specially developed to actively wick moisture away from the skin to increase comfort and warmth and reduce the chance of blisters. It is made from either Coolmax or Merino wool.
The waterproof breathable membrane is inserted using patented technology and allows perspiration, as water vapour to escape whilst preventing water coming in. The membrane typically has a breathability of greater than 65% WVP, making the socks and gloves completely waterproof, highly breathable and windproof.
The outer layer is designed for extra durability and abrasion resistance with stretch to fit properties. It is tough and durable designed to stand up to all weather conditions
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The Thin Socklets are a godsend for those wanting dry feet but not fond of overshoes. A happy pairing with most road, tour and mountain bike footwear, they keep the elements out, while allowing internal, rider generated moisture to escape. This works extremely well, at least until temperatures rise to around 23 degrees.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Comfort and practicality.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing, although the breathability suffers when temperatures turn summery.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Quite possibly
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Generally, yes
About the tester
Age: 38 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)