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I've always been sceptical about waterproof socks, but after spending a good few weeks with the Showers Pass Lightweight Waterproof Socks, my doubts have been almost completely dispelled. They're toasty warm, keep your feet dry in almost all circumstances, and don't feel like plastic bags over your feet.
How's this been achieved? Well, Showers Pass says that these socks are constructed of three layers to achieve its goals of waterproofness, but also breathability and a sock-like feel.
Outside, they look like a pair of think winter socks thanks to a tough-wearing knitted exterior with toe and heel reinforcement, while the middle layer is a breathable yet waterproof Artex membrane that you can visually see through the yarn if you stretch the sock. The innermost layer is a 'Coolmax FX' antibacterial and moisture-wicking lining designed to help with comfort as well as help get moisture moving.
Together, the three layers do a great job to provide a protective shield for your feet without insulating them too much. I've not only used them on the bike (along with toe warmers and once with full-on shoe covers), but also during rowing outings where they've not only been hit with rain and splashback, but have also been dipped into the river too.
The result in every case is that my feet (with the addition of trainer liners on freezing mornings) have always remained dry in all conditions short of repeated submerging and then squeezing to actively force water through. That's including some of the sleety-freezing rain conditions we've enjoyed in the south west recently. You can even fill them up with tap water with surprisingly little leakage, and when they come out of the wash soggy, you can make small balloons out of them.
Despite this, breathability is remarkably good, as long as the weather isn't too warm. I found as long as I wore them in sub-10°C temperatures they were able to keep my feet cool and relatively dry – certainly dryer than I've found by wearing shoe covers in similar conditions. If I were wearing trainer liners these would sometimes end up a touch damp, but you can expect that when you do start to get a little warm.
They're also marketed as being lightweight – Showers Pass says they're nine per cent lighter over the old lightweight waterproof socks – and we weighed them at 123g in the L/XL size on test. Don't be fooled too much: they're still winter sock thick, and then some. If you're wearing shoes that fit you perfectly already in the summer (as I do), you're going to be squeezing your toes quite a bit if you're wearing them during the winter, which has a knock-on effect on all-important circulation, which can really affect how warm your feet are.
If you've some shoes you wear for winter only, perhaps a half size bigger to accommodate winter socks, then these are perfect. Otherwise, you'll need to be careful if you still want warm feet without dreaded pins and needles.
The sizing is excellent, although it's worth pointing out that when you pull them on, they don't line up quite right if you assume the chevron design on the rear is supposed to be square with the centre of the back of your leg. If you do line it up, then the foot and ankle sections feel twisted. It's not the end of the world, though, and as long as you're comfortable around the foot and ankle you forget about the slight design misalignment.
Nevertheless, the socks are a remarkably flexible and useful piece of kit to have for those cold and wet days – for cycling and more. Yes at £27, they're expensive, but they definitely have their use and are certainly worth a try if you like to take the elements on, rather than hide from them.
Useful and genuinely waterproof and breathable socks
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Showers Pass Lightweight Waterproof Socks
Size tested: L/XL
Tell us what the product is for
These are socks are for cold, wet weather, and are designed to keep your feet warm and dry, while also allowing a good level of breathability.
Showers Pass says:
"We developed Crosspoint Waterproof Socks to solve the soggy toe problem and to keep your feet dry while cycling, running, hiking, hunting, any outdoor activity in the rain. Our socks are fully waterproof thanks to 3-layers: a wear resistant knit exterior (feels like a regular sock), a waterproof breathable Artex membrane, and a Coolmax FX moisture wicking anti-bacterial lining. The result is a sock that feels like a sock but protects like a rain bootie. Now you don't have to choose between keeping your feet dry and breathability (we don't like sweaty feet either). A reinforced toe and heel provide comfort and durability."
I have to walk on wooden boards without shoes on for my rowing, so this is a great place to test them. They're hard, and haven't snagged or worn at all.
If you've got good circulation to your feet, they've very good indeed. Completely douse them in cold water and you'll feel it, but it'll be cold you feel rather than the wet.
No faults to report as yet apart from a light discolouration underfoot (unsurprising given the rowing tests I've put them through too).
It's a strange fit that doesn't logically line up with the design somehow. Maybe it's my specific pair, but actually as long as you wear them so they're comfortable and ignore the design, it's fine.
You can size them according to Showers Pass' size guide accurately.
123g is good given the layers in these L/XL socks.
The lining is very comfortable when worn directly against the skin.
I can't ever describe £27 socks as great value, but they're worth the money given that they're a useful piece of kit and effective too.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Very well – they remain waterproof after 'normal' 40 degree washing.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well indeed.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Waterproofness, reasonable breathability, snug feeling.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The fit/design and the cost.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, I'd buy another pair as I'd get plenty of use out of them for my rowing as well as my cycling.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
These are very good warm and waterproof socks that manage to be quite breathable too.
About the tester
I usually ride: Canyon Ultimate CF SL 9.0 SL (2016) My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding