The Dexshell Pro Visibility Cycling Socks do an incredible job of keeping out water and mud, but may be too bulky for those who like their road shoes close fitting, and with their stiff, laminated construction they don't conform to the shape of the ankle as most cycling socks do. However, inside roomier shoes or boots and hidden under tights, they could be your new winter secret weapon.
The socks really are as waterproof as Dexshell claims, and they're still waterproof after multiple wash cycles. However, they were too thick to wear comfortably inside my regular cycling shoes and the cuff was both too short and too baggy (these are not my ankles in the pictures). And although I'm no sock snob, the homebrewed look won't appeal to the style-conscious roadie raised on Assos and Rapha. However, if you wear shoes or boots with room for thicker socks in the winter and ride whatever the weather, you ought to seriously consider these.
I tested them to their limits cross-country running in very muddy conditions – after all, Dexshell says they are also for running and walking – and I was so impressed with their performance that I now use them every time I run off-road. After slithering through a quagmire for 45 minutes I could remove them and my feet would be perfectly clean, as dry as you'd expect given the effort, and warm. Nobody wants to read about other people's foot odours, but I can report that despite being 100 per cent manmade they don't get stinky. Having said that, I have been washing them after each outing.
These socks have a three-layer construction: there's a polyamide outer with a small amount of elastane for limited stretch; an interlining made from a patented waterproof membrane called Porelle and an inner made from soft, manmade Coolmax.
As you'd expect of such a construction they're not very stretchy, hence the poor fit on the ankle. The lack of stretchiness also means that getting the right size is important. The size large, for sizes 9-11, was closer to the 9 than the 11.
Once on, they felt comfortable around the foot, and felt like any other sock. There are no obvious seams in the soft Coomax inner liner and I didn't experience any rubbing.
The reflective bands around the cuff are knitted-in yarn rather than printed, and they are indeed reflective, but you can see the join where the bands start and finish because the ends don't quite meet each other straight.
The Dexshell logo is printed onto the top of the cuff and this is coming off after four washes.
Most cycling socks – even premium ones like the Assos Bonkasocks_Evo8 – cost less £20, but these are different and special, and you're paying for technology that really works.
Price-wise they are at the lower end of Dexshell's range. The Dexshell Ultra Dri Sports socks cost £35, have a merino inner lining and a much higher cuff with a gripper – we gave these 9/10. Also the Ultra Thin Modal Socks at £22 look to have addressed the issue of bulkiness. We also gave these a 9.
Sealskinz, Dexshell's waterproof sock rivals, are pricier: the Sealskinz Waterproof All Weather Ankle Length Sock with Hydrostop costs £32.50. Sealskinz's cheapest waterproof sock costs £27.50.
So considering how well they work, they're good value as long as you can make them work for your cycling.
These Dexshell socks didn't work for my cycling because they were too bulky to fit inside my cycling shoes (I like them to fit closely with thin socks and don't swap to bigger winter shoes), they didn't fit my ankles closely enough and I like my cycling socks to be a bit higher. The homebrewed aesthetic wasn't for me either, and the printed branding has started peeling in the wash. Generally, I prefer to use overshoes, which keep my shoes clean, though admittedly do not keep my feet as dry – because of the inevitable water ingress through cleat holes – as these Dexshell socks would.
However, if you're happy to change to shoes or winter boots with space for bulkier socks and are not too concerned with aesthetics (not an issue if they're hidden under tights anyway) then these are a great buy. Whether you're a roadie, go off-road or like to ride gravel in bad weather, they will keep your feet dry.
For foul-weather forays these are wondrously waterproof – a real winter secret weapon
If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website
road.cc test report
Make and model: DexShell Pro Visibility Cycling Socks
Size tested: L
Tell us what the product is for
DexShell says: "The waterproof breathable Pro Visibility Socks were designed to have the reflective stripes around the cuff area, to make sure you're visible when you're cycling, running or walking in the dark. The socks are constructed using the light weight moisture wicking COOLMAX® FX liner to keep your feet dry and comfortable, in those muddy or rainy weather conditions. Constructed with our patented 4 way stretch lamination technology, 100% waterproof, windproof and breathable, COOLMAX® FX liners move perspiration away from the body, Hi Vis Yarn for increased visibility and safety in darker environments."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Outer: 97% polyamide, 2% elastane, 1% polyester
Interlining: Porelle® membrane (Polyurethane)
Inner: 76% COOLMAX® FX(polyester) , 24% polyamide
In terms of its functionality, the construction is great – but it has a homebrewed look that is at odds with the 'Pro' in the name. The high-vis bands seem to have been knitted separately and the edges don't quite line up; the printed fluoro branding on the cuff is peeling off after four machine washes.
It's got to be a perfect 10 for waterproofing and breathability – these are magic.
The fabrics themselves are still perfect, but the Dexshell printed branding on the cuff has started degrading.
The socks' multilayer construction means they are too rigid to fit the contours of the ankle, resulting in unsightly creasing.
The size large, for UK 9-11, was much closer to the 9 than the 11.
It is what it is – a waterproof sock can't be featherweight.
Comfort is good – once the Dexshells are on they feel like any other sock, and despite the heavier construction they don't rub.
More expensive than regular, non-waterproof socks, but cheaper than rival waterproof socks from Sealskinz, whose closest equivalent, the Waterproof All Weather Ankle Length Sock with Hydrostop, costs £32.50. Sealskinz' cheapest waterproof socks cost £27.50.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Washing has not destroyed the incredible waterproofness of these socks, but the print on the cuffs is coming off.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
As a waterproof, breathable sock it really does work. As I explained in the review I found it too bulky to wear with my normal summer cycling shoes and I try not to swap cycling shoes too regularly as I have a left knee that doesn't like change, but testing it in muddy cross-country running conditions it kept all water and mud out, and wicked away sweat very effectively. For those who wear roomier shoes or boots during the winter, the Dexshells will work as well as they did in my running shoes.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
It really works as a waterproof and breathable sock.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It is baggy around the ankle and not form fitting as I like cycling clothing to be. It could also do with some extra height for my liking, both for aesthetics and for stopping water coming in at the cuff. As I've said, it has a homemade look – the high-vis bands not quite meeting each other straight, the branding peeling off the cuff after two washes.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, for winter cross-country running.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
The waterproofness of the Dexshell socks is almost miraculous, but because they're bulkier than non-waterproof cycling socks I found it difficult to wear them inside my regular road shoes, which are close fitting. However, if you wear roomier shoes or winter boots that won't be an issue. Maybe they don't have the look of Assos or Rapha, but tucked under tights or overtrousers no one will know how high (or low) they are, how form-fitting (or not) the ankle is etc. The fact is that for keeping your feet dry in foul weather, whether that's on road, off road or on gravel, these are excellent.
About the tester
I usually ride: Racer Rosa custom alu My best bike is: Colnago Master Olympic
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, school run on a tandem
Simon finished his Masters in online journalism back in 2003 when the internet wasn't very exciting or popular yet. So he got a job as a sub editor on Britain's biggest weekly cycling magazine, where as well as taking out commas and putting them back in again he got to review a lot of bikes and kit.
As a keen time triallist he has spent many hours riding up and down dual carriageways early in the morning and has a national medal, a 19-minute 10 and a few open wins in his palmarès.
He and his seven-year-old son do the school run on a tandem, beating the traffic in car-choked Reigate and getting a great workout at the same time (for one of them).