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The Sealskinz Waterproof Cold Weather Mid Length Socks are completely waterproof and really well made – they're pretty warm, too, at least at first. The trouble is, the outer fabric really soaks up water, which then chills your feet anyway. Plus they're a bit bulky, especially in road cycling shoes, and on me they're a loose fit.
If these fit in your cycling shoes without constricting bloodflow and consequently making your feet colder anyway, the benefits are noticeable. At least for an hour or so. Once your shoes and then the socks' woven nylon-elastane outer soak through, though, warmth is compromised even though your feet themselves are dry. The amount of cold water surrounding them still leaches heat away.
Sealskinz does these in four sizes (S-XL), and while the sizing is accurate, the fit on me was baggy around the foot, and the fabric – three layers bonded together, with a waterproof membrane in the middle and a merino/acrylic mix on the inside – is bulky.
These were thick enough to need all the adjustment backing right off in all the shoes I tried them with, and loose enough that they could essentially inflate if I pulled them on too quickly. It feels oddly like shoving your feet into balloons.
They seem pretty breathable, though I hardly suffer from sweaty feet at the best of times – things as cold as my toes usually have penguins on – and certainly not on winter rides in these. The length is good, though, and when dry they're pretty warm and comfortable.
I like the silicone grippers inside the cuffs, as they're very effective at keeping the socks up, and form a good seal against water running down your legs too. Sealskinz even prints the washing instructions beneath this clear layer in massive type – very considerate.
They can be washed at 40 degrees and even tumble dried, despite that membrane (just remember to empty the water out first...), and the construction overall feels rugged.
You'd probably hope so too, given the £40 price. Obviously, they're not your average socks, but that's £13 more than the Showers Pass Lightweight Waterproof Socks at £27.
Sealskinz' own Waterproof All Weather Mid Length Socks are £35 and, assuming they have less outer insulation to sponge up water, might actually work better.
Overall, these Waterproof Cold Weather socks are well made, totally waterproof and – when dry – warm. Unfortunately, they're a bit loose and bulky to work that well for road cycling, and the winterishly thick outer really holds water. Unless you're wading through puddles or pedalling through fords, ultimately they only slightly reduce, rather than solve, the problem of water-cooled feet.
Totally waterproof and fairly warm in the dry, but bulky and the outer sponges up cold water
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Sealskinz Waterproof Cold Weather Mid Length Sock
Size tested: Large
Tell us what the product is for
Sealzkinz says: "We took our original waterproof sock and beefed it up to take on both the cold and rain. Wet feet can lead to all sorts of not-so-good things outdoors, including numbness, blisters, and frostbite. Our Waterproof Cold Weather Mids will keep you dry and warm in leaky waders, through stream crossings, and in rain, snow, and mud."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
* Outer Layer - 90% Nylon, 10% Elastane
* Middle Layer - 100% Hydrophilic Membrane
* Inner Layer - 35% Merino Wool, 35% Acrylic, 23% Polyester, 3.5% Nylon, 3.5% Elastane
The size is good and the cuff stays up, but they feel a little bulky and baggy.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Just like regular socks, and can take 40°.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Totally waterproof and reasonably warm.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Outer gets very soggy, affecting warmth.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The Showers Pass Lightweight Waterproof Socks are cheaper at £27, as are Sealskinz' own Waterproof All Weather Mid Length Socks, at £35.
Did you enjoy using the product? Sort of.
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Potentially
Use this box to explain your overall score
These are completely waterproof and reasonably warm when dry, and could well make a big difference if you're walking off-road at times. The silicone cuff is very secure and a good seal, too. For cycling, though, the fit would need to be slimmer and less bulky, and the outer fabric less keen to hold onto so much water – it affects warmth.
About the tester
I usually ride: Vitus Zenium SL VR Disc My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mtb,