Muddymoles: Mountain biking (MTB) in the Surrey Hills and Mole ValleyMuddymoles: Mountain biking (MTB) in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

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Sealskinz knee length waterproof socks review

Posted by Matt | January 6, 2021 | 8 comments so far

Mud on the Drovers Road
Well, here’s a review I never thought I’d write about knee length waterproof socks. Except, here I am…

As a brand Sealskinz have a long established reputation for waterproof socks and I’ve had pairs in the past. They also make gloves but I swore off the brand many years ago after a pair of their gloves fell apart after approximately five minutes of use.

That was one of their early efforts, probably at least twelve years ago, but it was enough for me to say ‘never again’.

What changed my mind?

A couple of things conspired to change my mind. First, Lloyd has been sporting the knee length socks for a couple of winters now and if I think back, I recall D’Andy was an afficionado too. Worn with shorts, they are dangerously close to foppish but they clearly did the job they needed to.

Second, we’ve become accustomed to wearing winter trousers to ward off the worst of the mud and slop that we have to contend with over winter months. And spring. And autumn. Sometimes summer…

Coupled with winter boots, long MTB trousers has been the single biggest improvement in riding comfort over past years.

The downside is, most winter trousers lose their DWR treatment pretty rapidly and it’s not terribly effective in the first place. I have a pair of Endura Singletrack winter trousers and while their durability isn’t in question, they wet through almost immediately when there’s slop about.

Cold and dry? Perfect. Cold and wet? Ugh, yuck. You are soon left with cold, wet shins.

Which is where the Sealskinz knee length waterproof socks come in.

I reasoned if the socks worked well enough without the long trousers, then using long socks under my winter Singletrack trousers might solve the problems I was getting with wet shins. And that has quickly proved to be the case.

I can now ride out in the grimmest conditions with warm dry shins and when I get back it’s easy to hose off the trousers and step out of them, my modesty – such as it is – maintained by my bib shorts and knee length socks underneath. Seriously it has made such a difference to my comfort.

Sealskinz knee length waterproof socks

What are the Sealskinz knee high waterproof socks like?

The Sealskinz waterproof socks are a little different to previous incarnations.

That they come up to the knee is one thing, but they are not restrictive to get on and off as before. It used to be that Sealskinz socks were pretty inflexible around the ankle, making getting them on and off a bit of a hassle.

The knee high socks I have are the opposite if anything, with a relatively loose fit. They are held up by soft stretchy fabric at the top near the knee which I hope won’t lose grip over time as that’s the bit doing all the support work. They don’t slip down in use, which bodes well for the future.

The rest of the sock is more of a loose tube on my size 9/10 UK feet, which equates to size L in Sealskinz-speak but I would say the actual footbed is not terribly long. I have narrow ankles and the fabric is somewhat loose – if you have fat ankles (!) or wide feet you will be fine!

As for warmth, I find these are middling when you get down to around 0-2°C temperatures. My feet seem to get cold after an hour or so; but that was happening with my ever dependable thick merino socks, so it’s possible my winter boots are deteriorating after 4 to 5 seasons of use.

The Sealskinz socks are lined with merino wool and never feel clammy as they might have done in the past. They are a nice place to be but if a lot of walking is involved I’d be worried about the looser material rubbing.

Overall, I would say the idea of using long socks under winter trousers works well. The trousers can focus on providing a practical shield against the muck, while the socks can focus on keeping your lower legs and feet dry. I’ve been really pleased with this approach so far.

Filed under Clothing, Reviews in January 2021

Matt

About the author

Matt is one of the founding Molefathers of the Muddymoles, and is the designer and main administrator of the website.

Having ridden a 2007 Orange Five for many years then a 2016 YT Industries Jeffsy 29er, he now rocks a Bird Aether 9 and a Bird Zero AM Boost.

An early On-One Inbred still lurks in the back of the stable as a reminder of how things have moved on. You can even find him on road bikes - currently a 2019 Cannondale Topstone 105 SE, a much-used 2011 Specialized Secteur and very niche belt drive Trek District 1.

If you've ever wondered how we got into mountain biking and how the MuddyMoles started, well wonder no more.

There are 8 comments on ‘Sealskinz knee length waterproof socks review’

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  1. Tony says:

    Hi Matt. I’ve got to say that I’m now riding with the Dexshell Knee length waterproof socks and (currently – it’s a bit chilly out there!) Specialized Defroster boots + waterproof trousers. It’s a great combo for warm and dry rides. In fact I don’t think that I’ve had wet feet all winter. Superb. Although I do also add some thin POC knee pads which both keep the trousers off the shins and help when I fall off in the winter slop.

    Of course Lloyd wears knee length socks since there are no trousers long enough for him!

  2. Lloyd says:

    As noted I have been wearing sealskins for many years. Short thin waterproof for summer, thick long ones for winter and I have a pair of mid mid ones which actually don’t seem to suit anything! Mine fit perfectly snugly in all areas and have been highly effective and very durable. Keep you warm down to around 5 c, below that I use the disposable foot warmers ( slim and sit neatly above toes) and no more cold feet. Elliot’s neoprene gripgrab gaiters over the cuffs of the boots means no more splashes or other ingress of water now. Just hose the muck off when I get home and pop them in normal wash – never lost their waterproof ness or stretch/fit.

  3. Elliot says:

    I was looking at these for Christmas, but ultimately wasn’t quite ready to spend 40 squid on socks. Maybe if I look again in the summer prices will have calmed down for the size and colour I want.

    My slightly different approach of properly waterproof trousers combined with plain old ski socks delivers many of the same benefits. Which reminds me I’ve still got a second brand new pair in waiting since it was a two pack…

    For warmth I find 2 pairs of socks helps if they fit easily. But if that’s a squeeze it might make things worse. More layers the better!

  4. stevend says:

    I cannot remember the last time I wore my sealskinz socks and the only time I have got wet feet since is riding through deep Welsh streams pretending to be rivers. My winter goto is Woollie Boollie socks, XC Ski trousers from Decathlon (warm and not waterproof per se but I have only got wet legs once when wearing them) and trekking boots (which work well with my Burgtec flats). So I am going with knee length socks are a fashion statement. 😀

  5. StevenD says:

    My XC Ski Trousers have a hook in the bottom that you attach to your boot laces which are very effective is keeping your ankles (and hence feet) warm and dry.

    • Matt says:

      Hi Steven, your winter sock and trouser solution is unique to you but you know your locale best and if it works for you then great!

      Here in the Slurrey Hills we face alternately deep wet slop and puddles, or when it starts to dry the dreaded BGM™ (Bastard Glue Mud) as I think Karlos once described it.

      The name has stuck, along with the mud!

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