Wet feet are not fun on a hike. SealSkinz, a British brand, makes socks to keep your feet dry.
The company’s namesake socks are waterproof. They use a thin membrane sandwiched between two fabric types. The polyurethane membrane, which is thinner than paper, is waterproof but air-permeable — microscopic pores let the foot breathe.
I tested the company’s pragmatically named Thick Mid Length Sock this month. They are indeed thick, and they reach mid-height on the calf. They cost $55, which is upper-crust in the sock world.
In the hand, the Thick Mids feel like normal hiking socks, though, well, thicker. They are also less pliable than normal socks — you can tell there’s a waterproof layer inside.
On the foot, the socks are a little stiffer than I like. They do not “hug” all the contours of the foot like the socks I prefer, but they do have some stretch and fit OK.
Despite the somewhat “baggy” fit, I had no real issues in use. Over a few hikes — including one trek in deep snow for 5 miles — I never got so much as a hot spot.
The touted waterproofness works. After my long, snowy hike (where ice and snow clogged inside my boots) my feet were dry. I took off the SealSkinz socks in the car at the trailhead to double check — no moisture was on my skin, despite my boots being soaked.
During that long post-holing misadventure with a fellow GearJunkie editor (photo above), my feet stayed dry while his were fully soaked at the end. We both wore standard height socks, boots, and no gaiters.
The exterior fabric on the SealSkinz sock can soak in water. This increases the sock weight a little and makes them slightly squishy if really wet. But I found the Thick Mids to be warm and highly functional.
Hold them underwater and the inside stays dry. I gave the socks a “faucet test” as well as the real world trials.
I’ve only tested them for a few hikes — maybe 25 total miles. Time will tell how the membrane holds up to use and abuse, but so far they remain watertight.
For anyone who needs dry feet outside, SealSkinz socks are a solid option. —Stephen Regenold