Happy Feet

Happy Feet

A couple of months ago I reviewed the Seal Skinz MTB Thin Mid with Hydrostop socks. They kept water out the way a balloon keeps the air in. Crazy effective. At the end of a sloshy five-hour ride, the only moisture inside the sock was that which I had generated. I even learned that I could even take one, maybe two full dunks of my leg to knee depth without water running into the sock. Walking across a thigh-deep creek was a different matter, however.

But the issue I had with the MTB Mid-Thin was that it was, despite its name, thicker than some politicians. Despite loosening my shoes as much as I was able, on any ride longer than two hours I was going to lose feeling—and circulation—in my feet.

That was, as we like to say, not ideal. But let us also recall that I have feet that are largely indistinguishable from potatoes. They are short, wide and thick. Please don’t cook them, though. Those of you with narrow or low-volume feet are much less likely to have the experience I did.

Then my contact with Seal Skinz took pity on me and said, “Wait! We have other socks!” Indeed they did and do.

Since then, I’ve been riding with the Road Thin Mid with Hydrostop any time I need to stop said hydro. This sock is a noticeably thinner than the MTB sock and while wearing them still required me to loosen my shoes relative to normal socks, they were usable on long days without turning my feet white from lack of circulation. They are probably 20 to 25 percent thicker than my thickest wool socks.

While I haven’t gone tromping through any streams or wheel-swallowing potholes, I’ve ridden in five hours of rain while wearing these. So long as I nailed my lace tension (I’ve worn these most often with Giro Empires) my feet remained comfortable. They became so key to my comfort on repeated days of 50-degree temperatures and rain while I was in Japan that I took to drying them in my room each night. This is definitely a cooler weather sock. I felt comfortable in these in the 50s and 60s, and expect they would be good down to the 40s, but I’m not sure I’d take them to freezing. Similarly, they may be a bit much for a day in the 70s, even if it was raining biblically.

Whereas the MTB version of this sock goes for $48, these are a bit more at $55. Even if the only difference is the improvement in fit, they are worth it. They are remarkably durable; I can’t imagine too may socks that would have tolerated five consecutive days of rain riding and still been serviceable afterward.

Like the other sock, it features a two-layer construction with a waterproof and yet breathable membrane sandwiched between the two layers. The outer layer is 93 percent nylon with 7 percent elastane for stretch. The inner layer is a blend of Merino wool, acrylic and polyester, making it both warm and comfortable. Compared to other waterproof products I’ve used these socks are a good deal stretchier, but only up to a point. They come in four sizes, S-XL, and Seal Skinz includes a terrific sizing guide on their web site that provides an accurate guide.

Final thought: It’s easier to tell if your foot is dry if you haven’t cut off your circulation.

 

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2 comments

  1. TomInAlbany

    On the road, would you rather these or Velotoes? Is there a more ideal operating range with the two? Perhaps, the possibility of a tear in the latex is a problem?


    1. Author
      Padraig

      It really depends on the circumstance. For one long wet day on the road, I’d probably go with Velotoze. But for a day-after-day tour, the socks are king. If I was going to deal with something insanely wet, and cold, I’d use both.

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