Sealskinz Hydrostop waterproof socks review | Winter Kit

By in Reviews

Product Full Name | Sealskinz mid-weight mid-length sock with Hydrostop

Retail Price | £37

Available From | Sealskinz

Essential cold weather waterproof socks

If you were bothered about getting wet and muddy you wouldn’t be much of a mountain biker, but with winters as filthy and wet as we have here in the UK, wearing decent kit to keep the elements at bay really does improve the experience.

Having cold feet isn’t a nice feeling, and other than buying very expensive Gore Tex cycling shoes or using roadie style overshoes, the best thing you can do is use waterproof socks. And Sealskinz quite simply own that market.

The Hydrostop is the latest Sealskinz waterproof sock – which has a grippy elasticated cuff to help seal them against your leg to help stop water running down your leg and filling up the sock.

Waterproof socks - Sealskinz mid length, mid weight Hydrostop

Yep, you can stand in puddles wearing a pair of socks and not get wet. Despite the outer fabric absorbing water, the membrane just doesn’t let anything through.

The Detail

Sealskinz waterproof socks look like normal socks at a glance, but are a three layer design using a waterproof and breathable membrane in the middle. The outside of the sock is made from Nylon and Elastane, and the lining is a mixed fabric with 35% Merino wool to help keep you warm.

The waterproof magic happens in the membrane layer – a stretchy, water proof membrane that is breathable to stop your feet getting too clammy. This layer is so waterproof you can turn the socks inside out and fill them with water – we left one hanging in a work stand overnight just out of interest, and nothing seeped through.

Waterproof socks - Sealskinz mid length, mid weight Hydrostop

Although you could make a waterproof sock more like a jacket – the fact that Sealskinz waterproof socks feel like socks is the key to the popularity. If you accept the fact they will get wet and the fabric will hold water – you will be warm and comfortable even when they do finally let water in through the top on the worst days.

As good as the concept of water proof socks is, the problem will always be water getting in to the sock from the top – when it runs down your leg. On previous socks we’ve used, the internal fabric gets wet and draws water in, until you have a puddle inside the sock. This would stay warm, and act like a wet suit – though it’s not ideal.

There are a few ways around this – use waterproof trousers; use the knee length sock with a 3/4 short or knee pads to cover the tops – or look at the new Hydrostop sock. This new Sealskinz waterproof sock has a rubbery elastic top that hugs your leg tightly, helping stop the water run in to the sock from the top.

Waterproof socks - Sealskinz mid length, mid weight Hydrostop

The Hydrostop seal does help keep the water running down your leg at bay, but on those days when it’s hammering down or you’re in water half way up your shins you’ll need to consider other options to stay 100% dry.

Out on the Trail

Getting wet at this time of year is pretty easy near to the Factory Jackson office – our trails are sodden so I’ve spent a lot of time wearing the Hydrostop sock.

Fit is similar to a chunky hiking sock – which can make your shoes feel a little snug. If this is an issue for you, Sealskinz offer thin socks too but they won’t be anywhere near as warm as these. The last pair of Sealskinz socks I used felt a little crispy, but the Hydrostop socks have an improved membrane which you really don’t notice once they’re on – they feel much more like conventional socks. My toes stayed warm even when I was completely soaked through – which is a problem for cycling in winter as your toes don’t move much when pedalling, so they can get painfully cold.

Waterproof socks - Sealskinz mid length, mid weight Hydrostop

Even when sodden on rides like this, you remain comfortable in the Sealskinz Hydrostop waterproof socks. For usual winter riding, they’d keep you warm and dry – which means you can ride longer and prat around more.

The overall fit and cut as socks are great – very warm and comfortable. And the new Hydrostop leg seal does make a big difference in general riding in winter conditions – I’ve been wearing them on a daily basis for my commute in the mostly wet days we’ve had the past few months and my feet have always remained dry.

But with the sheer amount of standing water on my local trails, I have ended up with wet feet a few times. I’m talking hub-deep puddle splashes and trails that have turned in to streams though – severe conditions. The socks are as water proof as they can be in their existing form and work really well, but when the cuff gets saturated water is still drawn in and eventually you get wet feet. As with previous models, your feet stay warm as a thin layer of water is held close to your foot.

Waterproof socks - Sealskinz mid length, mid weight Hydrostop

This winter has seemed one of the wettest we’ve had locally – wooded trails are largely out of bounds unless we want to carve huge ruts, and most joining trails like this one have huge puddles and standing water. Decent kit for winter riding really does make a difference – in this shot I’m wearing Gore Bike Powertrail waterproof jacket and shorts, and Gore Bike Windstopper gloves – which keep the worst of the rain off. The Sealskinz Hydrostop waterproof socks are a part of my riding wardrobe now.

We Say

Waterproof socks can be a godsend in foul weather, and the Sealskinz Hydrostop are some of the best available. They are very comfortable and keep your feet warm – but in truly wet weather you still get wet feet.

For me this is no problem. It’s about keeping warm and comfortable – and when they finally do let water in a layer is kept close to your feet which warms. They do take a long time to dry out though – as the fabric on in the side and outside needs to dry separately. 

If you ride in the worst conditions, I would recommend the knee length model with 3/4 or full length waterproofs.

What do you wear when heading in to the hills this time of year? 

Are you still wearing shorts or do you go for full length waterproofs?

Let us know below! 




In Reviews


You might also like...

Race Face Agent Winter Shorts Review

The Race Face Agent Winter short is made from waterproof and breathable material; is fully lined and has a useful gaiter system for keeping out the chill…

Why not try..?

Greg Illingworth – UK & Japan

Yes! If this doesn’t put a smile on your face, then something’s definitley wrong – Greg Illingworth shreds spots in both Japan and the UK with his signature speed and style. Watch! Comments comments

Red Bull: MacAskill’s Imaginate – Must Watch!!!

It’s here and prepare to be impressed! Red Bull, Danny and Cut Media have absolutely elevated things to a new level – “Two years in the making, street trials rider Danny MacAskill releases his brand […]