- 1 What is Important When Buying Waterproof Socks
- 2 1: Dexshell Hytherm Pro Waterproof Socks
- 3 2: Hanz All-Season Mid-Calf Waterproof Socks
- 4 3: SealSkinz Waterproof Trekking Thick Mid Socks
- 5 4: SealSkinz Hiking Mid Socks
- 6 5: DexShell Ultralite Bamboo Waterproof Socks
- 7 Waterproof or Water-Resistant Socks?
- 8 Are Waterproof Socks Any Good?
- 9 What Material is Used to Make Waterproof Socks?
- 10 How Long Should Waterproof Socks Last?
- 11 I have Waterproof Shoes, do I need Waterproof Socks?
- 12 What does Waterproof Rating on Socks Mean?
- 13 My Personal Choice
Not many people would argue with the fact that your feet are the most important part of your body to take into consideration when hiking – only the best hiking socks will do.
If you want the best waterproof sock I recommend SealSkinz Waterproof Trekking socks.
Having the proper footwear is highlighted as a priority in many different articles, but it’s often ignored what type of socks you should wear or why they can make your hiking trip great or terrible.
Even if you’re hiking in summer, it might rain for a couple of hours, or you might have to cross a little stream – who knows what might happen? Isn’t that the whole point of hiking? Embrace the unexpected, but if you want to learn from my past experiences, be prepared for everything. That obviously includes your hiking socks.
You might be crossing the bridge over the River Oja (if you’re doing Camino Frances) or any other hiking trail, the reality is that you’ll want to have the possibility of changing into waterproof socks if the need arises.
If you’re an experienced hiker, you know that having your feet damp is not ideal when you’re counting on going for hours. It’s uncomfortable and it can cause blisters and sometimes, not even the top-notch hiking boots can save you…or your feet.
I’ll show you the best waterproof socks below and compare them for you, so you can make an informed decision. Everyone looks for different things and hiking trips can be quite distinct, therefore take your time to make the best decision for your particular case.
What is Important When Buying Waterproof Socks
When choosing the right pair of waterproof socks for you and your hiking trip, there are a few things you should consider. However, this type of socks’ common feature is, just as the name says, the ability to keep water from going inside – no one likes wet feet when hiking all day. To make the right decision, you need to look at socks which have a high hydrostatic head. This is what measures the waterproofness of your socks. Because of this outer layer, which is often made of nylon, you want something comfortable as an inner layer, so go for merino wool or bamboo as the material used on the inside of your sock for extra comfort and warmth. In between of these two layers, you’ll find a membrane, which will transport perspiration to the outside, keeping your feet dry and less prone to blisters.
They won’t be as breathable as your normal hiking socks, therefore you might not want to choose them for all types of outdoor activities, but they are great if you’re going paddling, kayaking, cycling, fishing, skiing or even if you work outdoors and use water often.
All the waterproof socks being reviewed are good:
1: Dexshell Hytherm Pro Waterproof Socks
These are considered one of the best in the market. Many other articles name them the best out there and these are the main reasons why: besides being waterproof, they’re also windproof with a 20% nylon outer layer; they utilize merino wool to keep you warm when it’s cold but they also help release moisture when it’s hot; a porelle membrane to prevent the water from passing through; they offer great comfort with a cushioned footbed; they’re mid-calf length and you can handwash them or throw them in the machine. The price is also really interesting, staying around $45, which is considered average for this type of sock.
Key Features – good price point, warmth and durability
2: Hanz All-Season Mid-Calf Waterproof Socks
The Hanz All Season socks are also mid-calf, they are made of a combination of nylon and lycra spandex on the outside layer, a waterproof moisture vapor transpiration middle layer to allow perspiration to escape, remaining waterproof, the inside layer makes them flexible and they’re suitable for any season, as the name suggests.
Key Features – Flexible but snug, all-season, comfort
3: SealSkinz Waterproof Trekking Thick Mid Socks
The SealSkinz Waterproof Trekking Thick Mid Socks have a thick merino wool interior to keep you warm and absorb odors but they’re also elasticated at the ankle and instep to give your foot additional support when hiking in rough terrains. They are also padded at the heels, toes and footbed, which absorbs shock and also prevents blisters.
Key Features – Breathable, windproof, ideal for cold temperatures and Y-gore heel
4: SealSkinz Hiking Mid Socks
These ones, from the same brand as the previous ones, are quite similar to their sisters. They’re a mid-weight sock, also utilizing Merino wool lining on the inside, with an elasticated ankle and instep and with the same hydrophilic membrane for both waterproofness and breathability.
Key Features – Good support, comfortable, ideal for cold temperatures
5: DexShell Ultralite Bamboo Waterproof Socks
The DexShell Ultralite Bamboo Waterproof Socks are an interesting option in between these 5 because they utilize bamboo in the inner layer. They also add 30% Nylon to the 70% bamboo, which can be an important element to consider if you’re thinking about the environment. They are ankle length and lightweight. If you’re looking for a sock that replaces your waterproof trousers, then this one might not be the right choice for you. They’re also seamless, offering great comfort and they can be used for any outdoor activity.
Key Features – lightweight, environmentally-friendly, high comfort
Waterproof or Water-Resistant Socks?
Two very different concepts. Waterproof is, according to the dictionary, “impervious to water”, whereas water-resistant is “treated with a finish that is resistant but not impervious to penetration by water”, meaning that it’s able to resist the penetration of water to some extent, but not completely. So, when we’re talking about waterproof socks, we’re saying that no water will be able to penetrate that waterproof membrane, which is what you want. Water-resistant pieces of clothing are good but imagine dipping one in a puddle of water; I’m sure it would be soaked. They work with light rain may be but are not the same as waterproof.
Recommended read: Best hiking socks
Are Waterproof Socks Any Good?
Yes, they are. They might be slightly bulky because of the 3 layers, but they work. They look and feel like any other of your walking socks with the added membrane. I also believe that the 3 layers helps with blisters because it keeps your feet dry and it absorbs movement between your skin and the shoe you’re wearing, further reducing the possibility of blisters. Some also come with added padding on your heel, which you probably know, is great for increased comfort.
What Material is Used to Make Waterproof Socks?
They can be made of a few different materials, but the most typical used ones are merino wool for the inner layer as it’s great for colder temperatures, the membrane often utilized is hydrophilic nonporous PU, which helps to make the sock a little less stiff and, of course, the waterproof outer layer. Bamboo or other comfortable material is also used sometimes for the inner layer and they also work great. What’s important to remember is that you find a good balance between the waterproofness of the sock and the breathability – and both can be measured; look for the higher numbers in MVTR and hydrostatic head.
Read: Best hiking shoes
How Long Should Waterproof Socks Last?
They should last just as long as any of your other quality walking socks, maybe even longer due to the materials used. How long is that exactly depends on how often you wear them. From experience, I’d say several years, but again, it depends if you’re using them once a year for a few days or once a month. Just like any other piece of clothing, if you take care of them right and follow the washing instructions, they’ll last you a long time.
Can Waterproof socks be as breathable and wicking as regular hiking socks?
Technically, no. Because of the 3-layer system, making them as breathable as your regular hiking socks makes it harder, however, the new advancements in technology have shown that you still get enough moisture out to keep your feet dry. Choose the correct socks for each season and you’ll find them just as good.
I have Waterproof Shoes, do I need Waterproof Socks?
The simplest answer is yes. Even with the best pair of waterproof boots, you still want a pair of waterproof socks, depending on the activity you’re doing. If it’s raining, there’s always a possibility of droplets of water running down the top of your shoe and going into your socks. And then, there’s not much you can do about it because you need to finish your hike or activity and you might have an extra pair of socks in your bag, but won’t the same happen again? Better to be safe than sorry! It might be an investment, but as I mentioned earlier, they do last for a good amount of time.
What does Waterproof Rating on Socks Mean?
This rating basically means how high the hydrostatic head number is. This is what shows us how waterproof a fabric is and is measured in millimeters. 10.000 millimetres is a good start when looking for your socks. Even though it won’t stand heavy rains and will eventually leak, with the added waterproof shoes, you should be good. Keep in mind that it’s important to reapply Durable Water Resistant to your waterproof items from time to time as this helps to repel the water and to keep them waterproof.
My Personal Choice
My favorite has to be the SealSkinz Waterproof Trekking Thick Mid Socks due to its warmth, waterproofness, outer layer, and comfort. These are the aspects that most matter to me when hiking for several days. Indeed, you might be looking for something a little more specific and adequate to the activity, so just keep in mind the most important keywords when thinking of buying the best waterproof socks: 3-layers system, hydrophilic membrane, moisture control and merino wool/bamboo inner layer.
Everything has got a price and if you’re willing to pay more for your waterproof socks, you will get something of better quality. It all comes down to what sport you’re doing and for how long you’ll do it.