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Gear Review: SEALSKINZ

Gear Review: SEALSKINZ


Price £35


My stomping ground is West Sussex; a county with a disproportionate amount of mud. When it rains it gets very wet underfoot and footpaths don’t tend to dry out very easily. I have tried various different makes and brands of walking boot and can categorically say that no walking boot I have ever tried is completely waterproof.

Looking for footwear that’s totally waterproof? There’s no such thing

What about wellies, I hear you cry! Well, I’ve tried wearing them but they are uncomfortable on a long walk and don’t always have the flexibility needed to navigate footpaths safely. I prefer walking boots and I do try to look after them carefully. I clean them inside and out, and re-waterproof them regularly, using good quality products. This regime does work up to a point but not if you are out on a long walk and repeatedly encountering wet grass, puddles, or mud. Under these circumstances most boots will eventually get saturated, and if they don’t, you’re likely to find you have damp socks anyway.

There is a fine balance between water resistance and breathability

Most boots designed for walking are to some extent breathable. This means they allow any moisture building up inside the boot to escape. Problems tend to start when the outside of your boot has also got very wet. Once the outside is saturated, the water resistance and breathability mechanisms just seem to stop working, and soon after this, you can end up with very wet feet.

Waterproof socks can help

There are a number of things you can do (see my post about foot care when walking) but if you know you’re heading out into some very wet areas and you’re going to be out for a few hours, you could really benefit from getting some waterproof socks.

Sealskinz is a premium brand so these socks are an investment but in my view they are worth it. I was worried they would be uncomfortable to wear and might rub or cause blisters but although they have a rather odd feel to them, they are perfectly comfortable.

I was surprised by how breathable they were too. My feet tend to get very hot when I’m walking and I was pretty sure waterproof socks wouldn’t allow moisture to escape – but they do. In fact, at the end of a walk they are less damp (on the inside) than many of my other walking socks.

Follow your favourite footpaths and wear your favourite boots without worrying about wet feet

I’ve worn these socks on a number of full day hikes this winter and I am definitely a convert. When I’m wearing them, I don’t have to worry about navigating around puddles or mud. I can just stride right through. I can also choose to wear any pair of boots I fancy. Gone are the days when I used to shy away from wearing my fabric boots in wet conditions. I no longer have to restrict myself to heavier leather boots when it’s wet and I can switch between any of my boots if I’m out several wet days in a row.

I have to admit that I really rate these socks. I can’t see that I’d need more than one pair so I’m OK with the price – especially as they work so well. Size wise, they are generous, probably because they are gender neutral. I am shoe size 6 (UK) and I ordered a medium and could probably have gone down to a small but actually like the fact they are not a completely snug fit. They wash well too, and so far I’ve not managed to snag them on brambles, fence posts or barbed wire.

Last word...

If you don’t like letting the rain or mud keep you away from your favourite footpaths. My advice is to stop the quest for waterproof boots, and just go for waterproof socks instead.

Michele’s Scores:

Water resistance 10/10

Comfort 9/10

Breathability 8/10

Durability 10/10