I may have looked like a lost scuba diver today out on the Witshire downs but my feet were dry and warm.
The last few weekend outings on the hardtail with the Shimano SPDs and the Specialized Primo shoes have resulted in a cold feet. While the SealSkinz socks have kept my feet dry the sock and shoe has managed to hold plenty of cold water and this has meant my feet were encased for much of my ride in freezing water. This week I bought a few new Endura items to keep the cold at bay.
I decided to ditch the SealSkinz today and put my faith in the advice form my LBS (www.bertiemaffoons.com of Marlborough) and Endura. The BaaBaa Merino double thickness socks had already been put to use yesterday when I went to our local Christmas lights switching on and had to walk and stand around in the cold for a few hours. But a few hours on the bike was going to be the real test – and they stood up well to the task at hand.
As a rider who prefers to wear baggie shorts and flat shoes I won’t deny thinking I looked a bit silly with the overshoes on, but after a damp, cold ride today I am more than happy to wear them now knowing they serve a very good purpose. The combination kept my feet warm by keeping the freezing water away from my socks and shoes and insulating against the cold sub zero wind chill. The current trend is to have a one piece construction removing the weakness of velcro or zippers. This means they are a little more water tight but it is tough to stretch them over your shoes. It was all worth it though as once they were peeled off at the end of the ride (as you can see below) the shoes underneath were still dry. This was £28 well spent as it no only kept my feet warm and dry, it will also prolong the life of my shoes.
If you ride clipless (still don’t fully understand that term) then I would totally recommend you try overshoes for wet and wintery rides.
These socks divide people. Yes they are waterproof and yes they keep your feet warm. There’s nothing clever about what they do – its basically 2 socks with a plastic bag in between them, providing you with a sock look on the outside and a sock feel on the inside and a waterproof layer sandwiched in the middle. So what’s the problem? Well waterproof has to work both ways so if water gets in in stays in. This isn’t ideal and some people prefer to rely on shoes or over-shoes to keep the water at bay. Personally, I wear flat shoes mostly and over-shoes are not for flats.
Most flat shoes are designed for much drier weather and for downhill or free riding – they have lots of padding that soak up and retain water like sponge. This is just something we have to adjust to and waterproof SealSkinz socks are my way of keeping that water away from my feet.
Pull them up high enough and wear trousers or something else (leg/knee warmers) that cover the edge of the sock and the water stays out. Stay away from knee deep puddles and you should be ok. I find them warm and comfy and have only had one issue with water getting inside. I also have a shorter pair (ankle socks if you like) of SealSkinz that are great for wearing on early morning rides or after a rain storm. Your shoes will get wet in the grass but your feet stay dry, but without the added and perhaps unnecessary warmth of the longer socks.
I would recommend giving SealSkinz waterproof socks a try if you don’t like wet feet!