The wet season is a bane for all cyclists. In the Philippines, the rainy season lasts for about 5 months (June-October) and typhoons can get really strong. Another problem is the prominence floods in the metro.
Since 2013, ive tried all sorts of rain gear, ponchos, jackets etc. But I couldn’t find a solution to wet feet. Getting your feet wet isn’t just uncomfortable (I just hate the feel of soggy socks) but wading in flood water increases the risk of waterborne diseases.
I’ve learned about waterproof socks early this year and was able to get some and test them over the course of a month. From lights showers to torrential rains, here’s my take on 4 brands-Antu, Dex Shell, Seal Skinz and Showers Pass.
If you choose waterproof socks, there are several considerations:
Waterproofing-how long can the insides of the sock stay dry?
Breathability-Can it wick sweat and stay cool while pedaling?
Price and Availability- Which is best for my budget and are they available locally?
For this review, I did two tests:
The soak test:
Simulating similar conditions while cycling, ive placed each sock in a small container filled with water-around 500ml and let it sit there for 1 hour (average time of my bike commute/leisure rides)
The field test:
Ive done a range of rides over the month using each in varying conditions (light showers and heavy rain) between 2-5 hours. Using cycling sandals to allow exposure as well as easy draining of water, these socks were exposed to varying weather to simulate conditions on a tour or longer ride.
Antu (Php 1350, locally available at M Paps cycling house- https://www.facebook.com/mpapscyclehaus/?timeline_context_item_type=intro_card_work&timeline_context_item_source=1135239754&fref=tag)
The Australian brand, Antu (https://antu.com.au/) is a three layer sock made of nylon and breathable fabric assuring you that water won’t get in but you remain cool inside . Among all the socks tested, this feels like a regular sock despite its layered construction. Sizing is exact (I have a medium for my size 42 shoes)
It performed well in the soak and field test as no water came in but it did feel damp suggesting that extended exposure may cause a leak.
The verdict: Among the ones tested, this is the best bang for your buck sock if you intend to go bike commuting or urban rides rides and can serve as a back-up while on tour.
Dex Shell (Php1250 available at Lagalag Store SM North Edsa-http://www.dexshell.com/)
I got these when I was about to get home from a meeting and realized that rain was about pour down. Getting my bike from the shop, I pedaled for an hour under heavy rain and encountered flooded parts down south. The Dex shell socks also has three layers that claim to repel water and wick sweat. While it did the job for my commute home, it was never the same after washing it. Apparently ,it lost its waterproofing quality and the soak test verifies this. As some reviews claim, this is the problem with the socks. While I was advised to hand wash them, the packaging and website suggest that these socks are machine washable which I did. But I suppose regardless of the method of washing, quality should be better.
The verdict: don’t even bother
Seal Skinz (Php 1500 available x7107 outdoor gears-https://www.facebook.com/Xplore7107/)
The UK brand Seal Skinz (https://www.sealskinz.com/) is claimed to be as one of the best out there but pricing has been quite high in the US. In fact, I was surprised that a store in the Philippines carried this at a lower price. Aside from the typical 3 layers, this had a silicon type material surrounding of the sock to prevent entry of water. Sizing is a bit odd as you need to size up (I’m using XL for this one)
For the soak test, this remained dry but during two test rides, I was a bit mixed about them.
For the first ride which was five hours, we encountered heavy rain and flooding at the middle of our journey and it ended up trapping water inside my feet. I suspect that the absence of rain pants was the culprit and the extended period of use saturated the socks’ limit in taking in water.
For the second ride which was shorter (about an hour), it held pretty much well despite the heavy rain and flooding. This time I was wearing rain pants preventing entry points for water.
The verdict: This may be a good choice if you’re commuting to work but you might need to search elsewhere if you want something on tour.
Showerpass cross point (34 USD available from online sellers in the US-https://www.showerspass.com/)
Claimed to be used for bikepacking ( see for a review of this one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oatYzLAti5E), this pair is quite snug fit (I use M/L). Testing suggests that this has characteristics for a bombproof sock due to the thick material and intricate weaving making sure that your feet are dry outside and inside. It performed well under the soak test and even several rides under varying weather conditions. While I happened to stand in flood water for a few minutes, the sock didn’t even feel damp or soggy. In addition, unlike the other three socks, this sets quite higher in the calf of your leg allowing greater protection from entry when passing by muddles or flood
Verdict: If you could source this, this is would be an ideal choice.
To conclude, while waterproof socks can help you get through your bike ride, I’ve learned that using a combination of other clothing (rain pants, overshoes) increases your chances of staying dry amidst extended periods of rain.
Note: this is an independent review and no sponsorship/financial support was given for the conduct of this review