SEVEN DAY CYCLIST
CYCLING, BUT NOT USUALLY RACING
LATEST UPDATE: MARCH 18th
360 Dry Waterproof Merino High Calf Breathable Socks
125g (Large as tested) £29.99
The 360 Dry Waterproof Merino High Calf Breathable Socks aren’t cycling specific but, in my experience, play very nicely with broader gravel, touring and mtb booties. The merino/terry fabrics are very tactile and unlike some, the waterproof membrane is extremely effective but hasn’t turned clammy over longer periods, even in milder temperatures. My only gripe is they must be hand, not machine washed-which could be a deal-breaker for some.
Pros: Temperate, supportive and comfortable, highly waterproof and breathable, competitively priced.
Cons: handwash only, single colour.
360 Dry describe these as the “ultra-runner’s choice”. The perfect choice for “long distance running or walking, and for those whose occupation keeps them outside”. The outer sock is an 80% Nylon, 20% mix for durability, the inner 90% Merino wool, 8% Polyester and 2% Spandex. In common with similar designs, the membrane sandwiched between the two.
However, though apparent, this is much less obvious than others in my collection. It’s made from hydrophilic polyurethane with a waterproof rating of at least 25,000mm - to ISO standard 811, a higher specification than typical of this genre and goes a long way to explaining their superior performance.
In terms of height, our large were (29cm) which extends the service life of ¾ length bib knickers well into winter. Ours have been tested in temperatures between 5 and 18 degrees on and off road.
In common with competitor brands, sizing is reliable in the buy online sense-I’m a 43/44 in street shoes and the 365dry were absolutely bang on. Small (4-7), Medium (8-10) and Large (11-14) are the options and arguably cover most bases. In terms of footwear, I’m pleased to report they’re compatible with gravel and mountain bike shoes/booties. Shimano MT701 GTX SPD Shoes , FLR Rexton Active Touring/Trail Shoe, their Defender MTB Thermal Dry S-Tex cousins being prime examples. However, the 360 Dry proved a tad too tight for sportier touring/Audax models, such as my long serving Quoc Pham and Shimano (model).
Ours arrived during a generally temperate but changeable late Spring. Though most of this genre now perform very well in varying temperatures and don’t feel clammy when temperatures creep into the mid-teens, 360 Dry’s membrane and Merino components seem a better tag-team than most, maintaining a refreshingly arid inner climate. Waterlogged roads and mesh panels are perfect combinations of soggy feet.
I’ve ridden for several hours in these contexts, wearing the Shimano MT701 GTX and returned with completely arid feet-even with a saturated, squelchy footbed. This theme continued when Ursula and I went off road and I’ve submerged them to the water repelling membrane’s height. I could feel cold, boggy stuff outside, but nothing crept in.
Little surprise given the membrane’s specification but reassuring, nonetheless. Not that we’d advocate such, but I’ve worn ours for successive days and in synthetic uppers. No hint of funk, let alone the wallpaper stripping type, which bodes very well for weekend touring and bikepacking antics. I am also vulnerable to athlete’s foot and similar nasties and am pleased to report there’s been no hint of the dreaded itchy rash.
When temperatures plummeted to 4 degrees, they’ve also retained welcome warmth and reinforcement heel and toe box areas deliver the right kind of padding and support. The sort that’s particularly welcome when shouldering cyclo cross bikes through more challenging contexts. This applies equally well on long walks, wearing trail boots. No hint of numbness, tingling or blistering.
Back on the bike, no issues with bunching or gathering and the elastics hold everything in situ without unsightly branding or nagging discomfort. Again, I’ve ridden the fixed for extended periods, turning a high cadence and they’ve not budged.
For the most part, the 360 Dry High Calf Sock are easy to live with, albeit lacking the outright convenience of machine washable models. In several months and 1500miles or so, there’s no obvious signs of wear. To my shame (and initial horror) ours have done two Tours De Samsung and appeared completely unscathed.
Accidents aside, they’re easily washed by hand in warm water and soapflakes-just remember to rinse thoroughly. In common with Steve, I also found they took a while to dry -7 0 minutes on the line with a decent breeze and at 18 degrees. Double that, indoors on the clothes horse.
£29.99 is typical of this genre and you can pay a good bit more. The Gecko Calf Length Waterproof Socks remain a firm favourite of mine and perform well. However, though still very practical in the everyday sense, their waterproof rating is 8,000mm, while the 360 dry and Seal Skinz Waterproof All Weather Mid Length Sock are 20,000, which does have some palpable benefits when it’s raining dogs, or feet are submerged for longer periods. The Bridgedale Stormsocks are another multi discipline model that impressed us but at £38, they’re a good bit steeper than those discussed. Those seeking something more cycling specific and not requiring the same degree of weatherproofing may find Dexshell Pro Visibility Cycling Socks a better fit at £25.
Verdict: 3.75/5 Practical socks with superior comfort but cannot be machine washed and consider shoe compatibility first.
PUBLISHED FEBRUARY 2023
BUILDER OF STEEL CYCLE FRAMES
Ryton On Dunsmore
Coventry CV8 3FH