360Dry Blue Ankle Socks
62g Large £26.99
The 360Dry Blue Ankle Socks are designed to keep your feet dry, of course, but also to be comfortable, snugly, and a great fit for your feet. Waterproof socks have come a long way since the crinkly crisp packets older cyclists can remember being so revolutionary several decades ago, and these are no exception. Technological advance has been accompanied by weight-reduction, making waterproof socks less bulky and more effective. 360Dry offer three models, Merino, Black Ankle, and Blue Ankle. Ours, the latter, are described as being particularly popular with cyclists. After putting in the miles, I can see why.
Pros: very comfortable, reasonable price, do what they claim, genuinely multi-functional.
Cons: not cycling specific design, longer drying times than some.
Materials and Spec 3.75/5
Whilst it is worth noting that this in not designed specifically for cyclists, that will not necessarily deter. Many cyclists spend time off the bike and, many of us like the idea of socks that will suit for a walk – although I’ll personally give the game of golf 360Dry suggest a miss.
“Soft knit” fabric forms two-layers. The inner is a gentle 80% cotton and 20% spandex. The outer is 60% polyester and 40% cotton. Effectively, this forms a subtle stretchy inner inside a more robust outer.
Hems are elasticated.
The ankle socks are available in black or blue.
Testing time was in late spring and early summer: good in the UK for heavy downpours and plenty of surface water. Temperatures ranged between 5C and 18C. Rides were 20 mile commutes and some longer leisure rides. The socks have also been worn for dog-walking over wet pastures and meadows.
My feet are a nine or nine and a half, so I was lucky enough to sit smack in the middle of the medium range. There certainly seems sufficient stretch to cope with a size ten. Equally, there’s no bagginess to threaten the size eights. Frankly the fit is spot on. I’d be inclined to trust the sizing guide. Small UK 4-7, Medium UK 8-10, and Large UK 11-14.
As with most waterproof socks they are a bit bulky to fit nicely inside a traditional leather touring shoe, although they do improve the feel off the bike and when pushing hard through on ascents. Trainer type SPDs – my go too cycling footwear - have that bit of extra room and stretch, and make an ideal pairing. Likewise, the Chrome Storm 415 SPD Boots have been a good partner, especially as I often wear these when out and about in wet weather and have to spend a good deal of time off the bike. Having said that, other relatively skinny versions of the waterproof sock have done well in that context, too.
Comfort and breathability 3.75/5
Smooth stitching means no nasty ridges on or off the bike. As you’d expect, the double-layer of fabric makes for a cushion when off the bike or pressing hard into the pedals on ascents. Equally, that comfort seems to last over a whole day. Provided your shoes allow, there seems to be decent breathability. Certainly, wearing them for work as well as the commute has not caused unpleasantly sweaty feet by the time I’ve got home. Equally, they have only been tested to 23C max.
At the other end of the scale, they’ve felt comfortably warm at 6C. I get the feeling that I’d be supplementing these with overshoes when the temperature falls much lower. Inside the hiking boots, I’d have an extra pair of socks anyway.
There is no doubting that they are watertight – short of submersing your feet to above the sock top. Splashing through fords, major downpours, and wet roads have socked shoes, but not feet. Having said that, I’ve not been able to persuade similar socks from DexShells or SealSkinz to ship water either.
To be fair, this is not easy to comment on without much longer wear – I’d hope a lot longer wear. However, it should be noted that despite regular use on and off bike, there is not the slightest sign of fraying threads or scuffed fabric.
The label warns of “failure” should you bung these in the washing machine. Hand wash only and drip dry on a line and do not hang on the radiator. Alright, I’m inclined to be cautious with technical fabrics when it comes to washing and drying. Even so, 360Dry are unusually forthright.
Hand-washed and wrung out. The socks needed six hours in the sun – granted it was a still day – an hour or so less in the wind. Remember to turn inside out, too; you need to ensure water is drained. That length of time is not untypical for drip drying technical multi-layer socks, in my experience. Too long for overnight drying on a multi-day tour, especially in a tent, and no risk-free way of speeding things up in hostel or hotel. Of course, that is less of an issue for the day-rider.
I’ve tended to use liquid technical soap or pure soap flakes. Put the emphasis on ‘little’; after all you are hand-rinsing as well as hand-washing. The good news is that the hands that wash socks seem to have no negative effect on weave or stitching.
Drying out after a socking is an equally lengthy job – on the bike or on the line. In fairness, this is not untypical, in my experience of wet waterproof socks.
These are multi-function socks, as opposed to a cycling specific design. They feel less bulky than some, for example the Bridgedale Stormsock Ankle Socks, and are a few pounds cheaper. At a similar price are the DexShell Pro Visibility Cycling Socks, which may be a better choice if you are spending all your time on the bike, as opposed to leisure rider, tourists, and commuters.
The 360Dry Ankle Socks are a good choice for those looking for a multi-function waterproof sock for spring, summer, and autumn. I don’t mention winter, simply because I have not had the chance to try it out below 5C. To be honest, I’d be adding overshoes or buying thermal bootees, when cycling when the temperature drops much below that.