132g Midweight Large Green (as tested) £38.00
Waterproof socks have moved on as fast as fabric technology and design. Venerable museum pieces from the nineties may have done the job, but often felt like you were putting your foot into a tube made of crisp packets.
So now we have a twenty-first century version from one of our leading manufacturers of outdoor socks – and there’s a lot to be said for it, too, with comfort and breathable technology to the fore. Bridgedale’s Stomsocks are not cycling specific, but with their Fusion Technology, will become part of my anti-ingress battery both on and off the bike.
Pros:Good, comfortable fit, effective, quick drying.
Cons: Nothing significant, but they aren’t cycling specific.
Stormsocks are not cycling specific, but are absolutely suitable for touring, gravel, off-roading and exploring sans bike. They come in three weights – heavy, mid, and light – offering options for season and climate. Ours was the mid-weight. The mid-weights also offer a choice of three lengths, knee, boot and ankle. Ours was the boot length, which reaches the lower part of the calf – imagine you’ve a hiking boot rather than a trail shoe. The design is unisex – but, in my case fortunately, the wife has smaller feet.
All come with three layers; merino inner, nylon outer, and a breathable membrane. Windproof, waterproof, and comfort should be the result. Durability should be greater on a bike than purely walking. However, wear is many miles away and a month-long test can’t really allow comment. Having said that, the nylon layer is designed to offer protection to the membrane.
Elasticity is woven in to all the layers, offering plenty of stretch for comfort and wiggle-room. The layers are bonded so there’s no hint of slide.
Our Large version covers sizes 9-11.5, but they are available for 3.5-5.5, 6-8.5, and 12+. Midweight options come in a choice of Black and Khaki.
I went for the large, which seem to fit my UK size nines (can be a 9.5 or even a 10 in some contexts) perfectly. Mind you, I did not expect the same snug fit as my nice merino favourites or my summer -sunshine cotton. After all, my feet re at the lower extreme of the sizing guide. So, larger feet, expect snugger fit. However, they are more than comfortable in a pair of trail shoes, as well as in cycling shoes (tested in Shimano MTB/Touring SPD shoes).
Despite the technical fabric, washing is relatively straightforward. 40C Wool cycle, either drip or tumble dry on low. That is it – don’t add anything extra, don’t ring, and don’t iron (never mind).
Its worth noting care instructions down as they aren’t attached to the socks. Understandable. Who wants a care label inside a tight cuff?
The fleecy feel of the inner makes these a tempting addition to wet weather cycling apparel, especially if you are out all day and the temperature is less than moderate. If push comes to shove when a damp ride beckons, I’ll generally go with an overshoe rather than a waterproof sock when only one is on offer. However, even the best over-shoes are vulnerable around the cleats. So, splashing in puddles in my favourite touring DPDs may have attracted attention of on-lookers, but failed to dampen my sole – of the feet that is. Shoe wet? Yes. Sock wet? On the outside. Inner? Dry as the proverbial bone.
For those engaged in off-bike antics – say a long off-road carry, or exploring a castle, there are obvious pluses here. No wear to an overshoe, better grip, and so forth. Even better the Stormsocks are comfortable to walk in. A mixed terrain ten-miler (OK, not a long hike, I know) left no chaffing and that old feeling of soft-boiled feet older neoprene models produced was avoided. Likewise, older Gore-tex style and similar socks, though lighter, felt like walking in toughened crisp packets. Not so the Stormsocks.
Breathability, has, so far proven to be very good. Nothing nasty has developed between the toes, and frankly, this is only likely to be an issue on long backwoods tours. Good socks don’t remove responsibility for personal hygiene, but the Stormsocks’ merino inner and breathable outer help make it easier.
Certainly, I’ve not got that clammy feeling on wet days with the temperature around 10C. Mind you, paired with Proviz Shoe-covers or similar, as well, toastiness has got close to burnt-toastiness. Still, many of us like to keep our extremities warm on long rides, so that’s not so much of a problem. Even less so on shorter rides and, in my experience, on cycle camping trips when getting dry and warm can be awkward.
Bridgedale point out that ingress at the top of the sock is possible, but, on the bike, I’ve not found this an issue – walking through wet undergrowth might be another matter. The cuff fits well, and on really nasty days is likely to be protected by longs or even waterproof leggings.
After damping the outer on a wet ride, air drying took an hour or so, but the inner remained comfy. From fully soaked in the washing machine you are looking at several hours, but that’s a very different matter.
If you like waterproof socks, then you’ll not do much better than these. Having said that, there are some well-known manufacturers of waterproof socks that are more cycling specific. If you are off-roading, touring, or spending significant time off the bike, or even mixing cycling and hiking – then Stormsocks might be for you. Pure roadie riders might look to something more cycling specific. Pricewise, on a par with similar products