DEXSHELL ULTRA-THIN BAMBOO SOCKS
68g £22 (3 month test)
DexShell Ultra-thin Bamboo Socks are reckoned to be the thinnest waterproof model on the market. They’re certainly the most unobtrusive of the breed, I’ve used to date and meet their design brief incredibly well. Complimenting, rather than spoiling the snug fit, of racier cycling footwear, they also make easy transition to other sports.
Pros: Do exactly what they say in the blurb, with minimal compromise.
Cons: Breathability is good, though might be a bit too insulated for warm, wet summers/climates.
The outer layer comprises of 75% Modal, 21% nylon, 3% elastane and 1% elastics. The inner; 70% bamboo Rayon, 30% nylon. The membrane is Porelle. As impervious, lined garments go, this doesn’t feel synthetic, or bag-like.
Science-wise, these work to the same basic principles as everyone else’s. The outer layer blocks wind and rain, while the bamboo and rayon lining traffic sweat and internal moisture, from the skin. Theoretically, the perfect balance of temperate, weather cheating prowess, without risking athlete’s foot, or more serious fungal infection.
Padding around the toe box and heel areas is minimal, compared with this genre and modern cycling fare, such as Smartwool PHD Outdoor Light Crew Socks.
Ours were large (43-46) absolutely bang-on for my size 43/44 feet and the fabric has a reasonable amount of give. Cuff length is loftier than “race rag” typical; hovering around the calf line. Perfect with tights and without looking silly with shorts. Some may find them a little on the low-side, with 3/4lengths, especially when temperatures tumble, but I’ve not suffered.
I’ve alternated between winter/touring shoes, race slippers and my beloved Lake winter booties. Fit and comfort have been uniformly good. No problems with bunching, or gathering. The elasticated cuffs struck the right balance between tenure and tactility.
My general experience of impervious garments is very mixed. These have been a welcome exception. I’ve worm ours, day long and in temperatures ranging between 16 and -5 degrees, with consistently dry, temperate results. For the most part, I’ve only noticed their positive qualities.
Paired with synthetic shoes and with temperatures in the mid-teens, there’s that familiar clamminess for the first twenty minutes, before the fibres kick in. At which point, wicking is very good, rather than seamless.
Not on par with merino but I’ve always felt dry, even turning a cadence of 90-105rpm for extended period. I am prone to those nasty fungal infections mentioned other and ,ahem, funky feet. However, I’ve frequently worn ours 14 hours, or so, without discomfort or reproving glances.
Predictably, this is better still, with genuine leather uppers, in comparable conditions. Cushioning around the heel and toe-box, though very subtle, has also offered excellent defence against blistering/similar discomfort, while ensuring a better fit with snug, race slippers.
When temperatures dipped below freezing, I defaulted to booties. However, calling their bluff, against the elements, I rode in these Scott shoes, featuring acres of mesh. The sort that rams plenty of cooling air inside, and wet stuff, too.
Persistent rain and wet roads engulfed their uppers, but my feet remained temperate and completely dry.
Provocatively immersing my foot into deep puddles for a minute, or so failed to tax them, either. A blessing, if like me, you’re not fond of overshoes and/or riding in changeable, spring conditions.
Switching between these Quoc Pham (above) and my booties on some bitterly cold rides, confirmed they were equally windproof. I was conscious of icy crosswinds tickling the outer fabric but, even tackling punctures by the roadside, feet stayed warm throughout.
Nothing more taxing than chucking in with the civilian wash, at 30-40 degrees. They can also be tumble dried on a “low temperature”, which is a boon, if you need them in a hurry. Not that they take an age to dry but when fully sodden, we are talking 3-4 hours at room temperature. I’m pleased to report regular washing and machine drying hasn’t done anything nasty to size/or shape.
£22 is very competitive for this level of performance, which frankly, is better than some costing almost twice as much. Over the past three months, I’ve been gobsmacked by how capable and unobtrusive and versatile they are. In short, for general riding I’m struggling to find fault.