DEXSHELL PRO VISIBILITY WATERPROOF CYCLING SOCKS
88g Large (as tested) £25.00
Waterproof and comfort are not an easy combination when it comes to socks, in my experience. However, the DexShell Pro Visibility Cycling Socks do a very good job. I’ve worn them on commutes, around the workplace, and for day rides, and for most of the time, I’ve not really been conscious that I was wearing anything other than normal socks. Unlike Michael, I am a fan of overshoes, but being a belt ‘n’ braces cyclist, I am never averse to doubling the protection.
Pros: function at a high level.
Cons: may be awkward for slim-fit shoes.
Materials and construction
Three-layer construction is by no means unusual. In this case, the breathable, waterproof Porelle membrane sits between a water-repellent outer and a tactile inner. Porelle is 100% polyurethane. The outer is a predominantly nylon, with a single per cent polyester, and just 2% elastane. That’s enough to keep a close fit without causing a fight every time you try to put them on. The inner is 76% Coolmax FX (a polyester fabric) and 24% nylon. Coolmax has been a favourite of mine for several years now, and doubtless accounts, in part, for the temperate feel inside the sock.
Although “boxed” the heel shape is unobtrusive, with sufficient elasticity to fit the idiosyncrasies of foot shape and size without allowing much in the way of movement. That’s a pattern repeated in the toe and the ankle cuff.
There’s a coloured hoop pattern, including reflective fabric – hence the “visibility” designation.
They come in yellow and grey versions.
Large was pretty much spot on for my size nine and a half to ten sized feet. They also come in small, medium, and extra-large.
Length-wise, they cover the ankle comfortably – perfect for tucking civvies into - although that may allow water in and defeat the purpose.
Initially they were teamed up with my go-to Shimano trainer type SPDs – the sort with much mesh and lots of mesh and exposed fabric. With the early spring mercury around seven, and following a few days of downpours, they certainly felt comfortably warm, with no over-heating either. Hitting the flooded lanes and towpath puddles soon gave the shoes a thorough soaking. All credit to the DexShells, which, despite a distinct chill round the toes, kept their waterproof credentials. The theme was maintained when immersing the shoe in water.
Belt and braces brethren inclined to combine them with overshoes will certainly find feet warm and dry, for me a touch too warm on all but the coldest mornings.
Pairing up with more waterproof boots, including Chrome’s Storm Workboot, I found them a tad on the warm side, but not sweaty. At the other extreme, traditional leather touring shoes came in a bit too narrow for a comfortable combination – but that’s hardly the fault of the sock - but feet were kept dry. The hooped design has a retro touch to it, too. A slimmer fit could be achieved with DexShells Ultra-thin Bamboo Socks(which are waterproof), and those looking to shed a few ounces might look in that direction, too.
On short blasts and full day rides I’ve noticed no rucking-up. In fact, on and off bike, they feel pretty much like ordinary socks.
The reflective hoop does not cover much acreage, but there’s a lot to be said in the presence stakes for reflective elements that whizz round and round. There’s a slight conundrum to be contemplated: tuck in “longs” to allow the reflective function and risk negating the waterproof function? Well, life’s full of compromises.
Machine wash, but keep below 40C, seems to be the rule. Follow the instructions, as usual. Drying time is really a matter of four hours – air drying – or overnight after a real soaking.
We could debate overshoes v waterproof socks ad infinitum. However, DexShells Pro Visibility Cycling Socks function at a high level. Ideal for touring, day-rides, and commuting, their cycling specific fit certainly scores over more mixed-purpose, though very effective, models, such as Bridgedale's Stormsocks– as well as cheaper: and they have been spotted with a discount in some on-line stores.