Thursday, 20 February 2014

Sealskinz socks. As good as they say?

I've been wondering whether to put this review out. I wrote it quite a while ago, but thought I was being a little harsh. On reflection, however, it was the total and utter truth - I wasn't being harsh. I was being honest.
So here it is.
Sorry you guys at Sealskinz - in terms of design, you really need to pull your socks up.

I received a pair of Sealskinz Thin ankle length socks earlier on today. Unfortunately I’d already been out for a bit of a mudfest run, and wasn’t able to head on out as soon as they dropped onto the door mat.
However, unable to contain myself, I set about taking them out of the box, seeing what they were like and what the fit was like. Sealskinz socks that I have had in the past were somewhat notorious for being tubes with no real sock shape.  
Quite a gap at the back there!
Well, as you can see from the pictures, the socks look pretty sock like. Ankle length, and of a thickness that is fairly normal for running socks – which is a bonus as that is what I’m mainly going to be using them for – bogtrotting and fellrunning around the Peak district.
Sock shaped – a bonus.
The feel is much the same as sealskinz always are. Not exactly fabric like, not exactly neoprene like, but somewhere in the middle. These socks say they have merino wool in them, though from looking at them, and generally feeling them, I’d have to say that if pushed, I don’t think I could point to the exact place where the merino wool is!
Shaped? Fitted? A bit wrinkly. 
When I put the socks on, (I’m a size 7 – the mediums are 6-8 so that makes me slap bang in the middle of the size range) they feel a little bit like putting on a pair of very thin wetsuit socks, reminding me of my kayaking days. The first thing I notice is there is a huge gap around my ankles where I would normally expect the socks to elasticate around my lower leg. I don’t have particularly huge ankles, but then, I don’t have stick legs either, and the only socks that have ever felt like this were a pair of old hiking socks with no elastic, AFTER they had been thrashed around a bog for an hour. Having a pair of socks being very baggy about my ankles straight from the packet is a little disconcerting.
Seamless? Thats odd. It looks like a seam
The next thing I noticed was a bunching of the sock around the top of my foot, and then an odd sensation under my left foot – straight down the centre line- almost like a seam. But that can’t be right as the Sealskinz socks are seamless. No matter what it is, it certainly felt like one.
After walking around the house in them for a short while, I began to get used to the feeling of the socks, all except the bagginess behind the leg, which is just a little weird.
However, I’m off out on some nasty cold recces of the Trigger in the next few weeks, there was snow and ice up there when I was out last night, so these Ankle lengths (with an apparent Thermal rating of 2/5) will be on my feet. Whether they keep my feet warm and dry remains to be seen - one thing is for sure, they'll be on my feet when I head out next.

So, that was my first opinion of them, and that was a year ago. To be honest, things didn't actually go up much at all. I sent this blog to the guys at Sealskinz who said that I must have a defective pair of socks - so got sent a replacement pair. Which were exactly the same.

I got on and wore them, bashed about a bit in the Peak district, and as far as being waterproof goes, you might as well not bother. Although there is no particular place that water appears to get in (apart from that gaping one under my calf, at the end of every single run on the moors, my feet were soaked through.
Some people love them because they keep their feet warm- me - not so much. The only way I managed to do that was with a pair of thin merino socks inside these socks- (which are meant to be merino anyway).

Ive been through 4 pairs of Sealskinz socks in various guises. I still have them. They stay firmly in the drawer and only come out in emergency situations- like I've completely run out of all other sock options.
Suffice to say, I am not impressed with the Sealskinz socks. In fact, I have rarely been impressed with stuff made by Sealskinz - when they get it right - like with the lobster gloves- they really get it right.
But the rest of the time, its just a waste of money. 


  1. Hi Zephr

    Love the blog. The kit reviews are great. I got some Montane Extreme Mitts off the back of it and love them!

    I've got a blog here about my plans to do a Munro round this year:

    I have size 7 feet also and was thinking of getting a couple of pairs of sealskins for my Scotland trip. I thought if you have a couple of pairs not doing owt in your drawer, do you fancy lending me them and I'll see how I get on with them and maybe giving you some money for them or return them after. A bit cheeky I know, but if you don't ask, you dont get!!

  2. Hi Dan, Glad that this blog is of some assistance when choosing gear. I hope the mitts hold uip as well for you as they have done for me.
    I'd be happy to sell you the socks- make me an offer. I certainly don't think I d want them back after you've traipsed around the entire lot of Munro's though!

  3. Hi Tim, Dan
    I wear SealSkinz in winter and no they don't keep your feet dry! I also find that my toenails wear through and make a hole quite quickly even if I trim them regularly.
    However I still use them because they keep my feet warm and wet, a bit like a wetsuit.
    Never had problems with them being too baggy.