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Waterproof socks

Best Waterproof Socks for Outdoor Adventures in 2019

Waterproof socks are a relatively new concept for outdoor enthusiasts. Their addition to the feet of those hardy souls, who don’t let a bit of water get in the way of their adventures, has been a bit of a game changer. From frostbite to trench-foot prevention, the best waterproof socks offer protection against the weather that is hard to replicate in other combinations of footwear.

Waterproof hiking boots, or trail running shoes worn underneath waterproof gaiters are certainly a superbly effective option at keep your twinkle-toes dry. However, they have their downsides. For those looking for a fuss-free dry-footed set up that is lightweight and highly effective, waterproof socks might just be the way forward.

For more information on what to look for when choosing the best waterproof socks for hiking, biking, running and other wet weather and wintery adventures, skip to our buying guide. Otherwise, read on to see our top picks waterproof socks available in 2019.

Summary of the best waterproof socks in 2019

Disclaimer: We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases.

ProductInner fabricBest forLengthCost
Bridgedale StormSocks54% Merino, 36% Polyester, 7.5% Nylon, 2.5% ElastaneHiking, cycling and runningMid calf$$$
Showers Pass Crosspoint WP Waterproof Wool Crew Sock40% Merino Wool, 40% Acrylic,17% Polyester, 1% Nylon, 2% SpandexRunning, hiking and cyclingMid calf$$
DexShell Ultralite Bamboo Waterproof Socks60% bamboo rayon (viscose), 40% polyamideEveryday wearAnkle$
SealSkinz 100% Waterproof Sock35% Merino Wool, 35% Acrylic, 23% Polyester, 3.5% Elastane, 3.5% Nylon
Mountain biking and cyclingKnee$$
Randy Sun Waterproof Socks64% coolmax (anti bacterial), 3% lycra, 33% elastaneSkiing and snowboardingKnee$$
Dexshell Hytherm Pro Waterproof Socks38% Merino wool, 38% Anti-pilling acrylic, 24% NylonCold weatherMid calf$$$

The best waterproof socks for 2019

Bridgedale StormSocks

Bridgedale StormSocks

Best for: Hiking, cycling and running

Bridgedale are well renowned for their top class hiking socks, consistently delivering some of the best socks for hiking in the world for over 40 years. So it’s not surprising that the Bridgedale StormSocks are among the best waterproof socks for hiking, too. The lining contains 54% merino — the highest percentage of all the merino sock options on our list. This provides the greatest moisture wicking and odour resistant properties, and helps regulate the temperature of your feet. These fully waterproof mid weight boot socks are ideal for long treks in wet conditions, and owe their waterproofness to the tough nylon outer layer and breathable PU membrane.

As well as hiking, the mid calf-length StormSocks are also suitable for cycling, trail running in cold weather and general outdoor wear in wet weather.

Pros

  • Very durable outer layer – 95% Nylon, 5% Elastane
  • Very comfortable
  • High merino content

Cons

  • Feel stiff to start with

Find the latest price on:
Amazon | Bridgedale


Showers Pass Crosspoint WP Waterproof Wool Crew Sock

Showers Pass Crosspoint WP Waterproof Wool Crew Sock

Best for: Running, hiking and cycling

As with all of the best waterproof socks, the Showers Pass Crosspoint WP Waterproof Wool Crew Socks comprise three layers to protect your feet from the elements. The merino content of the inner layer is less than the Bridgedale StormSocks, making these a slightly lighter weight waterproof sock without loosing moisture wicking properties. In combination with the highly breathable, ultra-thin Artex waterproof membrane, and ergonomic fit, the lighter construction makes these the best waterproof socks for running on our list. That said, they are also very well suited to hiking and biking, providing mid-calf waterproof protection.

Pros

  • Highly breathable
  • Excellent fit

Cons

  • Tight fit may not be for everyone

Find the latest price on:
Amazon | REI | Backcountry


DexShell Ultralite Bamboo Waterproof Socks

DexShell Ultralite Bamboo Waterproof Socks

Best for: Everyday wear in wet weather

Dexshell use a Porelle membrane to line their waterproof socks. The breathable membrane is constructed of polyurethane (PU) which provides a waterproof lining that backs up the polyamide outer layer. What’s unique about these DexShell Ultralite Bamboo Waterproof Socks is their inner layer which is made of 60% bamboo rayon (viscose). This makes the socks feel much more supple and flexible than the other waterproof socks on our list. The result is a soft and cosy sock that feels much more like a ‘normal’ sock. It lacks the technology of the other options, making it an ideal lightweight waterproof sock for everyday wear.

Pros

  • Feels more like a normal sock
  • Soft and supple inner fabric
  • Good for warm weather

Cons

  • Not as durable as other options

Find the latest price on:
Amazon


SealSkinz MTB Mid Knee Waterproof Sock

SealSkinz MTB Mid Knee Waterproof Sock

Best for: Mountain biking

With a similar 3-layer construction to the ShowersPass, Dexshell Hytherm and Bridgedale socks, the SealSkinz MTB Mid Knee Waterproof Sock offer a highly technical option that is one of the best waterproof socks on our list. With a Hydrostatic Head (HH) rating of 20,000mm, the socks deliver reliable waterproof protection that is also windproof and breathable. The knee length cut make these mid weight waterproof socks ideal for mountain biking and cycling in wet and cold conditions. Add to that the moisture wicking comfort from the merino lining, and a padded heel, toe and footbed, and you’ve got yourself one of the best waterproof socks for cycling available in 2019.

Pros

  • Windproof and waterproof
  • Highly breathable
  • Extra long

Cons

  • Lower merino content than other options on the list

Find the latest price on:
Amazon


RANDY SUN Waterproof Skiing Socks

RANDY SUN Waterproof Skiing Socks

Best for: Skiing and snowboarding

These highly cushioned knee length socks are the best waterproof socks on our list for skiing and snowboarding. Their seamless construction and extra length make them ideal for wear inside stiff ski boots. Plus, their heavy weight adds protection, warmth and padding for happy snow feet! Although they don’t have a merino lining, the Coolmax fabric provides antibacterial properties to help with odour control. Breathable, warm and with extra coverage — the RANDY SUN Skiing Socks are a versatile waterproof sock for winter adventures.

Pros

  • Thick and comfortable in ski and snowboard boots
  • Extra long
  • Good for winter wear

Cons

  • Thickness makes then tight in regular shoes/boots

Find the latest price on:
Amazon>


Dexshell Hytherm Pro Waterproof Socks

Dexshell Hytherm Pro Waterproof Socks

Best for: Cold weather

The Hytherm Pro Waterproof Socks are the warmest waterproof socks from Dexshell. Their thick 3-layer construction includes a merino and anti-pilling acrylic inner that is blended with nylon to create a durable yet soft on-the-skin fabric. They have a Porelle membrane which provides breathable and waterproof protection, and their tough nylon outer layer adds to the waterproofness of these mid calf length socks.

If you’re looking for reliable waterproof and windproof socks that will also keep your toes toastie (and dry!) in all but the most extreme conditions, then these are the best waterproof socks for the job! Wear them hiking, biking, fishing, trail running, camping, hunting and snow-shoeing.

Pros

  • Very warm
  • Versatile
  • Highly durable

Cons

  • Too warm in some conditions

FAQ’s about waterproof socks

Are waterproof socks any good?
In short, yes! However, to ensure that this is the case, it’s important that you opt for high quality waterproof socks. These will have 3-layer construction that includes a waterproof and breathable membrane, a tough and durable outer layer and a soft, moisture wicking inner layer.
Can you wash waterproof socks?
Yes. However, some waterproof sock brands recommend hand washing only. Most waterproof socks shouldn’t be put in the drier.
What are waterproof socks made of?
Waterproof socks have a 3-layer construction. The outer layer is usually made of nylon mixed with elastane. The membrane is usually made of polyurethane (PU). And the inner layer is made of a blend of fabrics that include: merino wool, nylon, polyester, acrylic elastane and even bamboo raylon (viscose), like the DexShell Ultralite Bamboo Waterproof Socks.
How do you wear waterproof socks?
The best waterproof socks are designed to be worn directly on your skin, though some people choose to wear a liner sock underneath them. Their inner fabric is usually soft and comfortable to the skin whereas the outer fabric is tough and more rigid.
Cyclist wearing the best waterproof socks

What to look for when choosing waterproof socks

Gone are the days of placing your wool sock covered feet in plastic bags to keep them dry. Yes, I have actually done this when hiking before! That was in the days when synthetic hiking boots really weren’t as waterproof as they claimed to be, and leather ones were just too darn pricey.

Thankfully, most modern hiking boots and shoes actually do a pretty great job at keeping your feet dry. They also don’t turn your feet into sweaty balls of mush at the first sign of hard work. Breathable membranes that line waterproof footwear allow the moisture out whilst preventing water from getting in.

So this begs the question of why do I need waterproof socks? And are they any good anyway?

The benefits of waterproof socks

There are certain scenarios when waterproof boots or shoes and gaiters will do a perfectly good job at keeping your feet dry. However, this combination isn’t always a good option. That’s when waterproof socks really come into their own. Here’s why:

  • Waterproof boots and shoes don’t stay waterproof forever. Wearing waterproof socks with old footwear means you don’t have to upgrade your boots so often.
  • You can’t prevent water from entering your boots or shoes through their tops, unless you are wearing waterproof gaiters.
  • Waterproof gaiters can be a faff, hot, and annoying. They will also lose their waterproofness with time.
  • Waterproof socks are just as comfortable as normal socks, though not quite as breathable.
  • The best waterproof socks provide pretty decent levels of breathability.
  • Trail runners tend not to wear waterproof shoes. This is so that water can drain easily out of the shoes. In cold conditions, wearing waterproof socks allows water to coming in and out of the shoes whilst keeping your feet dry and frostbite-free.
  • Waterproof socks are a lightweight and easy way to keep your feet dry.

Uses of waterproof socks

As mentioned above, waterproof socks really excel in wet conditions when your hiking, biking and running footwear are not as waterproof as they used to be.

Waterproof socks are also great for a whole range of other activities, including:

  • Mountain biking
  • Road cycling
  • Trail running in winter
  • Hiking
  • Hunting
  • Fishing
  • Sailing
  • Canoeing

Materials

The best waterproof socks comprise three layers that aim to keep water from getting in whilst letting moisture from sweat get out. Much like any waterproof clothing, the breathability of the fabric is almost as important as the waterproofness. Afterall, what’s the point in preventing water from reaching your feet if they’re going to sweat so much that they become saturated anyway?

So when looking for the best waterproof socks, it’s essential to consider their breathability, too.

The three layers of waterproof socks aim to do the following:

  • Inner layer

    This layer is in direct contact with your feet providing comfort and insulation. Fabrics such as merino, bamboo, wool and polyester are used.

  • Middle layer

    The middle layer is usually where all the magic happens. The layer is a waterproof and breathable membrane that prevents water from getting in, whilst letting water vapour get out. Some membranes are more effective at this than others.

  • Outer layer

    Usually made from nylon or other synthetic blends, the outer layer of waterproof socks is designed to be durable, and provide support and comfort to the wearer.

Waterproof socks have a Hydrostatic Head (HH) measurement. This indicates how waterproof the fabric is. The higher the HH, the more waterproof they are. The most waterproof socks have an HH rating of around 20,000mm. But socks with an HH rating of 10,000mm still provide good levels of waterproofness. Unfortunately, not all brands provide an HH rating and simply state that the socks are 100% waterproof.

Breathability is a tricky one to measure. But, as mentioned, it is an essential feature of waterproof socks. Look for socks with a breathable PU membrane as their middle layer.

Windproof
Not all waterproof socks claim to be windproof. However, if you can get your hands on waterproof socks that are also windproof your feet (and ankles, calves and shins!) will be well and truly protected from the elements. The outer layer will contribute to wind protection, as will the middle lining.

Comfort

Believe it or not, the best waterproof socks are almost as comfortable as regular socks. This is down to the triple layer construction that ensures soft fabrics are touching the skin. Just like regular socks, the inner layers of waterproof socks have reinforced areas that provide padding and support. They are also fitted to minimise friction between the sock and skin.

Length

The length of the waterproof socks that you choose comes down to personal preference and what you intend wearing them for.
Long waterproof socks are excellent for river crossings and hiking in long grass, and are essential for wear with high ankle hiking boots. They are also a good option for cyclists in cold weather who want to tuck in their tights and add an extra layer of warmth to their calves. Winter trail runners appreciate extra length to provide protection and warmth to their calves.

Short waterproof socks are best for wearing in warmer conditions that are inescapably wet and soggy. If it’s warm enough to wear shorts then it won’t matter if your legs get wet. However, feet getting wet is another matter, especially when hiking or cycling for hours on end.


As with all new and innovative outdoor gear, just because it’s available, doesn’t mean it’s the best for the job. In most scenarios, a good pair of regular hiking, biking or trail running socks will be the best option for your adventure. However, as soon as the rain starts to fall, the temperature drops, or the terrain becomes soggier than on your average adventure, a pair of the best waterproof socks will make life SO much more comfortable. And we all know that more comfort = more fun!

About the author

author-joey

Joey Holmes is based in Cornwall, UK, and runs Cool of the Wild. She can’t get enough of being outdoors – whether that’s lounging around the campfire cooking up a feast, hitting the trail in her running shoes, or attempting to conquer the waves on her surfboard – she lives for it. Camping is what she loves to do the most, but has also spent many many hours clinging to the side of a rock face, cycling about the place, cruising the ski-slopes on her snowboard and hiking small mountains and big hills.

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