There is a way to keep those feet dry

SUNDAY, APRIL 13, 2014

 Wet feet are not fun on a hike. SealSkinz, a British brand, makes socks to keep your feet dry.

 The company’s namesake socks are waterproof. They use a thin membrane sandwiched between two fabric types. The polyurethane membrane, which is thinner than paper, is waterproof but air-permeable – microscopic pores let the foot breathe.

 I tested the company’s pragmatically named Thick Mid Length Sock this month. They are indeed thick, and they reach midheight on the calf. They cost $55, which is upper crust in the sock world.

 In the hand, the Thick Mids feel like normal hiking socks, though, well, thicker. They are also less pliable than normal socks – you can tell there’s a waterproof layer inside.

 On the foot, the socks are a little stiffer than I like. They do not “hug” all the contours of the foot like the socks I prefer, but they do have some stretch and fit fine.

 Despite the somewhat “baggy” fit, I had no issues. Over a few hikes – including one trek in deep snow for 5 miles – I never got so much as a hot spot.

 Best of all, the touted waterproofness works. After my long, snowy hike (where ice and snow clogged inside my boots) my feet were dry. I took off the SealSkinz socks ( www.sealskinz.com) in the car at the trailhead to double check – no moisture was on my skin, despite my boots being soaked.

 The exterior fabric on the sock can soak in water. This increases the sock weight a little and makes them slightly squishy if really wet. But I found the Thick Mids to be warm and highly functional.

 Hold them underwater and the inside stays dry. I gave the socks a “facet test” as well as the real-world trials. For anyone who needs dry feet outside, SealSkinz socks are a solid option.

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