Norfolk based Sealskinz have been producing waterproof clothing since 1996.
They say: “Our passion (some might say obsession actually) is to craft the finest waterproof accessories in the world. And while waterproof will always be our #1, we also want to keep you protected from snow, sand, mud, dirt and anything else that can get in the way of doing your thing in the outdoors.”
This is a mission statement I can get behind, anything that keeps us warm and dry on the trail and doesn’t hinder riding is a winner but how do Sealskinz latest offerings stack up?
Waterproof, cold weather, mid length sock with hydro stop – £42.50
First off, I love waterproof socks! Riding in Scottish winters gets wet, and I’d rather wear my normal Shimano shoes and waterproof socks than over shoes. I have always been a fan of Sealskinz socks but found that they were prone to water getting in the top when riding in shorts and as a result your feet getting cold.
First impressions of sealskins socks were good. They are made up of Outer Layer – 90% Nylon, 10% Elastane, Middle Layer – 100% Hydrophilic Membrane, Inner Layer – 35% Merino Wool, 35% Acrylic, 22% Polyester, 3.5% Nylon, 3.5% Elastane, 1% TPU. Some list but basically, they are strong and durable on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside and feel like a thin, soft rubber sandwiched in-between for the waterproofing.
I’m usually a UK 11 or 12 shoe so opted for a size XL which the size chart suggesting as a 12 to 14. The socks are a nice fit on the foot area but strangely loose around the ankle and a little longer than I’d like for a riding sock coming up to midcalf. They are not too thick to make shoes tight and certainly kept my feet warm between -2 and 5 Degrees Celsius. Warmer than this had me reaching for the merino as they started to get a bit sweaty.
In the wet the Sealskinz were good, to a point. My AM9’s are good at letting water in but not back out. Water was being pushed into the sock meaning after about 30mins in very wet conditions they did start to leak. This wasn’t all bad as my feed did heat the water and warm them up, a bit like a wet suit but it’s not exactly what you want on a long ride. I did try the socks with better draining shoes, and in the bath and leaking wasn’t an issue.
Sealskinz now come with ‘Hydrostop’. Essentially this is a silicone band around the top of the sock which creates a seal between the skin and sock stopping water getting in. This works superbly; however, after 3 washes it started to peel off one of the socks.
All weather multi activity glove with Fusion Control – £65
I’m picky about my gloves and have ridden the 100% iTrack in XL for the last few years. They are a nice mix of lightweight comfort and protection without restricting movement or bar feel.
This past winter has been so cold and wet I needed a warmer, dryer option giving the Sealskinz a big task to take on the competition, especially at £65…
The Sealskins are made up of an outer stretch lycra, PU suede palm, waterproof midlayer and a merino inner lining. Based on Sealskinz size guide I should been wearing a size medium but opted for a large as I tend to size up in gloves due to long fingers. When the gloves arrived, I wished I had gone for my usual XL as they were a bit tight on the palm and short in the fingers. They did stretch a little with use.
On the trail the multi activity gloves are very good. They are warm, comfy and certainly waterproof. Sealskinz fusion control “bonds the liner and outer shell to a unique hydrophilic membrane creating a 100% waterproof fabric with unmatched breathability. This also eliminates any movement between layers and enables the glove to fit much closer to the skin.” While they certainty breath well and I didn’t experience any sweaty hands I did find them a little thick to allow a good feel of the bars and brakes.
I was a bit disappointed with sealskinz winter socks. Yes, they are warm and comfy and kept my feet mostly dry but he cut is a little big around the ankles and I was surprised that the silicone seal started to peel off after only a few washes (following the instructions). Having said that all Sealskinz products are backed by a lifetime guarantee so they clearly stand by their product and I’m sure replacement would not be an issue.
Aside from the Hydrostop the socks look good and seem durable. I’m sure they’ll see a second winter and possibly more.
I have mixed feelings about the multi activity glove. £65 is a lot of money for any gloves especially when you look at what else is available. The size guide seems to be out and they are a little on the thick side. Having said that, the gloves are comfy, warm and very well made. They have never leaked, even the twice I’ve used them to wash the car! They have a nice secure wrist closure and a soft bit for nose wiping. Personally I think they are better suited to the daily commute rather than hitting the gnar!