What is a waterproof sock anyway?

What is a waterproof sock anyway?

Posted by Allison Capaldi on

Even though the waterproof sock is what brought SealSkinz to life over 20 years ago, one of the main questions we get asked by customers, friends, family - maybe even our mums, is ‘what exactly is a waterproof sock?’

Whilst the notion of the concept is baked into the actual name - it’s, uh, a waterproof sock - the sheer novelty behind such a product almost gets lost because it seems like it can’t be true. Why? Most likely because we have come to terms with the fact that if our socked feet get exposed to a puddle, rain, mud, etc., we will get soaked and we will just be miserable. And we accept this. Which is quite ludicrous. 

This does not have to be the case. With a waterproof sock like SealSkinz, your feet are fully protected (spoiler alert - from more than just water,) and you don’t have to blink an eye when a grey cloud opens up above you or your dog pulls so hard that all of a sudden that you can’t avoid a puddle.

How do waterproof socks work?

Waterproof sock construction

The magic of waterproof socks is in the construction (three layers) and the fabrication (waterproof membrane).

Waterproof sock construction

When creating a waterproof sock you need the inner, next-to-skin, layer to be soft and cosy against your skin. The middle layer is the waterproof membrane. It needs to be breathable yet also keep water from hitting that inner layer and reaching your foot. Then there is the outer layer that is exposed to the elements. This layer’s job is to protect you from everything you’d encounter on your adventure, not just rain. So, it has to be durable, comfortable, and provide a great deal of stretch.  

Waterproof sock membrane

Waterproof socks are very different from other waterproof products you might have around. For example, this isn’t a sock with a GORE-TEX coating. Whilst that application is incredible for boots and jackets, it doesn’t breathe the way you need a sock to breathe and would be a less than ideal fabrication.

Instead, we use something called a Hydrophilic Membrane. We won't get into the weeds here, but instead, let’s do the quickest overview of what this type of membrane is all about. 

The quickest science lesson about waterproof socks

So the not-so-boring details are that this membrane actually loves water. It even means water-loving in Greek (hydro - water, philos - love). The cool thing is that this particular type of membrane keeps water from getting in yet it also allows it to get out. 

It stops water droplets (rain, puddles, even mud) from penetrating the sock and reaching your foot…however, it also pushes water vapour (sweat) from inside your sock out into the atmosphere. The end result? You’re properly comfortable, dry, and warm from both the outside as well as the inside. 

Waterproof socks

The end of waterproof socks 101

We’ve got waterproof socks for every type of weather and we honestly think you can use them for every activity you can think of…go ahead, try and stump us. We’ve seen amazing humans use our socks for activities as simple as school runs and kids' sporting events to more extreme feats such as climbing mountains and ice fishing. 

So that’s all for this 101 lesson on SealSkinz waterproof socks. You certainly can stop reading now but we wanted to touch on a few frequently asked questions just to clear up any other thoughts swirling around in your head - for example, no they aren’t made from seals and yes people do ask us that.  


FAQs about waterproof socks

Are waterproof socks hot and thick? 

Actually no. The three-layer construction is so seamless they’re as thick as any other durable sock. And, they are not hot. Quite the opposite, the warmer your feet get, the harder they work to push that sweat water vapour off of your foot and out into the atmosphere. 

Can I wash waterproof socks in the washing machine?

One of our go-to phrases is that we don’t like complicated things. And that’s the truth. That’s why our waterproof socks, while mind-blowing when it comes to the technology, are actually quite simple to take care of. Go ahead and wash them with the rest of your kit. 

Are SealSkinz made from seals?

Nope. Promise.

Do waterproof socks get wet?

This question is actually a great one. The outer layer can get wet and may be wet to the touch. It’s the inner, middle, layer that provides the magical waterproof barrier. The outer layer is meant to be durable so it doesn’t get snagged and also provides stretch like a normal sock. So yes, while your socks may appear wet, the moisture doesn’t get through to your foot. 

Do waterproof socks feel like normal socks?

Yes! The construction is so seamless that even though there are three layers, you simply can’t tell. We work incredibly hard to perfect our bonding process to make sure it is comfortable to wear yet also does its job well. 



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