Author Topic: Good socks etc for walking with wet feet?  (Read 1938 times)

Kev06

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Good socks etc for walking with wet feet?
« on: 18:08:53, 05/03/21 »
I've always gone for pretty water resistant boots until now. But thinking ahead to summer I've got some suede and cordura (ex-army) desert boots to try, that are very breathable but aim to be quick drying rather than at all water resistant. So water will often get in (streams, wet grass, marshes etc) - which is quite a different approach for me.

So, I'm wondering what type of socks or sock-fabrics might be best for keeping feet happy when wet? (pretty sure my thick cotton ones would be poor.) And are there any techniques or strategies associated with walking when wet? Or.. is it a daft idea to begin with, and are dry feet (e.g. gore-tex socks) the sensible way to go?
Thanks,
Kev

Ridge

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Re: Good socks etc for walking with wet feet?
« Reply #1 on: 18:22:55, 05/03/21 »
Though my son's boots are leather he always wear Sealskinz and finds then good. I think they feel strange.

WhitstableDave

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Re: Good socks etc for walking with wet feet?
« Reply #2 on: 18:53:34, 05/03/21 »
I'm very much in the breathable footwear as opposed to 'waterproof' footwear camp.

Waterproof footwear can take a very long time to dry if it gets wet inside, whether from leakage, sweat or water pouring in from above!

In summer, breathable footwear can dry out quite quickly after getting a soaking and even in cooler weather it will dry out much more quickly than footwear with waterproof membranes.

I see two alternatives regarding socks. In my experience, waterproof socks work extremely well. I use Bridgedale Stormsocks and they've always kept my feet dry - even after wading through water (as long as it doesn't reach the top of the socks!). The possible downside is that if the sun comes out they can get a bit warm, so they're best in cool or cold weather. To avoid warm feet, my solution is to splash through puddles to wet the outside of the socks again!

My other liking is for non-waterproof socks that dry quickly. Although I've got various Bridgedale socks for different weathers, my favourite socks for wearing in non-waterproof shoes in mild or warmer wet weather are my Smartwool socks. A few days ago, I walked through muddy woods and across fields of wet grass in very permeable shoes and my Smartwool socks. My feet got wet on the walk, but they were dry by the time I got home.

Kev06

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Re: Good socks etc for walking with wet feet?
« Reply #3 on: 19:22:38, 05/03/21 »
Thanks both!

I'd thought membrane socks might defeat the point of summer breathability too much, but on reflection yes - the combo is still going to be cooler than a thick waxed leather boot, so could still be very well worthwhile indeed.

A bit costly, given how fast I seem to get through socks. Though if less wet walks could use merino socks then the waterproof ones might be held in reserve for when really needed, which might be quite rarely. Unlike a built-in membrane, it still gives the option.

Brilliant!
Thanks,
Kev
« Last Edit: 19:28:03, 05/03/21 by Kev06 »

richardh1905

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Re: Good socks etc for walking with wet feet?
« Reply #4 on: 21:51:36, 05/03/21 »
I've been very impressed by the thermal socks that Tescos sell (7 for 3 pairs when I bought them). So much so that I have at least a dozen pairs. They have a high wool content and remain comfortable even when wet, and are thin enough for summer use.
WildAboutWalking - Join me on my walks through the wilder parts of Britain

Ronin83

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Re: Good socks etc for walking with wet feet?
« Reply #5 on: 09:32:46, 06/03/21 »
I'd definitely say wool or wool blend socks for this.
I find waterproof socks disgustingly sweaty.
If it were a properly hot day I'd be tempted by cotton so it cools your feet down. Cotton is very breathable too. It often gets a bad rap for outdoor use, and rightfully so in many situations, but for properly hot weather it comes into its own.
Think jungle attire.

WhitstableDave

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Re: Good socks etc for walking with wet feet?
« Reply #6 on: 09:33:07, 06/03/21 »
I'm reminded of the day I realised that expensive socks can be a good investment.  :)

I'd only been walking for leisure for a few months and still thought that walkers were supposed to wear boots. I was about 5 miles into a walk on a very wet day when my Salomon GTX boots began to leak, and after a few more miles my feet were soaked.

I'd bought the boots at Cotswold Outdoor in Canterbury and, since the shop wasn't that far away, I paid them a visit to ask if the boots were faulty. The assistant took one look at the small bubbles oozing from the uppers near the fronts and offered me an immediate identical replacement.

The bit I've always struggled to get my head around was that I didn't just get a brand new pair of boots, but also more than 20 credit. Apparently, since I'd recently become a member of the LDWA, I was entitled to a 15% discount, which he applied to the replacement boots!

Anyway, I needed a pair of socks for the walk home in my new, dry boots. The assistant told me that the very best socks I could buy were Smartwool socks. Until that point, I'd been buying my walking socks from Mountain Warehouse and they were okay I suppose. Well, they were cheap compared to the Smartwool ones, which cost about 22 as I recall. I've never spent anything like that on socks before and thought the price was silly.

But... this pair wasn't going to cost me anything - I'd just be swapping my soggy, leaking boots for new boots and expensive socks. So I 'bought' the Smartwool socks.

They were a revelation and I never bought cheap socks again. It's true that most of my walking socks are Bridgedales, but that's because they offer such a wide variety, whereas Smartwool's range was much more limited. They remain though (IMHO) the very best socks 20+ can buy!  O0

Kev06

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Re: Good socks etc for walking with wet feet?
« Reply #7 on: 10:15:52, 06/03/21 »
Thanks everyone, it certainly does sound like wool is a pretty good way to go then.

Years ago I had some own-brand coolmax (polyester) ones that were quite modestly priced and lasted for ages, but I never tried them wet unfortunately. The current ones are mostly cotton and I get on okay with them in my main boots, which don't have a membrane but are still waterproof due to the leather and leder-gris. However they (the cotton socks) take forever to dry when they're wet, whether being worn after an accidental soaking or even hung on the washing line, so for that particular application I think an alternative could be worthwhile.

Thanks again,
Kev

feeet

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Re: Good socks etc for walking with wet feet?
« Reply #8 on: 10:22:47, 06/03/21 »
Hi there, i have a few suggestions for you.
We make a Coolmax sock that is maybe like what you used to wear, Coolmax is an amazing fast drying and durable product.
Everyone is now aware of Merino and how great it performs,
and Take a look at Dexshell for waterproof socks,


feeet

Dyffryn Ardudwy

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Re: Good socks etc for walking with wet feet?
« Reply #9 on: 10:55:57, 06/03/21 »
1000mile Twin Skins.

I used to wear them, for my epic challenge walking exploits, back in the 1980s and 90s.

On more than one occasion, i can remember both of my Brasher boots were full of water for hours on end,tramping across a bog strewn Brecon Beacons, yet the socks never game me a blister, due to their design.


Its rare for any sock not to produce any rubbing of any kind, when your bare skin is exposed to continual moisture for hours on end.


With the incredible comfort of the original Brasher boot, on recollection i can never remember getting any blister or foot discomfort, even when my feet were soaking wet, for several hours.

1000mile walking socks, come highly recommended.
« Last Edit: 11:01:22, 06/03/21 by Dyffryn Ardudwy »

Kev06

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Re: Good socks etc for walking with wet feet?
« Reply #10 on: 11:04:45, 06/03/21 »
Thanks, I shall have a look at the feeet.

With different boots offering two different approaches to coping with wetness then I probably can't go wrong. There'd also be the option of double-socking if they were thin enough, so even more flexibility.

That said, the 1000mile socks is an interesting reminder. I got on very well indeed with their liner sock but not nearly so well with the double-layered models. There was a thin area where the seam joined the two layers that always gave me toe problems, and being joined made it more of a faff to sort out if the inner layer wrinkled.

Just shows how individual even something as simple as a sock can be! A timely reminder though I need to think about construction, not just materials.
Thanks,
Kev

feeet

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Re: Good socks etc for walking with wet feet?
« Reply #11 on: 13:00:15, 06/03/21 »
The 1000 Mile socks were a great creation, i use a thin sock inside a hiking sock if i go on a long walk. I think its a habit that 1000 mile got me into when i was younger.
It is certainly a thing that we all discuss while developing new ideas and im sure that the ideal of a liner sock in the Feeet range will happen very soon.


We all have a pair of 1000 mile socks in our drawers,


Happy walking

Jac

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Re: Good socks etc for walking with wet feet?
« Reply #12 on: 13:06:37, 06/03/21 »
Another vote here for wool. It actually warms up a bit when wet - seldom see a shivering sheep - so Bridgedale merino socks for me  :)
So many paths yet to walk, so little time left

NeilC

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Re: Good socks etc for walking with wet feet?
« Reply #13 on: 15:59:50, 06/03/21 »
I walked a couple of years in sandals and socks due to foot problems.


It’s definitely doable but now I’ve got boots that fit, I prefer them.


I found that it takes quite a long time for your feet to dry out - they might not at all in anything other than perfect conditions here in the UK. So had to get used to having damp feet. The problem isn’t cold but rather that wet skin damages more easily and so can be uncomfortable depending how tough your feet are.


I carried spare socks especially for overnight trips to avoid having to put on wet socks.


So I must say I’m not completely sold on it
« Last Edit: 16:45:39, 06/03/21 by NeilC »

Kev06

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Re: Good socks etc for walking with wet feet?
« Reply #14 on: 17:07:34, 06/03/21 »
Very useful to know, thanks!
Yes foot damage/problems were the main concern, apparently my diabetes makes such things potentially more dangerous. So it may not entirely work out, we shall have to see; I'll certainly take it cautiously to begin with.

If not then no worries, at the very least the lighter boots will be beneficial for hot dry conditions and I'd still want suitable socks for them in case of unexpected wetness. I'm just curious to find out if they'll work for me in other situations too, or not.

Thanks again,
Kev