A good pair of waterproof socks can flip your wet-weather walking experience. Whether you’re scaling mountains in the drizzle, wading through streams in the countryside, or running in the rain – our top picks of the best waterproof socks can transform your foot feeling.
Best waterproof socks for wet-weather hikes
It’s always been the case that a pair of Merino socks are the undisputed gold standard for hiking, running, and, well, just about everything really. But there’s a new competitor in town that’s hoping to take the top spot of the podium – waterproof socks.
A relatively new entry in the world of outdoor gear, waterproof socks are slowly but surely making a name for themselves. They’re a must-have piece of kit for any non-fair-weather hiker, trail runner and mountain biker. These new socks use a three-layer sandwich system to offer a waterproof, breathable design that’s great for wet weather.
The top socks use the waterproofing scale that many will be familiar with – hydrostatic head (HH). The measurement is most commonly used by tent and jacket manufacturers, but the values can be extended to waterproof trousers and – in this case, socks.
But there’s more to a sock than its HH rating. From merino-lining to patented technology, find out everything you need to know about their merino wool challengers and our top recommendations below.
Reading in a hurry?
Check out our round-up for the best waterproof walking socks available for hiking in warm, cold and all-weather conditions!
- Best cold weather waterproof walking socks – Sealskinz Cold Weather Waterproof Socks
- Top warm weather waterproof hiking socks – DexShell Trekking Waterproof Socks
- Best all-weather waterproof walking socks – Sealskinz All-Weather Waterproof Walking Socks With Hydropstop Cuff
- Top budget waterproof hiking socks – Otter Waterproof Hiking Socks
1. Best cold weather waterproof socks
The wettest days tend to come around in the colder months, meaning that you don’t just want good waterproofing, but great warmth, too.
The cold-weather Sealskinz waterproof socks are our top pick for a winter waterproof sock and feature one of the best spec sheets of all products listed. With a Hydrostatic Head of >20,000mm, the Sealskinz socks stay waterproof even in the toughest of conditions.
The socks use three bonded layers to give them that all-important waterproofing and breathability. Alongside the nylon external layer and hydrophilic membrane mid-layer, the socks feature a moisture-wicking Merino wool lining, creating a sock that’s been precision engineered for performance.
The socks are available in unisex sizes (S-XL) and are available in four different colours (grey, black/grey, black/navy blue and grey/red). Both mid-length (our preference) and knee-length cold-weather socks are available.
They’re a great way to stay dry and warm when hiking in winter.
Best for cold weather – Sealskinz Unisex Waterproof Cold Weather Sock
With a Hydrostatic Head of >20,000mm, a three-level construction and breathable merino wool lining, the Sealskinz Waterproof Cold Weather Socks are our favourite cold weather waterproof socks.
- 100% Hydrophilic Membrane
- Three level construction
- Moisture-wicking Merino wool lining
- Lifetime waterproof guarantee
- For cold weather use only
- Size: S-XL
- Outer Layer – 90% Nylon, 10% Elastane
- Middle Layer – 100% Hydrophilic Membrane
- Inner Layer – 35% Merino Wool, 35% Acrylic, 23% Polyester, 3.5% Nylon, 3.5% Elastane
2. Best warm-weather waterproof socks
When the weather’s warm but you’re expecting soggy conditions throughout the day (think hiking through streams, an early-evening thunderstorm or the infamous “mountain weather”) a pair of warm-weather socks may be exactly what you need.
The DexShell waterproof socks are our favourites in the warm weather category and offer a great solution for warm, wet weather. A Porelle Membrane, a carefully engineered material that’s perfect for waterproofing clothing, is used to give the socks their functionality. It’s a technology not used by other waterproof brands.
These socks have a 10,000mm hydrostatic head rating and patented “4-Way Stretch” technology that makes them perfect for any outdoor enthusiast. They’re wind resistant, viral-resistant and, of course, waterproof – making them a great choice for warm, wet weather.
Sizes available range from S-XL and currently there are just two different colours available – a solid black pair and a black pair with an olive stripe.
- Merino wool acrylic cushioning lining
- 4-way stretch for maximum comfort
- Waterproof, windproof, breathable and viral resistant
- Great for trekking and hiking
- Only two different colour choices
- Size: S-XL
- 98% polyamide, 2% elastane
3. Top all-weather waterproof socks
An all-weather waterproof sock is – you guessed it – great in all weather and temperature conditions. It’s this rating of sock that you’ll want to look for if you’re hoping to get away with just buying one or two pairs that can be used year-round.
An all-weather sock won’t be quite as effective as keeping out the cold as a specific cold-weather sock. Nor will it be as effective as keeping your feet cool as a warm-weather sock. It will, however, do a good enough job in all seasons that you won’t have to buy so many different pairs.
If it’s an all-weather sock that ticks all the boxes for you, we recommend investing in a high-quality pair and it doesn’t get much better than the original and best – all-weather Sealskinz waterproof socks with the Hydrostop Cuffs.
The all-weather Sealskinz’s are available both in a mid-length sock (best for hiking boots) and an ankle-length sock (best for trail running shoes). The unisex socks are available in multiple sizes (S-XL). Colour options are limited, but dark options are great for every outfit.
As with other Sealskinz waterproof socks, there’s a hydrostatic head of >20,000mm, offering maximum waterproof protection. A Merino-wool inner lining is the perfect moisture-wicking solution for warm days and the four-way stretch offers the best possible elasticated fit.
Top all-weather pick – Sealskinz All-Weather Waterproof Sock with Hydrostop Cuff
A 100% waterproof all-weather sock boasting four-way stretch, a merino wool lining and a hydrostatic head of >20,000mm. The Sealskinz Waterproof All-weather Sock is our favourite all-rounder.
- 100% waterproof, windproof and breathable
- Three-layer construction and flat-toe seams
- Moisture-wicking Merino wool lining
- Four-way stretch and zonal elastic for optimum fit
- Not as effective as either warm or cold weather waterproof socks in their respective temperature ranges
- Size: S-XL
- Outer Layer: 62% polycolon, 29% nylon, 9% elastane
- Inner Layer: 36% merino wool, 36% acrylic, 18% polyester, 5% nylon, 5% elastane
4. Budget-friendly waterproof hiking socks
A good-quality pair of waterproof walking socks don’t have to break the bank. But there’s a fine line between choosing a quality option and sacrificing function.
There’s little point in investing in a pair of waterproof socks if they’re simply going to leak and perform poorly. Although budget may be a priority for some, we recommend not looking too far down the scale. If you are looking for a pair (or a couple of pairs) of cheap waterproof socks that you can use on rotation, we’d recommend the Otter waterproof hiking socks.
The Otter Waterproof socks sacrifice the expensive merino wool inner layer in favour of the inexpensive Coolmax/Lycra blend that offers fantastic comfort without breaking the bank. It’s this main reason that allows the Otter waterproof walking socks to be more budget-friendly than the competitors without sacrificing functionality.
Unlike some of our other waterproof sock recommendations, namely from the Sealskinz lineup, the Otter socks are recommended to be hand washed only. This can be a little more tedious in your weekly chores. We’d opt for 2-3 pairs if you are planning on wearing waterproofs on back-to-back days.
- Waterproof, windproof and moisture wicking
- Durable, long-lasting socks from a trusted brand
- Stretch PU membrane for excellent comfort
- Budget-friendly Coolmax/lycra inner materials
- Handwash only
- Size: S-XL
- Outer Material: 74% hard-wearing polyamide colourfast yarn, 23% lycra and 3% elastane
- Inner Material: 80% Coolmax 20% Lycra
FAQ: The best waterproof walking socks for UK wet-weather hikes
Have a question about the best waterproof walking socks you’re searching for the answer to? Check out our frequently asked questions and we’ll (hopefully) be able to shine some light on the situation.
The best waterproof socks for each individual can be decided by what it is – or rather when it is – that you’re planning on using them for.
If it’s a winter waterproof sock that you’re looking for, the cold-weather waterproof socks from SealSkinz are the best choice. If you’re searching for a budget all-rounder, the Otter waterproof socks will best suit your needs.
At the top level, it’s about buying gear that’s best suited to exactly what you need it for. In the case of waterproof socks, the only real distinguishing difference lies in the season that they’re best suited for and the quality of materials used.
Different brands and types of waterproof socks will offer different washing instructions and it’s best to follow this information the majority of the time.
Most waterproof socks can simply be machine washed at 40 degrees (turn the socks inside-out for the best results) although others, such as the Otter and DexShell waterproof socks, must be hand washed.
Waterproof socks typically work with a three-layer structure designed to keep water out without reducing the breathability of the socks.
This sandwich technique allows for a range of materials, each with its own specific job, to be used to create a sock with a waterproof outer but breathable, comfortable inner. Think of them almost like a wetsuit that can breathe… and that only covers your feet.
Hopefully that’s helped get to the bottom of things – but if you’re still searching for an answer to a specific question don’t hesitate to reach out to the Adventure Pending team.