ed. note: Wow, Jess! Thank you for this awesome and detailed review!
If you know me, you know I have a teensy fascination with socks. My current favorites are Injinji (athletic toe socks), DarnTough, and SmartWool (although, my preference between these last 2 is DT, as it is a New England based company). I wear these brands on a day to day basis as well as for athletic activies such as Crossfit and Obstacle Course Racing (OCR).
Recently, I was asked to test out a pair of SealSkinz socks (http://www.sealskinz.com) in an OCR, and, naturally, obliged.
The Race: Spartan Sprint – Boston 2015
The Location: Carter and Stevens Farm – Barre, MA
The Terrain: Fairly flat with some rolling hills thrown in, and lots of technical trail. Also, plenty of mud and water.
The Sock: SealSkinz Thin Ankle Length Sock (http://www.sealskinz.com/US/
When I got the socks I wasn’t really sure I was going to like them. They have a neoprene-like liner inside, and they do not have a lot of stretch. I put them on, followed by my typical racing shoe, and was pleasantly surprised that they really didn’t feel that bulky or uncomfortable at all.
I wore them for 5.5 miles of Spartan Race fun. They were submerged. They were caked in mud. They were comfortable throughout. Where my normal socks would have trapped the dirt and also caused a friction point at my heel, these did a great job of not letting the grit infultrate my shoe at all. As I mentioned before, they were submerged – as in I was in mid-thigh to chest deep water at times. As I emerged from the water, the socks had a little bit of squish, but any abundance of water was quickly shed and my feet actually felt cooler than normal, in a refreshing way. I should note my feet never got overly warm, even with the 2 layers.
Once the race was over, I peeled off these muddy socks and noted my feet were not wrinkly at all. I experienced no blisters or hotspots from them either.
With what we do it is also important to note how difficult an item is to clean. I didn’t hose off the socks, just banged off the dried on mud that would come loose and threw them in the wash. Normally, I wash all my race items, then turn them inside-out (or outside-in), and wash again. These socks were clean after one wash, it was amazing!
If you are looking for a new sock for races, this one is something to look into. If I don’t wear them at the VT Beast in a couple weeks, I’ll certainly keep them on my person as a spare pair.
DISCLAIMER: I do not recommend buying and using these for the first time at a lengthy race (think SR Super or Beast, Tough Mudder, or Battlefrog Extreme), but it might be worth investigating for some of our colder races (Blizzard Blast comes to mind, as does any winter event at Shale Hill).
Rating: 4 star (good)