A few months ago, I received the ArcticDry waterproof socks for testing and since then I’ve been regularly wearing them for hiking, bike commuting and everyday use. The ArcticDry socks are classic waterproof socks. They are made of 3 layers where the waterproof/breathable membrane is sandwiched between the lining and the outer layer. According to ArcticDry these socks are perfect for cycling, hiking, snowboarding and similar outdoor activities. Over the last two months I thoroughly tested the socks, investigating the materials, performance, fit and comfort. I wore the socks in rainy weather as well as in dry weather. Below is what I learned about them.
The ArcticDry Waterproof Socks are suitable for:
- Everyday use
When I unwrapped the socks, I was positively surprised by the quality. The ArcticDry socks are made with high precision and the fabric is very sturdy. They are somewhat stiff but that didn’t surprise me much. Waterproof socks are always stiffer than ordinary socks because they have a membrane – much like a high-quality rain jacket. The membrane simply can’t provide the same level of flexibility as the fabric and thus the socks feel a bit stiffer.
The inner layer of the socks (lining) is mostly made of Coolmax fibers but also utilizes polyester, spandex and cotton fibers. I was happy to see that the lining has Coolmax fibers because so far, I’ve only had good experience with Coolmax. Coolmax is a durable, moisture-wicking fiber which is widely used in sportswear industry. The inner layer of the ArcticDry socks is in general very soft and feels nice to the touch.
The outer layer is made of nylon, polyester, spandex and cotton. It feels rougher and sturdier than the inner layer. That’s to be expected as it must protect the membrane against tears and scratches. The sock utilizes a PU membrane which blocks water from the outside but allows moisture from the inside to evaporate. Most waterproof socks use this type of a membrane.
Comfort, Waterproofness and Breathability
When I put the ArcticDry waterproof socks on for the first time, I was positively surprised how well they fit me. Despite that they are relatively stiff, they provide a really good fit. I wore the socks regularly for various outdoor activities and I found them very comfortable. The material of the lining is perfect and so far, I haven’t experienced any discomfort, chaffing or blisters. The socks have very smooth seams and comfortable elastic cuffs at the ankles. I was also very satisfied with the waterproofness of the socks. I wore them in heavy rain without waterproof footwear several times and my feet always stayed dry until I came home.
However, I was less satisfied with the breathability and moisture-wicking performance. When I wore the socks in dry weather my feet often became clammy, especially during high intensity activities. This was a bit annoying in cold weather because clammy feet also quickly become cold. Now, I have no doubt that the inner layer is moisture-wicking but due to the limited breathability of the membrane, the moisture has nowhere to go – it stops at the membrane. I found the breathability and moisture-wicking performance the biggest downsides of these socks. Nevertheless, I must mention that no waterproof socks offer the same level of breathability as ordinary socks due to the crucial membrane. There is always a tradeoff between waterproofness and breathability.
Washing and drying
The ArcticDry waterproof socks should be hand washed in lukewarm water with a bit of soap. As they have a membrane, I don’t recommend washing them in a machine because the membrane could get damaged. You should of course also not use softener, bleach or other additives. As with other sportswear, these socks shouldn’t be tumble-dried. Note that the socks take quite some time to dry. I recommend first drying the inner layer and then turning them around so that the outer layer can also dry.
The ArcticDry waterproof socks surprised me with their quality and robustness. I was also very happy with the fit, waterproofness and comfort. The socks are very comfortable to wear because the inner layer is very soft and pleasant to the touch. During the testing period I haven’t experienced any chafing or blisters. I was less excited about the breathability and moisture-wicking performance and thus I think that these socks are best for low intensity activities such as easy hiking, cycling and similar in wet conditions. Nevertheless, this goes for most waterproof socks because there is always a tradeoff between waterproofness and breathability. So, if you are looking for a pair of waterproof socks for outdoor adventures in wet conditions, I do think that the ArcticDry socks are a good option.
If you have any questions about this product, drop me a line in the comments below.
We field tested this product. The rating shows its overall performance.About Rating
- Sturdy material
- Comfortable inner layer
- Great fit
- Moisture-wicking performance
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can you advise if these (and similar waterproof socks, e.g. sealskinz) will still be waterproof if you wear shorter socks underneath them, e.g. cotton ankle socks under waterproof mid-socks?
They’ll provide the same level of waterproofness but I don’t understand why would you wear cotton socks underneath? Waterproof socks are thicker than regular socks and thus the whole setup will be pretty bulky. The inner layer of waterproof socks is also typically made of comfortable material such as Merino wool.