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The DexShell Pro Visibility Waterproof Cycling Socks are highly effective for the colder, wetter and murkier months. They're a smart choice for those who, like yours truly, aren't fond of overshoes, and unlike socks with TPU liners they don't become uncomfortably clammy. Just be aware that their heavier tog weight means they're better suited to mountain bike booties and wider, trainer type SPD shoes than slim-fitting road shoes.
The socks are a three-layer design: the outer shell is made from 97% polyamide, 2% elastane and 1% polyester, the inner sock is 76% Coolmax FX (a polyester weave) and 24% polyamide, with a 100% polyurethane Porelle membrane in between.
I tested them with my FLR Defender boots which, though great for chill, are more water resistant than waterproof; if it's raining dogs or they're submerged in muddy puddles they'll absorb water. The DexShells have kept my feet completely dry, whether I've been cruising along the backroads for a few hours in persistent rain, or tackling boggy bridleways, where dab downs are more common and wet, gloopy muck comes with the territory.
Wearing them under SPD touring shoes with lots of mesh panelling it's much the same story – in moderate to heavier rain (coupled with the odd puddle immersion) the outer became quite wet, but my feet remained completely dry, nigh-on to the cuff line.
I've worn them mostly in temperatures between 3 and 10°C, and on the occasions the mercury has climbed into the low teens, my feet were warmer than I prefer but not uncomfortably so. Moisture management isn't on a par with merino, but I've only felt a faint misting before the fibres kick in and retain a primarily arid climate. And even with synthetic uppers, no wallpaper-stripping odours!
Padded toe and heel sections give welcome support while seemingly retaining some added warmth.
As well as being thicker than typical cycling socks, they're also slightly longer than some 'ankle length' socks, and have offered decent protection from thistles and other prickly foliage out on the bridleways when worn with 3/4s, as well as the odd stray stone thrown up by a knobbly tyre.
Though superficially subtle, the location of the reflective detailing and fluoro yellow cuffs combined with your pedalling motion is very eye-catching, especially at higher cadences – worn with shoes and 3/4-lengths, obviously.
The size guide is very accurate, so great for virtual purchases. Large was bang on for my 43/44 feet, and the elasticated cuffs worked well, preventing annoying slippage.
Being thicker than traditional socks, they work best with mountain bike-biased booties or wider commuter/touring style shoes than slim-fitting road shoes. I did pair them with some 'traditional' Quoc Pham touring shoes, which are on the narrow side, and things felt decidedly tight around the toe-box and sides.
They've gone in the wash at 30 degrees on a regular basis with no loss of waterproofing, breathability, or cosmetic deterioration. The fabric does take a little bit longer to dry than a traditional winter weight sock – but DexShell recommends no tumble drying.
They also come with a lifetime guarantee against manufacturing defaults.
While £25 isn't cheap for a pair of socks, if you add waterproofing to the spec then it actually looks a pretty good price: one of the DexShell's most obvious competitors, Sealskinz' Waterproof All Weather Ankle Length Sock with Hydrostop, is £32.50.
Showers Pass' Crosspoint Brights are another three-layer waterproof design, albeit aimed primarily at runners and milder conditions, and are £32 a pair.
Another three-layer design is the Gecko Ankle Length Cycling Running Waterproof Sock, a little nearer but still a little dearer than the DexShells, at £26.95.
Good socks (and indeed gloves) can make the difference between enjoying and enduring winter. The DexShells are decent performers, and their versatility extends their horizons to other outdoor activities – DexShell suggests they're also a good bet for running and light hiking. I much prefer waterproof socks to overshoes, and reckon these are a very good pairing with boots for winter gravel rides and mountain biking.
Very good weatherproof socks for the colder, wetter, murkier months
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road.cc test report
Make and model: DexShell Pro Visibility Cycling Socks
Size tested: Large
Tell us what the product is for
DexShell says, "Waterproof sock with reflective hits around the cuff. Great for cycling in bad weather or low light conditions.
The Pro Visibility Cycling Socks offer waterproof breathable performance with an added hit of reflectivity to boost safety on the roads. The Pro Vis Cycling Socks are constructed with a Porelle membrane which creates a complete waterproof and windproof barrier around the feet keeping them warm and dry whatever the conditions.
The Pro Visibility Cycling Socks are also great for running and light hiking.
DexShell use advanced technologies to produce waterproof socks, hats and gloves that are remarkably flexible, breathable and comfortable to wear. All DexShell products are engineered to be a durable as possible. We back all our products with a lifetime guarantee against manufacturing defaults."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Outer Shell: 97% polyamide, 2% elastane, 1% polyester
Interlining: Porelle® membrane (100% polyurethane)
Inner Sock: 76% COOLMAX® FX(polyester) , 24% polyamide
Seem really solidly made.
Comfortable and dry feet, even with submersion.
No obvious signs of wear/deterioration in several weeks of wearing and machine washing, and they come with a lifetime guarantee against manufacturing defaults.
Fit well around the foot and work well with mountain bike type booties and wider, trainer type SPD shoes and so on, but not really compatible with sportier road and mountain bike shoes.
Generally very comfortable paired with the correct shoes, making the difference between enjoying and enduring colder, wetter rides.
Nicely priced compared with the opposition.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Very straightforward: pop in the machine at 30 degrees and leave to dry naturally. No deterioration of the yarn or reflectives so far.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, I've been impressed by the standard of comfort, moisture management and waterproofing offered by the Pro Visibility Cycling Shocks. Unlike some with a TPU lining, they don't become overly clammy but offer excellent defence against heavy rain and immersion. This is particularly welcome since I don't like overshoes. The reflectives and their positioning makes them more than just decorative.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Durable, effective, and meet their design brief.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
A consideration rather than a dislike, but they are too bulky for sportier road and mountain bike shoes – which is why some people buy bigger shoes for winter.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's pretty good. One of the DexShells' most obvious competitors, Sealskinz' Waterproof All Weather Ankle Length Sock with Hydrostop, is £32.50. Showers Pass' Crosspoint Brights are another three-layer waterproof design, albeit aimed primarily at runners and milder conditions, and are £32 a pair. Another three-layer design is the Gecko Ankle Length Cycling Running Waterproof Sock, a little nearer but still a little dearer than the DexShells, at £26.95.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
Very competent and capable socks, with horizons beyond the saddle.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)