Review: DexShell Ultra Dri Sports Socks and Ultra Weather Gloves
No cyclist wants soggy hands or feet in winter. Windchill is much worse when you’re wet, making lower temperatures unbearable. Some years ago, Sealskinz cornered the market for waterproof socks. But they’re no longer the only game in town for such socks, and there’s always been a decent choice in waterproof winter gloves.
DexShell’s Ultra Dri Sports Socks have a breathable Porelle membrane sandwiched between wool-blend inner and polyamide/elastane outer. The membrane is waterproof, so you can stand in a deep puddle without your feet getting wet. Water can get in if the membrane is damaged; even a pinhole will mean water wicking through the inner layer and soaking the sock.
The other way is through the cuffs. Water runs down your legs and into the top of the socks, or (less often) overtops them when they’re immersed. Some cyclists combat this with a layer of Vaseline above their waterproof sock cuffs. I’ve even heard of people cutting the cuffs off washing-up gloves to make sock gaiters.
The Ultra Dri socks have a ‘Dexlok seal’ – an inch of rubbery-feeling polyamide – inside the top of the socks. It’s not a perfect seal but it’s much better than nothing.
The socks have enough stretch in them to fit your feet well. They’re a bit bulky, like any thermal sock, but don’t have the shapeless bagginess of older waterproof socks I’ve tried.
The Ultra Weather Winter gloves also have a Porelle membrane, along with a micro-fleece inner, Primaloft insulation and an outer made up of polyester, neoprene, and polyurethane. The palm is reinforced but not padded.
Although the tips of forefingers and thumbs are touch-screen compatible, smartphone operation is hit and miss because the gloves are bulky. That does mean they’re warm. I’d use them in temperatures down to zero or slightly below. (Beyond that, I’d want lobster-claw gloves.)
They suffer a problem common to most gloves with partly-stitched-in liners: the inner’s fingers can come out of the outer’s when you pull the glove off a sweaty hand, and it can be awkward relocating them. (Tip: try the handle of wooden spoon.)
The inner layer can also move a little independently of the outer, giving a slightly loose grip on the shoulders or hoods of drop bars. Down on the drops or on flat bars, they feel firmly fixed in place.
Sizes: S-XL for glove and socks.
The Ultra Dri socks are the nicest waterproof ones I’ve used. They’re warm enough, fit well and make a fair attempt to keep water out of the tops.
The gloves are cosy and waterproof but can suffer inverted inner fingers, and the grip feels a little slithery on drop bars.
Endura Deluge Glove £52.99
“The waterproof sock that started it all” (says Sealskinz), this has a cosy Merino wool blend inner, a hydrophilic membrane and nylon/polyester/Lycra outer.