The update in our diligent preparations for our next Ultra Marathon continues.
Today we'll just briefly touch on Sealskinz footwear.
On a long Ultra race, say for example of over 20 hours in duration, in wet UK conditions we ask ourselves what can we wear to best protect our feet?
Currently we are trying out the Waterproof socks from Sealskinz First let's acknowledge that these products are not cheap coming in at above 30 GBP each. But we feel if they do the job then it is a price worth paying
Wet Distance Running
Assuming you merely have to run in wet conditions i.e. not go through streams where by definition your shoes are fully immersed in Water, then the issue becomes that all shoes will let in some water. And certainly then after hours of wet conditions your socks and feet may become saturated with cold water.
Just running through long grass is enough to thoroughly saturate many a running shoe in minutes. So whilst for UK Winter running we tend to use Goretex based running shoes, though these are water resistant, this is not enough
Our latest testing is with Sealskinz waterproof socks. Assuming you manage to keep the top of the sock above any water source then we reason they will keep the feet dry even if the enclosing running shoe is between damp and very wet
Marcus: Sealskinz Super Thin Pro Mid Socks with Hydrostop
The Hydrostop refers to a sticky-ish rubber band on the inside of the sock that attempts to form a gentle but waterproof seal on top of your skin.
I was very concerned that this would start to rub, but currently on test runs up to 4 hours in duration each, this is not a problem. No rubbing at all
Sock is not rated as thermal but turns out to be very thermally efficient, keeping Marcus's pathetically cold feet quite warm in current -1 degree C temperature environment.
The inside of the sock has a soft squidgy and minutely plasticky feel. We were worried that it would not be subtle enough for trail running, but again so far this fear is groundless.
What happens when water enters
In our current testing we've run through puddles and mud enough to saturate our trail running shoes. In such conditions you can feel cold water sloshing around the outside of the socks but somewhat miraculously the feet inside remain dry. It is slightly surreal, I feel that at any moment the water barrier might break down, but actually not yet.
Most of all, Agata and Marcus both agree it is as though the waterproof layer is somehow sitting inside of the fabric so that against the skin the sock feels pretty natural, i.e. its not like running in plastic bags.
Agata: SealSkinz Super Thin Ankle Socks
Our Sealskinz socks have proved themselves usable on zero degree, wet weather trail runs. Your experiences may differ but we suggest they are worth a try if you want to keep your feet, but not necessarily your shoes dry in wet extreme climate conditions.