How do waterproof socks work?

How do waterproof socks work?

Brand: DexShell

We all love to spend time outdoors, but in the UK we're fully aware that wet weather can often spoil the fun, luckily there is now a wide range of weatherproof clothing available to us.

In recent years more and more people have realized the benefits of wearing waterproof socks. No matter if the weather is already wet or not, having a pair of waterproof socks on can mean you’re prepared for changing conditions and are more likely to have a better time. Nobody likes soggy feet or blisters after all! But how do they actually work?



Generally, to create a waterproof barrier you need a layer which stops water molecules from passing through it, but for a pair of socks to function they need other properties too such as comfort, breathability and stretch. That’s why this waterproof layer must sit between an inner layer and an outer layer. The inner typically needs to be soft next to the skin and be able to draw sweat away whilst the outer requires a little more durability and should ideally appear and feel like a ‘normal sock’. With a waterproof membrane sandwiched between these two layers you can get a fully functioning sock which also blocks out water.

This 3-layer construction is used amongst most waterproof socks currently available. Each brand will vary slightly but with DexShell, for example, the membrane used is a Porelle® membrane. This Porelle® membrane is a type of hydrophilic membrane in solid microstructure so it stops water molecules getting in but does allow sweat molecules out as these are much smaller in size.



100% Waterproof?

Whilst the fabric of the sock protects you from water ingress, it’s worth mentioning there is one big hole in every sock. How else would you get your foot in? There is always the possibility therefore that water can get down the sock from this opening. If water is dripping down your bare legs or if you step in a river that comes higher than your socks then water is potentially going to get in contact with your feet. Brands combat this by offering waterproof socks in different lengths, this means you can wear a sock which matches whatever you’re likely to be doing in it. Some DexShell socks also feature DEXLOK™️ technology which incorporates a waterproof seal around the cuff of the sock, it targets this exact problem and stops water from entering down the sock from the top.



Waterproof Testing

Some may say ‘waterproof’ is quite a loose term, how ‘waterproof’ can socks be? How do you know which ones are the best? Companies usually express a product’s waterproof rating in terms of hydrostatic head. This number relates to the height of a column of water that could be positioned on the fabric before it lets any moisture through. For any fabric to be valued as fully waterproof, it should withstand the pressure of a column of water 10,000mm high without leakage.

The Porelle® membrane that DexShell use exceeds this by far and is over double that of its closest rival. A handy little home test which tells you if your waterproof socks work is to run the tap into your sock, if no water passes through then your feet should stay dry.




It’s important with waterproof socks that their unique feature doesn’t come at the expense of other qualities needed in a pair of socks. DexShell socks have patented 4-way stretch technology; DEXTRETCH™️, providing greater freedom of movement to the wearer, the 3 layers are laminated which means they move together giving a snug and comfortable fit.



You can get a huge variety of waterproof socks now and each are suited to different activities or conditions, however, the way in which the waterproof element works is very similar. Now you’re clued up, why not give a pair a try or show off your new knowledge to your outdoor pals.


Published August 2022

Written by Alethea Lund-Wright
Marketing DexShell UK

Header photo from Jacob Snochowski

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