- Windproofing and plenty of water resistance
- Nowhere near as bulky and weird feeling as 'proper' waterproof socks
- Dry out quickly when soaked and very breathable
- The price
- Can slip down a bit
If you're after a set of socks to keep the worst of the wind and rain off your toes, then Gore's C3 partial Gore Windstopper socks work really well without adding masses of bulk. While they're not fully waterproof, they prevent the worst of water getting through and dry rapidly when they have been drenched.
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Waterproof socks tend to split opinion. While they do manage to keep your toes from getting wet - well, unless water comes in over the top of them - they can often be relatively bulky compared to normal winter socks and also have a habit of feeling colder than normal socks.
Gore's socks split the difference standard socks and full-on waterproof membrane types by using a windproof and highly water-resistant Windstopper material on the front of them with stretchy material at the back. They're really nice and slimline, so I didn't have any issues with them making shoes feel uncomfortably tight and/or cutting off circulation, which can happen with bulkier items.
The fit is good, despite seams that looked like they might cause issues and I used them with thinner or thicker socks underneath depending on the conditions. Despite the lack of any silicone grabbers, they stayed put around the cuff really well, with only a slight bit of the elephant skin effect going on.
When out riding, I was really very impressed with them, especially on the gravel bike where wind chill, rain and splashes are more of an issue than full immersion. They managed to keep my dry without getting hot or sweaty feet and they feel more natural than waterproof socks. Even on the mountain bike, when getting totally soaked is more of an issue, they managed to stay warm even when sodden wet, which can't be said for waterproof socks. They also dry much more quickly too.
All in all, these are pricey but high performing socks that are ideal for spring and autumn conditions, or even colder if you stick a decent wooly underneath. They've got minimal bulk, wick and dry quickly and generally feel much less odd than waterproof socks while still providing a good portion of the weatherproofing benefits. They're certainly a very welcome addition to my cold weather riding wardrobe.