Spring hiking means trudging over wet, mud-covered trails and lingering snow for many of us. But choosing the right footwear is challenging since it’s too warm to wear waterproof winter boots and too cold to wear lightweight trail runners and hiking shoes.
If you’re ready for winter to be over and can’t bare the thought of wearing your winter boots again, one solution is to wear waterproof socks with your light hikers or trail runners to keep your feet dry. These usually provide enough extra insulation to make hiking through snowmelt, wet mud, and lingering snow palatable.
The trick is finding waterproof socks that fit like regular socks, so you can wear them with your regular 3-season hiking shoes. I’ve had good luck in this regard with Showers Pass Crosspoint Waterproof Socks. They look and fit like regular socks and will keep your feet dry no matter what you step in!
Lightly insulated, the Crosspoint Waterproof socks are not warm enough for extended snow tramps or postholing. If those are the conditions you hope to use them for, I’d recommend getting a waterproof sock that is better insulated like the Hanz Chillblocker Insulated Waterproof Socks I reviewed last spring. The Crosspoints are not as warm and you’ll still feel a chill radiating through the fabric when you step in cold water or walk in calf deep snow. The chill is tolerable for up to 15 minutes at a time, as long as you’re moving and generating body heat, but you’ll want a more insulated sock for postholing in longer stretches of snow or for standing still on ice.
Despite being cooler, the Crosspoint socks are quite breathable and you won’t feel sweat accumulating in them. They’re lined with moisture-wicking Coolmax which moves perspiration away from your skin and helps prevent your feet from getting all prune-like and macerated. The waterproof/breathable membrane in these socks is a Gore-tex knockoff proprietary to Showers Pass, but seems to work well, even on all-day hikes.
Comfort-wise, the Crosspoint socks are a big step up from an unlined Gore-tex sock like those from Rocky. They’re shaped like regular socks and have a Coolmax lining which wicks moisture away from your skin. They also don’t have any seams inside, which can cause discomfort or even blistering. When worn, they exert a slight degree of compression around the foot, which helps keep them in place and prevents bunching, so you can forget you’re wearing them at all.
Care Instructions and Fit
I’ve found the best way to wash the Crossover waterproof socks is in cold water in a sink, using a gentle detergent like Woolite, and then hanging them to dry. It’s certainly the fastest way. Showers Pass also suggests machine washing in cold water (no fabric softeners or bleach) and tumbling dry on low heat, but warns that the latter can cause shrinkage. To prevent this, hang to dry instead.
Sizing for the Crossover waterproof socks is true-to-size. I wear a size 10.5 shoe and their size L/XL US Men’s size fits me perfectly.
While the Showers Pass Crossover Waterproof Socks make great waterproof hiking or backpacking socks, there’s no reason you can’t also use them for cycling, trail running, kayaking, fishing or any other outdoor sport where you want an extra waterproof layer for your feet. While they are very effective for their intended purpose, I really like the fact that they fit with the footwear I already own. That’s priceless.
Disclosure: Showers pass provided the author with socks for this review.