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The Sealskinz Thetford Waterproof All Weather Cycle Oversock is a simple idea that works well. A waterproof and windproof layer for cleated road or gravel shoes that ups your mildly-bad-weather game at a much lower cost than specific shoes. They aren't the most robust, mind, so if you'd prefer tougher, more traditional protection, check out our guide to the best cycling overshoes.
Welcome to riding in the UK – hope you brought your wellies.
Not the most appealing of openers, granted, but the reality is there's a reason this place is mostly green and lush – our position between a rather damp ocean and a European land mass that heats up, dragging the weather their way. En route, a fair amount of that evaporated seawater succumbs to gravity, and if you ride a bike on a regular basis you will inevitably encounter some of it, either on its downward trajectory or, after settling, being propelled upward by your front tyre as you blast through it.
Keeping your feet dry as well as warm is a perennial challenge for year-round cycling. You can invest several hundred quid in waterproof, insulated shoes – or you can add a removable layer of protection. That's where Sealskinz' Thetford oversock comes into the picture.
Sealskinz is a trusted name in the world of appendage protection, and in winter I mostly wear its heated waterproof gloves, on or off-road. I'm also a huge fan of the company's knee-length wader-fisherman's socks, to protect the lower legs. Paired with 3/4 bib knickers, you're much better protected and warmer than full tights.
The Thetford is a shorter sock that's extremely stretchy to fit over and around the contours of your shoes and any Boa buckles they might have. There are probably aero benefits too, if you care.
The Thetford is available in four colours: blue, breen, black and a hi-vis Neon Yellow. There's some genuine science behind colourful feet being very visible to motorists, so the yellow is a great option for commuters and roadies. For the other colours, there's a small retro-reflective Sealskinz logo on the side.
Sealskinz claims the fabric of the Thetford is 100% windproof and waterproof, with a slightly fluffy cotton mix interior for insulation. You treat it like any other sock, just over the top of your shoe. It does take a bit of manoeuvring to get the two holes properly aligned with your heel and cleats, but nothing major.
What the Thetford is lacking is any reinforcement around the contact areas at the toe, midsole or heel, and after a few rides involving even short amounts of walking there were small holes worn in the fabric around the toe, and the stitching around the edge of the cleat hole was starting to fray. Hike-a-bike or serious off-road overshoes these definitely are not. Likewise, if you're a gravel rider who regularly has to stop to open gates or get over fences, chances are the Thetford isn't the overshoe you're looking for.
Out in 2°C for a few hours wearing normal merino socks over normal shoes, the Thetford definitely upped the warmth game. I was apprehensive that such a relatively thin additional layer would make that much difference, but my qualms were unfounded. Usually at that temperature I'm in my thickest, longest socks and a full-on winter waterproof boot, but my feet stayed warm and happy.
They were dry too – until I stopped to take a photo on some rather squelchy ground. That's when reality hit home: these are waterproof oversocks, but they don't make your normal shoes waterproof. The two huge holes in the bottom should have been a giveaway. Anyway, I finished the ride with warm-ish but definitely wet feet.
Out again in some hard rain for a few hours, things started off well enough, but over time the repeated drenching of my lower legs and underneath the soles eventually resulted in wet feet.
So what type of riding is the Thetford Waterproof All Weather Cycle Oversock for? Not off-roading, that's for sure. And not for long days in pouring rain either.
At £40 they definitely aren't cheap – you can get a proper waterproof sock for that money, that will actually keep your feet dry and warm – but compared with other oversocks and overshoes, the price isn't that bad (as long as you look after them).
George really liked the Spatz Roadman 3 Super-Thermo Hi-Viz Reflective Overshoes with Kevlar (say that three times fast), but they have looks only a mother could love and cost a relative fortune (£94.99).
Probably the closest comparison is with the Giro Xnetic H2O Shoe Covers that Leon liked when he reviewed them in 2022 – but again, at £69.99 vs the Thetford's £40, it seems Sealskinz wins the value game.
In summary, I'd say the Sealskinz Thetfords are good for colder days when you need a bit of extra warmth setting out, as a visibility tool for commuting, and maybe as a way to improve – but not redefine – water resistance in light or short periods of rain. If you have one pair of cycling shoes and you need to occasionally ride in the cold, or in a modicum of rain, or someplace you need more visibility, the Thetfords are a decent choice at a fair price.
If you need extra insulation or a little bit of rain protection, these are decent value, if not the most robust
If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website
road.cc test report
Make and model: Sealskinz Thetford Waterproof All Weather Cycle Oversock
Size tested: Large
Tell us what the product is for
They are for people riding in normal shoes, wanting more warmth and a bit of water protection in an easily-removable and possibly hi-vis package.
The original, waterproof ankle length cycle oversock is lightweight and streamlined. Designed for use with cleated cycling footwear making them suitable for both road cyclists and commuters in a wide variety of weather conditions.
RELIABLE WATERPROOF PROTECTION FOR YOUR RIDE
Our iconic waterproof sock technology, packed into a cycle oversock. Cold and wet feet while riding can be the worst. This oversock will not only keep your feet dry and comfy, but your cycling shoes will also stay as dry as your feet - bonus.
STAY DRY ON THE ROAD OR TRAIL
Designed to keep you dry, protected, and out on the road during chilly and wet weather, the Waterproof All Weather Cycle Oversock is an ideal choice when you can't fit a waterproof sock under your cycling shoe yet will most likely see some puddles or rain on your ride.
WATERPROOF PROTECTION FOR ANY RIDE
Featuring a three-layer bonded construction for warmth, durability, and 100% waterproofing,
DESIGNED WITH THE CYCLIST IN MIND
Featuring reflective detailing for visibility in low light conditions and four-way stretch for a close fit.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Our 100% waterproof oversocks are constructed using premium materials to make one highly waterproof and protective shoe covering:
* Outer Layer - 93% Nylon, 7% Elastane * Middle Layer - Aquasealz® waterproof membrane * Inner Layer - 52% Polyester, 27% Cotton, 21% Elastane
How do I care for the Thetford?
We don't like complicated things. And when it comes to the care of your socks, we want to make it as simple as possible. This is the type of sock you can throw in the wash along with the rest of your gear. No need to line dry or wash with special detergents. Since the membrane is a solid barrier, you'll never need to re-waterproof.
* Wash at 40°C/105°F
* Low Tumble Dry or Drip Dry
* Do Not Dry Clean, Iron, or Bleach
The stitching could be more robust.
Out in drier weather but hard cold, they really did make a difference.
It is not a robust sock, with wear holes appearing after only a few rides.
Fitted snugly and evenly.
The warmth and even stretch makes for loads of comfort.
At £40, they are pretty good value compared with rivals – if you look after them.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Fine – wash with everything else.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
If your 'purpose' doesn't include walking or riding in heavy rain for a long time, they do the job.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The added warmth.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Lack of reinforcement.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
For a waterproof, stretchy fabric they are a pretty good price compared with others – GripGrab's Flandriens are £66, Giro's Xnetic H2O Shoe Covers are £69.99, and the Spatz Roadman 3 Super-Thermo Hi-Viz Reflective Overshoes with Kevlar are £94.99.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly
Would you recommend the product to a friend? With caveats, yes.
Use this box to explain your overall score
They're quite good; I'm mostly marking them down on durability – the lack of reinforcement means they will wear fast with regular use.
About the tester
I usually ride: Sonder Camino Gravelaxe My best bike is: Nah bro that's it
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, general fitness riding, mtb, G-R-A-V-E-L
Living in the Highlands, Mike is constantly finding innovative and usually cold/wet ways to accelerate the degradation of cycling kit. At his happiest in a warm workshop holding an anodised tool of high repute, Mike's been taking bikes apart and (mostly) putting them back together for forty years. With a day job in global IT (he's not completely sure what that means either) and having run a boutique cycle service business on the side for a decade, bikes are his escape into the practical and life-changing for his customers.