seal skins for Ultras

Anyone tried Seal Skins on long ultras with deep puddles?

Winter is almost upon us and races such as the Winter 100 and the spine will throw up the possibility of running for hours with wet feet.

Gortex shoes are only good for damp ground with no puddles over 1inch deep. The ones with built in gaiters could be a little better but once a Gortex shoe is swamped it won,t drain. The answer could be knee length seal skin sox but do they stay waterproof after hours of running in wet shoes?



  • Not a direct answer but I have a pair of Bridgedale socks, I think they are wool based. I did a 10hr run a few months ago in them when the Thames path was flooded, wet feet for all but the first 10 mins and no blisters in sight. I wore them tons early summer too when it was v wet, many 3-6 hour runs with wet feet from the off, again, no blisters.

    Rather than keeping water out, perhaps try looking for something that works well when wet so at least you have a backup plan.

  • Ian I used seal skinz on an ultra in the black mountains a couple of winters ago, whilst I found he socks kept my feet perfectly dry I did find two other problems arose from them. Firstly the sweat generated by your feet has owheree to go but to say inside the socks so I'd recommend a liberal dosing of talcum powder if you do decide to try them.

    The other issue was with the size of the socks themselves, I don't know if you have a pair but they're really really thick, I found they were quite uncomfortable as my feet swelled during the course of the day
  • Whats in the back of my mind is wet and freezing conditions on the Spine. The longer that I can keep my feet dry, the longer I can put off trench foot and blisters.

    Foot care has to be a priority. As far as shoe size is concerned then investing in larger shoes could be worth it if the seal skins work. 

    I thought seal skins were supposed to breath and let damp sweat out? Once the sox are wet I guess breathability is reduced to zero. I have visions of the sole of the sox getting such a hammering after 15+ hrs that waterproofing is reduced to zero. 

  • ClagClag ✭✭✭
    I've found seal skinz to be great for walking. I've run in them in the snow on quite a few occasions (but only shorter distances) and found that aside from needing bigger shoes they're great.

    While walking, the time I've covered is half of what you'll be doing, but I found when I had a severe leak in my boot (the reason I bought them) that they were fantastic. I got thoroughly drenched and literally poured the water from my boots but the inside of the socks were dry.
  • I use sealskinz as if my feet get wet I inevitably get blisters.  I use a very thin coolmax liner which makes them more comfortable.  They will wear out after heavy use, but will last much longer than 15 + hours

  • Thanks guys . I shall get a pair and try them out on the RAB MM and the OMM if it is wet.

  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭

    I'm looking into sealskinz - there is a waterproof model that doesn't allow water past the cuff.  Advice I've had is to wear thin, wicking liner socks - perhaps ToeToe/Injinji? - underneath.  The Sealskinz material is a bit scratchy.

    btw I've found wearing Injinji socks on their own create just as many blisters as ordinary socks, only in different places (under the toes).

  • I bought and used them on my 1st and only ultra recently. Indeed all the problems listed above happened, sweaty feet meant taping and blister plasters came unstuck and thickness meant shoes felt much snugger whIch is not good to be feeling at the start of an event. I had sent change of socks and trainers ahead to a checkpoint at around 33m and changed out of them there with a deal of relief. Toe nails floating by the end but of course that may have happened anyway so can't totally blame socks.
  • I've vaselined my feet before putting twin skins on, for Greater Manchester Marathon (pouring rain), NDW50 and various training runs in the 20+ mile bracket. Worked for me.

  • Merino wool sox do work but the problem on the Spine is that you are on the go for 7 days over 267miles in jan. What may work for a soaking  100miler over say 40 hrs (L100 2009) won,t work on the Spine. The damper your feet are , the sooner you get trench foot. On a race that long blisters can easly cause a DNF. I am one of the lucky ones who never seem to get blisters but then I have never run for that long. In order to finish preperation must be spot on. I plan to swap shoes and sox at the checkpoints but the checkpoints are 40 miles appart!

    Besides sealskinz has anyone tried the gortex trail shoes with the built in gaiters? I think Salomon do one and also La Sportiva.

  • Ian - Your last response cut my sage wisdom off at the knees; just about to wax lyrical about Smart Wool merino socks in which I have yet to have a blister and always remain warm even when wet however reckon your right about the spine, awesome by the way, on longer outings I have ended up a little prune like.

    If you try the La Sportva will you post back as I have been eyeing them for a while but as they are the opposite to my usual approach (quick draining shoes and merino wool sock combo) have yet to try them.

    As an aside I did take a run with a chap who told me poor care and attention to hs toenail length had meant that he punctured his sealskinz after just a couple of outings and he found the hole allowed sweat etc to drain but didn't seem to let too much water in.

  • I've used Seal Skinz but only if the weather is proper miserable from the start with no end in sight.  That's kind of the same logic I use to decide whether to wear waterproofs as well.  If you've only got a short section where you're going to get your feet wet or if the weather looks like it'll clear I just wear my normal socks and they dry out as the day goes on.

  • So for warmth (rather than waterproofing) are merino wool socks the way to go?

    My feet are starting to get cold on the bike already image

  • mike_a wrote (see)

    I've used Seal Skinz but only if the weather is proper miserable from the start with no end in sight...

    You live in Britain, then?

  • I now have a pr of sealskinz. All I need now is really shit weather! The winter 100 should be a useful trial run, if they don,t work over 25 miles I can switch back at the central checkpoint.

    Next problem the Backpack! What I would like is the newer style with plenty of storage in the front. Salomon seem to produce what I need but not in a 30L pack(min size for the spine). Just to be fussy It also needs to have a short back as my OMM 32L tends to rub as the waist belt is too low. Front clip on pouches make getting the pack on and off fiddly and slow. Any suggestions?

  • You're right, there's some nice bags/vests from Salomon, UltrAspire & Nathan for example which have lots of storage on the front.  As they're lightweight and more of a vest than a traditional rucksack, would they give you the same problems you've had with other rucksacks I'm wondering?

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