[ad3]Since the winter weather first approached us this year, it’s been quite full on in Califonia due to El Nino. On damp and cold days we’ve been reaching for the Bontrager Stormshell over sock now and again. Basically, it’s exactly what the name indicates; they’re designed to be worn as a supplemental, additional sock to keep you warm & dry. Continue on to see how they’ve treated us.
• Profila Stormshell fabric powered by 37.5™ technology
• Pull on design for easy on and off
• Elasticized top opening for a stay up fit
• Designed to be worn over your socks and inside your shoes
• Sizes: Small – XXL
Our initial concern was that the over socks might make our shoes feel a bit tight. That fear was put to rest as soon as we tried them on and felt how surprisingly low profile they felt. Since they do add a bit of extra material, you may want to consider matching them with a base sock that’s a bit on the thinner side, or perhaps a roomier fitting shoe so your feet don’t get cramped. Either way, the material used is soft, smooth and pliable but very thin so there is no reason to have to size up in shoes unless you wanted to wear them with really thick, warm socks. Taped seams are a great touch – low profile so as not to irritate your feet. The fit and contour of our size large over socks were pretty spot on for our size 44 foot and we felt the sizing to be quite true.
On the Trail
The sleek fabric allowed our foot to settle into place inside of our shoes nicely and at no point did we experience any sort of discomfort from the seams or any material bunching up. The elastic cuff didn’t quite look like it would do the job of keeping the sock up, but again we were proved wrong and the over socks stayed in place perfectly. Out in some gnarlier conditions, these proved to do precisely what they are aimed at: keeping your feet dry and warm. One thing to consider that Bontrager didn’t really note was that the over socks add nice a windproofing factor; something we appreciated on the colder days.
It’s quite common for MTB shoes to feature mesh panels that encourage them to breathe nicely and dry out quickly. When seasons change from summer to winter, those shoes can be cold but sometimes not cold enough to justify buying a winter specific shoe or fuss with shoe covers. At $49.99, this is a low cost, no frills alternative. You can also flat out submerge your feet with them on and your feet and first sock layer will stay dry. This would not be the case with toe covers/shoe covers. However, in the event that you submerge your feet, you can expect your shoes to be weighed down a bit. While we haven’t had a full season of heavy use on the Stormshell over socks yet, they’ve shown no sign of premature wear or weakness. All of the taping is as good as new and they continue to keep us dry. The cuff hasn’t lost its elasticity and they’re hanging tough.
The Stormshell socks have proven to be a very worthy product with a broad appeal. The avid fair weather rider will still find uses for them now and again but they’re obviously aimed at those who are consistently braving crappy conditions. If you’re riding in horrendous, freezing conditions we’d recommend a purpose built cold weather shoe, but for just about everything else in between these are a fantastic, low cost addition that will fit in to just about any riders gear bag. They’re comfortable, discrete and durable. Oh yeah, they also keep the water and wind out…that’s the most important part.