Dry Suit Socks ... Questions

Discussion in 'Gear Talk' started by drahcir, Apr 28, 2018.

  1. drahcir

    drahcir Paddler

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    Last year I replaced the latex neck gasket on my dry suit. This year I replaced the latex socks. The wrist gaskets still look good. But the socks triggered some questions which I'd like to direct at the many experienced diy types on this forum.

    1. Latex wrist and neck gaskets make sense, sealing against skin as they do. The integrated socks need not perform a gasket function; they need only be waterproof. Isn't there some other, more durable and waterproof material?

    2. The selection of sock sizes is quite limited, unless some vendors allow special fitting. So small suits tend to all have the same sock size, medium suits all have the same sock size (different from the small suits I suppose), and so on. This is convenient and makes sense for the vendor, not so much for the buyer. I reluctantly accept that. Do special orders cost more for these already very spendy suits?

    3. Even if I can special order a suit that makes my feet happy, why are replacement socks so limited? There are very few sock size choices, with each fitting a big range of foot sizes. My foot size is at the low end of a size range, so I can also use the suit for my Bozo the Clown outfit.

    My own solution is to maybe try a suit with ankle gaskets and forget the integrated booties. Then I need appropriate foot wear, but could pick a reasonable size.
     
  2. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Goretex socks used to be standard out of Kokatat. I believe that if you order through an authorized dealer, you can marry any sock size you want to the size suit that fits your body. Of course, you pay Kokatat's prices. Other manufacturers may do the same, if you ask.

    Latex seals at the ankle constrict at the very worst point on your body and make for chilly feet, most paddlers. Further, waterproof footwear has never been truly waterproof for me, anyway. So, having a Goretex set of socks ensures that your feet stay dry, even when the boots fail.
     
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  3. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    I'm not sure they are any more durable, but the dry suits I've used (Level Six, Kokatat) use fabric socks. I also don't know if the fabric socks are more comfortable than the latex ones when there is a bit of excess fabric - I seem to have gotten used to it.
    I know that Kayak Academy (George Gronseth) will order special suits from Kokatat. I don't know if there is an extra charge for those.
    It must be a 'demand' thing - even SeaSkins only seems to have 4 sizes of latex socks listed.
    http://www.seaskin.co.uk/acatalog/Drysuit_Spare_Parts.html
    ......but at least that's one more size than the socks listed at Kayak Academy ! :)
    https://www.kayakacademy.com/products/universal-latex-dry-socks

    I haven't ever heard anything good about ankle gaskets for sea kayaking. Apparently it can be a tussle to get them off, and how do you keep your feet dry?
     
  4. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Protecting the Goretex socks from damage (pinholes) is a concern. Footwear- like water shoes and Teva-type sandals- that allows pebbles or sand to get next to the GoreTex (or other fabric socks) can be a problem. One solution I've seen is to wear neoprene socks over the dry suit fabric socks to protect the fabric. Then a mesh-type water shoe (a size or two bigger than the usual) can safely be worn.
     
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  5. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    John's last comment omits the likelihood of shredded gaskets from toenail cuts. To be waterproof, the gaskets have to fit right on the skin, and the top of the ankle is much smaller in circumference than the instep to heel passage. That demands a tight gasket.
     
  6. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    So if you use ankle gaskets you have to put them over bare feet. With dry suit socks, your socks (liner socks at least, and probably something heavier) will protect the dry suit from toenail snags.
     
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  7. Bluenose

    Bluenose Paddler

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    Not sure what you’re doing to chew up the socks. No one wears a dry suit here without wearing neoprene boots. The boots are usually high ankled and the dry suit cuffs pull down over them to keep out small rocks and sand that can abrade the gortex. When changing clothes I stand on something smooth or soft and don’t walk around unless my boots are on. If you wear low cut water shoes or anything that will allow gravel to get in your shoe, your socks are doomed.

    Personally I have never heard of anyone having to replace dry socks on their suit.

    In the 80’s I wore dry suits with ankle gaskets and they were terrible. They had to be tight and your feet were always cold because they were wet in the boots and the gaskets limited the blood circulating to the feet.

    Look after the socks and they will last the life of the suit. Ankle gaskets suck.
     
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  8. drahcir

    drahcir Paddler

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    I wear ankle-high neoprene boots over the dry suit latex socks. The overly large socks are thrust into the boots when I don the suit. Getting the socks into and out of the boots is part of the problem, I suppose. I wear a US size 9 street shoe and a size 11 neoprene boot to make room for the Bozo socks. I could go to a larger boot and then probably a larger kayak. Perhaps my next dry suit will have goretex rather than latex socks.
     
  9. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    drahcir,

    Those Bozo socks suck. Worth it to replace them with socks tailored to your foot size. I fought folds once, and still remember the blisters.
     
  10. dermot

    dermot Paddler

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  11. designer

    designer Paddler

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    I carry a small mat (REI camping supplies). It can either be rolled or laid flat in the bottom of the boat for transport. I stand on the mat (on the ground, not in the boat) when changing into/out of the drysuit. It also serves as a "welcome" mat in front of a tent or hammock. In addition, I get extra exercise when I forget it at the launch point and have to paddle back for it.

    At the car put-in, I've seen paddlers use a small tupperware/rubbermaid tub. They stand in the tub and put on their drysuit. On return from adventure, they stand in the same tub to take the suit off.

    I always protect the latex socks. If I had my choice, I'd prefer Gore-Tex - and I've give them the same protection.

    My view is, a drysuit with any holes in it, no matter where, isn't very dry.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2018
  12. pawsplus

    pawsplus Paddler

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    I have slip-on shoes--I stand on those when I take it off or put it on. I'm really anal about it, as that dry suit was ungodly expensive. :)