POLARIS CASCADE WATERPROOF MERINO SOCK REVIEW
Review by Robert Johnston
Now that we’re solidly into the nasty-weather months of the year, any items that can aid comfort out on the trail are very welcome. Cold and wet feet are an easy ticket to discomfortville, so warm and waterproof socks can be a game changer. But just being warm and waterproof isn’t enough to ensure comfort, as sweaty and suffocated feet are no good either. The Cascade Waterproof Merino socks by Polaris aim to provide the golden ticket to keeping your feet happy on a Winter ride.
Polaris designed the Cascade Merino waterproof socks to keep feet warm and dry through the wet and cold conditions. The mid length sock is made from a technical multi fibre three-layer construction, featuring a merino wool inner to provide the comfort and warmth against the skin and aid sweat wicking. A breathable waterproof membrane takes care of the weather resistance, and a tough outer layer ensures they can handle the rigors of an abusive winter on the trail. Around the arch is a section designed to grip onto the foot and keep the sock secure, and flat toe seams ensure there’s no rubbing.
The Cascade Merino socks are available in a choice of 5 colors, with three sizes S-L to fit feet from US 4-13. They retail for £39.99 but are available at a reduced £29.99 from the Polaris website at the time of writing.
With US 11.5 feet, I’m firmly in the middle of the large sizes 10-13 range, so was surprised to pull them on and have them as snug as I could hope for. My feet have very deep arches and are quite wide which ensures they act bigger than their size suggests, but the material is quite thick and stiff to stretch, so those with chunky feet in higher sizes should buy with caution. This should in theory add extra cushion and comfort when on a ride, however there’s one caveat – their thickness means they occupy a good bit of extra volume in your shoe than a standard sock and some thinner waterproof socks, meaning a well-fitting shoe may become on the small side. For me, this meant my current shoe of choice was too tight and created considerable foot pain after a while. This was less of a concern in larger volume shoes, but it’s something to note as other slightly thinner waterproof socks were not an issue.
In an acceptably voluminous shoe, the Cascade feels great thanks to the extra level of padding on offer, if a touch on the vague side. The merino wool liner is soft and comfortable, adding immediate heat and breathing reasonably well given their thickness.
Through light puddle splashes and rain showers they do the waterproof side of things very well. When it comes to full shoe submersion, the Cascades armor began to falter slightly, letting water in with the pressure of a foot in a wet shoe to force it. Once this water does get in though, they let it out just as easily and don’t lose their comfort or heat – a signature of the merino wool. So, they’re far from an uncomfortable place to be, but of course it’s not ideal to have wet feet for the duration of a long day out in the saddle. For that reason, I would suggest that other more waterproof options could be a smarter choice for those looking for the ultimate in wet weather riding protection, however the Polaris Cascade socks are certainly a comfortable option for the slightly less saturated days. Through an Autumn of wet and muddy pummeling, they’re showing zero signs of degradation, indicating they’ll offer increased comfort for many rides to come.
The Wolf’s Last Word
When it comes to those shoulder season days where temperatures have dropped and the trails are seeing some rain, the Polaris Cascade socks can add some extra comfort and protection from the elements. It’s essential to ensure your shoes will have enough volume to cope with their increased thickness, and they haven’t proven to be entirely waterproof, but they’re a damn sight more comfortable than a cotton sock.
Price: – £29.99 (£39.99 RRP)