Dry Max Socks
Are Drymax socks better than the competition? I decided to find out by comparing them to my favorite combination of socks, the Injinji liner with the Wrightsock Coolmesh. Other sock comparisons and reviews can be found at Blister Prevention and Socks.
1 How are Drymax socks different?
Drymax socks have hydrophobic (water–hating) fibers next to the skin and traditional technical fibers on the outside. The idea is that the sweat is pushed away from your skin to the outside of the sock, keeping your feet dry. The hydrophobic fibers are made of PTFE (Teflon) to reduce friction.
2 Does it matter if my feet are dry?
The unholy trinity of blisters is heat, moisture and friction. Keeping your feet dry will reduce the chance of blisters. If your feet are wet for long enough, they become 'macerated'; white and wrinkled. In this state, blisters become far more likely.
3 The Reigning Champion
My preferred combination of socks is the Injinji Liner with a Wrightsock Coolmesh. The two socks are thin, and are about the same thickness as the Drymax 'maximum protection' sock. The Wrightsock is made up of two separate socks sown together, giving three layers of material to reduce friction. I have worn this combination on many races and suffer from few blisters, even though I have Epidermolysis Bullosa.
4 The Types of Drymax socks tried
- Hot weather running
- Maximum protection running
- Hyper thin running
- Maximum protection trail running
Most of my testing use the maximum protection running and the hot weather running stocks.
I found all of the Drymax socks too large for their stated size. I'm a 9.5-10.0 shoe size, and the Drymax 'Large' is supposed to fit 8.5-9.5, but either the heel comes up my ankle or the toe is hanging off the end of my foot. In the end I ordered a pair of the latest 'maximum protection' in a Medium 6.0-8.0 and they fitted nicely.
6 Comparison Approach
I wore the Injinji/Wrightsocks on one foot and either the Drymax 'maximum protection' or the 'hot weather running' socks on the other foot. I would alternate which foot had the dry Max socks on different days. I was running between 16 and 26 miles in various conditions, from cool weather when my feet did not sweat much, through moderately warm when my feet would damp but not soaked, and even hot humid conditions where my feet were soaked with sweat (squelching) for at least the last hour.
While running there was relatively little difference in feel between the socks. The main factor was the lower friction from the Injinji/Wrightsocks, which is not surprising given the three layers of material. Regardless of the weather there was no detectable difference in how wet my feet were. In extremely hot humid conditions my skin had a similar level of maceration. Weighing the socks before and after the run revealed the following measurements (combined weight different to the sum due to limitations of the scales)
|Drymax maximum protection||Injinji Liners||Wrightsock Coolmesh||Injinji/Wrightsocks Combined|
8 Injinji Liners with Drymax
I did experiment with the combination of the Injinji liners with the Drymax hot weather running socks. The Drymax socks are slightly thicker than the Wrightsocks and are therefore slightly warmer. I was a little surprised that the friction from the Injinji/Drymax was greater than the Injinji/Wrightsock. The Injinji/Wrightsock also seem to keep my feet slightly drier probably because they were cooler.
9 Care of Drymax Socks
Unlike conventional socks, even highly technical socks, these socks need extra care. Oils and body lotion can disrupt the Teflon layer. This happened to my initial socks and the manufacturer was kind enough to replace them under their warranty. In fact the manufacturer was extremely kind and helpful and I highly commend their customer service. I took great care of the replacement socks and even cleaned my feet with alcohol before using them as I wanted to give them the greatest opportunity to succeed. You can test your Drymax socks by turning them inside out and putting them over a faucet. When the water runs through the socks it should break up like it does on the right in the picture below. If it looks more like the sock on the left, then the socks have lost their water repellent properties.
I would suggest that Drymax socks are probably better than any other single stock available. However, it is nowhere near as good as the Injinji/Wrightsock combination.