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I received a couple of pairs of David James Wellington boot socks last year as a thank you for helping out on a gardening volunteering day. They looked thick and cosy and I thought they would be perfect for keeping my toes warm over the winter. I was planning to buy another pair for myself as I wear my wellingtons both for work and leisure, but I decided against it after using them for a few months and this is the reason why..
WHY DOES ANYONE NEED SPECIAL SOCKS FOR WELLINGTONS?
I don't find that my wellingtons rub even if I wear them all day as I often do, so the fact these socks are "fully cushioned" for comfort and protection wasn't what made me keen to try these socks. I liked the sound of the soft grip top which promises not to leave any ring marks behind, while still keeping the socks up. Ones that roll down and bunch about the foot are very annoying. The other special feature of these socks are that they are extra long in order to reach the top of the wellies.
David James says the socks have been made with careful blends of "advanced fibres" but the packet didn't say what they are. According to the Amazon product description, they are acrylic and polyester, which sounds less exotic! They are also apparently made with "modern day" knitting techniques to make them softer and durable. This is obviously a scientifically minded company, as they even offer us a diagram of a "average wellington boot" on the back of the packet. At least there is no danger of me accidently using them with a flip flop!! I have the ladies pair in two colours - dark green and bottle green but around 13 choices are available to choose from including pink, blue etc.
The first thing I noticed was that the socks were described as both calf length and long enough to reach the top of the Wellingtons. I have several pairs of wellies and only one is calf length. I am 5 foot 4 ish and I don't think my calves are that long but the socks don't come all the way up them. I didn't mind if there is a gap at the top of my boots as they still covered a lot of my leg to keep me warm but they felt a bit odd at first as I kept feeling they had not been pulled up enough. Just be aware that they won't come up to the top of many boots, depending on the design of the latter.
They do indeed feel very soft to the touch and slipping my foot inside is comfortable. They feel thick without being at all bulky which could otherwise have proved a problem with them fitting in my boots. I can imagine if you do have a pair of wellies that rub a little, they would provide a lovely level of cushioning! The soft grip top feels light and certainly doesn't leave any marks behind. Unfortunately, it also doesn't provide much grip. They gradually work their way down the leg and you have to keep hitching them up otherwise they can bunch and rub, and occasionally get as far as slipping around the heel. The ladies socks are supposed to fit size 4-8 and I am usually a 6 but I also have a pair of Wellingtons in a size 7. I am not at the edge of what size the socks are supposed to suit so I can put it down to having the wrong size pair. This is a shame as it makes the socks the opposite of comfortable to wear for more than a short time. The problem is worse with some boots than others but overall, I don't think they have fitted well in any pair.
Another problem is that they make my feet hot and sweaty when it isn't that warm at all. This is probably exaggerated by the rubber material the boots are made from which doesn't let your feet "breathe". On the plus side in absolutely freezing conditions they do make me toes feel warm and I don't feel like I need to wear a second thinner pair underneath.
I have tended to wear these when I am not actually going to be needing to walk around in my boots, as they stay up better if I am mostly stationary. This obviously doesn't make them very practical on many occasions, but if I am working in the potting sheds and have my boots on just for the occasional foray outside they are o.k. I have washed the socks about twice a week since October and they have kept their softness and shape without any special care. They haven't developed holes and the stitching around the toe area is in perfect condition. [That doesn't make an uncomfortable ridge by the way as it does in some socks.]
WOULD I RECOMMEND THE SOCKS?
I have only just opened my second pair as I didn't wear the first as often as I thought I would. On the packaging it has a label saying they cost £2.99. For the price they are good quality basic socks with the exception of the non functional soft grip tops. It is this, and the added length that makes the socks most useful for wearing with Wellingtons so as Wellington socks I can't rate them highly. They are soft and warm, and feel lovely so if they fit in your boots, you will love them, but I will stick to the other brands I have that do stay put on me! [Frustratingly, I took the label off my good socks when I first bought them and I have no idea where I got them from.]
You can buy the David James socks from Amazon, and the men's equivalent which suit sizes 7-11, for around £3.89-4.00 depending on the colour chosen.