Waterproof footwear is an oft-desired item among winter-weather lovers and all-terrain hikers. Yet nine times out of 10, people figure those items are going to be shoes and boots, not socks. Likewise with insulated footwear, though heavy-duty wool socks are both common and effective. So imagine my curiosity when approached with the prospect of reviewing the Hanz waterproof Chillblocker socks.
Because I have Raynaud’s syndrome (what is Raynaud’s?), my extremities get cold very easily. Like, very easily. As I type this indoors by a window, in fact, my hands are cold to the touch and my fingertips are a bit numb. My feet get quite cold as well, particularly the toes. And that can be a serious problem when snowshoeing, hiking or doing any outdoor activity in a sub-40-degree setting.
The Hanz waterproof Chillblocker socks use Polartec Stretch material. I last experienced Polartec in the Houdini Power Houdi hoodie and can vouch for its warmth. Still, I never expected to see Polartec in a sock. But here it is, and it kept my feet and toes toasty warm. The use of expedition-weight Polartec Power Stretch fleece was genius.
Having stretchiness is important, because flexibility isn’t something you always find in thick synthetic material. Unfortunately, even though the Hanz waterproof Chillblocker socks move very well with the bend of your feet, their overall form factor isn’t as graceful.
When you think of socks, you tend to imagine foot-shaped tubes with flat seams and a wide area for toes. When you look at the Hanz waterproof Chillblocker socks, you see something different: tubular but not foot shaped, and more circular at the tip than contoured for toes. It feels more like putting your foot into a sausage wrapper than it does an insulated sock. Did they keep my feet warm, even in single-digit temperatures? Absolutely. But while they’re comfortable with respect to warmth, they’re less so in the general feeling of wearing socks.
The best way to describe the feel of these Hanz socks is “warm but clunky.” That’s not a bad thing if you’re hell-bent on finding socks that’ll keep your feet warm at all costs. But if you’re planning to do considerable hiking or snowshoeing in them, you’d be best off donning them first to see how they feel.
My impression of the Hanz waterproof Chillblocker socks is much higher with respect to the “waterproof” elements. I originally received the socks when temperatures were warm, so I had plenty of chances to test their waterproofing. Sure enough, the synthetic material kept my feet bone dry. I had to delay my full review, though, until temperatures dropped enough to try the “Chillblocker” element. (We had record rainfall in Portland this fall, and only recently got the cooler temps and snow.)
What it all comes down to is whether I’d recommend them. My answer depends upon how you’re going to use them. If you want warm socks for shoveling snow, raking leaves or other cold-weather activities that don’t require much walking, they’re worth checking out. If instead you plan to do more-intense activities like hiking, snowshoeing or running, I’d encourage you to try a pair on, if you can, before buying them. The Hanz waterproof Chillblocker socks perform as advertised: they’re waterproof and keep your feet warm. But the overall fit and feel may just be a bit too utilitarian for some people. And you’ll know if you’re one of those people within 20 seconds of trying them on.
The Hanz waterproof Chillblocker socks were provided for review. All opinions and words are my own and honest, and the article contains no affiliate links.
Hanz Waterproof Chillblocker Socks
- Polartec kept my feet warm, even in single digits
- Surprisingly breathable, considering the use of a thick synthetic
- Waterproofing is nice if your shoes or boots are lacking in that regard
- Needs some work in the overall shaping; the fit feels less than natural
- The non-traditional foot shape isn't comfortable for some high-footstep activities