For the past three weeks, I’ve been washing socks every two to three days. Strange, you might think, for a triathlete to have to do so much wash, and I agree, but I’ve been trying my best to put a few pair of Injinji toe socks to the ultimate test and mimic a high level of wear that I normally couldn’t do in just a few weeks.
If you’ve never heard of Injinji, they make some really interesting looking socks. Some of you may have had similar socks when you were a kid, with each toe having it’s own pocket. Basically, we’re talking gloves for your feet instead of mittens. Injinji makes three weights of running socks, light, mid weight, and original. Each weight is available in a no-show and a mini-crew length.
Other than looking pretty cool (and allowing you to wear them comfortably with sandals if that’s your thing), Injinji claims that toe socks provide a more natural toe splay, improve blister prevention and improve moisture wicking, while providing better balance and grip in your shoes and allowing more toe mobility.
Specifically, I’ve been testing pairs of the original and lightweight socks, in both the mini-crew and no-show versions. I’ve used the socks on the bike in great weather, on a few really hot days, and in a torrential downpour. I’ve done training runs up to about 10 miles, done a 5K and a 10K, and worn them in place of my normal socks around town. I’ve washed the socks about 10 times each and dried them in the dryer under normal conditions and settings, in spite of the care instructions recommending line drying. That’s just not something that frequently happens at my house, especially during pollen season.
Fit and Feel
To be completely honest, the first few times I put the socks on, they were a pain. My little toe is quite short, and hides very close to my 4th toe, so it was a real pain to put the socks, at least at first. Once I got the hang of it, it became second nature, but I’ve never had to worry about where my toes are inside a sock, so it was a change.
I did try putting on the socks with my feet a little damp, similar to a triathlete entering T1. The first two times I did this, it took me significantly longer to put them on, but with a little practice, my speed improved. If you use these in triathlons, I’d recommend adding some powder, drying your foot completely, and/or practicing a lot to make sure you get them on quickly.
Surprisingly, at least as the owner of a Size 13 hoof, the socks fit quite well. I’ve bought XL socks before that provided very little room for my big feet, but the Injinji socks have enough stretch and material to fit comfortably without being too large.
The socks are constructed of high quality material and are among the most comfortable socks I own. They certainly feel more well made than most other socks I’ve bought, at least on par with some of the expensive wicking socks I own.
I’m not going to separate out the different weights or lengths, at least not for the bulk of this review. With one exception, mentioned later, the difference between the weights and lengths of the socks are mostly a matter of preference, so I’ll leave that up to you to decide.
As I mentioned, I’ve tried to use the socks in very different conditions and situations, including a few cold mornings, hot days, downpours, and normal use.
My biggest observation is the cooling nature of these socks versus traditional socks. Think of the difference between gloves and mittens: mittens reduce mobility but increase heat retention. These socks are no different. You’ll instantly notice that your feet are cooler than when using traditional socks. This goes for the initial feel and the comfort you’ll experience during their use. The downside, and something I couldn’t test effectively in South Carolina in May, is how this impacts you when you want your feet to be warmer. I did test the original weight socks during a trip to Washington State, but even there it wasn’t cold enough to really measure performance.
The only comment I will make comparing the weights is that I prefer the lightweight version. I used the lightweight socks in short and long distances, both cycling and running, and never experienced any problems with comfort, even though Injinji recommends the lightweights for shorter distances. Again, this is personal preference, but don’t worry that the socks won’t provide enough cushion or protection in your longer workouts, the lightweight is plenty of protection.
I did wear the light and original weight socks in some serious rain and both did a respectable job of keeping my feet as dry as possible. During normal workouts, I never noticed any moisture issues and after the rain passed both days, each type of sock did a good job of helping dry my feet, at least as good as you could expect.
Obviously toe socks are a necessity if you’re using toe shoes, but based on my weeks testing these socks, I recommend, without reservation, trying the Injinji socks. They’re more expensive than most traditional socks, though only slightly if purchased from Amazon at a slight discount and compared to the more expensive socks in your drawer. Since these were only used while running and cycling, I don’t have any significant thoughts on the claims about better gripping and balance, though I did notice being a bit more aware of the inside of my shoes. I can’t be certain that’s because of the socks, so YMMV.
These are the first toe socks we’ve tested at FitEgg, so I’m without a comparison. I am concerned about using these socks when you desire more heat retention, but for the foreseeable future, this won’t be an issue. I’ll revisit this side of the review once it cools off a bit. Anyone from milder climes want to chime in on performance during winter weather?
Finally, I am impressed with the durability of the socks. As mentioned above, I have been using, washing, and repeating with these socks for two weeks and have not noticed any wear, durability issues, or fraying. I’m not consumer reports, but this meets or exceeds my expectations for a sock at this price point.