Sunday, January 8, 2012

Injinji sock review

Given that I have been out of commission for the last couple weeks, I have not had a chance to try much of my new gear.

The one thing I can review however, is my Injinji socks.

Last year at the PF Change Marathon, I caught a glimpse of April's Injinji socks for the first time. I might have initially pointed and laughed at her feet but she insisted that they were the best around and great for preventing blisters (between the toes).

Having this same problem for many years, I was willing to give them a whirl. They're not cheap mind you - they average about $12-$16 a pair. You won't find them at Foot Locker, Sports Chalet or Dick's. You'll have to find a local running shop or just order them online (Backcountry.com or runningwarehouse.com).

I have been running with the Outdoor crew and Performance Mini-crew for over a year now. I recently purchased the midweight mini-crew. Originally, only those folks who picked up on the Vibram-craze purchased these socks. They're perfect for the five-finger shoe. Over time however, casual runners have begun to see the benefits of a more breathable sock that helps prevent blisters during those long runs.

Overall, Injinji's take a little while to get comfortable with. As with many products, they are standardized for the masses. If you're someone who has Piggy's that are kind of short or unconventionally long, you may have a challenge fitting into these.

The initial weirdness of having something between your toes is temporary in my opinion and fades quickly once you get running. You may get some hot spots but having a hot spot where you used to get a blister is a welcome relief. It is possible to put these on too tightly also. I experienced several runs where he crease between my toes kept rubbing during my (trail) run and caused some blisters.

I love that there are no seams throughout this sock. My blister problem used to occur either on the top of my toes (under the top seam at the toe) or under my toes, where the material would bunch up the farther I ran. I also like that they have an additional band of elastic around the top to prevent rogue pebbles or

I have a few comments about each below.

Outdoor Crew (NuWool)
This sock is best for hiking and/or trail running. They are a blend of NuWool, Nylon and Lycra. These are super-comfortable and plush. With wool as the primary fiber, they stay cool and wick moisture really well. The only downside to this sock is that they wear 'faster' than the Performance mini-crew. Reviewers have complained that the wool balls up after washing and drying but I personally wash them on gentle and dry them on medium-low heat. The only wear I've had is due to use. My tip: Once you start to feel hot spots, it's time to replace them.

Performance Mini-crew
This sock is suitable for road running. The Injinji site lists them as a liner or a lightweight running sock but you could easily use them for everyday running.They are a blend of CoolMax fibers, Nylon and Lycra. They have not worn as fast as the NuWool but then again, don't provide a cushy ride like the NuWool does.

Midweight Mini-crew
This is my new favorite sock for road running. Listed as a mid-weight running and multi-sport sock, it has more cushion and support for the arch and heel ensuring better compression and movement. I wore these today for the first time and appreciated the cushion but didn't feel like the sock was too thick for my shoes. This feels the most like a traditional sock.

I'm sold on Injinji's. I use them for both training and racing. The NuWool for trail and the performance series for road and/or packed trail runs. I would recommend them to anyone who is looking for a better 'ride' or looking to solve their blister problem. Since wearing them, I have only had a couple blisters. I ran the Black Hills 100 (50 mile race) in these socks and did not have any blisters.

5 out of 5 stars.

Look for additional reviews on the products below coming soon.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the comments, I need the encouragement. BTW, nice sock review. I have held steadfast to limiting my running/triathlon gear purchases to one the essentials, but I suspect I will soon be going down the specialized sock route.