Thursday, 16 August 2012

Injinji socks review

Over the weekend of the Lakeland 100 I was given a pair of Injinji Performance mid-weight Mini Crew socks to try out. Having now clocked up about 70 miles in them, I thought I'd put down some thoughts.

These differ from traditional socks in that they have individual toe pockets; think gloves rather than mittens. The theory goes that, in the same way that gloves are cooler than mittens, these socks keep your feet cooler than traditional socks and also prevent your toes from rubbing against each other.

The whole foot/toe area of the sock is seamless which has to be a number one priority when you are going to be racing/training over many hours in them and they have a honeycomb design on top of the foot area for breathability. This particular model has a nicely padded feel, which I always like in my running socks, though I appreciate that some people prefer much thinner socks.

They are made from CoolMax, which is a wicking material. I am not sure how well this works inside a shoe but must admit that they have not felt waterlogged with sweat or when running through puddles. (They may have been very useful on the Lakeland 100!)

They are a snug fit with a slight degree of compression which holds the foot and toes rather than just encasing them, certainly more so than a normal sock. For someone that does all their running off road and often off-piste, I need a sock that will not ruck or bunch up, even when contouring and, so far, these fit the bill.

Straight after 2:30 hours of trails - no rucking

As recommended, I wore them around the house before I took them out in anger as when you first put them on, it does feel strange; your toes are slightly spread out , however, this feels quite natural after a short time. With trainers on, your toes feel less forced together and may even have given me more "feel" from the terrain than normal, though I admit this is a very subjective comment.

My main foot problem from the Lakeland 100 was the fact that most of my little toe on my left foot turned into one big blister with the friction from the next toe. As soon as I started running in the Injinji's, I had no such problem and this alone would make me buy them.

Seamless toe pockets

My toes seem to be exactly the correct length for these socks, which is obviously an important factor if you want to avoid rucking of the material, but I guess the different sizings allow for this. Having clocked up a good number of miles in them, they are starting to mould to my toes and feeling more and more natural. Putting them on properly does take longer than normal but even mid race, as you take a fresh pair out of your drop bag, what does that extra minute matter?!

It amazes me that so many runners spend a small fortune on their shoes and then skimp on the socks that look after the skin of your feet when you expect them to carry you through rough terrain for many hours. Look after your feet and they will look after you! After having spent nearly three weeks with these socks, I am going to wear these on my long outings as I just feel that they pamper my feet that little bit more than normal socks. I guess the big test will be in the RAB Mountain Marathon in October, so I will revisit this page and add a few comments then. I think I'll look at the black/grey ones rather than the white/grey pair I have now; just a bit more trail/mud/marsh friendly.

Some of my other product reviews can be found on my blog (use the links to the right of the text window) and some appear here


Tim said...

Without meaning to diss the socks in anyway, I could just as equally add "I'm amazed at how much people spend on socks when I can run the WHW in a cheap pair of socks without getting blistered".

Spending money on socks may help but there's no guarantee that they'll prevent you blistering. I've found that as my ultra experience has increased, my feet have become less "fussy" and I suffer far fewer blisters now, irrespective of how much or little I spend on socks.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps try running with one foot wearing this sock and the other foot wearing an "ordinary" sock? Then compare and report back. Interesting comments so far.


Debs M-C said...

I'm a big Injinji fan!
I've got the new lightweight ones and think they're great.

Andy said...

Injinji socks are great, best socks in the world in my opinion. I definitely get less blisters now too.

Have you tried the outdoor socks?