Anyone who has worked up a good sweat practicing yoga (or, for that matter, Pilates, Tai Chi or various martial arts) knows that foot traction can become an issue, even when using a sticky mat or exercising on a good wood floor. Injinji’s Yoga socks (both in toeless and full toe styles) have tiny rubber nubbins on their base for better grip. The socks are also designed so that you can splay your toes for better balance, plus they can keep feet warm or prevent blisters or chafing.
Sounds like a brilliant idea. But even the most ingenious concept won’t gain traction unless executed properly. Several members of the SNEWS® team, plus friends and family, tested toeless and full-toe Injinji yoga socks and, although the model with toes seemed to wear and function as planned, we encountered a significant problem with the toeless models. More than one tester found that, after a single session, dozens of the little rubbery dots on the sole of the foot came unglued and fell off. Two testers noted that the heel area and the ball of the foot suffered the greatest loss, which makes sense as these areas are put under the most pressure and stretch.
Curiously, the nubbins did not fall off the socks with full toes. We suspect that these models do not shift on the feet as much during exercise, so there is less friction on the slip-resistant dots. Although, that’s only speculation on our parts.
With that experience, we wondered if the first set of toeless socks we tested were constructed with a bad batch of glue, or suffered some other glitch during early construction. So we requested a second batch of the toeless models many weeks later and, unfortunately, encountered the same problem. And we aren’t even super heavy-duty yogis. We wouldn’t be alarmed about the wear if had occurred over a longer period of time, but it’s not acceptable for this to happen after just an hour or less of use. The bottom line is that consumers will be very frustrated if a $16 pair of socks fails immediately, and this could completely turn them off from the concept.
Although we didn’t appreciate the dots falling off and leaving a field of dots on the floor, we still found them to function as intended – so they remained a part of our yoga arsenal. And some of our testers quite liked them. Our testers of the models with full toes had a great experience and had no problem keeping them handy for workouts – or even general wear when you don’t want to wear shoes, want a little foot covering but don’t want to slip about.
Made with 70-percent bamboo-based fiber, 25-percent nylon and 5-percent Lycra, the Injini Toesocks and Toe-Less socks feel soft against the feet. Most testers said that both types fit well, were very soft and comfortable and offered the right amount of stretch and didn’t feel at all restrictive.
One person appreciated how easy it was to put on the full toe socks quickly. “I have even put them on in a flash when it's time for the ‘savasana’ relaxation and meditation at the end,” she said, indicating she was glad that didn’t have to waste a precious moment of relaxation to make her feet warmer. “I was pleasantly surprised at how well I got them on quite quickly while I was lying on my back.”
Aside from the nubbins falling off, the traction soles generated positive feedback, and one tester, who is in her late sixties, said that her sense of balance has deteriorated significantly, but the socks made her feel more secure and confident while doing Tai Chi.
Another tester said her feet often feel cold when working out in a yoga studio, and the toeless socks made her feet feel warm, but not uncomfortably hot.
Several people said that the socks would come in handy when traveling, because it’s not easy to travel with a yoga mat, and the socks allow a person to exercise on the carpet in a hotel room or in a hotel gym. Plus, some people don’t think it’s particularly hygienic to exercise barefooted any place—whether they’re traveling or practicing yoga in their local studio.
A couple of testers complained that, when they used the toeless socks, the material tugged uncomfortably between the toes, and it was enough of a distraction that they much preferred the models that covered the toes, or preferred being barefoot. There are also those who simply like to have greater feel between their feet and the exercise surface, and they felt that the socks served as an unwelcome barrier.
These are products that you really just have to try to see whether they’ll suit you. But, all of our testers agreed that something must be done to prevent the slip-resistant dots from coming unglued from the toeless models. Like any yoga pose, the concept won’t reach its potential unless executed properly.
SNEWS® Rating: Yoga Toesocks: 4.0 hands clapping; Yoga Toe-Less socks: 2.5 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)
Suggested Retail: $16
For more information: www.injini.com