When you do double-digit trail runs every day for six days, you get ample time to test out gear. SNEWS staffer Ana Trujillo was able to test many different socks during the Gore-Tex TransRockies Run. Here’s what she had to say:
Injinji Trail, Run and Compression Socks 2.0
I’m going to say it now: I love Injinji toe socks. They are comfortable, allow me to wear flip-flops with socks and usually keep blisters away. As soon as I slipped on the Injinji Run LW (lightweight) socks during training (much of which I did on pavement), paired with my Newton Distance (MSRP $155), I thought I’d found the sock for me. I did – for road running. If you are going anywhere near the trail, leave the lightweight Injinji Run socks in your drawer and opt for the Injinji Trail Sock, mini-crew, midweight. Recommend your customers do the same.
Let me tell you why. During Stage 2, when I tried out the La Sportiva Wildcats for the first time, I wore the Injinji Runs and the thin socks had my feet slipping and sliding inside the shoe, creating a few hot spots on the balls of my feet and later leading to two blisters on my big toes. I’m not blaming the socks, I’m blaming myself for putting them in a situation they shouldn’t have been in in the first place. Perhaps my shoes weren’t tied tight enough or perhaps it was the fact that I paired my favorite socks up with a pair of shoes I was trying for the first time.
As luck would have it, Injinji Trail socks bailed out the Run in my book. During Stage 5 when I paired them with the Wildcats (their second appearance in the race), I made sure to duct tape my hot spots and blisters, tied my shoes tighter, and the 24-mile, more-than-six-hour (for me) stage was less painful than any of the other days as far as my actual feet go. My ankles, well, that’s a different story.
Since I did a lot of my training on pavement, I admit there was a lot of soreness. Everywhere. Especially in my calves. But it’s a good thing I had the Injinji Compression Ex-Celerator Socks to help me relieve some of that soreness. At the end of each day, my calves felt a like a bundle of knots but I’d slip on the hot pink, over-the-calf socks and soon the soreness was gone and my calves felt refreshed.
Point6 Trail Socks with Celliant (MSRP TBD)
These socks don’t even have a release date yet, but retailers you might want to get your hands on them as soon as you can. Point6 reps gave us a few pair of the prototype mini-crew, mid-weight socks with Celliant to test out for our feedback. Celliant, according to Point6, is a technology that radiates a person’s energy output back to their body, increasing blood flow and oxygenation.
Perhaps it was the Celliant, or my preemptive duct taping of my hot spots, but the day I wore the Point6 socks, Stage 4, was the day my feet felt the best. I got the same feedback from my brother, who wore them on Stage 5. He gave rave reviews and said the ever-present, post-finish foot pain and soreness was not as bad as it had been on previous days. He didn’t have hot spots, nor did he have any hot spots to duct tape, so we both agreed it must be the Celliant. We admit we were a bit skeptical, but after trying the socks, we might become believers. Perhaps we could have a hat with Celliant one day for those days when our creativity is especially low.
Thorlos Experia Coolmax Micro Mini Crew Socks (MSRP $16)
Last year at the expo before the Denver Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon, I purchased a pair of these socks and wore them for the first time during the race the following day. Naturally I was nervous trying them out, but was pleasantly surprised after the marathon that I had no hot spots or blisters.
The light padding on the ball of the foot was perfect for me. I paired these socks with the TrekSta Edicts on Day 3, which was a very long day for us, and combined with the preemptive duct taping I did to areas where I had hot spots, I didn’t develop any blisters. For this I was grateful as there were many folks out there who developed blisters on top of old blisters and it didn’t look fun in the least. I’ve run ever race I’ve done since the Rock ‘N’ Roll in these socks, and I love them so much, I even ran in them again on Day 6 – dirt and all.
Columbia Bugaboo Omni-Heat Socks (MSRP $45)
I felt like Mr. Rogers at the end of the day, when I was getting ready for bed. Just like Mr. Rogers would change his shoes and sweater when he’d get to his house, I’d swap out my compression socks for my Columbia Omni Heat, over-the-calf socks to keep me warm at night. I’m sure the Injinji compression socks would have kept me warm, but I wanted to give the Omni-Heats a chance to show me what they were made of.
Colorado is cold at night. Especially when you’re up past 10,000 feet, as we were every night of the trek. In that cold I like to keep my feet toasty, and I bet your customers do, too. My feet and calves did feel nice and warm during the cold nights. Though the socks are thin, thinner than any of the others, they have bundles of “the dots” inside where the balls of your feet hit and on your calves that the company claims reflects body heat back to itself. I’d say they did the trick. A bonus is I didn’t catch a cold. I owe that to my meticulous hand-washing and staying warm at night, partially thanks to the Omni-Heat Socks.