Injinji Performance Socks

The SNEWS® team first got wind of this company several years ago, but it took us a while to muster up the desire to put what essentially amounts to gloves on our feet. After all, many of us have worn or seen those silly rainbow toe socks folks used to wear back in the hippie '70s. Cute? Maybe. Comfortable? Not really.

The SNEWS® team first got wind of this company several years ago, but it took us a while to muster up the desire to put what essentially amounts to gloves on our feet. After all, many of us have worn or seen those silly rainbow toe socks folks used to wear back in the hippie '70s. Cute? Maybe. Comfortable? Not really.  

Still, being testers of gear, and because we had immense curiosity about this company with a funny name and even funnier-looking socks, we ordered up a few pair to put into the testing pipeline. We'd also begun hearing from running and outdoor comrades who were wearing them. Several members of our team spent winters slogging mile after mile on muddy and sloppy trails in Northern California all in the name of training for ultras -- we're still trying to get them to seek counseling, but that's another story. With two pair of willing and able feet just aching to try the mini-crew and crew socks, we hit the trail to figure out what all the fuss was about.

Without a doubt, what makes the Injinji story unique are socks that act like gloves for the feet -- each toe is isolated in its own little pocket of fabric.

We'll admit our testers first slid their feet tentatively into the socks, relatively certain they weren't going to like the feel. But being open-minded, they stuck with it. First, they just don't slide on like regular socks do, but, then again, gloves don't slip on like mittens either. The first time you put on these socks, you may wrestle a bit since you have to guide each toe into its proper toe pocket, although once you are used to the adventure, it's really quite easy. Once the socks are on, it feels a bit strange at first, to be honest. Suddenly, toes that were used to snuggling next to one another are separated by thin layers of fabric; however, that sensation quickly dissipates within literally minutes of heading out and you totally forget there is anything different on your feet. The theory behind the toe pockets is that the more opportunities your skin has to rub together using traditional socks, the more opportunity you have for blisters, chafing, calluses and other irritation.

Praise be to the sock gods, because even when feet were soggy from miles of dancing across streams and tip-toeing through muddy slop masquerading as a trail, our testers had not one blister, not one sore spot and not even one screaming toe nail. One of our testers, who's found that socks can create pressure on his toes as they slip and tighten down over the course of a long run, noticed that thanks to the toe pockets, there was no more pressure, no more black nails, no more pain. And another tester, who usually gets a blister where a couple of toes tend to overlap and rub on the very long (very sick) runs, found that nope, that didn't happen this year. And another tester, who always seems to get a blister on easy and short walk-jogs, is suddenly free of between-toe blisters. Hallelujah!

However, not all is perfect in this potential sock Nirvana. Perhaps because you have to put the same sock on the same foot in the same way each time, and perhaps because the socks fit like a glove, all the wear spots are consistent. Both of our testers found their pairs of socks wearing thin far more quickly in certain spots than any other sock they had ever used.

One tester found a hole appearing in the big toe of the left foot after 320 miles of once-weekly wear on runs ranging from 10 to 25 miles over only about five months. Granted, this is pretty hard-core use. But there are competitors' socks occupying a favored place in the sock drawer that have many more miles on them after a number of years (not months) that show little or no appreciable wear spots, so this could be a gripe.

Still, if someone has a problem with irritations and blisters, a little less durability (i.e., the need to spend more on socks) could be the trade-off for a lot more foot comfort. We were really quite sad to see that hole since we knew there was no way to save the socks that had become quite a favored pair.

SNEWS® Rating: 4 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)

Suggested Retail: Mini-crew, $12; crew, $14

For more or call 888-465-4654


Asics Performance Socks

We know that socks really should be considered equipment and not just some ol' something that gets pulled out of the bottom of the drawer. We've worn sport-specific models, as well as ones made from all different fibers and mixes, plus women's- and men's-specific versions. But more


Bridgedale X-Hale performance sock

We have a team of ultra-runners, adventure racers, hard-core weekend warriors and folks who see product testing as the perfect excuse to duck out of the office with regularity for an extended "romp" even though they may have only just ducked back in. So when the Bridgedale more


Injinji Yoga Socks

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 more


X-Socks: Running

We don't normally wax on poetically about a particular brand of socks. We see a million of them, and they can be very much a matter of personal taste – thick or thin, low or high cut, wool or man-made materials, etc. What you will find SNEWS® saying is that a really good sock more


DeFeet Blazer Socks

DeFeet's Air-E-Ator socks have become the rage in road and mountain biking, as well as with runners on trails or roads. And with good reason. They're ultra lightweight, durable and cool on the feet. At OR Summer Market the SNEWS team were given samples of the company's prototype more


Lorpen Ski Lite merino wool socks

With our travels to Europe and involvement in the trade show scene over there, we've long known that Spanish sock maker Lorpen is a major player in the European market. However, when we hear that the company was making a foray into the seemingly over-crowded and more