When our review team got a batch of the latest Injinji toesocks to try out, they were to put it bluntly… skeptical. Some were downright scared by the prospect of trying them on, but we forced them all into it. I am pleased to say that by the end of the test most were pleasantly surprised by the feel and some were straight converts vowing to run in nothing else.
The why you should use toesocks seems straightforward enough. By wrapping each toe individually, you can increase your toe splay and reduce blisters by creating less friction between each sweaty little piggy. In theory on the technical side, this allows for better control and maximum mobility of the foot. In my house and on the practical side, my kids couldn’t get past the fact my toesies were wearing their own socks (and also immediately wanted a pair for themselves). So our team put them to the test. Before we go into specifics, I would note that the first time putting them on experience was surprising for every tester who tried them. These aren’t socks you just throw on and they aren’t like gloves where your fingers just slide into their spot, each toe usually has to be pulled on individually and honestly it really improves the overall fit. So while it takes a little extra time it still makes total sense and its worth it.
To start off, we had a male and female tester go head to head with the Lighweight No Shows, including the new Women’s Specific version. Overall I will note that this model was the favorite among the entire test team. The feel is very similar to other high end socks as it has a mesh top, some arch support, and a nicely structured cuff. The height of the sock was perfect for most and despite being labeled no-show did not disappear below the line of the shoe even after a long run. Our male tester loved them and immediately commented on the amount of openness he felt in his toes, but our female tester did not. When we figured out why, we tested our theory more and it turns out it’s the shoes. More on this in a second.
We then went to the trails which are all mid-weights and the feelings here were similar, but there was one new consistent piece of feedback; the warmth. All our testers felt the mid-weights were great in cooler temperatures, but as the days got warmer they definitely wanted to move back to the Lightweight versions so something to keep in mind. In fact, most of the testers wanted to make the trail socks their everyday socks and aesthetically they work really well for this.
Back to the shoe piece and this was the most important feedback from all the testers. In order to take advantage of maximum toe splay, you need to move to a shoe with a larger toe box that allows for this. Cramming your Injinji laden foot into an uber narrow track shoe is just not going to make a noticeable difference. The members of our team who wear Altras, Hokas, Topos, Newtons, etc all noticed the improved control and feel that they were looking for and these were the converts. No one on the team had any problems with the toesock model, so despite all the fears even the most outspoken opponents were enjoying them after running with them for a bit.
Injinji Performance Socks come in a ton of colors and models, so give them a shot. If you run in a shoe with a wider toebox already and especially those that do it over distance, then you will really enjoy them.