I hate socks!!!
There, I had to get that out of the way.
It’s not just because I’m a barefoot runner. To me, socks feel even more constrictive than shoes. They hug your foot, get sweaty, and are generally annoying. If I had a choice, I would never wear socks.
Except for Injinjis.
The idea of separating your toes is genius. While the socks still hug your feet and get damp with sweat, the freedom of movement the socks allow your toes makes all the difference.
My History With Injinjis
I started wearing Injinjis when I started training for ultramarathons. My friend Mark Robillard had used them. He eliminated his blistering problem by switching to Injinjis. I tried them and fell in love. They were a natural choice when I started wearing Vibram’s Five Fingers, and covered my foot as I tested pretty much every other minimalist shoe out there.
They were on my feet for my first 50 miler. And my first 100 miler. I even wore them through the last 66 miles of the Burning River 100 under a pair of huaraches this last year. Needless to say, Injinjis have been intimately linked to my success at running ultras.
General Injinji Characteristics
The socks themselves have several advantages. The custom-like fit virtually eliminates wrinkles, which helps eliminate friction and blisters. The separated toes prevent toe-on-toe rubbing, which is usually a major source of blistering. Of course, they’re pretty much the only choice if you want to wear socks with Five Fingers. Lastly- my high school students think they are awesome! If you want to endear yourself to teens- wear toe socks!
They do have two disadvantages, both related to time. The individual toe pockets require more time to put on. You develop pretty good techniques after only a few uses, so this is a minimal concern. The other disadvantage, which may be unique to my personality type, is matching after washing. My standard operating procedure is to leave clothes in a huge pile in front of the clothes dryer. Searching for a matching left and right sock takes a lot more time than simply searching for two that are close to the same color.
The No-Show Performance Lightweight Toe Sock
I really thought my sock-wearing days were behind me. Merrell, New Balance, and Vibram all have produced sockless-lined shoes that can be worn for 100 milers comfortably. Shelly and I don’t have to worry about wearing socks in the classroom anymore. I was in sockless utopia!
Until Injinji sent me a pair of these. The old Injinjis were comfortable, but still felt like socks. I was skeptical about the new No-Shows. Then I tried them on. Holy s@#%! They feel like… nothing. I didn’t feel seams. They were as breathable as fishnet stockings (not that I would know…)
I tried them on under my Vibram Komodos and Merrell Trail Gloves. The thinness of the socks didn’t noticeably alter the fit of either shoe. Over the next few weeks, I went on a variety of runs in various conditions. These socks preformed perfectly. In hot weather they remained relatively dry as they wicked sweat away from my skin. They eliminated friction which will definitely help eliminate blisters. The breathability is amazing. Most importantly, they didn’t alter the function of the shoes (i.e.- they didn’t alter my running form.)
In about three weeks I’ll be running the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run. My original plan was to alternate between my Trail Gloves and run barefoot depending on the specific trail conditions. Socks were not going to be part of the plans. Through extensive testing, the Trail Gloves have proven to be top-notch performers over long distances on rugged trails.
These socks have injected a little doubt in my plans. They performed so well, I am considering carrying a few pair in the event friction becomes an issue later in the race. This is the first sock I’ve found that has no apparent negative trade-off. I still hate socks and am not about to wear any sock, these included, in a casual situation. However, when the stakes are high and I need a sock that flat-out performs, this sock would be my only choice.
The socks can be found at many running specialty stores.
How about you? How many people have been using Injinjis? What are your experiences?
This product was supplied by the manufacturer.