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Reviews > Clothing > Socks > Injinji Outdoor Series Socks > Test Report by Thomas Vickers
I grew up in the piney woods of southeast Texas. Camping was a quick trip into the mosquito-infested woods behind the house. My style has evolved and over the last 4 or 5 years, I have begun to take a lighter weight approach to hiking gear (I still use sleeping bags and tents, just lighter versions). While I have flirted with lightweight hiking, I feel that I am more of a mid-weight hiker now. My philosophy is one of comfort, while carrying the lightest load possible.
October 31, 2009
Year Manufactured: 2009
MSRP: $ 16.00 US
(all measurements approximate)
Left foot: 1.15 oz (33 g)
Right foot: 1.15 oz (33 g)
Size received: Medium (mens 8-10.5 US)
Tester's shoe size: 10.5 US
Initial tester expectations:
The Injinji website was interesting to visit. It was just what I prefer in a website that involves clothing. It was easy to navigate, full of good pictures, the information was easy to understand, and very important to me the sizing information was easy to find and understand. Accurate sizing is apparently very important to a good fit with these socks and the Injinji website makes sure that I came away pretty well informed about what these socks were and their sizing was like. This was a good informative website.
"As your feet face the elements, the Outdoor Series tetratsok is an interface system specifically designed to perform and adapt to any type of terrain. Engineered with AIS:technology and constructed with Injinji’s exclusive natural wicking Nüwool™, the tetratsok provides exceptional comfort and performance unlike any other athletic wool sock. Anatomical Interface System (AIS) is engineered to separate your toes with a thin, anti-friction membrane that is both lightweight and breathable. Seamless in construction, the tetratsok forms to every contour of your foot. This allows for true restriction free movement from your heel to five toes, encourages healthy circulation, and eliminates skin on skin contact between your toes to prevent blisters from developing."
The Injinji Tetrasok Outdoor Series socks are toe socks. Each toe gets its own individual toe sleeve and this makes the Tetrasok more like
gloves for my feet rather than the typical
socks. The fabric is very soft and slippery and nothing like I would
have expected from a
wool sock. It almost feels as if it is 'polished' in some way, but I do
like the slinky
feel that these socks have.
The construction is good with no loose threads and the seams are very well constructed/hidden on these socks. Not only do they look and feel different, but they are put together pretty well. There is an "Injinji" label sewn into the outside, top edge of each sock's cuff. I do not know how I feel about labels on socks, but I will say that the location of this one keeps it out of the way and puts it in a spot where it has no chance of rubbing or chafing. I also think the labels serve a more important purpose after inspecting the socks once again. The labels should be facing out on each sock, so that if I grab a sock, all I have to do is make sure that the label is on the 'outside' edge/side of my foot I will know that I have the correct sock for that foot.
I tried the Injinji Tetrasoks on and wore them around the house to see just what they were like before I wrote this report. Getting them on is a bit tricky, but the instructions have it right. I have to make sure every toe is aligned correctly before I pull them all the way on my feet, but once I get the toes lined up, they are easy to pull on and adjust. I was also a bit surprised about the heel. The Tetrasoks seem to be constructed with a heel in them rather than as a straight 'tube' type sock like so many other athletic and hiking socks are.
They are slippery to wear on floors like I have (tile and laminate), but the socks felt great on my feet. The fabric seems very light weight and form fitting and at times it was easy to forget that I was even wearing socks. From looking at them on the scale I realized that these might also be the lightest weight pair of socks I own. Both socks together weigh in at under 3 ounces (85 grams).
These socks are interesting. I am looking forward to getting on the trail with these and using them in several different types of activities. I have long suffered from toe issues on the trail and I am wondering if the Injinji socks will help solve some of the problems I encounter, such as toenails cutting into neighbor toes when my feet swell after a day of hiking. I do keep my nails trimmed, but this seems to be a rather reoccurring item for me and it involves the same two toes all the time. I am hoping that having the toes/nails separated by fabric will solve this annoying little problem.
Things I like:
1. They are soft
2. They fit very well
3. Do not feel like "wool" socks
Things I don't like:
1.They take a bit more time to put on than regular socks
2.My toes stick together and make aligning the socks difficult
January 12, 2010
Locations: Southeast Texas
Temperatures: 19 to 70 F (-7 to 21 C)
Surfaces: hard packed dirt trails, sand, and forest floor with debris
Days used: 24
Trail Running: 45 miles (72 km)
Backpacking: 24 miles (39 km)
After trying the Injinji Tetrasok on when it first arrived, I realized that the next step was to put them on and then put my feet into my shoes. This is where I got a bit confused. These socks are very low bulk and this was a new experience for me. I usually purchase hiking boots one shoe size larger than my normal shoe size to accommodate the bulk of my hiking socks. The only hiking footwear I have that are my regular shoe size are my trail running shoes and my hiking shoes, so I decided to start with the hiking shoes. After sliding my Tetrasok coated feet into my hiking shoes , I realized that there was too much room. The socks fit like second, very comfortable skin, but did not fill my shoes out very well. I was able to cinch the laces down REALLY tight, but after a trip around the yard I knew I had to be careful. The Tetrasoks were very slick and even with my laces tightened I knew that my feet were going to slip in these shoes unless I found a cure.
Next up were my trail running shoes. They are also my correct shoe size and are very tight fitting. The tight fit of the Tetrasok allowed me to slide my feet into these shoes pretty effortlessly, which was another new sensation for me. I usually have to force my feet into them, but not this time. The good news is that my feet did not feel stuffed into the trail running shoes, but again, there were was all that extra room. At this point I went running back to the Injinji website to make sure that these were not designed to be liner socks. I found nothing that there that indicated that these socks were not designed to be worn all by themselves.
My plan at this point was simple. I was going to wash them. My hope was that they would fluff up a bit and the fabric would be a bit less slick. So both pairs went into a warm wash and I let them air dry. Part of my plan worked. The Tetrasoks were no longer so slick. They had a nice fuzzy finish to them which I liked and I also hoped that it had allowed them to bulk up a bit. The bad news was that they were just not going to be giant bulky hiking socks. The upside though, was that the new fluffy finish made them much less slippery in my shoes. Now if I tightened my hiking or running shoes properly I could comfortably and safely wear these socks on the trail.
Getting used to them:
The Tetrasoks are different, but being different is not a bad thing. The one thing I have noticed about having my toes separated is that they seem to sweat less. Or after thinking about it, I guess it is not that my feet do not sweat as much, but my sweaty toes do not rub together and give me that nasty feeling. While it may not seem like such a big thing, but hate losing my focus during a run because my sweaty toes are rubbing together in a most vile feeling manner. Yes, that is an issue for me, so any improvement in sweaty running toes is a good thing.
Another bonus that I have discovered is that I can sleep in the Tetrasoks. In general, I hate to sleep in socks. On the trail this is a huge issue for me on really cold nights and I have to decide to lose sleep from cold feet or wearing socks. After a couple of rather frigid nights in my hammock I realized that I was sleeping pretty well despite the fact I was wearing the Tetrasoks. To test this out, I tried wearing them to bed at home. Once again I was able to sleep comfortably while wearing the Tetrasoks.
I was happy. Really happy. I like these socks because they keep my feet warm, they are comfortable, and I can sleep in them. For most people being able to sleep in socks is not a big deal, but it has been a life long issue for me. Being able to sleep in these socks is also important because I have a big issue with wearing them for prolonged periods of time. This is not a Tetrasok issue as much as I have funny feet issue. About 15 years ago I split my foot open between my second and third toes. It had to be sutured shut and I have never really a problem with it. Enter the Tetrasoks. After hiking in them for more than two hours, they begin to rub between the second and third toes on my right foot, directly over the spot where I had the sutures. I have never gotten a blister there, but it does hurt a lot when I take the socks off.
While probably not a huge deal for other people, it is something I have to deal with. I can run in these socks (short periods of time, an hour or less) or sleep in them, but hiking in them for longer periods causes a problem.
The Tetrasoks are very different from any other socks I have worn. The first thing I noticed was the lack of bulk. They do not fill out my hiking shoes very well, but that is not a deal breaker for me. The next thing was my strange "sutured toe spot" that these socks rubs raw if I wear them too long while hiking. The last is the fact that I can sleep in them.
At this point I can see using them as my trail running socks and sleeping socks on the trail. They are light enough to justify as being my back up/sleeping socks in my pack especially because they are the only socks I have ever been able to wear with the flip-flops I use for camp shoes. While not the perfect use for a pair of socks like these, it is an important one for me.
Things I like:
2. Got rid of my sweaty running toes syndrome
3. I can sleep in them
Things I do not like:
1. Do not fill up my hiking shoes enough
2. Irritate my old foot injury
March 9, 2010
Locations: Southeast Texas
Temperatures: 25 to 70 F (-7 to 21 C)
Surfaces: hard packed dirt trails, sand, and forest floor with debris
Days used: 15
Trail Running: 30 miles (72 km)
End of the
As much as I think these are some very cool and useful socks, I am more than a bit bummed out by the fact that they are of limited usefulness to me. While part of this is due to the construction of the socks, the biggest limitation on how I use them is due to my old foot injury. So part of my problems are my own and part of them are the socks.
I have continued to use the Injinji socks to trail run, run in the gym and at night in camp to sleep in. I find that wearing them for short periods of time does not irritate my old injury and if I take care to manage how much time I spend in them, they are great on my feet.
For running, they have removed the nasty ‘sweaty toe’ feeling that I get after a couple of miles of running. No more toes rubbing against each other and basting in a nice dose of foot sweat. I am not saying my feet do not sweat in these socks, but the nasty feeling of sweaty toes rubbing together is gone. Definitely a plus for me.
The other major use for me has been as ‘camp socks.’ Once I get into camp, get my hammock pitched, and settle in, it is time to change out of my hiking socks into a warm, dry pair of socks. This is where the Injinji socks are wonderful. I normally carry a cheap pair of flip-flops to wear in camp and combined with the Injinji socks I can keep my feet warm and toasty as I go about my chores. As an extra added plus, I sleep great in these socks, which I cannot say about any other socks that I own.
Despite my crazy feet, the main complaints I have about these socks are the bulk or really, the lack of bulk. The Injinji socks feel more like liner socks than stand alone hiking socks and this has been a problem for me. It has been almost impossible for me to cinch my hiking shoes tight enough to get a good secure fit with these socks on. I have managed it on several occasions, but it is something I just did not like to attempt by the end of the test. My trail running shoes fit tightly and these socks were such low profile I had to cinch them very tightly to get a good fit as well. Hiking shoes are one thing, but tight fitting running shoes are a different story in my book.
Over all, I really like these socks and their design. They are comfortable and every easy to get on no matter what conditions I find myself in. The fact that they are light weight and low bulk is a blessing and a problem all in one. This lack of bulk makes them easy to pack and convenient to carry as camp socks, but it also makes them difficult to wear and fill out my hiking shoes.
So far despite some pretty heavy running use, these socks have held up to multiple washings without any signs of wear. They are still in great shape without any thin spots or permanent odors at all. This is definitely a sign of a pair of socks that can take a beating but keep handling its sock chores with ease.
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