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Reviews > Clothing > Socks > Injinji Outdoor Series Socks > Test Report by Tom Callahan

INJINJI OUTDOOR SERIES SOCKS
TEST SERIES BY TOM CALLAHAN
LONG-TERM REPORT

INITIAL REPORT - November 01, 2009
FIELD REPORT - January 11, 2010
LONG TERM REPORT - March 09, 2010

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Tom Callahan
EMAIL: tcallahanbgt AT yahoo DOT com
AGE: 51
LOCATION: Seattle, Washington, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 11" (1.80 m)
WEIGHT: 170 lb (77.10 kg)

For the past 20 years I have lived off and on in Washington State, backpacking in the Cascade Mountains. I get out regularly on day hikes and multi-day trips and usually try to include a good off trail scramble. During the winter I get out snowshoeing at every opportunity. I also enjoy glacier climbing, summiting prominent peaks like Mt. Rainier (14K ft/4K m) and Mt. Baker (10K ft/3K m). My pack weight will range from 15 - 50 lbs (7 - 23 kg) depending on the season and the length and type of trip.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Injinji
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.injinji.com/
MSRP: US$ 16.00
Listed Weight: None provided
Measured Weight: 2.5 oz (70 g)
Other Details:
Material: Nuwool (micro-fine Merino wool) 70%, Nylon 25%, Lycra 5%
Sizes: S, M, L, XL
Colors: Slate, Forest and Blue
Socks Tested: M, Forest

Injinji Outdoor Series Sock (Injinji)
Injinji Outdoor Series Sock (Injinji)

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The socks arrived in their retail cardboard hanging packaging. It is a high quality packaging with nice photos and lots of information about the socks' features. This information includes a description of the Duel Welt Band, Arch Support, Anatomical 5 Toe Design and Vector Heal features. Additionally the packaging notes Injinji's exclusive Nuwool material provides natural moisture wicking. All these features are designed to provide "exceptional comfort and performance unlike any other athletic wool sock."

Retail Packaging
Retail Packaging


The sock material is soft and smooth to the touch. The material is a close knit weave and is of one piece construction. The toes of each sock are sized to match the different sized toes of the wearer. This cut of the toes makes for a left and a right sock. The material of the sock has a good stretch to it, stretching uniformly in all directions and returning to its original shape.

There is a little stitching to form the heel and some stitching between the base of the toes. This stitching is tight and compact and provides a very smooth feel, almost as if there is no stitching at all. In the toe area, this contrasts with regular socks where there is usually a noticeable seam the runs across the entire toe end of a sock. The top of these socks have a 3/4 in (2 cm) rolled band. There is a small stitched "injini" logo on the outer edge of the band on each sock. This helps distinguish the left from the right.

The weight of the socks, or material thickness, is about what I expected. These are definitely not thin liner socks and I would consider them to fall into the category of a light weight hiking sock.

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

The packaging provides clear instructions to the wearer on how to don the socks for a optimum fit, ensuring the toes are fit properly with no excess material before pulling on the rest of the sock. The package text prepares one for the socks feeling different since they are toe socks. The description even goes so far as to note that it might "take a wearing or 2" for one's toes and feet to adjust to these socks.

Care instructions are standard for a wool item:
Machine Wash Warm, Do Not Bleach, Line Dry, Do Not Iron, Do Not Dry Clean

TRYING IT OUT

This is my first time trying toe socks and they are indeed different. The first time I put them on I did not quite have the toes fitted properly and so there was some excess material in the toe area when I pulled on the rest of the sock. But I was able to work the material around such that I had a smooth fit around and between my toes, as well as across the rest of my foot and heel. The material's nice stretch made this easy to do. I have put the socks on several times now and have the hang of getting the material properly fitted around the toes before putting the sock on the rest of my foot.

During the first wearing, once properly fit the socks did feel "funny" with the material between my toes. It was not uncomfortable though, just very different. I wore the sock around the house and it wasn't long before I became accustomed to the feel of material between my toes. The socks fit fine across the rest of my foot and they stayed up with not slipping. The soft material felt very nice against the skin of my feet. Overall it was a pleasant experience to wear the socks and they kept my feet warm while in the house.

Regarding sizing, depending on the boot manufacture my size is a 10 1/2 or 11 US. This falls right in between the Injinji sizes Medium and Large, according to their sizing chart. The stretchy nature of the material helped make the size Medium just right for my foot. The material is not over stretched to make the Mediums a good fit for my feet. It is just the right amount of stretch to get a comfortable fit. I think if I had gone with the size Large I would likely have had excess material in the heal and, or in the toe area.

Cozy Toes
Cozy Toes




SUMMARY

The Injinji Outdoor Series socks are very different than other socks I have used due to the toe sock construction. They take a little longer to put on than regular socks, but the stretchy nature of the material makes it easy to get a good fit. The material feels very soft and once properly fitted these socks are very comfortable to wear. I am anxious to check out these socks out in the field with my hiking boots. I will be paying close attention to their fit, cushioning, moisture wicking properties and thermal protection.

Check back in about 2 months for my Field Report on the Injinji Outdoor Series socks.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I used the Injinji socks on three day trips and one overnight trip during this phase of testing. Each day's usage averaged 6-8 hours. Temperatures ranged from 25 to 55 F (-4 to 13 C). The socks were worn at elevations from 500 to 5,000 ft (150 to 1,500 m). Two of the day trips and the overnight were snowshoe outings and I was wearing insulated winter boots. The other day trip was on a bare dirt trail, wearing my hiking boots.

Weather during these outings was overcast for the most part. On one day trip I encountered light rain and snow. Snow conditions were usually firm to icy. One exception was an outing with very deep, soft, wet snow.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

I have really enjoyed testing these socks. They have felt very comfortable when wearing either my insulated boots or hiking boots. As the product information notes, these socks can take a little getting used to because they are toe socks. When I would first put the socks on, having the sock material between my toes would feel a bit different, not uncomfortable, just different. However it wasn't long (within 1/2 hr) until I would completely forget that I was wearing toe socks. The same was true while out on the trail. The socks were so comfortable and I was so accustomed to them such that I would have to purposely focus on the fact these were toe socks. Whether wearing my insulated boots or hiking boots, the socks provided nice cushioning. This was tested especially born out when I was on the bare dirt trail, which contained quite a bit of roots and rocks.

On the one outing where I encountered deep, soft, wet snow my insulated boots eventually wetted out through to my socks. As the socks became wet, they did loose a little of their thermal insulation properties. But this was to be expected given the conditions and on par with other socks of this weight. On that day my feet did stay warm enough to finish out the day comfortably. Other than when my boots wetted out, the socks did effectively wick away moisture, keeping my feet comfortable, especially when working hard on steep trails.

The most difficult thing I had to get used to with these Injinji toe socks was donning them. The toes do take a little work to properly seat and cover one's toes. This was not too difficult when donning at home, but was a lot more challenging during the overnight trip when donning the socks laying down in my sleeping bag. I tried to put them on "blind" and couldn't do it, resorting to using my headlamp so I could see what I was doing. Once they are on they do fit well and stay in place.

After several washings the socks held their shape just fine. However, late in this testing phase the socks inadvertently went through the dryer. (After all the previous washing I had always hung them to dry as per the manufacturer's instructions.) The socks did shrink up just a bit. They still fit fine in the toes and through the heel, but the upper part of the sock was a bit shorter. So they are still very wearable, they just feel a little short. Though all this wear and washings, the socks have held their color and not retained any odors. I have experience some minor pilling but the socks are not showing any signs of wearing through.

SUMMARY

Overall I have been very pleased with these socks. They have provided a comfortable fit and cushioned my feet well. Having material covering each individual toe has made for a very plush feel. In addition to these aspects of comfort, the socks effectively wicked away sweat which added to their comfort. The socks take a little extra effort to don in order to get the socks seated smoothly. This is especially true when trying to put the socks on in the dark in a tent. Once on, the socks stay securely in place, even during the course of a long day.

This concludes my Field Report. Check back in about two months for my Long Term Report.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

During long-term testing I used the Injinji toesocks on 2 day trips, an overnight hiking/snowshoe trip and a 4 day backcountry snowshoe trip. Each trip would start out on bare trail and then transition to snow as I gained elevation. I wore my winter boots on the day trips and the 4 day trip. On the overnighter I wore my mountaineering boots. The socks were worn 6-8 hours on each day's use. I was at elevations from 500 to 6,000 ft (150 to 1,800 m) during this phase of testing.

Temperatures ranged from 20 to 50 F (-7 to 10 C). The coldest temperatures were on the morning of my overnight trip, when it was around 20 F (-7 C) and very windy such that the windchill was around 0 F ( -18 C). I had some sunshine, light rain and snow showers during this testing. I trudged through some very deep and wet snow at times, which can be fairly typical for the Pacific Northwest. However due to an unusually low snow year, I was also out on bare trail and packed crusty snow much more so than I ever experienced in the months of January and February.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

The socks continued to perform well. They cushioned my feet and I never got any blisters or hot spots, no matter what my footwear or activity. The socks did keep me reasonably warm. On the very cold morning of my overnight, my toes got a bit cold around camp. Despite wiggling of my toes and moving around they would just never warm up. Once I got moving and heading out I thought my toes would quickly warm up, but they didn't. It took over 1/2 hour of steady down hiking and continual toe wiggling to finally warm. Now these are not necessarily designed to be cold weather socks. The Nuwool does provide a good bit of warmth and worked fine when temperatures were above freezing. But these socks do have their limits when it comes to providing warmth.

In addition to the nice cushioning of the socks, they were very effective in wicking away moisture which helped keep my feet comfortable.

A soggy day out on the trail
A soggy day out on the trail



After all these trips the socks still look to be in good shape. The pilling that occurred during Field Testing never got any worse during Long Term Testing. The sock material has held up well in the toes, across the top of the sock and for the most part along the bottom of the sock. I did detect the socks becoming slightly worn in the heel area.

The socks have been washed after each outing as per the manufacturer's instructions. And I have been careful to hang dry the socks after washing, except for one time when they went in the dryer during Field Testing. The socks have not retained any odor and have kept their shape and elasticity. They continue to fit well and didn't get stretched out and slip down as can easily happen with socks. The sock material has retained its soft feel, even after all the use and washings.

SUMMARY

I have enjoyed testing the Injinji socks. This has been my first experience with toesocks and while they feel a bit different at first, I quickly became accustomed to them. They provided good cushioning, adequate warmth under most conditions, and kept my feet comfortable with their wicking properties. I really liked the Nuwool material with its soft feel. It felt much softer than my other synthetic hiking socks.

I plan to continue wearing the Injinji toesocks on outings when it is above freezing. I also look forward to checking out these socks during the summer when things warm up and a sock with good wicking properties is a must.

Pros:
- Good cushioning
- Good wicking properties
- Soft material that feels comfortable against the skin

Cons:
- Takes extra effort to get the material to fit around the toes when donning the socks

My thanks to Injinji and BackpackGearTest for the opportunity to test these socks.

Clear and cold above the clouds
Clear and cold above the clouds

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

Read more reviews of Injinji gear
Read more gear reviews by Tom Callahan

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