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Reviews > Clothing > Socks > Injinji Outdoor 2.0 Midweight Crew > Test Report by Curt Peterson

Injinji Outdoor 2.0 Midweight Crew NuWool Socks

Report Series by Curt Peterson

Initial Report - November 2015

Long Term Report - April 2016

Below you will find:

Initial Report Contents
     Tester Background and Contact Information
     Product Specifications
     Initial Impressions
     Looking Forward


Long Term Report
     
Test Summary

 
 Stock Packaging

Injinji Outdoor 2.0 Midweight Crew NuWool Socks


Initial Report

Tester Background and Contact Information

Name: Curt Peterson
Age: 44
Gender: Male
Height: 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight: 230 lb (104kg)
Email address: curt<at>backpackgeartest<dot>org
Location: North Bend, Washington, USA

I live in the Cascade foothills, just 20 mi (32 km) from the Pacific Crest Trail via trails leading right from my backyard. My outdoor time in Washington is spent day hiking, backpacking, climbing, fishing and skiing everywhere from the Olympic coast to rainforests to Cascade volcanoes to dry steppe. I played football in college and often evaluate products from a big guy perspective. My typical pack load ranges from 11 - 20 lbs (5-9 kg) and usually includes plenty of wet weather gear.

Injinji Outdoor 2.0 Midweight Crew NuWool Socks Specs

  • Tested
    • Mens size XL (US 13.5+)
    • Oatmeal color (also available in Charcoal)
  • Injinji Website: http://www.injinji.com/
  • Weight for pair of Mens size XL: 3.1 oz (90 g)
  • MSRP: $20.00 US

Injinji Outdoor 2.0 Midweight Crew NuWool Socks Initial Impressions

If you’ve never seen a pair of Injinjis before, the Injinji Outdoor 2.0 Midweight Crew NuWool Socks (Injinjis) are certain to raise some questions. They are undoubtedly unique.


I have had one pair of Injinjis before. It was probably 4 or 5 years ago and I loved the way they felt on the trail. They were 100% nylon, however, and I so much preferred merino wool that I just didn’t wear them that often. Then I lost one of them and I haven’t used a pair of Injinjis until the Outdoor 2.0 Midweights arrived for this test. This version of Injinji socks combines merino wool (64%) with nylon mixed in for durability (33%) and a bit of LYCRA (3%) to make up the NuWool material that is supposed to bring the benefits of wool and the toughness of nylon.

Top and Bottom 
Bottom and Top views of the Injinji Outdoor 2.0 Midweight Crew NuWool socks.


The Injinjis come packaged like most other socks on the outdoor market, but it doesn’t take more than a couple seconds to realize they are different. With individual compartments for every toe, they may come across as more of a novelty fashion sock than a serious outdoor sock. They are indeed meant for real trail use and have a number of features only found in premium outdoor socks. Some of the highlights include:

  • Mesh top for ventilation

  • Reinforced toe and heel for increased durability

  • Extra padding on the bottom of the sock for cushioning

  • Extra elastic compression in the ankle to keep them from falling down


And, of course, the toes. There are a lot of socks on the market with some - or all - of the above features, but the Injinjis stand out because of the toes. Injinji claims that individual compartments for the toes allow for a more natural toe splay and prevents blisters. I’ll definitely be reporting on both of those asserted benefits.


In my initial inspection of the Injinjis, a couple things immediately stand out. First of all, these socks take much more care and time to get on my feet. This is not that big of a deal - I’m talking about a minute or so instead of a few seconds - but these are not socks than can just be quickly slid on and off. There are right and left footed socks, obviously. Each toe must be individually fitted and snugged into its compartment. Once on, they fit great. I usually wear a size US 14 shoe and the XL Injinjis fit perfectly. I have a high arch and high volume foot and the stretchy fabric is really comfortable. No binding. No stressed seams. Secondly, how they feel takes a little getting used to. This is not a negative by any means, but just an observation. Actually, when I first put them on I found myself smiling a lot. I can’t help but wiggling my toes constantly enjoying the almost slippery space between my toes. As far as comfort goes, the Injinjis are initially a big winner.
 

Looking Forward

How socks fit and feel out of the packaging and in my house can be very different than how they perform on the trail. I’m eager to get them on the trail and see how they do. I have multiple trips on the calendar that will give the Injinjis a good test. They’ll definitely see wet and cold conditions as I spend time in the mountains every week during late archery hunting season here in Washington. I also have a couple cold weather backpacking trips already on the calendar, most likely in chilly Central Washington.


I’ll be testing them for comfort, cold weather use, shape retention, moisture management, durability, and overall performance.



Long Term Report

The Injinji Outdoor 2.0 Midweight Crew NuWool socks have seen a busy - and wet - winter here in the Northwest. We recently set the all time record for the "water year" precipitation season that goes from October through March. Setting a precipitation record in the notoriously soggy Pacific Northwest is quite an accomplishment! We've already passed the annual amount of precipitation with almost half a year still to go.

For the Injinjis, this has meant they have received a LOT of wet weather testing. The dry and dusty testing will need to wait for another time apparently. I've worn them on dozens of dayhikes, occasionally as a daily wear sock, and on two overnight trips. By far the most intensive testing came in December while archery hunting. For most of the last two weeks of that month I put them through what I believe is the ultimate torture test for socks. Completely saturated socks and shoes, bushwhacking through extremely dense brush, and plenty of side hilling. In my experience this is as hard as it gets on socks. The soaked socks are constantly twisting and bunching inside saturated shoes and the angled hill hiking stresses them pretty hard as I fight to keep the bottom of the socks on the bottom of the shoes and prevent them from sliding up the sides of my trail hikers. And by soaked, I mean soaked. On two occasions I literally hiked up a flowing creek in midstream because the banks were covered in thorn bushes.

Despite these conditions, I did not get a single blister. And, in fact, even though temperatures were right around freezing, I never had cold toes or feet. I was impressed with the Injinji's performance. I think the toe socks helped keep them aligned on my feet so they didn't twist and spiral. They survived without having holes worn through them, which is something I cannot say about the previous pair of wool hikers I put through a similar test in Yellowstone this summer. Hiking in those socks wet for just half a day put holes in the bottom of the heels (usually the first place socks wear out for me). I worked the Injinjis much harder and yet they came through in really good condition.

They have managed to keep their shape well (see picture below). They never got stretched out under the arch or in the ankle band. I had no problems with saggy socks sliding down into my shoes.

I did discover, however, that Injinji's recommendation to line dry the socks after washing is definitely good advice. The pair I used the most certainly has shrunk (see picture below). I probably washed and dried (in the dryer) that particular pair at least a dozen times and it's absolutely smaller. It's most noticeable in the toes, but the ankle band sits a bit below a new sock as well. I'd definitely recommend following the care instructions - especially for anyone on the larger end of the size range.

Overall, the Long Term Testing period has sold me on the Injinjis. This experience was much better than my use from years ago in the non-wool version. The separated toes are really comfortable inside my shoes. Being able to wiggle them around - especially after a long day of hiking with swollen and tired feet - feels great.
Wear
Post test versus new sock comparison of the Injinji Outdoor 2.0 Midweight Crew NuWool socks.

Shrink
Shrinkage after a dozen or so wash/dry cycles of the Injinji Outdoor 2.0 Midweight Crew NuWool socks.

Report Summary
The Injinji Outdoor 2.0 Midweight Crew NuWool socks are definitely unique. They are more work to put on and off - no doubt about that - but the extra time to get my feet settled in was totally worth it. They're tough, comfortable, and handle wet weather and harsh usage really well. Properly cared for (which I did not do with two pairs) I imagine they will offer years of service. In my experience this is rare with light wool socks and I'm impressed that Injinji has been able to make this work - particularly with the complicated structure of the toe box. I look forward to many more hikes in these super cozy socks!

My thanks to BackpackGearTest.org and Injinji for the opportunity to test the Injinji Outdoor 2.0 Midweight Crew NuWool socks.


Read more reviews of Injinji gear
Read more gear reviews by Curt Peterson

Reviews > Clothing > Socks > Injinji Outdoor 2.0 Midweight Crew > Test Report by Curt Peterson



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