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Reviews > Clothing > Socks > Injinji Performance Mini-Crew Socks > Test Report by Gail Staisil

Injinji
Performance Mini-Crew Socks
Test Series by: Gail Staisil, Marquette, Michigan

Page Contents:

Initial Report:author
April 1, 2012

Tester Information

Name: Gail Staisil
Age: 59
Gender: Female
Height: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
Weight: 152 lb (69 kg)
Location: Marquette, Michigan USA
Email: woodswoman 2001 AT yahoo DOT com

For the last 20 years, backpacking has become a passion. I am a four-season backpacker and an off-trail navigator. Although I do take yearly trips to the American West or Southwest, the majority of my trips are in Michigan and Canada. My pack weight varies considerably but my base weight is below 18 lb (8 kg). I am primarily a tarp camper who averages more than 50 nights a year backpacking in a huge variety of weather conditions including relentless rain, wet snow and sub-zero temps.

Product Information

Manufacturer
Injinji
Website http://injinji.com
Model Performance Series Mini-Crew
Color 
Black
Material
CoolMax (70%), Nylon (25%), and Lycra (5 %)
Size
Medium (Unisex) 8-10.5 US Men, 9-11.5 US Women (Approx. 40-44 EU for Men and Women), also available in S-XL
Manufacturer  Weight  NA
Tested Weight  1.4 oz (40 g) per pair
Model Year 2012
MSRP $12.00 US

Initial Impressions and Product Description 
Loose threads on inside of socks

The Injinji Performance Series Original Weight Socks arrived in the Mini-Crew Length and in the size of Medium as requested. I ordinarily wear a 10.5 US (42.5 EU) Women's Shoe so the size fits smack in the middle of the range. According to the website the socks are available in the colors of White, Black, Sand, Gray and Pink. I was sent a pair in the color of Black. The socks are in mostly good condition but there are a few loose threads in the interiors of both of the socks (these threads are at the base of several toe compartments). The inside of both socks showing the hanging threads are in the picture at the right.Injinji Socks with cardboard holder

Injinji manufacturers several series of socks including several weights in each category. Some of the socks differ in fiber content. The socks I received are of the original weight variety. I would consider them to be heavier than many light weight socks I own but less weighty and bulky than most hiking socks. The Original Weight Socks come in three length options as well. The Mini-Crew length that I received measures about  4 in (10 cm) from the bottom of the heel. Other options are Micro and Crew Lengths (the first being shorter and the latter being taller than the Mini-Crew).

 
Design and Technical Features
 
What truly set the Injinji Socks apart from most other socks is that the toes are separated. This means that they are much like a glove would be to my hand. Each toe can be inserted into a separate compartment.
The manufacturer's patent for the Injinji Socks is called AIS:Technology. The main features of this technology are the Anatomical 5 Toe Design, Arch Support, Vector Heel and Dual Welt Band. The 5 Toe Design is seamless so there really aren't any issues with alignment in the toe box area. There is a shaped heel on each sock.

According to the manufacturer the socks offer superior moisture management as they are partially made with CoolMa
x. This is an enhanceShaped heelsd polyester fiber that reportedly has great wicking capabilities. One of the fibers used in the fabric is nylon which offers shape retention.

The socks are black colored but have a red tag stitched to each sock on the outside of each ankle. Since the band of the sock features a Dual Welt Band (meaning it is folded over) there is no skin contact with the stitching. 


I gently pulled on each sock with the red logo to the outside of each ankle. I made sure each toe went to the end of each toe compartment. I did this by placing one of my fingers between each toe to push the sock down. They conformed to each toe quite readily as the Lycra in the fabric has stretchability. I haven't worn toe socks since the 1970's (when they were in style for non-athletic purposes) so they felt kind of funny at first. I quickly got used to them though as they are very lightweight and there were no areas of discomfort. The manufacturer suggests to "be patient with your first wear and allow your feet to adjust". I noted that the Dual Welt Bands are very comfortable around my ankles fitting on the loose side.

Care instructions are on the cardboard wrapper that contained the socks. The instructions are quite simple, machine wash in warm water and line dry. Do not bleach, do not iron and do not dry clean.


 
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Field Report:
June 13, 2012

USA Locations and Conditions

During the field test period I have worn the Injinji Socks at least four to five times a week for a variety of activities. They were also worn during three different backpacking trips for a total of seven days in the backcountry. Location of the backcountry trips were in Michigan and ranged from hilly deciduous forest to open non-deciduous communities. Elevation ranged from 600 ft (183 m) to almost 2000 ft (610 m).

April Backpacking Trip

Location: Hiawatha National Forest, Upper Peninsula of Michigan
Type of Trip: Trail 
Distance: 15.5 mi (25 km)
Length of Trip: 2 days/1 night
Pack Weight: 20 lb (9 kg) without water 
Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy and very windy
Precipitation: None
Temperature Range: 28 F (-2 C) to 44 F (7 C) Lake Superior at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore


Late April Backpacking Trip

Location: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Upper Peninsula of Michigan
Type of Trip: Trail
Distance: 11 mi (17.7 km)
Length of Trip: 2 days/1 night
Pack Weight: 20 lb (9 kg) without water
Sky and Air Conditions: Mostly sunny and windy 
Precipitation: None
Temperature Range:19 F (-7 C) to 49 F (9 C)


Late May Backpacking Trip

Location: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Upper Peninsula of Michigan
Type of Trip: Trail 
Distance: 31.2 mi (50 km)
Length of Trip: 3 days/2 nights
Pack Weight: 22 lb (10 kg) without water
Sky and Air Conditions: Sunny, windy and cloudy
Precipitation: 0.27 in (0.69 cm) rain
Temperature Range: 42 F to 78 F (6 C to 18 C)


Dayhikes, Trail Running, Mt Biking and Yoga

Locations:
Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan, States of Arkansas and Tennessee
Distances: Up to 15 mi (24 km)
Temperature Range: 15 F to 86 F (-9 C to 30 C)

Performance in the Field
After backpacking over 10 mi the first day
I have worn the Injinji Performance Mini-Crew socks for most of my activities since the field test started. I first tried them with my hiking shoes and was happy that I was able to hike around 5 mi (8 km) with no discomfort. I had wondered how the individual-toe fit would feel while hiking but I came away with no hesitation to wear them again. It was kind of nice to be able to wiggle or move my toes without feeling like they were bound like they sometimes do in regular socks.

After a second hike, I decided it was time to try them in my running shoes. This also worked out really well and there was no bunching or other discomfort. From there I decided to wear them for an occasional session of yoga. They worked well in combination with the yoga mat..no slipping! I also have mountain biked while wearing them too. My feet have been comfortable in all of the activities, not too hot.

The Injinji's were also worn during approximately 48 miles (77 km) of backpacking. During the first trip I hiked 10.5 miles (17 km) the first day. I had extra socks with me in case I had to shed the Injinji's. I had wondered if carrying a backpack would add extra stress to my feet in the Injinjis. My feet were very comfortable and the other socks only came out for sleep. I did wear ankle gaiters on this trip as well as the next because the Injinji model that I am testing is a mini-crew length. The likelihood of ticks was somewhat high. On the third trip I started with the gaiters but then shed them as it was too hot even though my feet felt comfortable. 

I love the fit of the socks. The toes always stay in place except in yoga where sometimes I have to re-adjust the toes as my toes slide backward. One of the biggest perks for me is that the Dual Welt Band doesn't cut into my leg but still doesn't slide down either. Since the band is wider than my ankle this is a definite positive.

Not only are the socks comfortable and soft but I haven't noticed that they hold any lasting odor from wearing them several days before washing.



Durability So Far
Backpacking wearing the Injinjis
An Injinji sock showing the wear pattern on the sole
The Injinji's are holding up to my excessive usage of them. The soles of the socks have shown wear in the form of matting and turning lighter black in color. I can really see where I put the most stress on the socks (under big toe and next two toes and most areas on the rest of the bottom of each foot. There is also a lighter area of wear on the back of the heels.

I have washed the Injinjis regularly at home but not in the field. The outdoor temps haven't been hot enough to try that yet.

At home, I have even worn them multiple times when I am doing a sequence of activities before the next wash. I have thrown them in with my other fitness clothing and then have dried them on an open-air rack.




Summary

 

So far, I have been really pleased with my usage of the Injinji Socks. They have been versatile for a variety of activities. They are easy to put on and always keep my feet comfortable and dry. They are easy to care for and I haven't noticed any negative effects from wearing them multiple days in a row. They are showing signs of wear but nothing that is critical.

 
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Long Term Report:
August 31, 2012

USA Locations and Conditions

During the long term period I have worn the Injinji Socks at least four to five times a week for a variety of activities. They were worn during five different backpacking trips for a total of 30 days in the backcountry. Location of the backcountry trips were in Michigan and California and ranged from hilly deciduous forest to open mountainous terrain. Elevation ranged from 600 ft (183 m) to 14,508 ft (4422 m) which is the highest point in the lower 48 states of the United States.

June Backpacking Trip

Location: Grand Island National Recreation Area, Lake Superior, Michigan
Type of Trip: Trail/Off-Trail
Distance: 27.8 mi (45 km)
Length of Trip: 3 days/2 night
Pack Weight: 22 lb (10 kg) without water 
Sky and Air Conditions: Sunny, Cloudy, Thunderstorms 
Precipitation: 1.67 in (4.24 cm) of rain
Temperature Range: 44 F (7 C) to 73 F (23 C)


Late June Backpacking Trip

Location: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Type of Trip: Trail
Distance: 10.5 mi (17 km)
Length of Trip: 2 days/1 night
Pack Weight: 19.5 lb (9 kg) without water 
Sky and Air Conditions: Sunny, Cloudy
Precipitation: None
Temperature Range: 63 F (17 C ) to 84 F (29 C)


Late June Backpacking Trip

Location: Hiawatha National Forest, Michigan
Type of Trip: Trail
Distance: 10 mi (16 km)
Length of Trip: 2 days/1 night
Pack Weight: 19 lb (8.6 kg) without water 
Sky and Air Conditions: Sunny
Precipitation: None
Temperature Range: 64 F (18 C) to 78 F (26 C)


Mid-July Backpacking Trip

Location: Grand Island National Recreation Area, Lake Superior, Michigan
Type of Trip: Trail
Distance: 13.8 mi (22 km)
Length of Trip: 3 days/2 nights
Pack Weight: 21 lb (9 kg) without water 
Sky and Air Conditions: Mostly sunny
Precipitation: Trace of rain 0.08 in (0.20 cm)
Temperature Range: 57 F to 75 F (14 C to 75 C)


August Backpacking Trip

Location: John Muir Trail, Sierra Nevada Mts, California
Type of Trip: Trail
Distance: 230 mi (370 km)
Length of Trip: 19 days
Pack Weight: Varied with food drops (carried anywhere from four days to ten days of food at a time approx 24 to 35 lb/11 to 16 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Mostly sunny but had seven episodes of rain
Precipitation: Rain (7X) and hail (2X), Approx: 0.43 in/1.09 cm total
Temperature Range: 95 F to below 40 F (35 C to 4 C)
 

Dayhikes, Trail Running, and Mt Biking 

Locations:
Michigan and Wisconsin
Distances: Up to 15 mi (24 km)
Temperature Range: 85 F to 70 F (20 C to 21 C)

Performance in the Field

Shortly after the field test period ended, one of the Injinji socks came up missing at home. My only conclusion is that the washing machine ate it. Therefore I ordered another pair from a retailer so that I could continue the test. Although not ideal, I wore the right sock from the original set and the left sock from the new set. This way I could monitor wear and tear. Although it was noticeable that the original sock was more worn than the newer sock it still appeared to have many miles left and it really didn't affect its performance.

During the long term period I took more backpacking trips totaling 28 days. The first trip was to Grand Island National Recreation Area. I put a good amount of miles on the Injinji's including over 16.5 mi (26.6 km) one day. I had no hot spots or discomfort that was attributed to the socks. The following three backpacking trips plus day usage impressed me even more. I love the freedom that the socks provide. I can wiggle my toes freely and the intersections between my toes feel dry when I remove the socks.
 
Tester wearing Injinji Socks on top of Mt Whitney during thru-hike on the John Muir Trail
My last trip was a huge one - 19 days thru-hiking the John Muir Trail in California, USA for a total of 230 miles (370 kilometers). I purchased two new pairs of Injinji Socks for this trip as I didn't want to start the trip with a mis-matched pair. I bought them in the lighter color of Sand which worked perfectly to hide the dirt and the color did not absorb the heat of the very hot sun.

I wore one pair and switched out to the second pair every other day. In between, the dirty pair was rinsed and scrubbed with plain water (no soap). The two pair of socks were worn over 230 miles (370 kilometers) with no adverse effects. The socks seemed to hold some odor on this trip but considering that they were never washed in the field with soap, that seems normal. Upon my return home the socks were washed with laundry soap and they smell good again.

Well it's obvious that I love these socks. I would have never considered them for my thru-hike if I didn't find them to be exceptional during the field period and the first part of the long term period. Many other pieces of my gear were not as lucky as far as being chosen to accompany me on this trip.

Also I need to add that I have suggested these socks to others who had recurring blisters between their toes on backpacking trips. They are now amazed that they have had no further issues. While I never had blister problems I still think these socks are the most comfortable socks for miles of pounding the trails. My toes are always comfortable and the socks do not bunch or become ill-fitting.
 


Durability 

I still have one sock from the original pair. It has held up well with no holes although it is faded or worn in spots. The new pairs purchased during the long term period have worn very well considering the distances and degree of elevation changes involved. I will continue to wear them as long as they hold up.


Summary

 

I have been pleased with my usage of the Injinji Performance Mini-Crew Socks. They not only have performed well for a variety of activities but they have kept my feet comfortable with no restriction. I guess the ultimate compliment is that I have already purchased additional pairs and highly recommended them to others.
 


Tester Remarks 

Thanks to Injinji and BackpackGearTest.org for this opportunity to test the Performance Mini-Crew Socks. This concludes the test series.

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