INJINJI ORIGINAL WEIGHT PERFORMANCE MINI-CREW TOESOCKS
TEST SERIES BY STEVEN M KIDD
INITIAL REPORT - April 09, 2012
FIELD REPORT - June 24, 2012
LONG TERM REPORT - August 16, 2012
Steven M Kidd
5' 9" (1.75 m)
220 lb (99.80 kg)
Backpacking Background: I've been a backpacker on and off for over 25 years. I backpacked as a Boy Scout, and then again almost every month in my twenties, while packing an average weight of 50+ lbs (23+ kg). In the last several years I have become a hammock camping enthusiast. I generally go on one or two night outings that cover between 5 to 20 mi (8 - 32 km) distances. I try to keep the all-inclusive weight of my pack under 20 lb (9 kg) even in the winter.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Injinji Footwear Inc.
Web site: Injinji
Year manufactured: 2012
MSRP: US $12.00
Size reviewed: Medium (Men's 8 - 10.5, Women's 9 - 11.5 US)
Color tested: Black (also available in White, Gray, Sand and Pink)
Weight listed: N/A
Actual weight: 1.4 oz (40 g)
The Injinji Original Weight Performance Mini-Crew Toesocks are a single ply sock in their Performance Series. There are four different weight variations in this Series. The company also has both an Outdoor and Yoga Series. This sock is a mid weight version. The company claims the sock is designed as "a moderate interface for performance in any shoe, climate and terrain". The socks are engineered with Injinji’s patented AIS Technology which includes an anatomical five toe design, mid foot arch support, a customized heel that is intended to prevent slipping and a dual welt band above the ankle to hold the sock in place.
The Performance Series differs in that 70% of the fabric is made with CoolMax in an attempt to keep the wearer both cool and dry. The remaining material is 25% nylon and 5% Lycra. Injinji suggests the anatomical toe design and product material allows for proper toe alignment leading to better posture and balance. They also claim this technology aids in preventing blisters and hotspots.
In my opinion the key separator between this product and a typical sock is separation of the toes. Much like a glove on one's hand, each digit of the foot slips into five individual compartments or as Interfaces in Injinji terminology. The socks arrived in good order and the toe area appears to be a seamless construction. The socks are soft to the touch. They are much softer than many of the ankle height athletic socks I currently wear for exercising.
I must admit, that even after they arrived I was still a little hesitant to try out the socks. I jokingly told my wife that the idea of putting something between my toes 'made my skin crawl'. I put them on, they were soft and comfortable, however, the fabric between my toes felt a little odd at first. The socks slip on easily enough, but I do have to individually slip each digit into the interface.
The first few minutes walking around the house was certainly different than any other pair of socks I'd been used to wearing, but I believe I was over-thinking it. I started helping get my kids in bed and before I knew it two hours had passed. I'd forgotten I was wearing Toesocks. As I look at the one on my right foot, I can definitely feel the fabric, but now I'm looking forward to testing them in the field.
I removed the left sock after the two hours and noticed a slight amount of moisture from perspiration. I'll be interested to see how they perform in the backcountry as the warmer months ensue. They do fit well and I noticed absolutely no slippage or sagging on any part of the sock, be it the instep, heal or toes. One final mentionable concerns the way my toes fit into each interface. My four larger toes fill each compartment fully, but a small amount of unfilled cloth remains on my smallest toe. I've noticed this on some gloves I wear, so I can't say if I have a particularly short fifth digit, or this is something others experience as well?
The socks are definitely different than any other sock I've tried on, but I'm excited to test them on the trail! I'll end this initial portion of the report with a few images of the Toesocks in action:
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
4 - 6 May, 2012: South Cumberland State Park along the Fiery Gizzard Trail outside Tracy City, Tennessee. This was an outing with my 3 1/2 year old son and 5 year old daughter to the Father Adamz Campsite. Elevations averaged 1700 ft (518 m) with changes of no more than 200 ft (61 m) along the 3/4 mile (1.21 km) route to the site. The day temperatures reached into the low 80's F (27 C) and the evening temperatures including the night of the "Super Moon" were around 50 F (10 C). Conditions ranged from dry and hot to an early morning storm that brought high winds and hail. Over the several days we covered nearly 5 miles (8 km) of hiking, a decent feat for a few toddlers. Most of this was day hiking, as I was certainly not hiking in my typical lightweight setup. Carrying all the kids gear put my rig over 53 lbs (24 kg).
25 - 26 May, 2012: I again camped with my children, but this was in the wooded areas of my family farm near Straightstone, Virginia. Elevations were approximately 625 ft (190 m) and temperatures ranged from 69 F (20 C) to 86 F (30 C) conditions were dry but not humid and the ticks were out in force.
27 - 28 May, 2012: A public island on Smith Mountain Lake in southwest Virginia. Conditions were continued to be dry with temperatures ranging from 70 F (21 C) to 89 F (32 C). Normal pond for the lake is around 794 ft (242 m). We motored to the island by pontoon and I did have the fortune of adding my wife to the crew this evening. She took to the ground with the kids in our 3 - person tent and I labored above in my hammock.
|Resting my dogs after setting camp|
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
I've used the socks on three field outings and several times at the gym on the treadmill. I've been trying to love them, but I'm still just not sure. For years my father has complained about not being able to wear sunglasses because something touching the bridge of his nose causes his skin to crawl. I can't say the feeling of the socks' material between my toes goes to this level, but it is something I've not become quite accustomed to wearing as of yet.
I'd hoped I would put the socks on and barely notice them at all. I'm not sure if it is psychosomatic or what but I have noticed them for awhile after I put them on each time. I've worn them in fairly warm conditions and certainly perspired in them as well. After my multi-day outing with the kids the socks were pretty ripe by the time I made it home on Sunday afternoon. I'm certainly not trying to be completely negative about the socks, I guess I'm still becoming accustomed to them as I break them in. On a completely positive note, I've not had blisters or even a hot spot while wearing them. This includes the time I wore them around on the lake island. I was wearing flip flops when I arrived, but decided to wear the socks and shoes to both continue to test them and to give my feet some protection as I roamed the island to gather wood to build a small evening fire. Being part duck my son slipped near a beach edge and I jumped to grab him entirely soaking one of my feet. I continued to gather wood and explore the island in the wet shoe for several hours and again had no rubbing or blistering. This impressed me.
|Heading out to camp on the Farm|
I find it takes me some additional time to don the socks. I can pull on a traditional pair of socks in seconds, but I have to slip each individual toe into the sleeve for the digits. I would say this is the point I'm most aware of the socks. I also tend to be cognizant of them as I first put on my shoes, however, by the time I hit the trail I barely notice the socks at all. Yet, when I make it to camp and remove my shoes I do again notice them. It hasn't been too uncomfortable to continue to wear.
As I mentioned I've perspired quite a bit while wearing the socks on both hot outings and when using them on a treadmill or arc trainer. The Injinji's do an excellent job of wicking moisture away from my feet.
Overall the socks have performed perfectly well. They keep my feet dry enough and prevent blisters. These are the most important benefits of a sock in my opinion. I'm still trying to become more comfortable with wearing a toed sock, but I'm out there trying. I'm excited to continue testing them though the dry heat of this summer.
The socks wick moisture well enough to keep my feet dry
I've experienced no hot spots or blisters
I'm still trying to become accustomed with a sock that has toes
The sock do begin to take on an odor after use
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
14 -15 July, 2012: Long Hunter State Park, Hermitage, Tennessee. This was a two-day and one-night outing that covered 11 mi (18 km) along the 5.5 mi (9 km) Volunteer Trail that emerges on J. Percy Priest Lake. The high elevation of the park is 522 ft (159 m). Temperatures were humid and oppressing with highs around 95 F (35 C) during the day and a low around 87 F (31 C) at night. There was no moisture at all on the outing.
10 - 12 August, 2012: Bear Island on J. Percy Priest Lake. The island is a fifteen minute paddle from Anderson Boat Ramp, in Davidson, Tennessee (a part of the Metropolitan Nashville Area). Lake elevation at full summer pond is 490 ft (149 m) and I hammock camped less than twenty yards from shore on this three-day and two-night outing. Temperatures were amazing and dry, they averaged no higher than 82 F (28 C) during the day and dipped to as low as 59 F (15 C) on the second night. No true mileage was covered on this outing as it was a "Group Hang" of hammock campers from the middle Tennessee area and mostly involved water sports and fishing.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
I've continued to wear the socks on outings during the final phase of the test, and they've continued to impress me with the way they wick away moisture and keep my feet dry during both trail use and exercise. I've used them in extremely hot and humid conditions and in each instance they exceeded my expectations. The socks are black and don't appear to have much wear and tear and no pilling.
The biggest drawback I've found with the Injinjis has been my inability to adjust to the individual toe holes. It is always a chore to put the socks on and I definitely notice the cloth between my toes shortly after donning them. At times I can be on the trail and not notice the individual digits at all, and at other times it appears to be all I'm thinking about. I was certain it was a psychological fixation I had with the socks, so to affirm my theory I decided acquire a pair of Vibram Five Finger Toe Shoes when I saw them on clearance. However, shortly after purchasing the shoes I found them to be extremely comfortable. Thus, oddly enough I disproved my theory that it was all in my head.
That being stated, the socks performed just as they advertised. I've already mentioned the excellent wicking properties, but I also never had a single blister during miles of use...not even the slightest hot spot. This included a stream crossing that soaked my shoes and socks that never dried over several miles. There was no slipping of the material that I've experienced in other products that can lead to blisters. Odor was never a major issue with the Injinjis in this phase of the test series. This was a positive change from the initial test phase. In retrospect, I believe they are a quality product.
I found the Injinjis to be a quality sock that wicked moisture, prevented blistering for me, minimized odor (at times) and fit well. I believe the manufacturer has designed and made a quality product, I find it unfortunate for me that I can't seem to overcome the individual digit issue with the socks. I truly wanted to love them!
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.
They probably will not be my go-to pair of socks for future use. Had they been a crew version, I may have been tempted to try them out in fall/winter outings with my favorite hiking boots, particularly on cold outings, but as they are ankle socks that certainly isn't an option. Again, I'd like to clarify that I believe they are quality product, just not for me.
I'd sincerely like to thank Injinji and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me the opportunity to test these socks.
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Read more gear reviews by Steven M Kidd