INJINJI TETRATSOK LINER
BY KATHLEEN WATERS
April 10, 2009
White Lake, Michigan USA
5' 4" (1.63 m)
125 lb (56.70 kg)
I started hiking in 1998 after an eye-opening climb up Hahn's Peak in Colorado. Hooked, I return to Colorado often. I've hiked/snowshoed glaciers, rain forests, mountains and deserts in domestic and exotic locations, including Iceland, Costa Rica, Slovenia and Death Valley.
At home, I plan for 2-3 hikes of 6-8 mi (10-13 km) weekly and one weekend hike monthly. Weekday hikes take place in Pontiac Lake Recreation Area, a mixture of heavily-wooded moderate hills and flat terrain. Weekend hike locations vary.
My hiking style is comfortable, aiming for lightweight. Current pack averages 25 lb (11 kg) including food and water
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.injinji.com
Listed Weight: N/A
Measured Weight: 1 oz (28 g)
Unisex Sizes Available: S, M, L, XL (a size chart is on the Injinji website)
Size Tested: Small (Women's 6-8.5/Men's 5-7.5/EU 37-39.5/UK 5-7.5)
Colors Available: Tan:
Length: 12.5 in (32 cm) from cuff to end of big toe
|Picture Courtesy of Injinji|
Other details: (from Injinji)
Materials used: 75% NuBamboo, 25% Nylon
Made in Korea
"Injinji’s patented Liner tetratsok is designed to be worn as a first layer sock to interface with your favorite traditional outer sock. Built with 5 separate toe sleeves for your toes to fit into like a glove and constructed with moisture wicking fibers, the Liner tetratsok keeps your feet comfortably cool, dry and protected from blisters."
"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."
1. Dual Welt Bank - double layered. Keeps tetrasok lifted for supper
2. Anatonical 5 Toe Design - Prevents skin on skin friction. Prevents blistering. Effectively wicks away moisture in between toes. Enables natural movement from heael to five toes.
3. Arch Support - 3 Ply construction. Promotes circulation. Non-slipping.
4. Vector Heel - Precision stitched. Anti-slipping. Accurate sizing.
Wash Instructions: Machine Wash Warm. Do Not Bleach. Line Dry.
When I first saw the Injinji tetratsok liners, I thought they were the oddest article of clothing. The liners had individual toes!
Inspecting these new-fangled liners closely revealed nothing much else obviously out of the ordinary though. The liners are crew length with a 1/2 in (1.5 cm) folded inward and stitched down cuff. They are a thin, soft and smooth knit with two bands of multiple horizontal elasticized threads for additional support around the upper portion (calf) and arch area of the liners. These bands measure 4.5 in (11 cm) and 1.5 in (4 cm) respectively.
Since the liners have individual toe sleeves, they are obviously foot-specific, i.e., there is a proper right foot and a proper left foot. Also, unlike a tube-type sock, there is a definite heel as evidenced by a very subtle stitching. On the outside of the left liner, the cuff sports a 1.5 in (4 cm) red cloth "Injinji" tag.
FIELD CONDITIONS AND USE
For the last three months, I wore the Injinji tetratsok liners at least two or three days a week casually at home and around town. I even wore the liners with midweight socks and hiking boots one day to the Outdoor Retailer Show at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, Utah! The terrain there was flat, and as hard as concrete. It was definitely "dry" and temperatures were easily in the mid-60s to low 70s F (15-21 C). Estimated distance traveled that day was about 5 - 7 miles (8-11 km).
|I also wore the liners on various day hikes and overnights, some of which are listed below.|
February 7-8: At night, the trail at the Tennessee Pass was a very pleasant 28 F (-2 C) when we started and a still-pleasant 14 F (-10 C) when we stopped. Clear skies, little or no humidity and no wind at all made it a gorgeous trek. We started at an elevation of 10,500 ft (3200 m) and had a slight, but constant elevation gain to 10,800 ft (3292 m). The trail was hard-packed and meandered through a tall growth pine forest.
The next day, we were on the same trails, but it was sunny and 32 F (0 C). Still, no wind and very little humidity were present.
|Snowshoeing at Tennessee Pass|
|Hiking at Ridgway State Park||February 20-21: Ridgway State Park and Reservoir, including the Uncompahgre River trails. Elevation started at 6880 ft (2097 m) and rose to 7000 ft (2134 m). Temperatures were from a low of 33 F (0.6 C) at night to 54 F (12 C) in the bright afternoon sunshine. There was, at most, just a light occasional breeze. Terrain varied from sandy beach shore to medium size rocks to very large rocks at the reservoir's edge, then changed to dry hard-packed dirt to mud to icy snow patches in the offshore higher treed sections of the trail. The mileage for the entire east side trail was 7.5 mi (12 km).|
March 3-5: Hike and camp in the Bureau of Land Management properties in the Royal Gorge area of Colorado (Cooper Mountain range, included). Elevation started at 5400 ft (137 m) and gained about 200 ft (5 m). Daytime temperatures were a pleasant 50 to 67 F (10 to19 C) and nighttime temperatures hovered from 18 to 34 F (-8 to 1 C) from Tuesday to Thursday respectively. A pretty steady wind of 10 to 15 mph (16 to 24 kph) was present most of Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Wind gusts were plentiful and blew as high as 35 mph (56 kph). The terrain was very dry. We were (and still are) under "red flag" warnings for forest fires. Vegetation was sparse juniper and pinon pine eking out a barren existence on powdery dirt to granite slabs. Desolate, but very beautiful against the brilliant blue sky!
I'm estimating since I got the Injinji tetratsok liners, I've worn them at least a couple dozen times. I've worn them with all sorts of footwear, both socks and shoes/boots. I've worn them solo at night while sleeping and more recently as the weather has turned warmer with my Merrell High-Tide Hiking Sandals.
Putting the liners on for the first time was surprisingly - to me - simple. I grasped the liner from the top, scrunched it down a bit like any other sock and slid my foot into it. The proper liner was very obvious as to whether it belonged on the right or left foot by the length of the toes. Initially I thought I would have to be very careful about inserting my toes into the appropriate toe sleeves. Not so! Without any extra effort, I quickly found my toes perfectly fitted into the liners and they were so comfortable, right from the get-go.
Removing the liners is just as easy. If I am planning on wearing them again before washing, I simply grasp the tips of the five toes and gently pull the off after pushing the tops down to my arches. If I am washing the liners, I pull them off from the tops so as to turn the liners inside out.
When wearing the liners as they were intended, as liners, all of my socks, whether light, mid or heavy-weight, glided over the smooth knit of the liners without any sticking. Once the socks were on, other than an unusual sense of warmth and comfort above and beyond my usual liner/sock combination, I basically would forget the liners were on my feet. There wasn't any distraction of "there's something-between-my-toes" as I suspected there would be.
Unlike some liners I've worn, the Injinji liners stayed put under my socks. I did not once have the sensation the liners were creeping downward into my boots. The support bands held the liners right where they were supposed to be.
I usually wear liners under my outer socks for two reasons: extra warmth without extra weight and to wick away sweat. When it's really cold, a liner gives me the ability to keep my tootsies comfy by giving my heavy-weight socks a bit more insulation without the bulk. When it's not as cold, a liner gives my mid-weight socks versatility and a colder temperature range for wearing. In both instances, once the hiking gets strenuous, my feet will sweat and I need liners to wick and provide an extra moisture barrier between my feet and any blister-causing dampness.
The Injinji tetratsok liners fit the bill for both of these needs. They performed wonderfully in keeping me from thinking about my feet these past 3 months. That's the test of good footwear for me because if I am thinking about my feet it's because my feet are not happy!
I intensely dislike wearing socks to sleep, especially after wearing heavy socks and boots while backpacking all day. Even when it is cold out, I will usually try to not have my feet encased in socks when crawling into my sleeping bag. But then, I get cold and am grumpily scrounging around for my socks. I would have thought wearing the Injinji tetratsok liners would have been even more restrictive than my regular socks, but they are not. I guess it's because my toes are separated and so they still feel like they are "free". Anyway, the liners are sometimes all I need when the wind is howling and the temperature plunges at night. Some nights I still need to pull on outer socks, but oh well.
Injinji makes no claims about wearing the tetratsok liners solo. In fact, Injinji markets many other socks for that purpose. It was completely by accident that I tried the liners with my hiking sandals one night in camp. I had been sleeping with the liners on, needed to "take a walk" and pulled the sandals on. Even in my half-asleep state, I sensed how the liners kept my feet protected from dirt and vegetation. A light bulb went on - no, it wasn't my flashlight - and a new use for my liners was born.
|Wearing the Injinji Liners||I love wearing hiking sandals on trails in the summer heat, but between the sweating of my feet against the soles of the sandals, the dirt/sand which works its way under my feet and combines with the sweat to make mud, and the prickly vegetation, I don't often do so. And I didn't even mention my paranoia about snakes nipping at my bare toes! With the addition of the Injinji liners, I now have a very lightweight sandal "sock". Yay!|
While I'm getting used to the look of the liners, I realize some folks are taken aback when they see them for the first time. My daughter-in-law expressed the sentiment that the liners "just look so wrong...like feet with no toe nails." Since the color of my liners is a pasty-winter-skin color, I can see how she would think that. Perhaps, Injinji could paint on bright toe nail polish?
Though I've worn the liners for 36 hours straight on more than one occasion, I've never been aware of any "stink". I'm guessing the NuBamboo antibacterial fabric works! However, I have broken down and machine-washed the liners several times now; turned inside-out in cold water and air-dried. I haven't noticed any external wear on them. The liners haven't shrunk or lost their shape and still stay put when I am wearing them. I can still easily pull them on without difficulty in positioning my toes into the sleeves. There are a few loose threads in the toe sleeves, but I can't say whether or not that is a result of wear or if they were there from the beginning. I didn't notice the threads until I had washed them and was putting them away. At this time, I don't think the threads will be of any consequence.
1.) Fits, literally, like a glove on my feet.
2.) Adds a good bit of warmth to my midweight socks.
3.) Can be worn solo with hiking sandals.
4.) Wicks away sweat effectively to my outer socks.
1.) I am aware it is a sock LINER, but I wish there were more colors to choose from given my newly-discovered use for the liner as hiking sandal wear. (Hey, I had to think of something!)
I never thought I would ever try a product such as the unique Injinji tetratsok liners. The idea of putting "gloves" on my feet just seemed very odd to me.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Now that I have had the opportunity to wear the liners, I'm sold on their comfort and usefulness. They add just the right amount of warmth to make my midweight socks viable in weather I previously wouldn't have worn them in. With heavyweight socks, the liners help wick away any sweating to my outer more quickly. Worn solo with hiking sandals, the liners enable me to wear the sandals in more locations, keeping my feet protected from prickly vegetation and dirt.
I have come to love the feeling of the liner fabric between my toes. I will definitely be purchasing more of these neat liners and expanding my sock wardrobe to include other Injinji socks!
Kathleen (Kathy) Waters
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