Disclaimer: The team at Injinji sent me this bag to review; however, all opinions are my own.
If you’re looking for a good pair of hiking or backpacking socks to help prevent blisters and help your feet out, give Injinji toe socks a look.
If you’re looking for Injinji toe socks or any toe socks, you’ve probably had some foot issues in your life.
I know this because I’ve had about with my ankle for the better part of three years now. It’s a long story but suffice it to say that it has stemmed from years of sprained ankles, a torn ACL, and ankle surgery.
So as I’ve been plagued with lingering ankle pain, undiagnosable by many doctors, my natural inclination is to start looking for something, anything, that might help.
If you search around, the internet often leads us towards barefoot shoes or shoes that allow our feet to operate in a more “natural” way. There is quite a bit of debate around the benefit of barefoot shoes, and unfortunately, not a ton of data.
I did go down the barefoot route myself, mostly because I find barefoot shoes generally more comfortable and easier to travel with than their more-traditional counterparts.
This may seem like a long tangent but stay with me.
Once you’re in the barefoot shoe rabbit hole, you start reading things about toe-splay and the benefits of having room for your toes to spread out instead of being crammed into pointed-toe shoes. There are ways to help your toes splay, such as a wide toe box on shoes, something called Correct Toes, and eventually, you’ll land at toe socks.
Established in 1999, Injiji is a California-based company dedicated to helping athletes and adventurers get optimal performance. It doesn’t matter what kind of athlete you are; performance starts with your legs and, arguably, your feet first and foremost.
So Injiji designed a five-toe sock that comes that gives the wearer a range of benefits:
- Blister Prevention
- Total Foot Utilization
- Moisture Management
These basically translate into fewer blisters and less time recovering.
I got three pairs of Injinji toe socks: one Everyday Lightweight Crew, one Trail Midweight Mini-Crew, and one Ultra Run Mini-Crew.
Immediately you could tell that the Everyday pair was much lower quality than the other two. Not only were the socks thinner (which is to be expected), but the seams in between the toes were also more delicate. So since there’s only a $3-4 difference between the pairs, you’re much better off with the hiking or running pairs.
If you’ve never put on toe socks before, it will definitely take some time. Having to pull each toe, one by one, into the respective toe socket is quite tedious. Even after about a month or so of using the Injinji socks, putting them on didn’t get much easier.
To test out my new Injinji toe socks, I took the Injinji socks for a recent road test. It was a trip to New Orleans with a big group of friends, so 100% urban travel with a lot of walking.
Now, if you’ve never tried to put on toe socks in front of your friends, let me tell you, it evokes a certain, uh, questioning. Questions along the line of “Um, why?” or “What the fuck is on your foot?”
So as I put the socks on, toe by toe, evading questions left and right, a slight hint of regret started to set in. After explaining the supposed benefits of toe socks and barefoot shoes, I did a little word association game with the Injinji socks:
“Mittens but for your toes”
“Your toesies are out”
There weren’t really adverse reactions, more just general bewilderment. Which, in some ways, is similar to my feelings, not the Injinji socks and toe socks in general.
All that said, the Injinji socks are pretty damn comfortable when you’re actually wearing them. It might be weird at first if you’re not used to toe socks, but you get used to it pretty quickly, and your toes feel a bit more free. Combine the toe socks with a wide toe box on your shoes, and you will probably have a much more comfortable setup than usual.
On a separate trip, I did take them hiking on an 8-mile day hike in central Oregon. And as promised, they excelled in that terrain. I didn’t get any blisters or a single hot spot, though I can’t say I usually get blisters on an average day hike.
I’ll most likely take these on an upcoming multi-day backpacking trip to really put them through their paces. That’ll be a good indicator of their performance on the trail and viability as a part of my hiking kit.
Did they fix my ankle issues? No, no, they did not. But then again, Injinji didn’t promise that.
Are they comfortable? Yeah, sure. The hiking ones are pretty comfortable and have a nice thickness to them. The regular everyday socks were pretty thin and left a little to be desired.
As a barefoot shoe enthusiast, my natural next move in this rabbit hole is toe socks like the ones from Injinji.
They didn’t fix my chronic ankle issues, but the idea that toe socks, or barefoot shoes, could help chronic ankle issues is a big stretch. They might help but probably won’t be the silver bullet you were looking for.
But when I look beyond that pipe dream, the Injinji socks were pretty interesting. On a day-to-day basis, I don’t see them providing many benefits over regular toe-less socks. But could I see them becoming a regular part of my hiking setup? Absolutely.
The hiking socks Injinji makes are pretty comfortable, and I have no doubts about them holding up over continued use. Plus, when on the trail, I’d pretty much kill to not get a single blister and have stronger feet.
So if you’re looking for a natural extension to your barefoot shoe fetish or a solid pair of hiking socks to reduce blisters and keep you happy, give Injinji socks a shot. Just skip the casual everyday ones and go straight for the hiking pair.