Run Oregon receives and tests running stuff from time to time. Hyla and Robin were sent some socks from Injinji. Read on for their take on the products. These make some great stocking stuffers!
Toe socks are a little like fruit cake: love it or hate it, but you’ll rarely find an opinion in between. While it may be hard to be ambivalent about them, could it be the way they make your feet look like gorilla hands? Or maybe you really prefer a cozy pocket for each toe? It’s clear this is a much more involved debate than the mitten/ glove conundrum. Full disclosure, I have always been pro toe sock, to the degree I couldn’t stop myself from checking out the 5 Finger “shoes” (if we’re all agreeing that’s what they are) when they first showed up on REI shelves. Mixed feelings about the look of them aside, there was no denying the sense of empowerment about them. Gripping the road in those bad boys may just be the akin to difference between being used to driving a Toyota Camry and then taking a spin in a Formula One Ferrari. (The toe socks are the Ferrari here.) Authenticity in experience notwithstanding, I couldn’t fully commit to the toe “shoe.” Maybe it was the worry over accidentally injuring my feet on tree roots and trail obstacles, or just knowing my clumsy self a little too well, the decision is probably a wise one on my part. While I still run in them occasionally, and usually for only short distances, the toe sock is a happy compromise that gives you some of the best of both worlds – individual toe attention plus the safety and (relative) security of actual, you know, shoes.
There’s still only one real brand that comes to mind when I think of toe socks, and it is definitely Injinji Performance Toe Socks. They were among the first to market, popping up in running stores as early as 1999, so it stands to reason they might have learned a thing or two since then. In my opinion, it shows. I’ve had the pleasure of running in several kinds of Injinjis over the years, and most recently the nuwool thin cushioned variety and the lightweight ultra-thin cushioning are pretty much as luxurious as foot gloves can be.
I first tried them out several years ago training for my first marathon. It was a last ditch effort to combat what had become crippling between toe blisters. I’m convinced that once you’ve applied body glide in between each and every one of your toes, the little extra effort it takes to put on toe socks starts to look pretty good. The results were also a lot more convincing.
While my sad, bloated toes eventually healed, I ran my first marathon in Injinjis and they did the job famously. I’m pleased to report I’ve also not dealt with that level of toe blistering since, even though I don’t exclusively run or train in toe socks. Especially if you’ve ever had weird blisters, Injinjis are a handy (or is it, foot-y?) addition to your running wardrobe.