Joe: Several years ago, I went through a period when I was getting consistent blisters and hot spots on my toes. That’s when I first ventured into the world of toe socks. I tried a few different brands with success and they were very consistent in alleviating the problems, reducing the blisters and rubbing almost completely. Over time, I returned to conventional “mitten” style socks, and the continuing evolution in quality, design, and materials kept the toe discomfort at bay.
But recently, I got a chance to try out some new offerings from Injinji, the company that has come to define the toe sock industry for runners. The socks I received are not merely toe socks, but an entire custom outfit for the feet, consisting of a pair of Liner toe socks and a pair of conventional Mini-Crew socks. The two pairs come as a set, attached together with a plastic “whisker” and labeled with one Style Number (344130), a combined description (“Men’s Liner + Runner Mini-Crew”), and a single manufacturer’s suggested retail price ($24).
It seems that these socks are intended to be worn together, with the toe socks underneath the Mini-Crews (the other way around, while theoretically not completely impossible, would be very difficult and lead to some serious chafing!) This is how I’ve been wearing them, as a set, and it creates an amazingly high level of comfort. The understated light gray toe sock Liners are very thin and light, and seem much easier to pull on over my rugged, dysmorphic runner’s feet than some of Injinji’s earlier thicker toe socks. And so far, despite the thinness, they seem relatively durable. Once on, the Liners are soft and keep my toes nicely segregated and chafe-free.
The fancier-looking green Mini-Crews are slightly heavier and look much larger but are still soft and comfortable. The ankle cuffs are sturdy and stay up reliably. When teamed up with the Liners, they fit nicely, allowing room for their smaller partners, and the combination provides a blister-free and surprisingly breathable environment for my feet. The thinness of the Liners adds very little to the overall thickness of the two-sock ensemble, and my feet never feel overstuffed in my running shoes. The two Injinji socks together feel no different size-wise from any of my other single socks.
This two-pair set is really three choices in one, as either the Liners or the Mini-Crews can also be worn alone. (Actually four or five choices, if some of your toes are more claustrophobic, and you wanted to wear one Liner and one Mini-Crew. You could start a new fad!) I would be a little cautious about the durability of the thin Liners left to their own devices in your running shoes, but the Mini-Crews are really just like any other high-quality conventional “mitten” style running socks.
It seems the leader in toe socks for runners is branching out into “regular” socks with this interesting new combination product. I love the idea and have enthusiastically added these socks to my frequent rotation.
Bobi Jo: I’ve worn and loved Injinji socks for a few years now (and Run Oregon has reviewed them before) and love everything about them. I love the liner socks worn under the running socks (or hiking socks) or worn on their own as just a thin sock. I wear them for running and everyday, to work, or around the house. They are both cozy and practical. Injinji knows their audience.
The liners are basic: soft and blister-preventing. They are thin so you don’t overheat and are moisture-wicking, while allowing your toes to splay and prevents rubbing. The new Runner Mini Crew are incredibly comfortable either on their own or over the liner, and provide arch support, extra cushioning on the footbed and throughout the toes. I look forward to spending my summer miles in the liners and my long distance “A” race this fall donning both!
Rachel: As an avid trail runner who spends a good 2-4 hours on my feet during some of my longest runs, I’ve come to find that even the smallest details can impact your run; one of those being the socks you’re wearing. I’ve always been a big fan of Injinji socks, so it was no surprise that these socks and liners really hit it out of the park for me. The socks themselves are quite stylish in terms of color. I’m the type of person who wears lots of greys and blacks, so it’s fun to have a pop of color mixed in with my running wardrobe. I also love that, despite how thick they are, my feet don’t overheat on even the longest runs. These have been my number one go-to socks as of lately.
The liners, which I chose to wear on their own, are like soft, light-weight gloves for your feet. I admittedly was a bit apprehensive about them as I’ve always thought toe socks were a weird concept (and maybe just a tad goofy looking). My boyfriend swears by his toe socks though, so he was especially proud to see me donning these. As a newbie, I initially struggled a bit to get each of my ten toes in their place; something I’m sure that will get easier with practice. Additionally, because they are liners, they are much thinner than I’m used to normally running in, but I didn’t notice that being an issue. I appreciate how light-weight the liners are and I think my toes were happy to not be rubbing against each other for once. Overall, I still think toe socks are kind of weird, but even I can’t deny how comfortable they are.
Specs (from website):
- Liner Fiber content: 63% CoolMax® 33% Nylon 4% Lycra®
- Runner Fiber content: 33% CoolMax® 65% Nylon 2% Lycra®
More about Injinji:
On the surface, Injinji is a California-based toesock company dedicated to the health and performance of feet. But deep down we are so much more. We are innovators, we are adventurers, we are lovers of all things active—most importantly, we are passionate about making the journey of life more comfortable.
Our patented, five-toe sock design helps enhance the freedom and natural function of your foot inside any shoe, which means less time worrying about discomfort and more time for your next adventure. Wherever you go, there’s a toesock to help you along the way.
Life is good at Injinji. Our product line has expanded to include a wide range of socks for every athletic style and lifestyle—from running to cycling to the gym and even to the office. As the #1 sock worn at Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run from 2014 to today, we are proud to continue our spirit of innovation with you in mind.
Thank you to Injinji for providing us with sample items. Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.