As an ultrarunner I find that one of my biggest challenges on long runs is blister formation on my toes. I have tried many different ways to alleviate this issue with moderate success. Over the next few months I will be testing the Injinji Performance Run 2.0 socks to see if they have unlocked the key to beating blister formation between my toes with their toe sock design. Read on for my initial thoughts.
Injinji is a company based out of California that makes socks for all types of adventures, but what sets them apart is the design of the socks. Their socks have individual toe sleeves so that it looks like my foot is wearing a glove for my feet. Over the next few months I will be testing the Performance Run 2.0 from Injinji.
The Performance Run 2.0 Sock are made of 28% COOLMAX® 67% Nylon 5% Lycra® based on the Injinji website. They go on to say that the anatomical 5 toe design properly aligns toes, prevents blisters, and promotes proper posture and balance. The lycra top cuff adds compression and holds the socks in place. The heels and toes are reinforced COOLMAX Xtra Life fiber for increased durability. The socks that I received to review are the new Spectrum designs – not your average single white or black sock, but socks with cool designs. I received two pairs – Sonic which feature a teal, light green and black zig zag design, and an unnamed design which is mostly grey with a red, orange, and teal stripes around the top of the sock. Both pairs of socks retail for $16 each. Overall they seem to be very well designed socks.
I have worn Injinji socks before so I had an idea of what to expect when I first tried them on. Based on the company’s size chart I needed a medium sized sock because I am a men’s size 9 which is squarely in the medium sock range of Men’s 8.5 to 10. When I put the socks on I make sure I have the correct sock for my foot, since each toe has its own sleeve I have to make sure I put the right sock on my right foot. I generally put the socks on and align my toes in each sleeve. Then I use my fingers to push each toe into the corresponding sleeve and make sure I push the sleeve all the way on by pushing down in between each toe. The socks are lightweight running socks and feel very light and smooth on my feet. I also like that the socks come all the way up over my calves. I have large calves and typically socks only come up midway on my calf and end up falling off after any type of activity.
When testing socks there are several things that I look for. First, are they comfortable? Do I like wearing them? Do they stay in place? As I mentioned, I have large calves and most socks eventually slide down and can get bunched up in the heel area. Can I wear them for multiple days without them stinking? The second thing I look for is durability. Do the sock show any wear areas after use? How do the toe sleeves hold up? Finally, as I mentioned when I started, how do they do with moisture management which is the key to not getting blisters? Do they wick sweat away from my feet? Do I get blisters between my toes?
Update – October 27, 2016
I have used both pairs of Injinji Performance Run socks to run and hike over 200 miles over the past month or so. They have performed well, remained comfortable and most importantly, I have had no blisters! Only a couple nitpicks – like all other socks, they don’t stay over my calves, and I got a random hole in one of the socks, probably from hiking through bushes at the Woodland Conservancy, but I am not really sure. Read on for my full update!
I have used the socks running and hiking over past month and have put just over 100 miles on each pair. My runs have varied in length from a 5k in New Orleans to trail marathon in North Carolina. In addition, I have used the socks on two backpacking trips – a multiday backpacking trip on the Pinhoti Trail in Northeast Alabama and a multiday backpacking trip on the Tuxachanie Trail in De Soto National Forest in Mississippi. Temperatures have ranged from the upper 90’s here in New Orleans to the low 60’s in Mississippi. Humidity has varied widely with 100% humidity in early September to the low humidity of around 30% in the last couple of weeks.
I mentioned that I generally look for two main characteristics in socks – comfort and durability. Comfort has been amazing. One of my biggest challenges with running long distances is blisters especially between my big toe and second toe, and on my pinkie toes. I am happy to report that I have been blister free, even after running the Medoc Trail Marathon in North Carolina. One of the things that takes a little time to get used to is the feeling of the sock sleeves in between the toes. Initially this is noticeable, but as I have worn the socks, the sensation has gone away and I don’t even notice it anymore. The socks are thin running socks, so there isn’t any noticeable cushioning which is ok with me. I generally run in Altra shoes, so the shoes provide all the cushioning. I also mentioned in my initial thoughts that I have large calves and socks generally slide down to the ankle. Unfortunately even the Injinji socks succumbed to my calve size and after about 50 miles of use started to lose their elasticity to the point where they too slide down. However, this has not affected my running or caused any bunching of the socks in my shoe. It only means that folks don’t get to see the cool designs on the socks. The socks are pretty stink resistant. I am able to run in them a few times before they need to be washed. I generally toss them in with my other laundry which includes them going into the dryer versus being hung to dry. There doesn’t seem to be any adverse effect from washing them this way.
The second main characteristic I look for with socks is durability. So far the durability of the socks has been great. You can see a wear pattern on the bottom of the sock from my foot and a little bit of pilling of the material but it is all cosmetic and does not affect the performance of the sock. As I mentioned in my intro there is a small hole in one of the socks about mid-calf. I think this came while hiking at the Woodlands Conservancy which has some thorny blackberry bushes on the trail, so maybe I caught one and didn’t notice it. The hole does not affect performance.
Overall, I am extremely pleased with these socks. They keep my toes blister free and are comfortable to wear. They are proving to be durable. I have a big race month coming up with a half marathon at the end of October, a half marathon mid-November and a marathon in early December. I expect to continue to put some miles on the socks and see if they can stand up to abuse.
Final Update December 18, 2016
November and December have been heavy racing months for me – I completed 3 half marathons, and a full marathon along with several 5k’s and 10k’s and the Injinji Performance Run 2.0 socks have been my constant companion for every race. Comfort and Durability remained excellent and I continued to be mostly blister free – though I don’t think it was an issue with my socks. Read on for my final thoughts.
I have put an additional 80 plus miles on each pair of the socks since my last update. This included running the New Orleans Jazz Half Marathon, the Marvel Super Heroes Half Marathon at Disneyland, the Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon and the Ole Man River Half Marathon in Gretna, Louisiana and numerous training runs. Temperatures ranged from the 80’s to the 60’s and humidity remained high most of the time with only a few breaks when cold fronts moved through.
As I mentioned in previous updates, I look for comfort and durability in any sock. Comfort has continued to be superb. I no longer notice the individual sock sleeves when I put the socks on and there is no discomfort on my toes, or in between them. As I mentioned in the last update, the socks no longer stay above my calves, but this does not affect performance or result in bunching of the socks in my shoes. I did get a couple of blisters this time. I seem to get a blister on my right pinkie toe, but I don’t think it has to do with my socks, but rather my biomechanics while running because it does not happen on my left foot. It never bothers me and callouses over, but I thought I would point it out. I have no issues on any of my other toes or between my toes. I have had issues with other socks getting blisters between my big toe and second toe, and I never had any issues with the Injinji’s.
Durability is excellent. Each pair of socks has around 180 plus miles on them and still look good. There is some pilling and noticeable wear on the bottom of the toes, across the ball of the foot, and the heel, but this is mostly cosmetic and does not affect the performance of the socks. I anticipate easily getting another 180 plus miles out of the socks with no problem. I have also been impressed with how little the socks stink. Even after sweat soaked runs the socks never developed a funk. This is positive!
Overall, I am pleased with the Injinji Performance Run 2.0 socks and will continue to use them as I enter my 2017 running schedule. I highly recommend them!
Thanks to 4alloutdoors.org and Injinji for providing the socks for this review.