by Jason B.
I have been dabbling with calve compression sleeves for the past few years while running marathons and ultramarathons. I am not sure that I have empirical data, but since I started using the calve sleeves, I have had better muscle recovery and no calve cramping while racing. The only challenge was that I needed to wear a compression sleeve and running socks. Injinji has come out with a compression sock that I hope can do both. I will be reviewing the Injinji Ultra Compression OTC socks over the next few months.
Injinji is a California based company that was formed in 1999. They are unique because they have designed toe socks versus traditional socks. Their socks have little pockets for each toe that is supposed to help prevent blisters. I have been wearing Injinji socks for several years and I am an admitted fan of their socks.
The Injinji Ultra Compression toe sock is a seamless, 200 needle count sock made from 80%Nylon and 20% Lycra fabric. In addition to all the features that Injinji socks are known for such as moisture wicking fabric, total foot utilization and blister prevention; this particular sock features additional support in the arch and has reflective strips on the back of the sock to help be seen better at night. The sock also has graduated compression. Injinji does not specify how much compression the socks provide. The socks retail for $49.00.
As I mentioned earlier, I wear Injinji socks regularly so, I popped these out of the packaging and ran a 5k. The socks felt amazing and my run went well, but there are some noticeable differences between these socks and other Injinji’s I have worn. The first is the graduated compression makes them a bit more difficult to put on. The compression keeps the sock from expanding so I find that I need to bunch them up to the foot and get my toes situated before pulling the sock all the way up. The next thing that stood out was that the socks are really tall. I am 5’6” and have pretty average length legs, but the medium socks which are the correct size for my US men’s size 9 foot easily came up several inches above my knee. This is not a big deal I just pushed the excess fabric below my knee, but I want to point out that the socks are really long. The final difference is the compression. Other than the three differences, the socks fit and feel like traditional Injinji socks. The compression is noticeable while wearing the socks, but not uncomfortable and really once I started running, I did not notice the socks at all. They became an extension of me.
I have several marathons and ultra-marathons coming up this summer as well as a trip to Alaska to visit friends and play in the mountains. I intend to use these socks on all my adventures over the next couple of months. When I review socks I look for several characteristics. First, are they comfortable? Do I like wearing them? Is the compression noticeable or bother me in any way? Does the compression aspect keep the socks up over my large calves? Are there any noticeable benefits to wearing the compression socks versus traditional socks? Can I wear them for multiple days without them stinking? The second thing I look for is durability. Do the socks show any wear areas after use? How do the toe sleeves hold up? Finally, how do the socks 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?
This ends my initial review. Please check back in a month or so to see how the socks have performed.
Thank you to 4alloutdoors.org and Injinji for providing the socks for this review.