Review of Injinji Outdoor Socks
By Matt Smith
This is the last in a series of three reviews I have done this spring on Injinji toe socks. The other two reviews, Coolmax EcoMade, and Coolmax Performance toe socks are primarily intended for use with lighter weight footwear, and not the stiffer, heavier footwear that meet the demanding needs of backcountry hiking, trekking, and backpacking. For those conditions, the old standby, wool, is still hard to beat. True to the Injinji heritage, only the best wool will do. The Injinji Outdoor series is made with NuWool, a merino wool blend that is tough, soft, and versatile. The Outdoor series is slightly thicker than the Performance series, offering just enough padding and protection inside boots without being too bulky.
When I'm out in the backcountry, I almost always wear a polypropylene liner sock. Doing so gives me a friction reducing layer, as well as improves moisture wicking away from my foot. Testing the Outdoor series, I obviously couldn't use my conventional liner sock strategy, so I took a calculated risk with just the Outdoor toesock. I was amazed at how well the sock functioned even during the longer days and with the heavier footwear I normally wear in the backcounty. Hotspots were no issue, and my feet didn't look like California Raisins even after a hot day in GoreTex lined leather boots.
Outdoor Series Toesock
I did however discover a minor limitation to the toesock system. . . Sand. I do a lot of hiking in the desert on and around the Colorado Plateau, and one thing that is not in short supply is sand. My universal experience with sand is that somehow it can get inside any sock, but remarkably, can't find it's way back out. In conventional socks, the sand can fall and occupy the space between toes. With toesocks, the sand gets in, and to some degree is held in place by the fabric that would otherwise reduce friction between toes. I didn't notice a resulting increase in blisters, but I did notice I could feel the sand against my skin and in between toes more than I do with my conventional liner sock inside wool strategy.
As I have previously noted, when a toesock is worn in a shoe with a small toe box, such as many popular approach shoes or other semi-technical shoes, I got a little sore between my toes by the end of the day from the fabric. I never noticed this wearing hiking boots, or trail or road running shoes.
Summary: The Outdoor Series toe socks are great for use with heavier footwear, or for conditions where just a little more padding is nice to have. If you are a minimalist, make sure and check out the Coolmax Performance EcoMade toe socks, made from 97 percent recycled product, or the original Coolmax Performance toe socks from Injinji. A variety of sock colors and styles are available for about $12 to $16.
For more information contact:
888-INJINJI / 888-465-4654
Matt Smith Is a contributing editor at Gearreview.com and is a complete dork gear junkie. Check out his blog with his latest trip reports and product test updates.