Like most runners, I’m a total junkie when it comes to running gear. I find it really hard to resist trying out the next best thing, and I’m fairly obsessive about what I put on my feet. I’m therefore somewhat surprised that it took me so long to try out the Injinji toesocks. If you’re not familiar with the Injinji socks, they basically look like a normal pair of socks with one major exception – they provide individual pockets for each of your toes. Sure, I’d seen other runners report positively about their experiences with them, particularly about their ability to prevent toe blistering, but the strange looking socks always seemed like a gimmick to me. I couldn’t have been more wrong – these socks are awesome!
My initial reason for buying a pair of Injinji’s was so that I could wear socks along with my Vibram Fivefingers KSO “foot gloves.” Like the Injinji socks, the Vibrams, or VFF’s for short, have individual toe pockets, making it impossible to wear regular running socks with them. After a run in VFF’s where I blistered my heel pretty severely, I decided to give the Injinji socks a try as an added layer of protection.
The first time I put on a pair of Injinji socks, I immediately felt strange. Having such a form fitting layer of cloth around my toes was weird, as was the sensation that my toes were being separated from one another to a greater degree because of the sock material in between them (which is presumably why they’re so good at blister prevention). You get used to the feeling pretty quickly, though it still is odd to look at your foot and see your toes sticking out in all of their cloth-covered glory – my kids find them particularly funny (dad has a reputation for being a bit of a gear junkie, and the little guys humor me well!). When you wiggle your toes in Injinji’s, it’s immediately apparent that they reduce skin-to-skin friction between your toes in a way that other socks cannot (most other socks seem to actually have the effect of squeezing your toes together, thereby increasing inter-toe friction), and this results in much happier feet.
So how do they perform on the run? This is where the Injinji socks really stand out for me. I have a history of getting really bad blisters on my long runs (for example, check out this post-marathon picture from last May – it’s frightening), and every other solution I have tried (e.g., slathering my feet with Bodyglide) has not helped. I’m pleased to report that I have yet to develop a single blister while wearing my Injinji Micro Performance socks on a run, and this includes my two marathon prep 20-milers during this training cycle. They’ve also solved my blistering problem with the Vibram Fivefingers – I’ve run as much as 8 miles in the VFF’s +Injinji’s (in the pouring rain) with no problem. I’m so impressed with how they’ve performed that I will be wearing them during the Hartford Marathon on October 10, where I’m attempting to at least PR and at most BQ. As any marathon runner knows, deeming a pair of socks marathon-worthy is the highest honor that one can give.
What about the price? Injinji socks are expensive, running on average about $12.00-$14.00 per pair, though they can be had at a discount at times at the Injinji website. You’ll also see on the Injinji website that the socks come in a variety of styles – I have used only the Micro’s since I prefer low-profile socks. In my mind, ~$12.00 is a small price to pay for running blister-free, and I highly recommend Injinji’s to anyone who has frequent blister problems. Heck, they might even save me a few toenails next weekend in Hartford when I run 26.2 – I’ll be sure to post an update afterward!
I’d love to hear what you think if you give the Injinji socks a try – feel free to leave a comment!