Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Moonlighting... and a review of Injinji toe socks.

After almost two weeks, I was finally able to do the Manitou Incline . Between the weather and traveling, I've missed my twice weekly ritual.  It was an amazing morning... a very bright 1/2 to 3/4 moon, not much of a breeze, and temps I would guess to be around 35F (2C).

I wore my headlamp, but realized halfway up that I didn't need it with all the moonlight, and with the time change, the sun was close to rising as I took a short break at the top.  I did the climb/run in my Invisible Shoe sandals, however today was my first opportunity to use my new Injinji toe socks (review below). They worked great.. kept my feet warm, and fit perfectly with my sandals with little interference.

I have to admit also, that during my run back down, I kept thinking about the 100-UP technique recently circulated by Chris McDougall. Like anyone who has watched the video, I tried out the drill, and I appreciate its simplicity. At those times when I felt my form was faltering, I mentally thought of the drill, and subsequently got my knees up, my foot strikes lighter, and a quicker cadence. One thing I noticed was that it certainly felt better and got me back on track.  Anyway, curious as to feedback from anyone else who has tried to integrate this drill.

Ok, now for my first product review.  This is purely my own opinion of a product that was purchased, and not provided by Injinji.

I have been looking for options to help keep my feet warm during the Colorado winter, but to stay as minimalist as I could. I love my Invisible Shoes huaraches, so I looked for a sock option.  I tried out a pair of Injinji Performance Series, Original Weight, Mini Crew toe socks. Injinji offers this series, plus an outdoor series and Yoga series, each in a variety of weights, colors, and cuff heights.

When I got the socks, I first tried them on for fit. Now, these are not the socks to put on if you are in a hurry to get out the door! It took me several minutes to align my toes with each slot, and to use my fingers to press down between each toe to get them snugged on. It made me realize that I have a ways to go in developing the individual dexterity of my toes... so many years in shoes that my toes like to behave as one cohesive unit.  I noticed that the packaging says to be patient with your first wear, and to allow time to adjust. Once on though, I really liked the feel.  I've never worn VFF's or toe socks, so the feeling of each toe being separate was cool, and it reminded me that I could move them individually if I concentrated!

Next I put my sandals on.  This particular weight of sock is ideal for the Invisible Shoes..  I didn't have to adjust the cords as it was a comfortable fit over the socks.  I spent the next hour running around the house and working etc just to get comfortable.

This morning I put them to the road test. As noted above, it was a cool morning, and an ideal time to try them out.  They did a great job of keeping my toes/feet warmer. I didn't begin to feel any sharp cold until near the top of the Incline as I had to cross a short section over compacted snow/ice, and that transferred to my feet quickly.  However, at the top, I took a short break, warmed my toes up with my hands, and was ready to roll.

The rest of the run is a 3.5 mi (5.6km) downhill trail run on dirt, gravel, rocks etc.  I had next to no slippage of the socks inside the sandal, and the traction of the sock against the rubber footbed of the sandals was good. Not as good as barefoot, but it certainly didn't cause me a lot of problems or issues.  In other words, the trade off for warmer toes was absolutely worth trading a small bit of traction and a more muffled ground feel.

So, for my intended purpose of finding a sock to add warmth/protection with minimal disruption to the performance of my huaraches, this sock fit the bill and I would recommend it.  I would like to try out the Outdoor Series of the sock, and perhaps in a heavier weight to see if it will allow longer running in sub-freezing temperatures.

Review Summary (out of 10 Toes):

Fit = 9 Toes   my little toe didn't want to stay in all the time, but maybe I have weird feet
Performance = 9 Toes  Minimal slippage, excellent comfort
Style = 10 Toes   I don't think I should even cover style.. I'm a typical guy... they are black, and black goes with everything right? :-)
Intended Purpose = 10 Toes   These did everything I was looking for

If you've made it this far.. thank you.  Feedback is always welcomed!

"Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play" - Heraclitus






5 comments:

The itinerant archer said...

Nice review I've just ordered a pair .
I use Toe socks, but thought I'd try these to see if they were any better than the ones I have.
My little Toe objects to being on it's own too, but it's getting used to it..

Barefoot_Chiropractor said...

Great review! I'll have to give Injinji a try, if for no other reason than to say "injinji" a lot.

Jeff Gallup said...

It is pretty fun to say! :-)

Robbie-Lynn said...

Nice review. I wonder if I'm just a wimp i couldn't even wear them with my VFF and stay warm. I love how they look with the sandals. I wonder if they are warmer outside of the VFF because you can move your toes more.

Jeff Gallup said...

Could be Robbie-Lynn... I wondered if they would be too snug in VFF's and not allow for any room to warm up. Not sure what series of sock you have, but Injinji is going to send me the Outdoor Series, which are in a different material designed for better temp control. I'll put up a new review once I get a chance to try them out..