In 2015 I had the privilege of competing in the Izumo Ekiden, a relay race between many of the top universities in Japan on the streets of Izumo, Shimane Prefecture. As a first-timer in Japan, I observed many cultural differences that made the visit highly educational. Of those differences, one that has stuck with me, in the somewhat irksome way that a leaf sticks with a tire spoke, was the abundance of toesocks on the Japanese athletes. As I came to appreciate over the course of the race, toesocks are not performance inhibiting, and the speed of the other athletes lead me to wonder if I was missing out on something by wearing toe-less socks.
Given my curiosity, when the opportunity to test the Injinji Trail 2.0 Midwieght Mini-Crew Coolmax Toesocks came, I jumped at the chance to finally investigate what makes toesocks so special. The short answer is, a number of things.
Pulling the socks on for the first time was a bit of a challenge, as fitting the toes required pulling each individual toe sleeve over each individual toe. Once I had the socks on though, the fit was secure, and all of the toe sleeves provided a snug wrap. Additionally, repeated wearing and washing have adapted the toe fabric to my toes and made it much easier to pull on.
On the Run
My primary concern with toesocks before wearing them was how the additional fabric between my toes would feel. For the first few minutes, I felt that my fears were warranted, as I was hyperaware of the extra fabric. However, a few miles later I realized that I had completely forgotten that I was wearing toesocks. So, in typical fashion, a short amount of exposure time allowed me to adjust to and eventually forget the new stimulus. Additionally, I worried that the extra fabric might cause the fit of my shoe to be too tight, but there was no added forefoot pressure at any point in my run.
The other notable feature of this sock is the collar, which is slightly thicker than the main body of the sock and provides a secure hold that doesn’t drop while running. Other than the collar, the remainder of the sock feels very similar to other trail socks.
As an added benefit, the separation between my toes allows them to spread a bit farther apart if I wear running shoes with a wider forefoot. I enjoy the additional splay, and my toe off feels a bit more stable. The socks are also advertised as blister reducing, but because I have been fortunate enough to avoid many issues with blisters in normal socks, I cannot speak to that benefit.
Toesocks are certainly worth trying out, and this specific model has been well received by a number of Running Warehouse employees who were uncertain as to whether they would appreciate toesocks. Be certain to compare the sock thicknesses to your standard running sock though, as trail socks tend to run thick as compared to standard running socks.
Will has been running competitively since high school, and is currently running with the HOKA Aggies, a post-collegiate club here on the central coast of California. With a preference for the humorous and the verbose, he enjoys playing the wordsmith almost as much as his daily runs.