Injinji Socks Review: Where the Toe Socks Excel… And Fail
We tested six pairs of top hiking socks side-by-side and the Injinji Outdoor NuWool hit the bottom of the leaderboard.
Still, that doesn’t mean I don’t really like these socks.
During activity, it’s easy to forget you’re even wearing them and — though the toe-sock situation takes some getting used to — Injinji socks are well-made and incredibly comfortable.
If you’d like to read more about how the Injinji socks compared to the other hiking socks we tested, check out our article on the best hiking socks. Or, continue reading for our full review.
|Hiking Socks||Score||MSRP||Material||Fabric Thickness||Cushion|
|Injinji Outdoor Midweight Crew NuWool (This Product)||
|$20.00||64% NuWool, 33% nylon, 3% Lycra||Medium||Midweight|
|Top Pick: Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew Light Cushion||
|$20.00||47% Merino Wool, 46% Nylon, 7% Lycra Spandex||Medium||Very Light|
|Runner-Up: Smartwool PhD Outdoor Medium Crew||
|$23.95||62% Merino Wool, 36% Nylon, 2% Elastane||Medium||Light|
|Best Value: Wigwam Hiking Outdoor Pro||
|$14.00||40% Olefin, 36% X20 Acrylic, 20% Stretch Nylon, 4% Spandex||Medium||Midweight|
What We Like
Once you adjust to wearing toe-socks, you may never turn back. While not for everyone, the Injinji make for great camp and hiking socks because of their comfort, snug fit, and versatility.
If you don’t believe the Injinji socks are comfortable, you just haven’t gotten used to them yet. Having that much fabric in between every individual toe is definitely an odd sensation at first, but easily forgettable after a short 15 minutes on the trail.
According to Injinji, the hiking sock “allows your toes to splay naturally and align properly, enabling greater stability and more comfort.” I don’t have any arguments about that. I especially enjoyed them during extreme exertion.
Because the toe sleeve design allows your feet to splay naturally, I felt that my feet were mildly more active when wearing Injinji during exercise. It wasn’t dramatic or life-changing, but still very comfortable.
We wanted to test this long-term, however, under the stress of constant use and sweat. Expecting them to stretch out or become slippy after multiple days, I was happily surprised to realize they kept their shape and fit like, well, a glove. I attribute this fit bonus to the 33% nylon makeup.
What can’t you do with all your toes independently accessible? The world is your oyster once you’ve figured out how to be both barefoot and warm. That’s why in three-season conditions, the Injinji Outdoor NuWool serve a solid role for the versatile lifestyle.
You can run, hike, wear sandals, impress your in-laws. Though they do not excel as backpacking-specific socks, I’d keep a single pair of Injinji just for the multi-use ability.
What We Don’t Like
Snugly fit, comfortable and versatile, but not the best for hiking. In a hiking sock, you want durability, warmth, moisture regulation and reliability. Though the Injinji is all of that, it’s not the best at that.
Most of the people I know who love Injinji are runners, and for good reason. In motion, these socks are incredibly warm and do a fair enough job to prevent blisters during activity. The moisture-regulating ability is even decent.
However, due to the five-toe design, building up warmth during inactivity is difficult. All the little piggies are divided and must work separately to heat themselves up. That’s never something you want to worry about at camp. I even threw an extra pair of socks on one morning at camp, just because the Injinji weren’t cutting it.
Extra fabric equals extra risk, in my opinion. Getting a hole in a hiking sock is generally okay and manageable. In extreme conditions, you can even use duct tape.
Would I take the Injinji on a thru-hike expedition though?
NuWool is a special type of merino wool, durable but not to the extreme. While we did not experience any problems with durability over the course of our month-long testing process, the thought of getting a hole in between or at the end of my toes deters me from relying on these like I do my Darn Tough socks.
Transitioning Between Different Types of Socks
As part of the testing process, I wore no other sock but the Injinji for a week straight. For three days of that testing, I literally never even removed them.
On an extended weekend backpacking trip through Moab, Utah, I took no showers and never once peeled these things off my feet. By the end of it, it felt like they were just part of me, a valuable characteristic usually.
Once I eventually did take off the Injinji, I experienced phantom toe sleeves. Incessantly (and humorously), I felt like there was fabric or sock fuzz in between my toes. It drove me nuts and the only resolution was putting the Injinji back on. I guess the moral is, once you go toe-sleeve, you can’t go back.
Use the Injinji toe socks for day hikes and runs during the spring, summer and fall months. Camp and sleep in them in weather above 30 degrees. Wear sandals in them, be liberated. Take them to a dry, arid climate where they won’t retain too much moisture.
Don’t take them on a thru-hike. And there are better socks out there specifically for backpacking.
At an MSRP of $20, you must truly ask yourself, “do I need toe-socks?” If the answer isn’t an immediate yes, if you’re not really sure, if you feel obligated to read more than three thorough reviews to make a decision, maybe they aren’t for you.
Wearing the Injinji is not life-changing, but it is fun and valuable under certain conditions. It’s an okay to good value depending on your needs.
How the Injinji Performed in Our Testing
As part of the testing, I actually had three straight days of never removing the Injinji socks. I slept, hiked, ran, cooked, ate, and did everything else in the Injinji during an extended weekend of camping in Moab. While hiking, its easy to forget that you’re wearing socks, because of the toe design. They excel during high activity and I would definitely continue to use them for day hikes…but not overnighters.
During inactivity, my toes couldn’t help but get a bit cold. As a camp sock, Injinji are fun because you can wear Chacos Z2s without flattening the toe strap. But in a sleeping bag, you can’t help but want to throw a second pair of socks over the Injinji, which I actually did.
Bottom line: Don’t sleep in Injinjis in cold weather. Designate another brand as your sacred sleep socks.
Under extra sweaty conditions, the Injinji do pretty darn well. During a ridge run in Durango, Colorado, I really did appreciate the maneuverability of the socks. Because they form to your feet, barefoot runners love them. If you like Vibram FiveFingers, you’ll like the Injinji.
- Material: 64% NuWool, 33% nylon, 3% Lycra
- Fabric Thickness: Medium
- Cushion: Midweight
The Bottom Line
If you feel deprived or limited by your current pair of hiking socks, if you feel like there has got to be more out there, if you’re fascinated by all things toe-sleeve, give the Injinji Outdoor NuWool socks a try.
There is a reason toe shoes have become so popular — and the design of Injinji socks follows the same principles. Though they aren’t the perfect hiking socks, they are nice socks in general that serve a versatile purpose during activity.
I will definitely wear the Injinji again, but they will rarely ever join me on expeditions more than a week long.