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Toe Sock Update
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Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Toe Sock Update on 04/20/2014 20:23:10 MDT Print View

I've been wearing my Vibram FiveFingers all the time, and I tested a few toe socks out to see which was the most durable. Only one sock ended up winning.

1. Injinji Liner Crew

These were the thinnest of them all, and the softest to the touch. The durability was mere days. Holes developed in the heels and along the seams near the big toe on like, the third use. I didn't even get a hike in. 1/10

2. Injinji Midweight NuWool Hiking Sock

These socks are some crazy blend of polyester, nylon, and merino, and were a reasonable price. They were the thickest of the socks, and seemed exceptionally durable and wear-resistant. Then, a seam popped, again near the big toe. They did last about 2 months before failing. 4/10

3. Smartwool 100% Merino Toe Socks

These were full merino and very comfy, designed for casual wear. The material wasn't durable, so the balls of each foot, the outside edge of my foot, and the heel all thinned out slowly over time. No full holes opened up, but the socks were worn so thin, they ceased to be useful for blister protection or moisture management. This happened over about a month. 3/10

4. Smartwool PHD Toe Socks, Crew

These were great (finally!). Don't be fooled by the Smartwool name; they're 40% nylon and 60% merino. This gave them exceptional durability; I've been wearing them for months and months and they still look brand new. I've probably put at least 200 miles in each pair of running, cycling, hiking, climbing, walking, etc. I've used them alone and as liner socks. Originally, I refused to wear any of these socks outside of shoes, but these proved so durable, I routinely wear them around the house on linoleum, wood, and carpet. 10/10

So, if you're looking for toe socks for a thru-hike or your Vibrams or whatever, I reccomend the Smartwool PHD socks over all others.


Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Toe Sock Update on 04/20/2014 22:27:38 MDT Print View


Thanks for putting up your review.

I have been using the injinji socks for a while, but have noticed them blowing out after 200 miles or less.

How does the thickness or thinness of the Smartwool PHD socks compare against the injinji's?

Thinner, thicker, etc.

Would be useful to know when it comes to buying shoes to see switching would mean sizing up or down vs. what works for me with the injinji socks.

Appreciate the feedback.


Tom D.
(DaFireMedic) - M

Locale: Southern California
Trying the Phd's on 04/20/2014 22:36:20 MDT Print View

Thanks for the review. I've been wearing Vibrams for about 4 months now. I've had occasional problems with the Injinji and Fila Skeletoe socks slipping down into the shoe and I'd have to stop every mile or so and pull them back up. The Smartwool regular socks don't seem to do this and are very comfortable, but as you said, they don't seem to wear as well. I ordered 2 pairs of the Smartwool Phd's the other day and am waiting for them to arrive, I'll see how they do. Its good to hear that you've had a good experience with them.

Edited by DaFireMedic on 04/20/2014 22:37:43 MDT.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
YMMV on 04/21/2014 17:56:39 MDT Print View

I have been using the Injinji liner socks, the lightest weight possible, for 2 years now, and am still on my first 2 pairs. I wear them under a pair of Coolmax liners, which may help. Luv 'em. Caveat: I do not do high mileage trail hiking, typically spending about half my time on off trail routes, with mileage averaging anywhere from 6-14 miles, depending on terrain and connecting trail sections required to stitch off trail routes together. So, low mileage, but conditions that can expose the socks to all kinds of torsional stress. I think it may boil down to the time honored maxim: YMMV.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Toe Sock Update on 04/24/2014 16:36:15 MDT Print View

Injinji coolmax always did better than their merino socks.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Toe Sock Update on 04/24/2014 17:12:19 MDT Print View

"Injinji coolmax always did better than their merino socks."

That has certainly been my experience so far.

Travis Higdon
(life-goes-on) - M

Locale: PNW
Smartwool PHD Toe Socks, Crew on 04/25/2014 10:23:09 MDT Print View

Where have you been able to find these in a crew? I can only find them in a micro or a mini. I'd love to have a crew for colder weather.

Konrad .
(Konrad1013) - MLife
Injinji Coolmax on 04/25/2014 14:12:58 MDT Print View

I love the comfort of them, and for the blister prevention, but I too don't find them that durable...even the coolmax ones. Here's my girlfriend's Injinji Coolmax sock after only 16 days (10-15 miles a day). They were brand new in the package at the beginning of our trip. I'm pretty sure she was rotating these with a pearl izumi normal synthetic sock (which came out no worse for the wear). We washed our socks every few days, and wouldn't wear the same pair more than 2 days at a time, so this was probably only after 8-10 days of heavy use.


Edited by Konrad1013 on 04/25/2014 14:14:07 MDT.

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
Toe Sock Update on 04/25/2014 14:30:20 MDT Print View

Interesting finding re: the Smartwool PHD toe socks. Will have to give those a try.

I've been exclusively using Injinji toe socks for the last four or five years. While I find their durability to border on the edge of being unacceptable, they've proven to be the best solution to what had been an ongoing problem with blisters between my toes from long days on my feet.

I've had pairs of both the coolmax variety and the nuwool variety last for months before developing holes (usually along the toes or the balls of my feet), and others develop holes after only one or two days of long miles. Seems like every six months or so Injinji tweaks the design/construction of their socks, some iterations have been more durable than others.

I've accepted the poor durability and the (near-constant) purchasing of replacements as the price I have to pay to have happy feet. Would love it if the Smartwool PHD proved to be just as effective at blister/moisture management and comfort while being more durable.