I have searched for what feels like forever for a sock that I am happy to wear. Each sock I've tried has things that have niggled at me.
It was put to me that I should try ToeToe socks. In all honesty at this time I thought ToeToe socks was simply a term for socks that are worn like gloves. I did not realise they were a brand of this type of sock.
I like the ToeToe sock but they do fall into the category of socks that do not fully satisfy my needs.
The question left was whether Injinji could satisfy my need for a great sock. With a direct competitor already tried it made sense to compare the two.
The ToeToe socks look fairly robust and like they could take a battering. The material description of these socks is as follows,
*92%Coolmax (polyester) : It is an engineered yarn wickes away the moisture very effectively. Feet stay dry during activities.
*7%acrylic, 2%elasthane : Elastane provides optimum stretch and acrylic is used to ensure durable long lasting fabric. (taken from Likeys site)
The ToeToe look pretty bomb proof. The initial impression is that they may be a sock for the longer distances. They are made of similar materials to many other running socks i have used. Nothing novel about the material and so it is assumed the nature of the fit is what is expected to stand out on these socks.
Upon receipt of these socks my initial response was that they feel nicer to the touch than ToeToe. They appear to have similar construction but the heel cup looks to have a flap of excess material. It is intriguing to see how this will fit. The socks are also a notably thinner material.
The technology of these socks is as follows,
Anatomical Interface System (AIS) is engineered to separate your toes with a thin, anti-friction membrane that is both lightweight and breathable. Seamless in construction, the tetratsok forms to every contour of your foot. This allows for true restriction free movement from your heel to five toes, encourages healthy circulation, and eliminates skin on skin contact between your toes to prevent blisters from developing.
5% Lycra (info taken from Likeys site)
The initial impression of the Injini is that they have a softer feel and appear less rigid than the ToeToe socks. This surely would bode well for comfort?!
In respect of initial impressions
At this point it is appropriate to consider Fit.
This category is a point where Injini excels beyond ToeToe. Both pairs have been tried and tested and the following opinions are constructed from at least 150 miles run by me in each pair.
When wearing these socks it can feel like they have very little flex. I can have real trouble actually getting the socks on. Once the socks are on they are comfortable to wear and it potentially appears the apparent rigidness may be there to protect the feet.
My main concern with these socks is that I find excess sock around the toes. If the toe sections are pulled in I find the heel of the sock tends to ride up the back of the ankle. With this said they still remain comfortable.
Straight out the box these socks fit great. The soft and slightly more forgiving material makes these socks much easier to put on in comparison to their counterparts. The fit in the toes is precise and no material is left loose. The apparent flap on the heel creates almost a bucket that the heel of the foot slots neatly in to. The precision of the overall fit is fantastic!
The only area that could be seen as potentially negative of the Injinji is that the sock feels a little loose around the ankle. This though is a personal preference. On a day to day basis I like my socks to feel like they have a lot of elastic built in. With that said the Injini are super comfy and the seemingly loose fit of the ankle never presented as an issue when running.
For Fit the score is as follows,
Let's face it this is the most important element of the review. They could look rubbish and be made of barb wire if when running they made your feet feel amazing.
When running both socks are pretty good. I can imagine runners experiences being divided on these socks.
In the ToeToe I felt like my foot was encased inside a sock. Whilst ToeToe socks divide the toes I felt limited ability to wiggle my toes. The sense of restricted movement may be to some people's liking. This sense of restriction combined with the main novelty of the socks may serve to reduce friction and in turn lessen the occurrence of blisters. Sadly this was not my experience of the sock. I found the restriction almost uncomfortable. This may be down to my feet, but I also found that I got blisters on runs over 6 miles. I suffer blisters and so this may not be a fault of the sock, but I am mindful it may relate to the fit issue with the loose bits of sock causing friction.
With the Injini socks the minute I put them on they were exceptionally comfortable and this view did not change whilst running in them.
The socks fit really translates to a positive running experience. I was able to wiggle my toes and felt in know way restricted. The sock feels thin by comparison to the ToeToe socks but strangely appeared to have greater cushioning than the ToeToe. The material feels great on the skin and even running in torrential rain for 15 miles had no ill effect on my feet.
My feet felt well ventilated in the Injini and were noticeably cooler after long runs than in ToeToe socks.
The scores for running experience,
After several runs and several washes how do the socks stand up? This is a slightly closer call, but in reality is another win for the Injinji brand. Both sets have been through the wash several times. Whilst both pairs are in one piece the ToeToe socks have stiffened slightly and this fit has worsened. In comparison the Injinji socks still feel new. The stitching on the toes of the Injinji overlay in a way that looked like one might start seeing splits or loose threads. This has not been the case and the socks remain with a perfect fit and are still great to run in.
Scores for durability;
Some would say that everything comes at a price and the same could be argued in this case. Using the Likeys site for a direct comparison the ToeToe socks are around £7.99 whilst Injinji are about £12.59 despite the price difference the quality and performance of the Injini, in my opinion, justifies the higher cost. They are nearly twice the price, but feel like twice the sock. So much so I have bought another pair. With that said what ToeToe delivers for the price should not be ignored and is in itself an excellent achievement.
Scores for value for money;
In every category of this review I believe the Injinji socks shine through. ToeToe presents a good product but not one that I believe
Can stand up to the Injinji. If you don't want to pay the cost of the Injinji then the ToeToe is a reasonable alternative.
With great comfort and excellent fit the Injinji is one of the best socks I have worn. It is definitely the sock I now wear in training.
Lots of people have been raving about double layering socks for ultras. With my experience of the Injini's I shall definitely consider giving their sock liners a crack.
Once again this review is based on personal experiences and some people may have different views. For the purpose of this review Injinji not only wins against ToeToe but is the best sock in my current collection. I'd be intrigued to see how the Liner socks feel.
For now I will be wearing Injinji until someone shows me a better sock more suited to my feet.
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