Every now and then a piece of gear comes along that is truly life changing. I’m not kidding. The one item solves a problem plaguing you. For me that item came in the form of toe socks. These goofy looking socks completely changed my early hiking adventures, coming into my life in the lost off-handed way.
It was during my early backpacking training. I had been hiking with my son’s Scout Troop in preparation for a 10 day backpacking trip. No matter what I tried my little “pinky” toe rolled under its neighbor and provided me with the most spectacular blisters. Applications of moleskin, bandaids, even duct tape in all kinds of configuration were recommended and tried. None of it worked.
As I lamented on one of our hikes about all the things I’d tried, one of the young men who was a runner and often wore his Vibram FiveFingers shoes, asked me if I’d tried toe socks. I’d never heard of such a thing. It seemed ridiculous. But the seed of the idea had been planted and a week later, fresh blisters torturing my every step, I decided I was willing to try anything. I ordered a cheap set of three pairs online.
As is slid each toe into the socks and pulled my hiking socks over them, I was still skeptical. Ten miles later I was completely sold on these crazy looking things. My toes now had a layer of barrier from each other that kept them from rubbing.
A little over a year ago I decided it was time to upgrade my toe sock game, investing in a pair of Ininji toe socks. I can’t imagine being on my feet for any length of time without the wonder of these socks. The upgrade has been worth the extra expense. Plus the Ininji are soft and cushy compared to my first purchase. I can wear them without heavy backpacking socks or layer them for warmth and a bit of protection if I’m going to be backpacking with a heavy pack.
WHAT I LOVE:
It took a bit of getting used to, but I love the feel of these and the way they hug each toe. The socks come in several heights, including an ankle height that’s perfect with my trail runners. Putting them on gets easier the more you’ve worn them.
The Ininji sock is buttery soft in comparison to my first pair. They don’t shrink up when they are washed and dried in a traditional washer and dryer. I find a pair holds that softness for about six solid months before they start losing it, which is pretty standard for most socks if you wash them after every wear.
WHAT I’M NOT A FAN OF:
There isn’t much I don’t like. I wish local stores carried the full line with all the colors and patterns that are available from Ininji direct.
*Disclosure: September 2020 I joined the team of Green Vests at REI. I do not receive any compensation from REI for my reviews, nor to my reviews reflect the views of REI, it’s management, buyers or store staff.
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