The style of socks hasn’t changed much over the past couple of centuries, literally. Sure they make a lot of different socks for a lot of different applications, from different materials, and with different levels of toughness; BUT, the shapes and styles remain the same, for the most part. Well, I’m going to expose you to a different style of sock that might be just what you needed/were looking for and didn’t even know it.
I think just about everyone is familiar with “toe socks,” but probably only as a wacky novelty that you wear around the house; not something that can improve your hiking/athletic performance. Do you get blisters on or between your toes fairly easily? Do you have exceptionally wide feet? Then a pair of toe socks is probably exactly what you need.
Many times when we experience blister on or between our toes, this is due to increased friction of your toes rubbing against each other. What causes this increased friction? Wearing shoes or socks that aren’t wide enough for your feet, causing your toes to be squeezed or pushed together tight enough to rub and cause blisters. Ironically enough, you may have a shoe that’s wide enough to accommodate your foot, but your traditionally styled sock is not wide enough. What good is a wide enough shoe if your socks are still going to fit too tightly while putting extra constriction on your feet? No good, that’s what.
So how does a toe sock fix this problem? The toe sock allows each individual toe to have its own individual pocket of space that allows it to move naturally and independently on its own. The toe sock allows for a more natural “foot splay” that enables your toes to spread out the way they would when not wearing any socks; even when wearing the perfect shoe. Not to mention, the fabric between the toes also acts as buffer, in turn eliminating skin on skin friction and drastically reducing the chance of blisters. Of course these types of socks will work best when using a shoe that’s already tailored perfectly to the wideness of your foot. If the shoe ends up squishing your toes together anyways, then you’re losing some of the effectiveness of the toe sock, although you will still have extra protection from skin on skin friction between your toes.
When it comes to toe socks within the long distance hiking community, the most popular, tried and tested brand is Injini. They come in many different sizes, styles, and applications. If you suffer from any of the above ailments, or just want to give an interesting and effective piece of gear a try; now might be the time to pull the trigger!
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