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In Praise of Injinji – by Kate Wilkinson

 

Kate Wilkinson has run for years, representing Team Accelerate on occasion.

She frequently attends Accelerate events and is an ambassador for the Accelerate Performance Centre.

Here she offers some perspective for those who’ve questioned the effectiveness of Injinji Toe Socks.

 

 

 

 

 

So, you’ve seen those funny looking toe socks that look like gloves for your feet?

Maybe you’ve been tempted to try them but are worried that people in the gym will give you funny looks?

Yes they will, but it’s worth it.  It’s no exaggeration to say that I love these socks and they are one of my favorite items of running clothing.

Admittedly they are a bit of a faff to put on, but once you manage to wiggle each toe into its own individual socky house, you will feel like you’ve just acquired a new set of super powers – such as the ability to scale vertical walls like Spider-Man, hang from tree branches by your toes and even run a long way without getting blisters.

When I first started running, blisters were my nemesis.  I would set out full of enthusiasm, to return hobbling by the end of every run with a fresh set of glowing pustules.  Not pretty.

I tried everything, but to no avail.  Even soaking my feet in vinegar.  Running is supposed to be a low-cost activity, but not so when every long run requires an entire box of plasters.

Then one day I decided to try the weird toe socks, really just for a bit of entertainment.  Then I tried going for a run in them….

They feel a bit funky at first, but you get used to that and… amazing, no blisters.  Thinking it must be a fluke I repeated the experiment.  Longer runs, trail shoes, fell runs, thicker Injinji for the winter.  I won’t lie, I still get the occasional blistery problem so I have not quite put Compeed out of business but they’re probably wondering why profits have taken a nose dive.

So, happy feet all round and I rarely wear anything else to run in.  I have even wasted valuable seconds during triathlons putting on Injinji in transition.  All well and good but, having an inquisitive mind, I was curious about what was behind this apparent sock wizardry.

On the Injinji website it mentions proper separation and alignment of the toes (check), better moisture management (check) and elimination of friction (check).  But why?  I wondered… and then I knitted myself some mittens.

In case you didn’t know mittens are warmer than gloves, try it if you don’t believe me.  And applying the same principle means that toe socks keep your feet cooler. It’s all to do with heat transfer. Hot feet surrounded by colder air will cool down but the rate at which this happens is determined by the surface area of the hot thing (foot) in contact with the colder thing (air).  Toe socks increase the surface area and keep your feet cooler, and we all know that hot feet = blisters.  Mystery solved, injenius you might say!

So if you want cool feet try Injinjis.  If you suffer from cold hands get yourself some mittens.  Isn’t science great?

By Kate Wilkinson.

Accelerate supported runner and ‘frequent shopper in the Accelerate Store.

Click to Purchase Injinji Performance Toe Socks.

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