Tuesday, June 12, 2012

#Injinji Toe Socks & Freak Toes

Toe Socks Take Some Coaxing With Freak Toes
“Get the camera.  Quick!”  Close to tears, my wife and I were laughing like kids who secretly stuck a price tag on mom’s butt at the grocery store.  I was putting Injinji Lightweight Mini Crew toe socks on my crooked toe feet for the first time.  Lesson #1: as you can see in the picture, toe socks take a little work, more if genetics prevented your toes from growing perfectly parallel to your feet.  Putting on toe socks is not as American fast food quick as slipping on regular socks.  It’s more like putting on a dozen pair of socks, one on each foot, one on each toe.  While they slowed down my time getting out the door, they refreshingly kept my piggies from fighting each other in my Pearl Izumi Peak II running shoes.

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Scott at the PR firm that handles Injinji Performance Toe Socks had his reservations.  He intrigued me by writing, “We also just started working with Injinji socks.  While toe socks might not be top of mind for cycling, they may have some crossover benefits for cyclocross.”  I looked down at my freaky feet and raised an eyebrow.  This guy has no idea how weird my feet are.  But I thought, if toe socks keep ‘em separated, they could be perfect for cyclists with less than perfect piggies that rub and bite each other.  I can’t think of another sport that requires wearing the same shoes for 4, 5, 6 hours at a time.  So rather than risk the perils of new footwear on a century ride, I decided to test them with running shoes first, a 4-miler through the hills out Cincinnati’s Mt. Lookout neighborhood.  My Offspring hypothesis that “you gotta keep ‘em separated” was correct.

If you look at my feet, (go ahead, swallow back that puke and take a quick peek), my little toe and ring toe, the Cashews, like to hide behind their neighbors.  My index toe is ghastly skinny and hammer cocked to the outside like Amy Winehouse before rehab.  My big toe was obviously transplanted from Fred Flintstone’s foot.  While I thankfully inherited my mother’s drive for exercise and health, the trade off was my father’s bent toes.  So, when I looked at the toe sock, with its perfect little symmetrical toes, I shook my head thinking this is going to be as comical as trying to fit in my wife’s sweatshirt.  It took a minute or two, but I managed to work every toe into his little sock.    

My Freak Toes Almost Look Normal in Toe Socks
Sure wearing gloves on your feet feels weird at first, but after a block or two in the shoes I felt myself saying, “These feel pretty good.”  2 ½ miles in, I had forgotten I was wearing toe socks.  I realized my toes weren’t sweat sticking to their neighbors.  The nail of one toe couldn’t bite his brother.  Whether perceived or actual, my feet felt noticeably cooler, maybe akin to gloves being less warm than mittens.  The toe box of my shoes felt noticeably more soft and smooth as if there was less rubbing between the shoe and toes.  I’ll reserve cycling judgment for another time, but given my first experiment, I’ll likely choose the toe socks next time I go out for a summer run, hike or walk.

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