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Far and away the most unique socks in our summer sock roundup, the Lightweight Mini-Crew from Injinji’s Performance Line sure get a lot of attention- and attract a lot of questions. The Coolmax/Lycra blend is proven, soft, and comfortable. The cuff sits just above the ankle bone to keep crud out without being overly warm. There’s a slightly compressive band around the arch- comfortable nothing too aggressive. All pretty standard stuff- except for those toes. Wriggle on past the break for the down low lowdown…
Yup, Injinji’s claim to fame is their AIS Technology– essentially the separation of toes into separate ‘fingers’ in order to reduce friction, wick moisture, and encourage natural toe movement. Popular among the barefoot running crowd, the socks allow the toes to spread and move naturally. All well and good, but in inflexible cycling shoes?
We’ve had several riders in Injinjis’ $10 Mini-Crews for a few months and the reactions have ranged from indifference to pretty enthusiastic, uh, enthusiasm. Given the toes’ lack of dexterity, pulling toe socks on is rather more in involved than donning a pair of knit gloves- but easy enough unless you’re cold and cranky. Even then it’s only somewhat trying. The additional eight widths of fabric does make itself felt in tight cycling shoes- but most shoes have enough toe box space to accommodate the Injinjis.
Once on the road or trail, the Lightweight Mini-Crews are quickly forgotten. No hot spots. No dampness. No weirdness. One tester, having broken a number toes over a long motocross career, was especially appreciative of the way that the Injinjis kept his misshapen digits from being pressed uncomfortably against one another, becoming a true believer. The only yellow flag has been some premature wear at the end of the big toes on one sample pair.
Off the bike and in lightweight sneakers, the Injinjis’ benefits are much more noticeable- where it seems that there really is something to the company’s claims. In stiff-soled riding shoes, the advantages to folks with ‘normal’ feet are less clear. Perfectly comfortable and reasonably priced, they’re still worth a shot. Just don’t be surprised if they wind up being saved for off-bike activities.