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Injinji Outdoor Midweight Crew NuWool Review

Injinji Outdoor Midweight Crew NuWool
Price:   $20 List | $20.00 at REI
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Pros:  Excellent breathability, five-toe construction, lightweight design, less-blister prone, better stability
Cons:  Less durable, not very warm, expensive
Bottom line:  The unique five-finger design provides total toe freedom meaning better stability on the trail.
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Injinji
By Amber King
Wednesday December 13, 2017

Our Verdict

The Injinji Outdoor Midweight Crew NuWool is a unique five-finger calf-high sock that allows your toes to spread free! Each toe is encapsulated with a blend of NuWool, nylon, and lycra that provides better balance, posture, and blister prevention. While we love these benefits (and we did experience them), this sock did not perform nearly as well as other contenders. That said, it does fill a niche that different socks can't fill, and it's an excellent option for those looking for a five-fingered experience on the trail. Also, there are options for both men and women!

Here's the rundown…even though this lightweight option provides great breathability and unique comfort features, the fabric is not super cushioned, and warmth is sub-par. The five-finger construct does not allow warmth to generate between toes and the material is thinner than other thicker contenders like the Darn Tough Hiker Full Cushion, our men's Editors' Choice award winner. Also the price is steep for what it provides. That said - there are many hikers and runners that love the five-fingered construct for the benefits listed above. So, if you're looking for a breathable and unique five finger construction, this is the one for you. If you're looking for a more versatile and comfortable traditional hiker, check out the Smartwool PhD Outdoor Medium Crew, our notable mention for comfort and versatility instead.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Hiking Socks of 2017

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Injinji Outdoor Midweight Crew NuWool is a notable mention for its five-fingered construction. It's a fantastic option for both warm and wet weather, sweaty endeavors, and men or women alike.

Performance Comparison


Even though this was considered one of the least comfortable socks  we did love the freedom to wiggle! If you like to use your toes like grappling hooks on the trail  this is the sock for you.
Even though this was considered one of the least comfortable socks, we did love the freedom to wiggle! If you like to use your toes like grappling hooks on the trail, this is the sock for you.

Comfort


The five-fingered toe design is unique to this sock. Here we looked primarily at the level of cushioning, fabric feel, and compression. Our testers weren't as impressed with this sock as they were with others, as the lightweight design does not accommodate much cushioning, though the level of compression is good. As a result, it scored a six out of ten in this category. In addition, this sock fits both our female and male testers well.

The tight fabric weave and compression panels provide a good amount of comfort. Though in the face of hard competition  this was actually our least comfortable sock tested. Our testers like the fabric feel of the more traditional socks in this review.
The tight fabric weave and compression panels provide a good amount of comfort. Though in the face of hard competition, this was actually our least comfortable sock tested. Our testers like the fabric feel of the more traditional socks in this review.

The NuWool material is comfortable, but isn't as pleasant to the touch as the Smartwool PhD Outdoor Medium Crew Sock or Darn Tough contenders. That said, we did love its fitted feel and how our toes could move and wiggle as needed. We found this especially helpful on multi-day hikes and trail runs that would typically leave toes raw from rubbing against each other (one of the benefits of a five-finger construct). If you love toe socks, this is the way to go - but if you're looking for a more traditional style with more comfort, check out our thicker options like our Editors' Choice - the Darn Tough Hiker Full Cushion.

Warmth


Unfortunately, the Injinji is the coldest sock tested. It's not recommended for wicked cold winter days or frigid fall nights. The fabric itself is insulating with its merino wool make-up, but the toe construct makes it quite cold when the mercury drops below freezing. It scored a four out of ten in this category.

In our dry cold tests, our feet were numb in less than two minutes in sub-zero temperatures in Alaska, while other contenders like the Smartwool PhD or the Darn Tough Full Cushion kept our feet warm for hours. When wet, we found they were quite cold despite the insulating properties of wool - which we attribute to the five-finger design. Like a glove versus a mitten, the glove will be much colder because the fingers are not butted up next to each other which decreases heat conductivity between the digits. In the case of the toe socks, each phalange is forced away from the other which reduces heat conductivity and thus overall warmth. In the case of frigid temperatures, not even the most insulating boots will keep feet warm with these socks.

That said, they are a much better warm temperature option. In fact, we love them for high-intensity activities like running or fast-packing in the fall, spring, or summer. Much like the Darn Tough light hiker micro Crew, it is incredibly breathable and quick-to-wick, but not the warmest option out there.

Wicking and Breathability


Being one of the thinnest socks, we found this was also one of our best to wick and breath, scoring an eight out of ten in this category. The only snag it suffers is between the toes. Even though the double layer of fabric between each toe is great for preventing blisters, we found it to be more sweaty between our toes than the traditional contenders. As a result, it did not score the highest for breathability and wicking (only eight out of ten). If you want something that wicks and breathes from all around, check out the Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew (for men or women) instead.

The breathable panels around the foot allow for good air flow. However  we felt our toes getting a little clammy after prolonged exercise.
The breathable panels around the foot allow for good air flow. However, we felt our toes getting a little clammy after prolonged exercise.

Durability


This sock is tough! After 60 miles of use, we didn't notice any major pilling or packing out. It scores an eight out of ten in this category. We found trace amounts of pilling around the heel but nothing more. If you're looking for something that is exemplary in this metric, check out the Wigwam Hiking Outdoor Pro that features extremely durable synthetic fibers.

A tiny bit of pilling was noted on the bottom of the sock - though there wasn't much more than that.
A tiny bit of pilling was noted on the bottom of the sock - though there wasn't much more than that.

Drying Speed


Scoring a seven out of ten in this category, the Injinji features an above-average drying speed. In our dryer tests, it was completely dry after 110 minutes, making it the third fastest to dry. This is comparable to the Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion (for women) that dried with the same amount of time. If you're interested in a sock that dries even more quickly, be sure to check out the Wigwam Hiking Outdoor Pro, a synthetic contender that was completely dry after just 90 minutes. Overall, because of the quick drying speed of this sock (and it's performance in the field), we'd recommend it for both dry and wet conditions.

A look at the comparative weights during our dryer tests. Here the vertical line with the name of the sock shows the time at which each dried in our controlled in-lab tests.
A look at the comparative weights during our dryer tests. Here the vertical line with the name of the sock shows the time at which each dried in our controlled in-lab tests.

Best Application


Take this sock with you on cool to warm days, rain or shine. It's a great companion for any activity like trail running, fast packing, or day hike during the spring, fall, or summer. However, if you plan on a cold and wet weather adventure, consider a warmer sock like Smartwool PhD or Darn Tough Full Cushion sock.

Enjoy this sock for its purpose. Hiking! We also thought it did a great job while running  backpacking  and enjoying many other summer activities.
Enjoy this sock for its purpose. Hiking! We also thought it did a great job while running, backpacking, and enjoying many other summer activities.

Value


For $20, we thought the price was a steep for the level of performance, simply because it didn't do as well as other lower priced contenders. However, one might be compelled to pay this price for the unique five-finger design. If you want a sock with a better value, check out our Best Buy award winner - the Wigwam Hiking Pro. Or if you're in the market for a super cheap and high value option be sure to check out the ankle-length unisex People's Merino Wool Hiking Socks for just $9 per sock or the Danish Endurance Unisex Wool Socks that work out to less than $10 a sock!

Conclusion


If you're in the market for a five-fingered option, the Injinji Midweight Crew is a wool calf-high sock that provides your toes the ultimate in freedom. It provides better blister prevention than traditional contenders and allows better stability than other socks out there. However, there are many traditional contenders that are worth checking out that performed better.

Amber King
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