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 caters to all genders.
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.
The comfort of this sock is about average. The five-fingered toe design is unique. Here we look primarily at the level of cushioning, fabric feel, and compression. With its lightweight design, this sock isn't very cushioned but does offer compression and breathability panels that keep the sock on your foot. Also, 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 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 do love its fitted feel and how our toes can move and wiggle as needed. We find 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 Editors' Choice - the Darn Tough Hiker Full Cushion.
Unfortunately, the Injinji is not a warm sock. 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.
During our dry cold tests, the material provided some insulation, but our feet were numb in less than two minutes in sub-zero temperatures in Alaska. Other contenders like the Smartwool PhD or the Darn Tough Full Cushion keep our feet warm for hours. When wet, the sock did not keep our feet super warm, despite its 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. We love this sock 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, it is quite breathable with great wicking properties. The only snag it suffers is between the toes. Even though the double layer of fabric between each toe is great for preventing blisters, it is sweatier between our toes than traditional contenders. As a result, it did not score the highest for breathability and wicking. 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.
This sock is tough! After 60 miles of use, we didn't notice any major pilling or packing out. 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.
The Injinji features an above-average drying speed. In our dryer tests, it was completely dry after 110 minutes. This is comparable to the Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion (for women) that dried in 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 completely dried after 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.
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. The five-finger construction is best if you're seeking a sock that allows you to spread your toes.
Enjoy this sock for its purpose. Hiking! We also thought it did a great job while running, backpacking, and enjoying many other summer activities.
At $20, the price is steep for the level of performance it provides. In comparison to other models out there, it simply doesn't stand up. That said, one might be compelled to pay this price for the unique five-finger design.
If you're in the market for a five-fingered hiking sock 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, many traditional contenders are worth checking out that performed better.