While we have already waxed poetic above about how incredible this sock is at wicking moisture away from the foot, we also alluded to the fact that in every other category that we tested and rated for, it was below par. The issues begin with the sizing. Despite ordering a size smaller than DryMax's sizing chart encouraged us to, we still felt that these socks were too large, leading to extra space and fabric around the foot. The toe seam on these socks ends in large knobs of sewn material that creates friction points against the big and pinky toes.
While the olefin fibers were very hydrophobic and did a great job of transferring liquid away from the foot, they also were not nearly as soft and snuggly feeling against our skin as most of the other polyester fiber blends used by their competitors. We also felt that this sock was on the heavy and hot side, almost guaranteeing that we were going to have to rely on its wicking abilities to remove our foot sweat. The end result of this series of complaints is that it was one of the lower scoring socks in this review. Despite this, we still think it was worth recognizing as the Top Pick for Wicking, and think that one or two pairs of these socks will be a nice addition to any runner's sock drawer, they're just not likely to be our everyday choice.
We tested running socks in the summer, through fall, and into the snowy winter in Colorado. Once the snow hits the ground, the only dry option for running becomes the bike path.
While we would certainly not go so far as to call these socks uncomfortable, we have to concede that they were the least comfortable socks in this review. This started with the choice of olefin fibers in their blend. In a classic tradeoff situation, these fibers granted this sock unparalleled wicking ability, but have the least soft and cozy feel against the skin. Wool and polyester felt better to wear. We also have complaints about the toe seams.
This is a potential problem area on all socks because the extra stitching needed to close the seam can lead to abrasion and rubbing against the tops of the toes. In contrast to the truly "seamless" style of sewing found in the Feetures! Elite Light Cushion No Show Tab or the Darn Tough Coolmax Vertex, these socks ended with large bumps of fabrics and creases at the end of each seam, creating definite pressure and abrasion points against the outsides and tops of the big toes and pinky toes on each foot. Their medium+ density also tended to make our foot feel hot more often than not. 5 out of 10 points.
The DryMax Running Mini Crew comes up a bit higher than a no-show sock, fully covering the bony protrusion of the ankle bone, a nice feature for trail runners.
For our size men's 11 feet we ordered a size Large sock, which DryMax says is good for foot sizes 8.5-10.5. We intentionally ordered a size smaller than was recommended because we have worn many pairs of these socks in the past and knew in advance that they tend to run large. Despite purchasing a size smaller than recommended, these were still perhaps the largest and loosest socks on our feet, and we surmise that they would fit very loose on someone with size 8.5 feet.
The sock does not really hug or compress the foot or arch, instead fitting more like your classic cotton tube sock. There were certainly no areas of tightness, but there was bunched up loose fabric around the Y-cut heel seams and around the toes, not unlike, but far more egregious than the Darn Tough No Show Light. We found this to be the poorest fitting sock we tested, nothing like the perfectly shaped, foot hugging Darn Tough Coolmax Vertex Tab No Show Ultra-light Cushion. 5 out of 10 points.
Visible here are three separate areas of bunching up fabric in this too large sock. Notice the point of the toe crease down and left of the red "L," as well as the creases and folds in the fabric at the heel and in the ankle flex point. We sized this sock down, and it still ended up fitting too big.
The wicking ability of this sock was so far superior to the second best socks, the Thorlo Experia XCCU and the Smartwool PhD Run Light Elite Micro, that we only awarded them 8 points in comparison to the perfect 10 that we gave the DryMax Running Mini Crew. Wicking ability is what DryMax has staked their reputation on, and in this case they sure have nailed it. In our 15-minute on-the-foot drying test we found a few mildly damp places on the outside of the sock, but also found that the padded areas on the inside of the sock were nearly completely dry.
Not only was it the best at wicking away moisture, but also seemed to be the least absorptive. The one-hour drying test verified these findings for us, as the insides of the socks were completely dry after one hour, far and away the best of the review. The outsides, on the other hand, were still a little damp, but this backs up DryMax's claim that they have layered hydrophobic fibers on the inside of the sock with moisture attracting fibers on the outside to help pull moisture outwards. From what we could see, it certainly seems to be working. Perfect score: 10 out of 10.
On top of the foot, next to the logo, is a small mesh area of much thinner fabric designed to allow greater breathability. We wish that much more of this heavy and thick sock was made of this fabric.
This sock is designed to be medium+ density thickness, with added padding. There is no doubt that it is a high volume sock, second only to the Injinji Trail Midweight Mini-Crew in this review. While there is padding in all the areas that it is needed, including under the forefoot, on the sides of the forefoot and toes, over the toes, and in the heel, it is also padded all the way through the arch and on the sides of the entire foot, similar to the Darn Tough Coolmax Vertex.
The extra padding in the arch and sides of the foot seems unnecessary and probably contributes to the heavy and hot feeling of the sock. The padding in the arch in particular seems to compromise the ability of the vented arch band to work. While we like the fact that this sock has padding, we wish it was a bit more restrained in its use. 6 out of 10 points.
The inside of the DryMax sock, showing the looped olefin fibers that run the entire length of the sole. These fibers were by far the most effective at wicking away moisture.
There is no doubt that the DryMax Running Mini Crew was one of the best socks in terms of slip prevention, scoring just below the Feetures! Elite Light Cushion No Show Tab. The high volume of the sock seemed to help it grip the inside of the shoe to keep from sliding around. That said, the loose fit allowed the foot to move around within the sock a bit, sort of like what happens with the Balega Hidden Comfort, preventing it from being the highest scorer. 8 out of 10 points.
As a thick and warm sock, we found this one to be best off in cooler temperatures, even though DryMax claims that it is designed for hot temperatures as well. The mini crew top and great wicking ability, not to mention its durability, make it a good choice for trail running, and of course it is ideally suited for wet conditions. We would probably choose a thinner and lighter sock for warm weather road running.
"Trail" running in the winter in Colorado means you will be running on snow, which is far preferable to running in mud, the other alternative. Here testing the thick DryMax Running Mini Crew socks on a warmish evening near Ridgway.
This sock retails for $11.75, making it the least expensive sock in this review. While it is certainly not as comfortable as our Best Bang for the Buck award-winning Balega Hidden Comfort, you really can't go wrong for this price. It is very durable, meaning you will get lots of miles out of a low price tag — a great value.
The DryMax Running Mini Crew is a fantastic sock to have in your drawer for cool weather, rainy days, or adventurous mountain or trail runs. Its superior wicking ability is a great asset if you deal with blisters often, or frequently find yourself running in wet conditions. However, it is not as comfortable as the other socks we reviewed, and doesn't fit as well, meaning it is a sock we look to wear on special days, rather than one that we go to all the time.
DryMax Running ¼ Crew
DryMax Thin Running Mini Crew
- The same sock with a ¼ crew length ankle cut, even more protection for trail runners
DryMax Hyper Thin Running Mini Crew
- Designed for running but with a flat knit for thinner construction
- Made with open stripe mesh vents to easily allow breathing