Feetures! Elite Light Cushion No Show Tab Review
Cons: Tight, poor at wicking and moisture management, very thin padding
Our Analysis and Test Results
There are a lot of things to like about the Feetures! Elite Light Cushion No Show Tab, and a couple of things that we had a hard time looking past. People who find that compression technology helps them will enjoy this sock, as it does a lot to firmly hug the arch and top of the foot. It is also very thin for a sock that includes cushioning, exemplifying the term "light cushion" a lot more accurately than some pretty bulky socks that nevertheless claim to be thin and light. This sock is low profile and does a great job gripping the foot, and also locking that foot into a shoe tightly without movement.
However, there were a few things about this sock that bothered us. Most of them had to do with the sizing. Our size 11 foot felt a bit too large for this sock, which felt tight in the toes, sides of the forefoot, and in the ankle. We also found that the very thin pads and construction made from almost entirely nylon fibers left something to be desired when considering wicking ability. With obvious strengths and weaknesses, it is likely that many people will love this sock while others will want to look elsewhere.
The nylon and Lycra fabric that makes up this sock is comfortable and soft against the skin. Similar to the Smartwool PhD Run Light Elite Micro, but in a much more pronounced way, this sock includes "targeted compression" underneath the arch of the foot that is both very supportive and very noticeable. The attention to detail in matters such as the seamless toe seam that provides literally no creases or points of rubbing is a major bonus. We noticed tightness in the front of the ankle, and also on the tops and front of the toes. To us this felt more like the sock was simply too small, than it was an issue with the design, and we will discuss this more under "Fit," below. Like the Injinji Trail Midweight Mini-Crew, this sock suffered slightly in the comfort department due to the feeling in the toes, but where that sock pushed the toes apart, this one seems to cram them together. The net effect in terms of comfort was middle of the pack, 7 out of 10 points.
For our size 11 feet we ordered this sock in a size large, which has an incredible size range of 9-12. Now, if you have ever seen the bare feet of a person with size 12 feet and compared them to someone with size 9 feet, you know that they are nowhere near the same size, leaving us a bit puzzled that Feetures! would suggest that one sock will fit them both. For us, the sock feels a bit tight and small, and we can only imagine that this problem would be exacerbated for a person with a whole foot size larger. We had to pull and stretch the sock a bit in order to get it on, and the end result was that the toes feel compressed, like how we initially felt in the Darn Tough Coolmax Vertex Tab No Show Ultra-light Cushion before they stretched out a bit. That said, there is no looseness to be found anywhere, unlike the DryMax Running Mini Crew, and the sock will not allow movement of the foot, which is a good thing. We think that these socks will be better for people whose feet are on the smaller end of the range. 7 out of 10.
In our wicking tests we found that these socks performed near the bottom, roughly similar to the performance of the Darn Tough Coolmax Vertex Tab No Show Ultra-light Cushion, and of course nowhere near the quality of our Top Pick DryMax Running Mini Crew. The nylon fibers in both the pads and the stretchy panels of more breathable fabric on top of the foot remained damp both inside and out during our 15-minute foot drying test. By comparison, the best socks were nearly dry on the inside and noticeably wet on the outside, a product of the fibers having wicked moisture to the outside of the sock with the aid of the heat generated by the foot. These results were backed up by the one hour drying test, where these were one of the dampest pairs of socks, both inside and out, after one hour. We gave them 5 out of 10 points for wicking.
As their name suggests, these socks are made with "light cushion." We can honestly say that this is a true statement, as the cushioning is far lighter and more densely woven using smaller thread than most cushioned socks we tested, such as the Thorlo Experia XCCU. The net effect is that the pads do not loft up very much, and these socks remain very light and thin, even in the padded areas. The padding itself stretches the entire length of the sole, rather than being targeted to the high abrasion areas, and wraps around to cover the tops of the toes. However, like the Balega Hidden Comfort, the pads do not cover the outsides of the toes or forefoot, and also do not stretch up to the ankle cuff in the heel region, meaning that some of the Achilles tendon area remains unpadded. 6 out of 10 points.
These socks are nearly the best when it comes to slip prevention, second behind only the Injinji Trail Midweight Mini-Crew and slightly better than the loosely fitting DryMax Running Mini Crew. They are lower volume than many of the socks in this test, but their tightly woven and soft fabric grips both the foot and the inside of the shoe very well, allowing for the bare minimum of slipping in our testing on steep hills with loose shoes. If friction due to foot movement is an issue you are concerned about, these socks are certainly worth investigating. 9 out of 10 points.
This sock will be best for a person who doesn't like or need a lot of volume or excessive cushioning in their running socks. Since they don't dry out very quickly, are no-show, and have tabs on the front and back of the ankle, they are not our top choice for trail running.
This sock retails for $15.99, making it pretty much average for a running sock. Since these socks are made almost exclusively of nylon fibers, they are very durable and will likely outlast many of the socks in your drawer. If this is your only concern, then they will surely present a great value. However, if you want the very best sock for your money, we recommend checking out one of our top scorers or award winners instead.
The Feetures! Elite Light Cushion No Show Tab has a number of unique characteristics, including anatomically specific right and left socks, as well as under arch compression that is unrivaled in this review. That said, they run small, and may be too tight for people with feet on the larger end of their size ranges. While they are a good quality sock that is durable, they are not one of the higher scoring socks in this review.
Feetures! Elite Light Cushion Quarter
- Cost: $15
- The same sock with above the ankle height for more protection while trail running
Feetures! Elite Merino+ Cushion No Show Tab
- Cost: $17
- The same sock design with a merino wool blend instead of only nylon
— Andy Wellman