The Injinji Trail Midweight Mini-Crew is unique to this review because it is the only sock designed specifically for trail running (although most of the others will work just fine for this purpose), and it is the only pair of "toe socks" that we tested. Toe socks, a design most often associated with the Injinji brand, are socks that individually wrap every single toe of the foot in fabric. While they surely take a bit of extra work to put on in the morning, toe socks offer a couple of interesting advantages over regular socks, including alleviating rubbing between the toes, as well as better moisture management. As midweight trail specific socks, these are thicker than any other in this test, and also do a concerted effort to protect the ankles. The end result is a unique sock that scored in the top half of our comparative ratings, but wasn't without flaws.
Injinji Trail Midweight Mini-Crew Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Great slip prevention inside shoes, protects ankles well, eliminates rubbing between toes
Cons: Lots of added material, not very effective at wicking
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Compared to every other sock in this review, Injinji toe socks are unique because they wrap every individual toe in fabric. The main advantage to this design is to cut down on blisters in the toes due to rubbing. This is especially a problem for runners whose toes curl and touch each other, rather than splay out normally. Our head tester came to running after countless years of cramming his feet into sport climbing shoes, and his toes curl into each other, sometimes even overlapping. This foot shape can cause big-time blister problems, especially on longer runs and ultra races. For him, wearing a thicker Injinji sock, like the Trail Midweight Mini-Crew tested here, has indeed cut down on the rubbing between toes and the blisters that comes with it. Relief from toe blisters is the main reason we would recommend these socks.
Of course, adding a lot of extra fabric to a design is going to come with some drawbacks. These socks feel a bit like wearing flip-flops for the first time: it can be annoying to have something resting in between and separating the toes. We have also found this design to be more effective with thicker socks, but with added thickness also comes added warmth, which can be a problem in summer. These socks are made of Coolmax polyester and nylon, and just like the Darn Tough Coolmax Vertex Tab No Show Ultra-light Cushion, a sock that is also made of Coolmax, we found that they struggle to effectively wick moisture efficiently away from the foot. A thick, warm sock with poor moisture management can present its own set of problems.
The Coolmax and nylon fabrics used to make the Trail Midweight Mini-Crew are soft and comfortable against the skin, just like we found with the Darn Tough Coolmax Vertex. Like we mentioned above, having so much fabric between the toes can feel a bit strange initially, but the payoff in lack of blisters is well worth it. After many years of wearing these socks and similar models, we have found that the midweight trail socks do a more effective job at eliminating rubbing between our toes than the lighter weight socks. The problem with midweight, though, is that it is heavy and warm. The only other sock in this review that is midweight is the DryMax Running Mini Crew, but those still felt thinner and cooler in warm temperatures than these socks. While these are a great go-to for winter running, they are a bit hard to get excited about in the middle of the summer. We gave them 7 out of 10 points for comfort.
For our size 11 men's feet we ordered a size large, which Injinji says fits feet between 11-13. This was one of the few socks that we tested where we fell at the bottom of the size range, but we didn't notice any ill effects such as the sock feeling too large. We thought this was a really great fitting sock, with no areas of tightness, looseness, or excessive fabric or creases. Fitting each of your 10 toes into their own little individual toe socks takes a bit of patience and some technique. We like to start with the big toe and work our way on down. This is not the sock to change into in the middle of a long race, better to stick with something that slips on easily. When grading for fit, we awarded 8 out of 10 points, just below that of the Best Overall Running Sock winning Thorlo Experia XCCU and the same as the Darn Tough Coolmax Vertex.
If it wasn't for its poor showing in the wicking tests, this sock surely would have been one of the highest scorers in this review. As it was, we felt that this was the single worst performer in the wicking and moisture management department. Much like the Darn Tough Coolmax Vertex Tab No Show Ultra-light Cushion, which also used Coolmax polyester to manage moisture, this sock simply didn't move moisture away from the foot like the other high scoring socks. In our 15-minute on-the-foot test we found that the sock remained damp and wet on both the outside as well as the inside, failing to dry out from the inside out. In our one-hour drying test, there was no doubt that this sock remained the wettest overall, both inside and out, after an hour drying period. For us, these findings were disappointing, as trail runners often run through streams or muddy terrain, and need a sock that wicks and breathes quickly and effectively like the DryMax Running Mini Crew, which this one does not do. As such, we couldn't award it more than 4 points for wicking.
This sock is advertised as being midweight with padded cushioning. Indeed, the weave of the fabric throughout the sock is thicker than any other in this test, and there is extra padding sewn in the form of large loops throughout the forefoot, arch, and through the heel. Unlike the other padded socks we tested, like the DryMax Running Mini Crew, the weave in the toes area of this sock was tighter and thinner than the rest of the foot. This is a necessary design feature to keep the amount of fabric to a minimum in the areas between toes.
This sock also features a "double cuff," which comes up above the ankle and is twice as thick as a normal mini-crew ankle cuff, better for protecting against scrapes and abrasion to the ankle while trail running. Overall, we felt that this sock delivered what it said it would, but if it was our design, we would have cut the extra padding from under the arch, where it is not really needed, aand added some extra breathable fabric in there instead. We gave it 7 out of 10 points, with a slightly better design than the Feetures! Elite Light Cushion No Show Tab.
When it comes to slip prevention, this sock was the very best. Its high volume and lots of extra surface area did a great job of creating friction between it and the shoe, easily holding the foot securely in place. The large, loose weave of the fabric also seemed to aid in this effect. As a sock that is designed to cut down on rubbing and movement of the foot in order to prevent blisters, we thought it really helped this cause by securing the foot within the shoe, and the foot within the sock as well. There is no doubt that it was a bit better than the second place sock, the Feetures! Elite Light Cushion or the DryMax Running Mini Crew. 10 out of 10 points.
With its thicker, heavier fabric and double thick ankle cuff, this sock is specifically designed for trail running, and that is where we think it is best used. The toe socks feature in particular will help ultra runners alleviate their blister problems. Since it is so thick and warm, it works better as a cold weather sock than a warm weather one.
This sock retails for $15, putting it right about average in terms of price for running socks. We think this thick and durable sock will present great value to a runner who needs its particular design features, but do not think that it is a great choice for just anyone looking for a new pair of running socks.
The Injinji Trail Midweight Mini-Crew socks are among the most unique in this review, and do an effective job at protecting runners from issues with toe blisters. This sock is designed with trail running in mind, and is probably too thick, warm, and tall for serious consideration among road runners. While it is comfortable and fits great, it is surprisingly poor compared to the competition at wicking away moisture. As an ultra running or cold weather sock, we think it presents great value, but wouldn't wear it every day.
— Andy Wellman