(Shera and I with matching pink socks in 2006. https://sherahikes.wordpress.com/ )
Spring is right around the corner! But you, dear reader, are trapped inside while winter’s fury swaddles your favorite trail in snow. No better time to read about one of the most underrated aspects of a backpacker’s gear list–SOCKS!
I remember the first time I tried Injinjis (or “those weird toe socks”). I was thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in 2006, and seeking a routine replacement for my beat up generic socks. While browsing the selection at a small outfitter somewhere in southern California, I came across a pair of Injinjis…in pink. I’m a sucker for fun bright colors, and while I will admit I bought them on that selling point alone, those fantastic looking socks were far too thin for extended backpacking. I wore through them rather quickly before writing them off as a novelty (albeit an extremely comfortable one) and returned to wearing “normal” socks.
Fast-forward to 2013, and untold numbers of blisters later…I hear rumors about Injinji issuing a beefier version of the sock I had tried to love years prior. I was skeptical at first, but damn am I ever glad I gave them a second shot! The Trail 2.0 version was the cat’s pajamas! These things were tough, and I was able to get a couple hundred miles out of a pair before developing holes (an inevitability with any sock, to be fair). However, unlike every other sock on the market, the Injinji put fabric between my toes, which prevented blisters from forming. When I combined them with my Altra Lone Peaks, I had a comfortable, blister-free combination that kept my feet (and therefore me!) happy, which is paramount on a journey that lasts thousands of miles. Eliminating toe friction can be done with goop like BodyGlide or Vaseline, but when you’re out in the woods for 1-2 weeks between showers, why not just choose a sock that does that for you?