Best Socks for Vibram Five Fingers

by eslevy17

Everyone loves Vibram Five Fingers barefoot running shoes, and finding the best high-performance toe socks can make them even better.

Barefoot running has skyrocketed to popularity lately, with thousands of new converts ditching their old running shoes for minimalist designs like Vibram Five Fingers, and never going back. But even the "barefoot" designs might need a little cushioning or extra warmth sometimes, and toe socks made of performance fabrics are the way to go.

Once merely a niche need, toe socks now come in all sorts of colors, fabrics, and sizes, for adding that extra comfort to the daily marathon training session. Check out the best toe socks for Vibram Five Fingers below, and pick some up today!

Running with Toe Socks

Why wear toe socks for running?

High-performance toe socks offer a number of advantages for runners and other recreational pursuits, not limited only to their ability to slip into Vibrams or other toe shoes; splitting up the toes can cut down a great deal on friction, making them some of the best running socks for blister prevention, as well as greatly increase the transportation of moisture away from the skin, keeping feet dry and comfortable, even during high-intensity sprints or other workouts.

Blisters form either because of toes rubbing against each other, or socks rubbing back and forth against the skin as they get stretched in different directions. Separating the toes into skin-tight sections ensures that the only friction anywhere in the shoe will be fabric rubbing against other fabric. If sized properly, blisters become practically impossible.

Toe socks also ensure that, because every part of the foot is encased in its own personal cocoon of performance fabric, any perspiration, of which there is usually plenty, will immediately be wicked away and absorbed by the fabric, rather than accumulate between the toes, where it can become slippery, uncomfortable, and blister-inducing. This makes toe socks useful in hot weather as well as cold, as they will regulate temperature and moisture in either case.

As an added bonus, they generally fight odor as well, so your shoes need not smell like a gym bag after each workout.

Best Fabrics for Running Toe Socks

Polyester vs. Merino Wool

Performance fabrics generally fall into two major types: polyester and merino wool. Both will wick moisture, dry quickly, regulate temperature, and feel comfortable all day, plus control the growth of odor-causing bacteria, whether due to fabric treatments or natural properties. Both are great choices, with a few minor differences.

Polyester is the performance fabric most people are familiar with; it wicks, dries, and keeps you comfortable. It cannot, however, absorb moisture; it merely transports it away from the skin to dry quickly. This means it works great with shoes that have adequate ventilation, by which moisture can easily escape, as is the case with the majority of Vibram Five Fingers. Toe socks featuring polyester fibers such as Coolmax are a ubiquitous staple beloved by runners worldwide.

The alternative is merino wool, an all-natural performance fabric that has similar moisture management and temperature regulating properties as polyester, but feels less clammy when worn directly against the skin. Merino wool can absorb a significant amount of moisture before feeling damp, meaning it can be quite comfortable under less breathable shoes, as it takes longer to become overly saturated. It also insulates better than polyester, so it excels in winter, when you might want more warmth, plus any moisture will be absorbed into the interior of the fiber, where you won't be able to feel the chill. Merino wool dries a little slower than polyester, so on lengthy summer jogs you might get too warm or damp.

Both fabrics are adored for their performance characteristics, and different body types will feel differently about them, but in general merino wool is what you want for colder runs, and polyester when it's sweltering. For serious runners, however, you'll do best with one of each, to compare side by side.

So, what are the best socks for Vibram Five Fingers or other high-intensity pursuits? Seem below for some of the best out there.

Which fabric do you prefer for running socks?

Injinji Toe Socks Review

Toe socks of all sizes, colors and styles

For a long time, Injinji was one of the very few brands designing toe socks for outdoor sports, long before Vibram Five Fingers and other barefoot running styles became popular. As niche of a market as it was, Injinji offered a wide selection, including different materials, sizes, colors, and other factors. They're some of the most popular toe socks for running on the market, with options suitable for a variety of pursuits or weather conditions. They're all made of performance materials, have seamless toes, durable construction, and legions of fans. They're relatively inexpensive, too.

Despite all the choices available, the daunting selection can be cut down to two major groups, made either from Coolmax polyester, or merino wool, which Injinji calls Nuwool, though a few models also include acrylic. All types include some nylon for durability, and elastic for proper fit.

Pick up some of these beloved socks today, and get going on your next adventure.

Smartwool Toe Socks Review

Running toe socks from Smartwool

Smartwool is one of the biggest outdoor brands to be found, making an astonishingly wide variety of athletic socks for hiking, camping, skiing, or even casual use, made of high-performance materials that keep feet warm, dry, blister-free and comfortable.

As the name might imply, Smartwool socks are mostly made of merino wool, with nylon and elastic to keep things durable and form-fitting. As mentioned, merino wool is a great performance fabric, particularly for colder weather, though many athletes love it during the summer as well.

Check out some great running toe socks from Smartwool below:

Smartwool Toe Socks for Sale

Click to buy Smartwool toe socks online!
SmartWool Toe Sock Micro
Only $15.90
SmartWool Toe Sock Mini
Only $17.90
SmartWool Toe Crew Sock
Only $17.95

More Toe Socks

Toe socks from other manufacturers

Surprisingly (or perhaps not so surprisingly), there are only a handful of other brands that sell toe socks for running or other purposes, and the selection is rather slim. Because Injinji is so widely available and varied, you're like to find more variation within the Injinji product line than outside.

That said, there are still a few other brands that make high quality toe socks, particularly AFX, which receive recommendations from their fan base. Check out some of the other models available below:

Other Uses for Toe Socks

More than just running gear

Because of the skin-tight fit and moisture management properties, toe socks can be great for hot weather or intense workouts, preventing sweat from accumulating between the toes and causing discomfort or blisters.

This makes them some of the best liner socks around, great for hiking or other backpacking adventures, especially when encased in thick boots which heat up quickly.

Plus, they work fabulously for sandals and other open-toe footwear, with some models made specifically for this reason, with only a single split, between the big toe and the other four.

So, pick some up today and enjoy the performance features, on top of the fact that all sorts of people think they're adorable. Happy adventuring!

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Updated: 05/01/2012, eslevy17
 
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WriterArtist on 07/11/2013

I love these toe socks, they give the freedom of moving without locking the toes.

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