Recently, Skinners sent me a pair of their sock shoes to review. They are designed to be a lightweight, minimalist footwear that feels like wearing socks but provides a bit more protection and durability.
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I tested them out on some short hikes around Tucson and wore them while running on the treadmill.
Overall, I’ve found them to be a comfortable option for mellow outings, like short hikes with my lovely wife, 16-month old, and cattle dog.
I also plan to use them to hang around camp on backpacking trips, swim in lakes, and run errands.
Why Go Minimal
The theory behind Skinners is that it is advantageous to train almost barefoot, because there are muscles and tendons in your feet that don’t get used otherwise, which results in weak feet.
There is a growing body of research to support this claim. The rationale is that humans have ran barefoot or in minimalist footwear for thousands of years and have evolved to move this way.
As long as I’m roaming the snake infested cactus forests of Tucson, I’m not willing to give up the extra protection that hiking boots and trail running shoes provide.
Still, there are a lot of benefits to cross training, so I am going to continue using my Skinners on short hikes and runs on mellow trails.
Even from the low mileage I’ve put in my Skinners, I am feeling a difference. Maybe I’m already getting stronger feet and improved arch function.
How They Feel
Before wearing Skinners, I was worried that they’d feel too much like real socks – stuffy, restrictive, and not breathable. In reality, they’re just the opposite.
The part that covers the top of your foot is made of a “3-layered StretchKnit” that breathes pretty well and doesn’t irritate your skin.
The outsole is made of tiny rubbery pieces referred to as “phthalate-free polymers” on the Skinners website. This 2mm layer provides a slight barrier between your foot and the ground. It’s just enough to shield your feet on smooth dirt paths but not sufficient for rocky terrain.
I haven’t had my Skinners for very long, so I can’t speak to their durability yet, but they’re advertised to last for up to 100 miles depending on use.
I think it’s really cool that they don’t have seams or use adhesives. This means you can throw them in the wash to clean.
As long as you set correct expectations with yourself, you’ll love these. They probably won’t replace your existing footwear, but if you’re looking for a supplemental sock shoe for cross training, these are great.
Ultimately, time will tell if I think they’re worth the $60 price tag. For me, the deciding factor is going to be durability. We’ll see how they do!
Skinners Sock Shoes are an excellent choice for active outdoorsy types that are looking to try minimalist footwear.
Sock Shoe Specifications
- Material: Antibacterial textile upper + anti-abrasive and anti-slip Swedish polymer sole
- 100% machine-washable