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.
Tip: Want to hike Tucson’s best trails? Read my Best Hikes in Tucson article or check out our individual Tucson Hiking Guides.
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
Any updates on the Skinners? how have they held up? Are they worth $60 as a walk around camp option?
I’m looking to use them primarily for camp between bike touring stops.
Hey Bentley, they’ve held up great! On backpacking trips, I use Z-Trails for camp. For car camping, either the Skinners or Tevas (if I’m ok with having my feet out).
This is different from what you originally wrote: “I also plan to use them to hang around camp on backpacking trips, swim in lakes, and run errands.”
If you use Z-Trails for camping, do you also use the Z-Trails to swim in lakes? Did the Skinners not work out for swimming in lakes or something?
I’m not exactly sure what you’re asking Adam. Are you trying to decide between Skinners and Z-Trails?
Thanks for the review! I’m looking for some very light camp shoes for backpacking. How much do they weigh—and what size are they?
You’re welcome Will! They come in multiple sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL. I went with a large. They weigh about 3 oz.
Even though their product was great, their customer service will let you down. They sent me a wrong size from the one I ordered, and they refuse to exchange it. They even went as far as to tell me the Skinners had sewn in misprinted labels. This tells me they are a company that doesn’t stand behind their products, or the people who spend their hard earned cash on them
Thanks for your comment Sandy, I’m sorry you had such a bad experience!
Hi, which colour are these? Looks like the moss option? I think these would be great options for my travels and anyway to reduce bulky items in my bag(s) is a great thing. I’m just choosing which one to get right now.
Hi Damien, they are olive green!