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Skinners Sock Shoes

rated 4.0 of 5 stars
photo: Skinners Sock Shoes barefoot / minimal shoe

Great minimal shoes, but not "barefoot". Highly recommend as transition footwear, backup shoes, or for non-barefooters. Kids will absolutely love them! Do not recommend for running.

Pros

  • Light and small, perfect campsite shoes for hikers, or emergency backup shoes.
  • Reasonably low profile
  • Conversation starter (could be a con!)
  • Sole is relatively durable (not for running) and provides good protection from glass, sharp objects, etc.
  • Flexible and minimal rigid structure allows for strengthening leg and ankle muscles.
  • Low price, fast shipping

Cons

  • Does not meet criteria of barefoot footwear due to narrow toe-box
  • Will not improve gait/ posture after a point due to above; consider as transition footwear.
  • People with heavy footfall may wear these out very quickly, especially on concrete
  • While new, they drop little pieces of rubber everywhere which stick in the carpet
  • If worn indoors, the grippy soles will collect all of your girlfriend's hair from the carpet (could be a pro!)
  • Since they're not super tight, when walking downhill I feel my foot slide forward inside which reduce stability, especially when sweaty.

I am nearly 20 years barefooted and these socks are almost fit for purpose except the toe box is just as narrow as regular shoes. They were perfect while I was switching equally between normal shoes and barefoot, but in recent years I only wear Vibram FiveFingers, so my toes are too permanently splayed for Skinners without experiencing pain and loss of form. (Nb: I have very long toes — maybe barefooters with short toes less subject to bunion-effect would be okay.)

They are relatively sturdy in construction but the sole does wear through eventually. For the low price, they hold appropriately, especially on grass, dirt, etc. However, they wouldn't last long enough for daily use on road, especially if running.

In fact I would not recommend these for running, period, because the toe box is not conducive to good form and could increase the risk of injury.

Despite "outgrowing" them, I am a huge fan and highly recommend them if you 50/50 regular shoes with barefoot, or barefooting newbies as excellent transition footwear.

I would NOT recommend for established barefooters whose big toe is straight inline with the inside of the foot, as the toe box cannot accommodate. They do not have the same lateral stretch as a regular sock due to the rubberised sole, so they can feel even more restrictive than a sock. Even though I cannot wear them any more, they retain value as emergency backup shoes which take up absolutely no space.

NB: I've seen negative reviews on similar products from people who seem to think a sock will protect them from pain of a heel-strike onto a lone pebble... Sorry, but that will always hurt! You still need to pay attention and watch your footing in *all* barefoot shoes, especially when they're just glorified socks.

Background

Persistently shoeless since 2007.
Own two pairs of Skinners.
Exclusively wear Vibram FiveFingers or no shoes.

(Previous to 2007 I had dead-flat feet, shin splints, and knee and ankle pain. Now 36 with no pain and impressive endurance.)

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: NZ$~80

great for "at the hut" shoes

Pros

  • light
  • pack small
  • dry quickly
  • Easy to lend to deserving friends

Cons

  • Easy for deserving friends to borrow.

Kia ora , I use the as my "change into at the hut" shoes. Leave my wet, muddy, smelly tramping (hiking) shoes at the door to pretend to be drying. Walk around in the hut, or outside to use the long drop. Unfortunately my friends know I prefer to walk in bare feet so tend to borrow them to go to the long drop. 

Last year on a tramp one of our friends tramping boots died. We taped, tided with micro cord & they stayed dead. The friend put the boot liners inside my skinners & with a pair of socks , tramped the last 30 km over hard ground. So good for back up. ( or buy really good boots )

We also use then in our kayaks as boat shoes, Great in estuarys, sand, oyster covered rocks & Cliff faces .

Background

I (friends) have used them of 5 multi day tramps , 20 - 30 kayak trips, attempted to use in yoga but they don't allow your feet to slide but they also don't allow your feet to slide - depends on what you are trying to do.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: nz$ 20 -40

These are for people who have been working at transitioning to minimalist and barefoot running. You can feel the ground, and sometimes even pain, but that's how you learn to move properly. A small insert can be used if you want extra cushion. If you're not sure if you can go barefoot or not, throw these on and don't look back.

Pros

  • They weigh as much as a sock, and take up about the same space.
  • The carry bag actually turned out to be very useful.
  • VERY easy to wash and dry. Machine washable, but I usually do them by hand and use a boot dryer.

Cons

  • Climbing sandstone boulders peeled chunks of the rubber sole off.
  • Don't wear inside until broken in, the loose pieces of rubber flake off until the more durable, permanent ones are left.

Imagine putting a temporary callus on your foot. That's it. Comfortable, easy to clean, and they stay in place very well.

Background

I have been searching for the best minimalist shoes for years, this is the closest I have found. For a while I was even making my own shoes, and the design I settled upon was a sock put on a mold of my foot, and sprayed with bedliner on the bottom. This worked great, but the materials did not have the characteristics needed for this particular task.I have coached middle and high school cross country for 7 years, the kids that run barefoot have the least injuries if any.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $55

Is it a sock? is it a shoe? Yes!

Skinners sock shoes might be a new category in outdoor footwear.

Pros

  • Comfort
  • Warmth
  • Ease of use
  • Novelty
  • More protection than socks

Cons

  • Cost or perceived value
  • Less protection than minimalist shoes

I recently acquired some Skinners Sock Shoes. What?

IMG_2920.jpgThey are basically a sock covered on the sole with a protective rubber polymer. I believe that this might be new category of outdoor footwear. I'd say they offer more protection that a sock and perhaps less protection than a minimalist shoe. I suppose the closest comparable footwear might be minimalist footwear like FiveFingers Shoes, Merrell Trail Gloves Shoes, and Xero Shoes. Or perhaps a traditional leather moccasin.

IMG_2925.jpg

The Skinners are put on just like any other sock. They fit comfortable just like any other sock. They do grip smooth surfaces like my hardwood floors in my house great. They don't really offer much support, but that is common of minimalist footwear. The sock part feels like a quality sock and the sole has a 2mm of polymer protection. A pair of the sock shoes weigh in at 2.8 ounces. They are packable. They did seem to keep my feet warm.

The company says that they were designed for outdoor pursuits like traveling, walking, running, hiking, camping, cycling, and the gym.

I decided to test them on a little hiking and fly fishing trip.

IMG_2930.jpg

While walking over concrete, I could feel the ground, but not the heat. While walking over dirt and sand the Skinners performed well. While walking over sand with rocks the Skinners did fairly well. While walking over a hard surface with rocks, I could feel the rocks poking the bottoms of my feet, so I'd say they had reached their limit of usefulness.

IMG_2791.jpg
IMG_2798.jpg

I did wade and fly fish with the Skinners and they performed well. They enabled me to feel around with my feet to avoid obstacles and gripped the slimy surfaces without slipping. Upon exiting the water it did feel like I was wearing wet soggy socks. :( I don't know if I'd use them for fly fishing again because it takes them some time to dry out. I would use them after fly fishing when my feet often crave something light, dry, and warm.

It is to be determined how durable these sock shoes might be. The manufactures says that the durability is variable, but that they should last about 400 miles.

Here's a video review of my Skinners.

Background

This product is new to the market and new to me. I've only just begun to experiment with the use of these Skinners. I'll likely use these around the house like a slipper and around the camp like a recovery shoe.

Source: tested or reviewed it for the manufacturer (kept it)

The author of this review received a sample of the product from the brand or its representative in exchange for a review.

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You May Like

Skinners are multipurpose sock shoes that can be used as camp shoes, running, traveling, at the gym, and as a backup pair of footwear when rollerblading or for other activities. The three-layered stretch-knit body is made from natural and artificial fibers and has some light compression. The bottom is made with Swedish phthalate-free polymers for a 2mm thin double-layer on the underside that can last up to hundreds of miles. Skinners can be machine washed.

Specs

Weight 80 g / 2.8 oz
Dimensions 9 x 4 cm / 3. 54 x 1.57 in
Product Details from Skinners »

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