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Walking Equipment and Accessories

Skinners Barefoot Socks | Review

Trail-proof and Lego-proof. What about Outdoors Magic editor-proof?

Why We Chose The Skinners Barefoot Socks: Innovative, surprisingly effective, fun.

When we first came across these by Skinners, we thought they were just another flash in the pan gimmick born from Kickstarter. Sock shoes is the only way to define them, and they probably don’t really need much more of an explanation. They’re made from a stretch knit fabric that has 2mm of polymers on the base that look like black crystals but feel rubbery and soft. Apparently they’re bonded without the use of any adhesives or stitching. Skinners declined to tell us the method behind it, saying that it’s a “trade secret”, so our only guess is that they’re melted on.

“Weighing just 80g and capable of rolling up to fit in the palm of your hand… You can stash these into your backpack pocket and not notice they’re there.”

Despite that ambiguity, the truth is, we’ve come to be admirers of this interesting product. For those who dislike the constraints of footwear and find personal benefits in barefoot running or walking, these could perhaps be perfect, as Outdoors Magic’s editor found out…

Tester’s Verdict

Will Renwick, Outdoors Magic Editor

“When I’ve hiked all day in a pair of walking boots, I normally want a bit of respite from them in the evenings at camp or in the hostel or refuge. Most of the time I just walk around barefoot, and I’ve also taken flip flops before but they’re a bit of a pain to carry. From now on, I’m taking these with me.

“Weighing just 80g and capable of rolling up to fit in the palm of your hand, these are incredibly convenient in my opinion. You can stash them into your backpack pocket and not notice they’re there.

Outdoors Magic Editor Will used the Skinners Barefoot Socks along the rocky, muddy and brambly Pembrokeshire Coast Path. Photo: Chris Johnson
Sharp protrusions are minimised by the Skinners Barefoot Socks. Photo: Chris Johnson
They're capable of rolling up to fit in the palm of your hand and weigh in at 80g. Photo: Chris Johnson

“More importantly, they actually do the job. While I’ve found them great for camp wear, I’ve also worn them over distances and found them really impressive. On one occasion, I hiked for a whole day along the rocky, muddy, brambly Pembrokeshire Coast Path and didn’t feel any sharp stuff through them, and the grip was good as well. They felt warm, but still cooler than a pair of socks and shoes and they kept me dry over wet sand.

“I’ve been using Vibram’s Five Finger running shoes over the last couple of months and have really enjoyed using them, mainly because there’s something very satisfying about that natural feel underfoot. With Skinners socks that feeling is even greater, you really get a feel for the texture and firmness of the terrain. The compromise, however, is that there’s much less protection, shock absorption and grip. In fact, I think, with that in mind, I’d choose Skinners for walking in and Vibram for running in.

“Skinners recommend sometimes wearing thin socks underneath these, which I assume is to increase comfort and also to prevent them smelling so quickly. The first time I wore Skinners I found them to be a little niggly on the tops of the toes on my right foot, so I tried them out with some socks and fortunately that solved the problem.

“After a few weeks of use, I haven’t had much of an issue with the socks smelling – that must be the anti-odour aspect working there. I’ve washed them twice in a washing machine and there’s been no damage to them, so that’s useful.

“Skinners say these will last as long as a $150 pair of running shoes. After a couple of big hikes in them, I’ve found that the little black ‘diamonds’ on the base haven’t grumbled or fallen off, as I had expected, but you can see them wearing down. My pair have already started to get a little scuffed on the forefoot, but I can still see them lasting plenty more miles.

They raise some eyebrows for sure, but who cares about that when you’re out hiking and wild camping in the middle of nowhere?”

Skinners say they’ll last as long as a $150 pair of running shoes. Photo: Chris Johnson

Trade Secrets

Petr Prochazka – Skinners CEO

“We believe what we developed should already have been created a long time ago – something that helps us rediscover our own bodies, every muscle and every surface we encounter. Above that, we realized there is a demand for a compact yet protective footwear for sports and traveling without all the bulk and weight of regular shoes.

“So, the challenge was not just how to create footwear that is easy to use, transport or maintain without sacrificing comfort, functionality, fit or safety but also footwear that reflect human kinematics and let feet do their thing. The design solution is basically the sock-shoe fusion with a unique (and addictive) ‘second skin’ feeling.”

Skinners Barefoot Socks

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