Gear Review – Armaskin Socks

A couple of months ago, we received an email from a company called Armaskin with a sock product that owner, Vlad Libeson said would be the ultimate cure for blister sufferers. Big claim I thought. I’m pretty sceptical when it comes to the old feet care side of things, and thought that no amount of blister care product or sock would ever solve some people’s issues. So with a claim like that, I thought in for a penny, in for a pound. Only one problem, I have pretty bullet proof feet. I’m the kind of guy that can run sockless for 50kms with rocks and sand in my shoes and still come out fine the other side, so getting me to test this new sock was pretty pointless.1557681_251036155088695_2643814217418364653_n

So being a community-focused website, I thought we’d put it out to the community and requested the help of our readers. I wanted to find those guys and gals who had suffered the most over the years. The kind of people who had tried almost everything they could think of, bar grabbing a knife and chopping off their toes. We had no shortage of volunteers, and what we’d thought we do for this review is rather than go through the motions and add lots of flowery language and random terminology, we’d give the comments from our readers verbatim as they stood. No bullshit, no hiding, just straight from the horse’s mouth as to what these people thought of these new socks from this Aussie company. We did offer a few guidelines as to the types of things we were looking for, but what you read is what our readers think. We also left it quite a long time between first wearing them and then revisiting our testers to see if what they first thought still held true.

Just to note, this is an entirely independent review and what you see if what you get. No editing. No sponsored editorial – nada. We had a few more testers, but still waiting on any further feedback and if we get it, we’ll publish as is too.

First up was Tanya Robinson…

  • Initial impressions: Um- are you sure these are socks? And does one size fit all? They look remarkably like wetsuit booties and did wonder if they would fit my feet (42) and other larger hooves
  • First feel: Squeeze, squish, wriggle, wriggle. Two minutes later I had them on and ‘in place’. Note to future buyers- make sure you are thorough in this process as they are very hard to adjust once on and running- you can’t just tug on the heel to pull them tighter
  • First run: Now I’m not making any assumptions (eg- I’m sure many men haven’t tried running in stockings) but as a lady these feel exactly like running in a pair of stockings in your ‘good’ shoes to catch the bus. Especially for trail runners that tend to buy trial shoes a half or full size too big in order to save toenails. It really felt like a slip ‘n slide on the inside of my shoes on a technical trial. If you use them with normal fitting runners than this won’t be so much of a problem but it does take some getting used to. I was also testing them on winter days in Canberra and my feet were toasty- I’d be interested to know how someone in QLD on a warm summers day may fare.
  • Blister or hotspots: To be fair- my feet were still recovering from pretty epic blisters following TNF. But, they didn’t get worse. The slip and slide did create friction and hotspots- however the fit and nature of the sock stopped this translating into a blisters.
  • Did they prevent blisters? For my use (technical trail/bitumen runs, skiing (that was a mistake- toes froze) and snowshoeing I did not experience any blisters, and my existing shredded feet did not get any worse. I would be interested to see how they go on a long, long run which I unfortunately haven’t had time to do yet.
  • Why do you think they worked? The snug fit. They do act as a second skin reducing the amount of friction between the skin and sock surface. Attention needs to be paid to having them sitting properly when you put them on.
  • Would you buy them? If blisters continually thwarted my attempts to run comfortably and I could find no other solution- definitely (if they were under $40).

Overall: They’re great socks. I went back to normal socks for a bit- and had a couple more blister suffer sessions. While they’re a bit strange and take a bit of getting used to I reckon they are someone’s best hope of keeping blisters at bay. Would definitely give them a go if a chronic sufferer. They do get warm on a sunny day though!

Next up was Natalie Moore…

  • “(I) Just wanted to thank you for the awesome socks you sent me to trial. Have just done over 120 km in the last three days in the desert and while everyone else has suffered numerous blisters from day 1, I remained blister free until today when I scored one under some ankle strapping tape. Didn’t wash them for 3 days and they also kept most of the sand out.
    The only two things I did find – when you double sock (as per instructions) – make sure there is enough room for your toes in your shoes – I found my little toe became uncomfortable with the two seams. The other thing I found was when I went for a run through water ( not the desert!), my feet stayed wet all day. Despite that, perfect result!”
  • Then after three months:3 months later and I’ve helped the blister issues of several friends using these socks. I haven’t done any more multi days, but did the blackmores marathon with new shoes and no training and no time to tape toes. Amazingly my feet were fantastic! I’m just as in love with these socks as I was back in July….. Definitely my go-to solution for chronic blisters!

Then we had Jaq Clark…

  • “Originally I thought these were the weirdest socks in the world and I admit having to ‘You-tube’ which way they went on (shiny bit on the inside!) just to make sure. They felt like I was wearing skins on my feet and at first I didn’t like the feeling, however when I was running my feet felt great and I had no blisters at all (23km run, 16km run, 10km run) I also had a run with a very deep and cold water crossing and I found that they also dried very quickly and I had no ‘squelching’ at all. I had no hot spots and not even a blister under my toe nails which is usually a favourite. I am in a quiet month of training at the moment so I haven’t stretched them to their full capacity but I plan to over the next month as I am really impressed with them! I would definitely recommend them.”

And lastly, Jane Hiatt…

  • They are amazingly comfortable and warm especially as Canberra has been freezing over the past two days.

First impressions:

  • ‘Wow these feel weird and they have seams….that could be a problem ‘
  • ‘Not as difficult to put on as I thought they’d be’
  • ‘Wow again they feel incredible to wear and they keep my feet warm especially as cold as it is here in Canberra’
  • ‘The support is amazing like really amazing’
  • ‘There is no cutting into the skin at the top of the sock unlike other socks’

Right now I would buy a number of them but if they don’t wash well that would deter me for the cost aspect.

So there you have it. Four independent and chronic blister sufferers who appear to be giving these the thumbs up. If you’re interested in giving these socks a go, you can find more information at http://www.armaskin.com/

We’ve also got another anti-blister product that we’re trialing right now too. If someone is keen to test this one for us, drop us a line at dan@ultra168.com

Dan

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