Armaskin Sock Review: Anti-blister Socks For Hikers

This Armaskin sock review focuses on the innovative features of a new-to-Hiking For Her type of liner socks for hikers.

To fully appreciate these socks, you should take a look at the conditions which lead to a blister inside a hiking boot.

You also need to observe how the thoughtfully engineered features of Armaskin socks are designed to combat blister formation on a hiker's feet.

Full disclosure: Armaskin contacted me and suggested that I try a pair of these socks on my next hiking trip.

  • No financial arrangement exists between Armaskin and Hiking For Her.
  • As always, this review simply asks, and answers, the pivotal question "Will this gear work for a hiker?"

Now let's dive into the details of this Armaskin sock review.


Creating a blister: the perfect triad

Heat.

Moisture.

Friction.

These three conditions must exist to create a blister.

When you remove your hiking boot after a long day on the trail, you have ample demonstration of this blister triad.

  • In fact, taking off your hot boots is probably one of your favorite parts of the hike.
  • Peeling your stinky, soggy socks from your wet feet runs a close second!


Here's why your socks play an important role in preventing blisters.

Your feet generate heat and moisture as your muscles contract and your blood flow directs excess warmth away from your body.

Sweat is the body's wise way of dumping that heat, trapped in water, into the external environment. For hikers, that's inside a boot or trail shoe until you take them off.

All during your hike, your socks have to not only absorb heat and moisture, but wick them away from your skin.

But there's a third, more sinister variable at work here: friction.

  • Your skin rubs against your socks.
  • Your socks rub against the interior of your boots.
  • And there may be grit, sand, pine needles and other trail debris to make things even more interesting inside your boots.

Given enough time, vigorous activity, and the right (or should we say WRONG?) conditions, the upper layers of your skin (epidermis) can get separated from the lower layers (dermis).

This creates a little pocket of space which fills with fluid as it's released from dead and dying cells and/or damaged blood vessels. 

Regardless of its size, a blister is going to hurt, which in turn will slow you down.

It's also going to provide an open doorway into your bloodstream if it pops.

So as a hiker, it's best to avoid blisters.

One way to do that? Wear the right socks!


Blister avoidance with
Armaskin socks

If you've never tried on a pair of "smart" socks, here's your chance.

The design of these socks defeats the blister triad in multiple ways:

  • A special sticky coating (SiFusion) on the inside of the sock prevents friction generation on the skin; the sock sticks to your skin, rather than slipping around.
  • The smooth outer fabric of the sock takes care of friction generated by your foot moving inside your boot.
  • Stitching, only on the outside of the sock, is flat and eliminates pressure points.
  • The SiFusion inner layer wicks moisture from your skin to the outer layer, eliminating the possibility of moisture weakening your epidermis.
  • The sock fabric is a blend that provides a contoured yet flexible fit: 87% polyester, 16% spandex, 5% silicone. No cotton to be seen!
  • The SiFusion polymer blend is unpalatable to microbes, thus cutting down on the chance of skin infections and odors.


User experience

Now for the all important question:

How did these liner socks perform on the trail?

The answer actually begins well before any trail time.

Let's take a close look at these anti-blister hiking socks.


The first thing you'll notice about these socks is the extreme difference between the inner layer and the outer layer.

Putting on these socks is not like sliding on an ordinary pair of liners.

  • The adherent inner coating is sticky by design, so it won't slip around on your skin to generate heat and friction.

That's the whole point of anti-blister socks, right?

Armaskin kindly provides a video to demonstrate the technique required to get a perfectly contoured fit.

I recommend that you watch it to avoid bunching or twisting the socks.

  • A good fit is critical to their performance on the trail.


Once the whole left-right, inside-outside thing has been figured out, and the socks are on your feet, you will appreciate the snug fit and flat seams.

These socks are going to stay put on your skin.

To be honest, the snugness gave me pause.

I'm not a fan of constricting fabrics anywhere on my body. In fact, I wear hiking shirts and boots that are a size "too big" in order to avoid feeling confined.

  • So the first item on my "watch for this" list was about the contoured fit.

Another potential red flag for me was the sticky inner fabric.

  • What if I dropped the socks in the dirt as I was trying to put them on? Would trail debris and grit cling to it?


My outer hiking socks slid on easily over these liners, due to the smooth outer fabric. So once the Armaskin socks were seated correctly on my feet, it was a breeze to finish getting booted up.


So how did they feel on the trail?

No issues, beyond the snug sensation. My feet generally don't bug me until I hit double digit mileage, but I was definitely aware of these socks throughout the hike.

That's not a bad thing, just a note comparing them with my usual poly blend liners.

Moisture wicking? Worked well!

And here's great news: These socks are machine washable.

Just don't subject them to high heat, bleach or fabric softeners. You don't want to destroy the chemistry magic, right?

I don't yet know how fast these socks would wash 'n dry during a backpacking trip. But there is no evidence to suggest that they wouldn't dry fast if hung up in the tent overnight, given the blend of materials (see above) used.


All of the design features, antimicrobial fabric and moisture wicking materials push the price point into a range that a casual hiker might question.

For serious hikers, good hiking gear is a serious investment. High performance socks can keep you out of Blister Land, which is a small price to pay if you total up your time, money and effort costs for a backpacking trip.


One more thought: Keep your toenails really short so the socks fit correctly around your toes. This probably isn't critical in looser liner socks, but it would definitely be a big deal in these.


Armaskin sock review conclusions

If you're a hiker who is prone to blister formation, you need to check out these socks.

Every design feature makes good sense from an anatomical and physiologic perspective.

The learning curve of donning the socks might give you pause, but so will blisters.

Who else should wear these socks?

  • For thru hikers, section hikers, and backpackers with aggressive mileage itineraries, Armaskin socks will protect your most precious asset: your ability to rack up the miles without any foot issues (blisters, but also skin infections from funky socks).
  • Casual dayhikers, or hikers who don't get blisters, probably don't need this "engineered for extreme endurance" type of sock. But if you're curious, try them!
  • A transitional hiker - someone who plans to begin hiking a notch or two above their usual limits - should consider the extra level of protection these liners provide.
  • A hiker who is also a runner, especially a competitive endurance runner, would find these socks a welcome addition to their sock drawer.

Bottom line: Sock connoisseurs and aggressive hikers, take note of Armaskin!

I'll be using them on my backpacking trips in the future, and will post any updates on performance right here.


Update:
Another viewpoint of performance on the trail

My husband was casting envious glances toward these anti-blister socks, so I let him borrow them for two hikes while he was breaking in a new pair of leather hiking boots.

Here's what he had to say about the performance of the socks:

  • Once your feet are in the socks, and your outer socks are in place over these liners, and both pairs of socks are in the boots, there is no sliding between any of the layers. No sliding = no friction, so it's unlikely that blister formation will occur.
  • These socks don't bunch up under your foot (Note: This happens with his other liner socks).
  • Once you put them on, they stay in place.
  • Wearing these socks made the breaking in process less uncomfortable.
  • Feet feel cooler, compared to silk liner socks.

So there you have it: another round of information in this Armaskin sock review.


Update: One more viewpoint

Here's what a Hiking For Her reader has to say about the Armaskin socks (shared with her permission):

"The socks arrived and I finally tried them out on a two- hour hike with my grandson in his backpack yesterday.

Great socks! Not a red spot to be found anywhere on my feet and there is usually something rubbing with that baby on my back.

I was worried that they might not breathe well, but no problem there, either.

I wore them alone and did not layer them. I wear Merrell hiking shoes.

I really like them and will be ordering several more for my spouse and daughters."

-Ellen U.


Blister avoidance: more resources

This Armaskin sock review was written to give you one weapon against blisters.

Get your very own pair and give them a try!

For more ideas on blister prevention, read this.

Already have blisters?

Don't be defeated by your feet. Be proactive by choosing the best socks for your style of hiking.

Thanks for reading this Armaskin sock review!

Send your questions and comments via the CONTACT link at the top left of any page.

Happy blister free hiking this season!


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