A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it

Camino Forum Store

Advertisement

An Intriguing New (to me) Anti-Blister Sock I Will Be Testing

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#1
ArmaSkin socks came to my attention twice over the last month. The first time I read about them, I was mildly interested and I looked over the claims, researched a bit with the various subjective reviews on performance, and examined whether or not the claimed characteristics of the socks performance was consistent with the known facts for blistering and their prevention. but did no further follow up.

Early this morning, I read in a thread a post about ArmaSkins. My curiosity and backpacker's nerdiness then hit a peak, pushing me over the 'I need to see for myself' cliff. I am reposting what I wrote in that thread.

-----------------

ArmaSkin socks are a bit intriguing. They are intriguing because they rely on two methods to achieve what that which is needed in order to prevent blistering, or to at least prolong the time it takes for bistering to occur giving more time for someone to recognize a pre-blister 'hot spot' and take necessary action.

I have never tried them, but I have looked carefully at what the manufacturer claims will happen if you wear them and their theory of function, the materials and construction of the socks, and if the claims of blister prevention by the interruption of shear friction forces are plausible.

I ignore testimonials and other anecdotal observations, whether the anecdotes are positive or negative. After all, every blister prevention scheme ever concocted works for the believers who have had success with each method, and is a bitter failure to those who tried the same method but developed blisters anyway.

Bottom line for me: They hold promise, and I am going to purchase a pair for real world wear. I will be able to test the performance of each characteristic of the sock's construction as it contributes to blister prevention. The biggest factor I will be looking at is:
  1. The usable life span of the sock. Since there is a large number of variables which affect that measurement -- from the types of footwear and insoles used, to the weight of the wearer, to the number of steps it takes to cover a set distance from one individual to the next, etc -- my findings of this measurement cannot be an expected set standard for anyone else. But it will give a general indication of the friability of the sock in either the short or longer term.
  2. The repeat-ability of the sock's performance during the life span of the sock: does the sock perform at the end of its usable life as well as it did on the first day of wear?
Why am I going to try them? Because they are a new variation, almost a hybrid, in the implementation of blister prevention strategies. From what I have determined from my own research on these socks, they are said to prevent blistering by employing two tactics which can already be done, but which require extra steps to accomplish:
  • Providing a barrier to the skin from the effects of shear force friction. This is now done with tapes, moleskins, super glue and other coatings which harden on the skin after application, etc. ArmaSkin does this by a silicon coating which is slightly tacky, that is said to create a sort of 'gripping' stick to the skin quality to it which is designed to keep the sock immobile on the skin.
  • Creating a shear force reaction which is directed away from the sock to the skin, and places it between the shoe and the sock. ArmaSkin do this by sizing the sock to be a snug fit allowing the outer material of the sock to slide over the the interior of the shoe. That is now done by making sure that the socks, any socks, that are used for hiking are sized to be snug -- not tourniquet tight -- on the foot.
ArmaSkin socks will not function with a third strategy that is commonly employed, and that is to use lubrication to reduce friction as the sock slides on the skin in order to reduce or offset shear force friction. In other words, you cannot use vaseline or body glide or hiker's goo, etc. If you do, then it takes away from the way the socks are said to function. On the other hand, you can still employ a barrier to the skin, like tape, and the sock will still function as intended.

ArmaSkin socks are claimed to be able to wick moisture away from the feet. I will have to test that out to believe it, but I have no reason to doubt the claim based on the information of the sock's construction. Because ArmaSkins require an outer sock to work, I am going to look hard at whether or not my feet get too warm with the increased insulative effect. I normally use a lightly-padded, lightweight Merino wool sock.

I do reject the manufacturer's contention that the moisture wicking is an important factor in blister prevention. I look at this claim as feeding into the 'old hiker's tales' of failed theories. Although wicking moisture is good for foot hygiene and reduction of fungal growth, I view ArmaSock's focus on such as a blister prevention feature to be marketing hype, rather than science.

Wet skin does not promote shear force friction in and of itself. Having wet skin does not mean that blisters are inevitable or even likely. Wet conditions can soften the skin over time (maceration) and so can be more easily damaged by the effects of shear force friction which create blisters. However, if there is sheer force friction against the skin, it doesn't matter whether is wet OR dry, blisters will form. If the skin is wet, but there is no shear force from the sock to the skin, there should not be any blistering.

This will be an interesting test. I will have to get used to the change in the feel of using a double sock before I focus on the testing, as I don't want to have that new sensory input confusing or biasing the actual performance of the sock itself.

Are these socks a gimmick? I'll see for myself. A lot of people have used them and report that they work as advertised. There are very few negative reviews, but relatively speaking, this product has not seen a big user base. The primary negatives listed are that:
  1. The stated sizes recommended are extremely tight and needed to buy a bigger size.
  2. The socks are a bit difficult to put on.
  3. Cost. I am purchasing two pairs through Amazon. Shipping is free. The cost for the two pair is about $70.00 :eek:o_O I am buying one pair in the size recommended by the ArmaSkin size chart; and I am buying one pair, different color, one size larger. I will return the one which fits the least well.

As a a backpacker who puts hundreds of miles covering rugged wilderness trails each year, I will be able to feel confident in my personal assessment on the suitability of the socks as an effective blister prevention strategy for myself -- and whether or not these socks provide a justifiable cost/benefit ratio compared to the current existing methods which are known to also be effective.

-------------------------------------
 

Advertisment

Camino(s) past & future
Camino Del Norte (2018)
#2
I also just bought 2 pairs of ArmaSkin for my walk (Camino del Norte) beginning late July. Very interested to see if they live up to the 'hype'. Also, I Googled and managed to find a 30% discount code so only ended paying approximately AUD58.
 

cressrt

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
"Portuguese 2018" "FInestere/Muxia"
#3
My wife and I wore this type of sock on our Camino in May, we bought ours from Decathlon, they worked perfectly, no blisters for my wife, I had only one but this was due to a small defect that appeared in the heel of one of my shoes, soon taken care of and no further problems, can recommend their use!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, VdlP 2016, Fishermans Walk, Sultan's Trail (2017), Portugese and el Norte (2018)
#4
I use Injeri (sic) toe sock liners with another thinnish sock over the top. Never had blisters on my toes. The liners lasted over 1500kms. About 28 AUD a pair.
 

Priscilla NC

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spring 2016: Camino Frances, Finisterre and Muxia
#5
I would wonder about their breathability. Anyone have any reports on this?
 

Advertisment

Karenmc49

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
No pasts...want to plan the Camino for May 2018
#6
Hi
I’ve been using ( and recommending) Armaskin liners now for a year or so.
And no, I’ve never been given a free pair..
I am 5 weeks into my Camino, blister free, until 2 days ago when I thought I’d give the double layer Wrightsocks a go..after all I’d been carrying them for so long..and heard good reports about them.
Result. One small blister.
Back to the Armaskin with the Darn Toughs on Top.
End of story!
 

trecile

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aug-Sept(2016) SJPDP-Finisterre, July-Aug(2017) SJPDP-Muxia-Finisterre, July-Aug(2018) El Norte
#7
My wife and I wore this type of sock on our Camino in May, we bought ours from Decathlon, they worked perfectly, no blisters for my wife, I had only one but this was due to a small defect that appeared in the heel of one of my shoes, soon taken care of and no further problems, can recommend their use!
Are the socks from Decathlon the Armaskin brand or are they called something else. I love shopping in Decathlon stores and will look for them when I'm in Spain.
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#9
I would wonder about their breathability. Anyone have any reports on this?
From the information about the construction and material, it is possible that they are breathable... I have no reason to doubt that. But breathability of a sock is only a part of the equation of removing sweat from the skin.

For breathability to readily occur, there must be the ability to have a modicum of air circulate inside the shoe. So the less permeable the shoe material is for allowing air into the shoe, the less breathability of the sock, and its wicking function will be sabotaged as the sock reaches a moisture threshold.

The other factor as it applies to the effectiveness of wicking and breathability is how hot the foot gets. The more layers on the foot, the more heat retained. The more heat, the more sweat. If the weather and the walking surface are cooler, wearing two layers of socks is less of an issue with sweat. In warm and hot weather, that double layer of socks will affect a lot of people's feet to sweat more.

Also, the warmer the weather, the warmer the walking surface. On hard pavement/concrete surfaces, when the sun is out and the ambient temperature is in the 80s F, the walking surface can reach 100F. Two days ago on a sun exposed trail, the surface of the sandy, hardpacked dirt measured 105 F (measured with a laser infrared thermometer). Yea, when I am doing a footwear test, I do that kind of thing; I want to know how well the shoe keeps my feet comfortable. In this case it was for my personal testing of the Hoka One One Bondi, not a test for a manufacturer.

As I test out the ArmaSkins, the breathability and the impact of the dual insulation will be kept track of.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2015
#10
From the information about the construction and material, it is possible that they are breathable... I have no reason to doubt that. But breathability of a sock is only a part of the equation of removing sweat from the skin.

For breathability to readily occur, there must be the ability to have a modicum of air circulate inside the shoe. So the less permeable the shoe material is for allowing air into the shoe, the less breathability of the sock, and its wicking function will be sabotaged as the sock reaches a moisture threshold.

The other factor as it applies to the effectiveness of wicking and breathability is how hot the foot gets. The more layers on the foot, the more heat retained. The more heat, the more sweat. If the weather and the walking surface are cooler, wearing two layers of socks is less of an issue with sweat. In warm and hot weather, that double layer of socks will affect a lot of people's feet to sweat more.

Also, the warmer the weather, the warmer the walking surface. On hard pavement/concrete surfaces, when the sun is out and the ambient temperature is in the 80s F, the walking surface can reach 100F. Two days ago on a sun exposed trail, the surface of the sandy, hardpacked dirt measured 105 F (measured with a laser infrared thermometer). Yea, when I am doing a footwear test, I do that kind of thing; I want to know how well the shoe keeps my feet comfortable. In this case it was for my personal testing of the Hoka One One Bondi, not a test for a manufacturer.

As I test out the ArmaSkins, the breathability and the impact of the dual insulation will be kept track of.

Since I saw you were testing the BONDI. I have been wearing Bondi since I fractured my calcaneous 2 years ago with great results. I'm doing the Portugal Camino in September and planning to wear the Hoka hiking shoe (not the boot), which I've been training in, with 2 pair of sox. But now I'm wondering if it might be too hot? It's not a particularly breatheable shoe...thoughts?
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#11
Since I saw you were testing the BONDI. I have been wearing Bondi since I fractured my calcaneous 2 years ago with great results. I'm doing the Portugal Camino in September and planning to wear the Hoka hiking shoe (not the boot), which I've been training in, with 2 pair of sox. But now I'm wondering if it might be too hot? It's not a particularly breatheable shoe...thoughts?
Hi, kmccue...
:) Give me a bit of clarification; are you wondering if the shoe will be too hot, or the wearing of double socks? And, there are numerous reasons why people choose to wear double socks, what are your reasons?
 
Camino(s) past & future
2015
#12
Hi, kmccue...
:) Give me a bit of clarification; are you wondering if the shoe will be too hot, or the wearing of double socks? And, there are numerous reasons why people choose to wear double socks, what are your reasons?

I'm wondering if the shoe will be too hot because it has a nubuck/Suede Leather upper. I like both the stability and the cushion from the shoe and wore it hiking in France on varied terrain for 6 days. Have been wearing it on 2 hour hikes in Iowa, which can be hot wo/ problem. But as you know the day after day of a Camino takes its toll. I have always worn 2 pair of sox when doing distance hiking...a thin wool liner sock and another hevier wool hiking sock. Got blisters on the Frances after 2 weeks, but generlly I've had decent luck?
 

Priscilla NC

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spring 2016: Camino Frances, Finisterre and Muxia
#13
From the information about the construction and material, it is possible that they are breathable... I have no reason to doubt that. But breathability of a sock is only a part of the equation of removing sweat from the skin.

For breathability to readily occur, there must be the ability to have a modicum of air circulate inside the shoe. So the less permeable the shoe material is for allowing air into the shoe, the less breathability of the sock, and its wicking function will be sabotaged as the sock reaches a moisture threshold.

The other factor as it applies to the effectiveness of wicking and breathability is how hot the foot gets. The more layers on the foot, the more heat retained. The more heat, the more sweat. If the weather and the walking surface are cooler, wearing two layers of socks is less of an issue with sweat. In warm and hot weather, that double layer of socks will affect a lot of people's feet to sweat more.

Also, the warmer the weather, the warmer the walking surface. On hard pavement/concrete surfaces, when the sun is out and the ambient temperature is in the 80s F, the walking surface can reach 100F. Two days ago on a sun exposed trail, the surface of the sandy, hardpacked dirt measured 105 F (measured with a laser infrared thermometer). Yea, when I am doing a footwear test, I do that kind of thing; I want to know how well the shoe keeps my feet comfortable. In this case it was for my personal testing of the Hoka One One Bondi, not a test for a manufacturer.

As I test out the ArmaSkins, the breathability and the impact of the dual insulation will be kept track of.
Thanks so much, Dave. You have a wealth of knowledge on these things. I look forward to your reports!
 

trecile

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aug-Sept(2016) SJPDP-Finisterre, July-Aug(2017) SJPDP-Muxia-Finisterre, July-Aug(2018) El Norte
#14
The ArmaSkin socks are actually quite different from any other "anti-blister" sock. So, I don't think that the Decathlon socks are exactly comparable.

From their website:

ArmaSkin anti-blister second skin socks ( liner socks) address all these conditions that cause blisters:

  • The inner surface of the sock has a silicone (Si) polymer friction coating which gently adheres to the skin and PREVENTS any FRICTION that can occur naturally between socks and skin. Any friction generated in the boot/shoe is absorbed by the outer fabric.
  • The polymer coating is macro porous and hydrophobic (water hating) therefore SHIFTS MOISTURE away from the skin keeping it drier.
  • Better HEAT dissipation is achieved thanks to the hydrophobic/ hydrophilic moisture management. i.e one side of the fabric is water hating the other side is water loving.
  • The Si fusion polymer coating gently adheres to the skin and importantly shares skin shear forces across wider surface areas of skin thus reducing damage.
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#15
I'm wondering if the shoe will be too hot because it has a nubuck/Suede Leather upper. I like both the stability and the cushion from the shoe and wore it hiking in France on varied terrain for 6 days. Have been wearing it on 2 hour hikes in Iowa, which can be hot wo/ problem. But as you know the day after day of a Camino takes its toll. I have always worn 2 pair of sox when doing distance hiking...a thin wool liner sock and another hevier wool hiking sock. Got blisters on the Frances after 2 weeks, but generlly I've had decent luck?
Are you sure it is the Hoka One One Bondi? Mine have no leather at all, just very breathable fabric material.

With the socks, a lot of backpackers over the years have gotten away from the idea of a sock liner and tend toward a snugger fitting single sock.
 

andywild

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
april '2018'
#16
I walked with a guy that wore them from sjpdp to Santiago... He loved them.. admittedly he got one small blister but I guess that isn't bad after 800km.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2015
#17
Are you sure it is the Hoka One One Bondi? Mine have no leather at all, just very breathable fabric material.

With the socks, a lot of backpackers over the years have gotten away from the idea of a sock liner and tend toward a snugger fitting single sock.
No, its not the Bondi...tho I have that shoe as well. And that is my question...whether to choose Bondi for its breatheability or the hiking shoe for its stability. Both have good cushion. I think I'll try the arma skin sock...but do you wear another sock with it?
 
Camino(s) past & future
2015
#18
No, its not the Bondi...tho I have that shoe as well. And that is my question...whether to choose Bondi for its breatheability or the hiking shoe for its stability. Both have good cushion. I think I'll try the arma skin sock...but do you wear another sock with it?
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#19
No, its not the Bondi...tho I have that shoe as well. And that is my question...whether to choose Bondi for its breatheability or the hiking shoe for its stability. Both have good cushion. I think I'll try the arma skin sock...but do you wear another sock with it?
:) Ok, I got a bit mixed up there, sorry. I am finding that Bondi, and I would suspect the other Hokas as well, have plenty of stability, even on the rough and uneven terrain and trails I've been wearing the Bondi on while on my day hikes. So that shouldn't be an overriding concern in your choice.

For me, my decision algorithm goes along these lines: If footwear are essentially equal in stability and for their intended use (insulated boots for snow and ice in winter; non-insulated lightweight boots for continuous and extremely muddy and mucky conditions; trail runners for the months between late spring and late fall), and that each have a good fit and feel comfortable during many hours of hiking with a pack:

From most important first
1. Lighter weight
2. Amount of breathability, airflow, and draining of water --- usually, this will be the lighter weight shoe
3. A more aggressive and slip resistant tread
4. Durability

I hope this helps.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2015
#20
:) Ok, I got a bit mixed up there, sorry. I am finding that Bondi, and I would suspect the other Hokas as well, have plenty of stability, even on the rough and uneven terrain and trails I've been wearing the Bondi on while on my day hikes. So that shouldn't be an overriding concern in your choice.

For me, my decision algorithm goes along these lines: If footwear are essentially equal in stability and for their intended use (insulated boots for snow and ice in winter; non-insulated lightweight boots for continuous and extremely muddy and mucky conditions; trail runners for the months between late spring and late fall), and that each have a good fit and feel comfortable during many hours of hiking with a pack:

From most important first
1. Lighter weight
2. Amount of breathability, airflow, and draining of water --- usually, this will be the lighter weight shoe
3. A more aggressive and slip resistant tread
4. Durability

I hope this helps.
One more question... Bondi over other Hoka options?
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#22
One more question... Bondi over other Hoka options?
:) I make no recommendation about the Hoka Bondi, or any specific brand of footwear; any reference is based on what my left foot --- the one which hates and despises my very existence -- finds acceptable. All I will do is try to describe what I objectively see in a model of shoe. That is why I talked about the stability, relative cushioning, and the stability of that shoe. Since I have not tried any of the other Hoka One One models, I can offer no comparisons.

Nor am I saying that you can't find a different manufacturer's shoe a good fit for your needs.

What I have seen is that Hokka Hokka One offers several other models described in their literature as having similar characteristics as the Bondi. However, not all, or even most of them, are offered in the wide width that the Bondi has available to it.

Bottom line: if the stated materials, cushioning and stability of the Bondi are similar to other Hoka One One models, as long as the size and width matches your needs, you would have other options to choose from.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Pilegrimsleden 2016
#23
I have tried the Armaskin liner socks. First doing about 450 km on the Pilegrimsleden in Norway, then 360km(or whatever it is ) on the Camino Primitivo. Same pair. Theyve got small holes now.
I got blisters on both little toes in Norway, but I dont blame the socks for that, my Salomon boots were too narrow, and eventually burst open at the toes. I sewed them up loosely and then they fitted fine..but leaked of course. Had wide Keen boots in Spain & no blisters. Had my normal wool socks as main, outer, sock. I got the Armaskins because on previous hikes I often got blisters on the soles of my feet when doing a lot on tarmac, which I knew I'd get a lot of on these pilgrimages. So they appeared to succeed for me. Although of course, as you say, its hard to be really sure it was them & not something else !
For me, they werent too bothersome to put on the way youre instructed to, but I'm used to putting on a compression sock (which I have to wear on on one leg).
They breathed fine, but I was never in any extreme heat, just 25° c or so. They dry quickly, so were easy to wash, and I wasnt aware of any pong. Maybe others were, but were too polite to say !
Worth a try, I'd say.
 

witsendwv

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2015)
#26
ArmaSkin socks came to my attention twice over the last month. The first time I read about them, I was mildly interested and I looked over the claims, researched a bit with the various subjective reviews on performance, and examined whether or not the claimed characteristics of the socks performance was consistent with the known facts for blistering and their prevention. but did no further follow up.

Early this morning, I read in a thread a post about ArmaSkins. My curiosity and backpacker's nerdiness then hit a peak, pushing me over the 'I need to see for myself' cliff. I am reposting what I wrote in that thread.

-----------------

ArmaSkin socks are a bit intriguing. They are intriguing because they rely on two methods to achieve what that which is needed in order to prevent blistering, or to at least prolong the time it takes for bistering to occur giving more time for someone to recognize a pre-blister 'hot spot' and take necessary action.

I have never tried them, but I have looked carefully at what the manufacturer claims will happen if you wear them and their theory of function, the materials and construction of the socks, and if the claims of blister prevention by the interruption of shear friction forces are plausible.

I ignore testimonials and other anecdotal observations, whether the anecdotes are positive or negative. After all, every blister prevention scheme ever concocted works for the believers who have had success with each method, and is a bitter failure to those who tried the same method but developed blisters anyway.

Bottom line for me: They hold promise, and I am going to purchase a pair for real world wear. I will be able to test the performance of each characteristic of the sock's construction as it contributes to blister prevention. The biggest factor I will be looking at is:
  1. The usable life span of the sock. Since there is a large number of variables which affect that measurement -- from the types of footwear and insoles used, to the weight of the wearer, to the number of steps it takes to cover a set distance from one individual to the next, etc -- my findings of this measurement cannot be an expected set standard for anyone else. But it will give a general indication of the friability of the sock in either the short or longer term.
  2. The repeat-ability of the sock's performance during the life span of the sock: does the sock perform at the end of its usable life as well as it did on the first day of wear?
Why am I going to try them? Because they are a new variation, almost a hybrid, in the implementation of blister prevention strategies. From what I have determined from my own research on these socks, they are said to prevent blistering by employing two tactics which can already be done, but which require extra steps to accomplish:
  • Providing a barrier to the skin from the effects of shear force friction. This is now done with tapes, moleskins, super glue and other coatings which harden on the skin after application, etc. ArmaSkin does this by a silicon coating which is slightly tacky, that is said to create a sort of 'gripping' stick to the skin quality to it which is designed to keep the sock immobile on the skin.
  • Creating a shear force reaction which is directed away from the sock to the skin, and places it between the shoe and the sock. ArmaSkin do this by sizing the sock to be a snug fit allowing the outer material of the sock to slide over the the interior of the shoe. That is now done by making sure that the socks, any socks, that are used for hiking are sized to be snug -- not tourniquet tight -- on the foot.
ArmaSkin socks will not function with a third strategy that is commonly employed, and that is to use lubrication to reduce friction as the sock slides on the skin in order to reduce or offset shear force friction. In other words, you cannot use vaseline or body glide or hiker's goo, etc. If you do, then it takes away from the way the socks are said to function. On the other hand, you can still employ a barrier to the skin, like tape, and the sock will still function as intended.

ArmaSkin socks are claimed to be able to wick moisture away from the feet. I will have to test that out to believe it, but I have no reason to doubt the claim based on the information of the sock's construction. Because ArmaSkins require an outer sock to work, I am going to look hard at whether or not my feet get too warm with the increased insulative effect. I normally use a lightly-padded, lightweight Merino wool sock.

I do reject the manufacturer's contention that the moisture wicking is an important factor in blister prevention. I look at this claim as feeding into the 'old hiker's tales' of failed theories. Although wicking moisture is good for foot hygiene and reduction of fungal growth, I view ArmaSock's focus on such as a blister prevention feature to be marketing hype, rather than science.

Wet skin does not promote shear force friction in and of itself. Having wet skin does not mean that blisters are inevitable or even likely. Wet conditions can soften the skin over time (maceration) and so can be more easily damaged by the effects of shear force friction which create blisters. However, if there is sheer force friction against the skin, it doesn't matter whether is wet OR dry, blisters will form. If the skin is wet, but there is no shear force from the sock to the skin, there should not be any blistering.

This will be an interesting test. I will have to get used to the change in the feel of using a double sock before I focus on the testing, as I don't want to have that new sensory input confusing or biasing the actual performance of the sock itself.

Are these socks a gimmick? I'll see for myself. A lot of people have used them and report that they work as advertised. There are very few negative reviews, but relatively speaking, this product has not seen a big user base. The primary negatives listed are that:
  1. The stated sizes recommended are extremely tight and needed to buy a bigger size.
  2. The socks are a bit difficult to put on.
  3. Cost. I am purchasing two pairs through Amazon. Shipping is free. The cost for the two pair is about $70.00 :eek:o_O I am buying one pair in the size recommended by the ArmaSkin size chart; and I am buying one pair, different color, one size larger. I will return the one which fits the least well.

As a a backpacker who puts hundreds of miles covering rugged wilderness trails each year, I will be able to feel confident in my personal assessment on the suitability of the socks as an effective blister prevention strategy for myself -- and whether or not these socks provide a justifiable cost/benefit ratio compared to the current existing methods which are known to also be effective.

-------------------------------------
I am glad to see my favorite socks are available now on Amazon. Three years ago when I found the company in Australia we had to keep our fingers crossed that the paper envelope that they were shipped in made it to the US intact.
 

witsendwv

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2015)
#28
ArmaSkin socks came to my attention twice over the last month. The first time I read about them, I was mildly interested and I looked over the claims, researched a bit with the various subjective reviews on performance, and examined whether or not the claimed characteristics of the socks performance was consistent with the known facts for blistering and their prevention. but did no further follow up.

Early this morning, I read in a thread a post about ArmaSkins. My curiosity and backpacker's nerdiness then hit a peak, pushing me over the 'I need to see for myself' cliff. I am reposting what I wrote in that thread.

-----------------

ArmaSkin socks are a bit intriguing. They are intriguing because they rely on two methods to achieve what that which is needed in order to prevent blistering, or to at least prolong the time it takes for bistering to occur giving more time for someone to recognize a pre-blister 'hot spot' and take necessary action.

I have never tried them, but I have looked carefully at what the manufacturer claims will happen if you wear them and their theory of function, the materials and construction of the socks, and if the claims of blister prevention by the interruption of shear friction forces are plausible.

I ignore testimonials and other anecdotal observations, whether the anecdotes are positive or negative. After all, every blister prevention scheme ever concocted works for the believers who have had success with each method, and is a bitter failure to those who tried the same method but developed blisters anyway.

Bottom line for me: They hold promise, and I am going to purchase a pair for real world wear. I will be able to test the performance of each characteristic of the sock's construction as it contributes to blister prevention. The biggest factor I will be looking at is:
  1. The usable life span of the sock. Since there is a large number of variables which affect that measurement -- from the types of footwear and insoles used, to the weight of the wearer, to the number of steps it takes to cover a set distance from one individual to the next, etc -- my findings of this measurement cannot be an expected set standard for anyone else. But it will give a general indication of the friability of the sock in either the short or longer term.
  2. The repeat-ability of the sock's performance during the life span of the sock: does the sock perform at the end of its usable life as well as it did on the first day of wear?
Why am I going to try them? Because they are a new variation, almost a hybrid, in the implementation of blister prevention strategies. From what I have determined from my own research on these socks, they are said to prevent blistering by employing two tactics which can already be done, but which require extra steps to accomplish:
  • Providing a barrier to the skin from the effects of shear force friction. This is now done with tapes, moleskins, super glue and other coatings which harden on the skin after application, etc. ArmaSkin does this by a silicon coating which is slightly tacky, that is said to create a sort of 'gripping' stick to the skin quality to it which is designed to keep the sock immobile on the skin.
  • Creating a shear force reaction which is directed away from the sock to the skin, and places it between the shoe and the sock. ArmaSkin do this by sizing the sock to be a snug fit allowing the outer material of the sock to slide over the the interior of the shoe. That is now done by making sure that the socks, any socks, that are used for hiking are sized to be snug -- not tourniquet tight -- on the foot.
ArmaSkin socks will not function with a third strategy that is commonly employed, and that is to use lubrication to reduce friction as the sock slides on the skin in order to reduce or offset shear force friction. In other words, you cannot use vaseline or body glide or hiker's goo, etc. If you do, then it takes away from the way the socks are said to function. On the other hand, you can still employ a barrier to the skin, like tape, and the sock will still function as intended.

ArmaSkin socks are claimed to be able to wick moisture away from the feet. I will have to test that out to believe it, but I have no reason to doubt the claim based on the information of the sock's construction. Because ArmaSkins require an outer sock to work, I am going to look hard at whether or not my feet get too warm with the increased insulative effect. I normally use a lightly-padded, lightweight Merino wool sock.

I do reject the manufacturer's contention that the moisture wicking is an important factor in blister prevention. I look at this claim as feeding into the 'old hiker's tales' of failed theories. Although wicking moisture is good for foot hygiene and reduction of fungal growth, I view ArmaSock's focus on such as a blister prevention feature to be marketing hype, rather than science.

Wet skin does not promote shear force friction in and of itself. Having wet skin does not mean that blisters are inevitable or even likely. Wet conditions can soften the skin over time (maceration) and so can be more easily damaged by the effects of shear force friction which create blisters. However, if there is sheer force friction against the skin, it doesn't matter whether is wet OR dry, blisters will form. If the skin is wet, but there is no shear force from the sock to the skin, there should not be any blistering.

This will be an interesting test. I will have to get used to the change in the feel of using a double sock before I focus on the testing, as I don't want to have that new sensory input confusing or biasing the actual performance of the sock itself.

Are these socks a gimmick? I'll see for myself. A lot of people have used them and report that they work as advertised. There are very few negative reviews, but relatively speaking, this product has not seen a big user base. The primary negatives listed are that:
  1. The stated sizes recommended are extremely tight and needed to buy a bigger size.
  2. The socks are a bit difficult to put on.
  3. Cost. I am purchasing two pairs through Amazon. Shipping is free. The cost for the two pair is about $70.00 :eek:o_O I am buying one pair in the size recommended by the ArmaSkin size chart; and I am buying one pair, different color, one size larger. I will return the one which fits the least well.

As a a backpacker who puts hundreds of miles covering rugged wilderness trails each year, I will be able to feel confident in my personal assessment on the suitability of the socks as an effective blister prevention strategy for myself -- and whether or not these socks provide a justifiable cost/benefit ratio compared to the current existing methods which are known to also be effective.

-------------------------------------
The Arma Skins are not difficult to put on, although they need to be rolled up and then rolled on to your foot. They do not go on like regular socks. Don't pull. I had to buy a larger size due to wide feet and bunions. The larger size can be loose in areas, but I have found I can smooth them to make good contact with the skin. No blisters during our Primitivo walk in greater than 40 degree heat.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria to Santiago Oct 2016; SJPDP To Santiago Oct 2018
#29
I wore armaskin on walking my first camino almost 2 yrs ago, no blisters, they didn't smell and kept my feet dry especially when you compare to regular socks. They wash easy and dry quickly. I also wear them at home when i purchase a new pair of shoes to help break them in, they work a treat for this as i am prone to blisters with new shoes. Thumbs up from me
 

Makitso

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte 2015
Camino Portuguese 2019 or 2020
#30
I also wore Armaskin 3 years ago. They were a gift from my son who is a Reservist in the Cdn Forces and I can say that those socks saved my walk to Santiago as it is easy for me to have blisters. They get a huge thumbs up from me also.
 

OLDER threads on this topic



Advertisement

Latest posts

Most downloaded Resources

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Forum Store

Camino Forum Store

Casa Ivar Newsletter

Forum Donation

Forum Donation
For those with no forum account, it is possible to donate here as well. Thank you for your support! Ivar

When is the best time to walk?

  • January

    Votes: 7 1.2%
  • February

    Votes: 3 0.5%
  • March

    Votes: 26 4.4%
  • April

    Votes: 94 15.9%
  • May

    Votes: 154 26.1%
  • June

    Votes: 46 7.8%
  • July

    Votes: 12 2.0%
  • August

    Votes: 9 1.5%
  • September

    Votes: 163 27.6%
  • October

    Votes: 66 11.2%
  • November

    Votes: 8 1.4%
  • December

    Votes: 3 0.5%
Top