ArmaSkin socks are designed to prevent friction blisters on the feet by reducing the coefficient of friction (COF) between two sock layers. The ArmaSkin sock is the inner (liner) sock of this double sock system, and the outer sock can be any sock of your choosing.
How Do ArmaSkin Socks Work?
These socks are absolutely unique. The inner surface of the ArmaSkin sock that is in contact with your skin is coated with a thin layer of silicone. This makes it grip to your skin. While this may sound counterintuitive, because they increase the COF, this is offset by what happens on the other side of the sock.
Meanwhile, the outer side of the ArmaSkin sock is very smooth and slippery. This means it has a low COF with any sock it interfaces with (cotton, wool, synthetic, moisture-wicking). Movement at the sock-sock interface is easy to come by, so your two sock layers will slip and slide relative to one another with ease.This slipping and sliding is how all COF strategies work to prevent blisters (think lubricants and Engo patches) – they encourage easy movement at an interface to allow the skin to move more in sync with the underlying bone, which moves within your foot as part of normal function. This reduces the magnitude of soft tissue shear distortions, which when repetitive, is what causes blisters.
Compared To Other COF Management Blister Prevention Strategies
Just to get your bearings, here’s where ArmaSkin socks sit in comparison to other COF-reducing blister prevention strategies in terms of which interface they work at:
- Lubricants, moisture-wicking socks: skin-sock interface
- ArmaSkin socks: sock-sock interface
- Engo Patches: sock-shoe interface
ArmaSkin explains the mechanism of action as “allowing external movement to be deflected instead of being transferred to the skin layers as destructive shear forces” which isn’t a bad way of describing it. Another way of describing it would be the movement differential occurs between sock layers instead of within the skin.
ArmaSkin Sock Features
ArmaSkin socks are stretchy, so they’ll conform to any foot shape without folding or creasing. The high friction inner surface means when donning, they won’t just slide on – you’ll need to get down and use two hands to roll them on. They definitely won’t slide down or bunch up – their stickiness dictates they’ll stay perfectly in place.
They have quite prominent seems, which seem like they have the potential to irritate. But in my testing, and in scanning reviews from various sources, this doesn’t seem to be a problem. They’re on the outer side of the sock rather than the skin side, so that probably helps.
When you put the ArmaSkin socks on, they feel like they might be waterproof – at least that’s the initial impression I had. However, thankfully, they’re not waterproof. They’re breathable, so moisture is free to move in and out of the sock. That’s a good thing because you want to allow sweat to move to away from the skin surface and into the outer sock, which can then evaporate through the shoe upper.
Who Uses ArmaSkin Socks?
ArmaSkin socks are used by hikers mostly, but also runners and athletes of all sorts of sports. I also know a few people with a severe blistering condition called epidermolysis bullosa who wear them. They offer all-round friction relief (except the interdigital spaces), which is great if you get blisters in a lot of places. However, it’s important to know there is a potential downside to this all-over effect.
It’s a Balancing Act
The foot, sock and shoe linings are designed to provide high friction so there is stability and traction for the foot in the shoe. This is necessary for the efficiencies of gait, like propulsion (push-off), braking and cutting (changing direction). A low COF over the whole foot means the whole foot slips within the shoe, and you lose a bit of that efficiency – it gets absorbed.
So if you’re running or playing a sport where efficiency is vital (eg: running on technical trails, sprinting, or track and field events like high jump and long jump), you might opt for a COF strategy that is more targeted, like Engo Patches. That way, traction is maintained everywhere except for the small area of skin that needs friction relief. Similarly, if you’re playing a sport where you often get black toenails, such as netball, or running downhill for long sections, you might want to just target the problem area so you don’t exacerbate the situation. Or just make sure your laces are done up really firmly to help hold the foot still.
If you’d like to learn more about ArmaSkin socks, here are several review articles, mainly from hikers/walkers:
- Trail Hiking
- The Hiking Society
- Hiking For Her
- The Helpful Hiker
- Bushwalking Blog
- Camino de Santiago Forum
Or head over to the ArmaSkin website.
ArmaSkin Socks Now Available from the Blister Prevention Shop
We are pleased to stock ArmaSkin socks in the Blister Prevention Shop. They come with a conditional money-back satisfaction guarantee for up to 60-days after purchase.
- Colours: Black and white
- Heights: Short and long
- Short: S, M, L
- Long: S, M, L, XL
- Toesocks (short only): S, M, L
How To Approach Blister Prevention
No matter what strategy you use in your quest to be blister-free, set your expectations based on a good working knowledge of how that strategy works, including its pros and cons. Here’s what you need to know.
How They Work
- ArmaSkin socks are a coefficient of friction reducing blister prevention strategy.
- The ArmaSkin sock is the inner sock of a double sock mechanism. Use any sock as the outer sock.
- They provide a grippy high friction interface with your skin, and a low friction interface with your outer sock.
- All over friction management (except between the toes – there is a toesock version they are still working on perfecting but are available directly from ArmaSkin)
- Reduced traction for the foot in the shoe (negative impact on efficiencies of gait, more likely to be detrimental in certain applications)
- Some users have noted feet can get hot on a hot day with high exertion.
Overall, ArmaSkin socks are a unique and effective option for active people of all persuasions who are looking to prevent blisters over large areas of their feet. However, like any blister prevention strategy, it’s important to keep in mind their mechanism of action and their pros and cons.
About The Author
Rebecca Rushton BSc(Pod)
Podiatrist, blister prone ex-hockey player, foot blister thought-leader, author and educator. Can’t cook. Loves test cricket.
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