Sockwa X8 Review UPDATE for Forefoot Running


I just wanna do a follow-up review on the
Sockwa X8, which is a much thinner-than-average-minimalist shoe that’s a crossbreed between a minimalist
shoe and a sock, I’ve had the X8’s for well over a year; they’ve been through a
lot as you can probably tell; I’ve racked up a ton of kilometers running and walking
in the shoes. I run about 18-km to 21 km a day, predominantly
on the road, sometimes on trails and grass. In the winter, if the snow is too deep, I
run at the indoor track. Based on my use of the Sockwa X8 in these
running conditions, out all the barefoot-minimciking minimalist running shoes I’ve tried, the
Sockwa X8 is one of the most weather-versatile in that they’ve excelled at keeping my feet
cool in the summer and warm in the winter AND more impressively, despite the shoe’s
thinness, the structural integrity of the Sockwa X8 has outlasted, by a long shot, compared
to other barefoot-influenced minimalist shoes. Despite appearing flimsy; despite being constructed
with very few materials, the fabrics, including the rubber outsole of the Sockway X8 are impressively
durable. Sockwa really hit it out of the park in their
formulation of constructing a paper-thin shoe that’s highly durable and long-lasting. In my honest opinion, its really the long-lasting
durability that fundamentally sets the Sockwa X8 apart from most barefoot-inspired running
shoes. My Sockwa X8’s have been through a lot,
but their days are far from numbered as you can tell they show very minimal, almost zero
signs of wear and tear; they’re still going strong, that’s why I put the Sockwa X8s
at the top of my list of highly recommended minimalist running shoes, especially for those
looking for a close-approximated substitute to barefoot running, again because the Sockwa
X8s are built to last, even after being exposed to harsh winter elements, the heat, sunlight,
humidity, the materials of the Sockwa X8 seems to be much more stable and dynamic than most
barefoot-style shoes in its class! So, what additionally makes the Sockwa X8
so appealing? What else is the shoe good for? Because the Sockwa X8 is incredibly low-to-the-ground,
its zero-drop, has non-existant cushioning which collectively, gives the shoe its ample
flexibility, its nimble-nature and agility as well as its feather-light weight, the X8
is definitely ideal for those transitioning to more minimalist shoe models or even barefoot
running. If you prefer not to run barefoot, the Sockwa
X8 is ideal for speedwork on smooth surfaces, on grass, or the beach. The X8’s would also be great as an occasional
track shoe. They’re also ideal for 5 km races, even
racing distances up to the marathon, or ultra marathons on any terrain. The Sockwa X8 is great for the gym including
weight-lifting, crossfit, they’re also great for hiking, walking, beach-sports, pretty
much anything except for maybe obstacle course races, such as Spartan and Tough Mudders to
which I dont compete in OCRs, so I can’t comment on how well the X8 would perform in
those events. Last but not least, the Sockwa X8 is of course
perfect for everyday wear, but overall, the use and practicalities of the Sockwa X8 ultimately
depends on what YOU prefer in terms of under-foot feel in a running shoe. If you love crystal-clear ground feel, if
you don’t mind feeling every single, specific aspect of the ground, including every little
pebble, every little twig, also including the temperature of the ground –that’s how
thin the outsole of the Sockwa X8 is –you can literally feel the coldness or the warmth
of the ground — if you like to feel almost barefoot, the Sockwa X8 is the perfect candidate
for you. The Sockwa X8 virtually has no under-foot
padding; it’s literally just a thin 2-mm sliver of soft, pliable rubber that delivers
probably the highest sensory resolution you’re gonna get from a rubber outsole. No doubt, the Sockwa X8 will more than meet
your sensory needs and exceed your barefoot-minmalistic expectations if that’s what you prefer. Now in contrast, if you prefer a little underfoot
cushioning, or if you prefer a lot of underfoot cushioning; if you don’t want feel the pebbly,
stoney literated terrain beneath your feet, the Sockwa X8 is not for you. But again, if you want to feel as close to
being barefoot as possible without having to actually go barefoot, the Sockwa X8 is
on your side. I just really wanted to drill that point home. In looking at the upper of the Sockwa X8,
it’s essentially a one-piece upper that’s soft and light that fits a little up the ankle,
not to tight, but securely enough to prevent debris from flying in. Inside the shoe, it’s pretty much seamless
to prevent irritation and blistering. As you can tell, the upper is not the most
fanciest design, Sockwa kept it simple, but who cares because when it comes to developing
and upholding strong feet, better balance stability and improving running form, function
trumps fashion in this case. The upper design of the Sockwa X8 is a take
from a water-sock and is resilient, it wraps to your foot look like a wet-suit; and is
built to handle a lot of miles despite how thin it is. Sockwa definitely threw in lots of durability
and rip-resistance into the upper without compromising flexibility or weight. Most importantly, credit of the unmatched
flexibility of the upper goes to the lack of external support or reinforcements to which
no external support in a shoe is most often a better way to build more functionally strong,
resilient, more tolerant feet because all sectors of the foot are engaged, enabling
the foot to function independently, stimulating the growth of a stronger foot. Therefore, like a true barefoot-style running
shoe, the Sockwa X8 lets your feet stay powered-up in muscular engagement which over time, will
produce a stronger foot and stronger, more responsive arches as well as stronger ankles
which may help bring results that’s good for injury prevention.There’s obviously
no straps or laces to the X8’s upper, which really gives you a nice ease of entry. The upper isn’t bogged down with unnecessary
overlays or plastic materials which offers up more flexibility and lightness, enabling
you to feel more agile and efficient. The upper is also really stretchy and adaptable
across the entire foot, so it’s unlikely that you’ll have any serious fitting problems. At the front of shoe, it doesn’t feel boxy
because the forefoot widens and follows the curvature of the front of the foot, allowing
for plenty of wiggle-room for toe splay, toe flexion and easily allowing for forefoot expansion
which are essential for helping you levy better balance control. When your feet, especially your toes, can
operate more freer, when they can participate more fully as they do in the Sockwa X8, you
always seem to do better, everything seems to benefit in that it keeps the toes functionally
strong and your balance more steadied which in turn, might help protect you from ankle
injury, especially during running. Another impressive benefit of the Sockwa X8’s
upper is that its made of an ariaprene foam material that’s breathable, yet thermal, offering
outstanding comfort in any weather condition, at least with my experience. When paired with socks, the upper does a great
job of sealing your feet away from the cold, it keeps your toes pretty warm during really
cold, frigid wintery conditions. During the summer, the upper provides enough
airflow, keeping your feet from cooking in the heat. I also want to mention that you can definitely
wear the Sockwa X8 without socks because the inside of the shoe is lined with plenty of
soft, seamless materials that feels really smooth on your feet, so you wont get any hot
spots or blistering and also, internally, the shoe is made of moisture-wicking fabric
that has anti-odor properties. Ultimately, compared to other barefoot-like
minimalist running shoes, the Sockwa X8’s unstructured upper is really one of the hallmarks
of the shoe’s great construction in that the upper thermally fortifies the foot during
the winter and also does a great job at keeping your feet cool in the summer, but I really
appreciate that the moisture-wicking lining helps keep the feet fresh and comfortable
in hotter temperatures. One of the reasons the Sockwa X8 is so prized
among minimalist shoe wear-testers, including myself, is its 2-mm thin rubber outsole which
is literally the thinnest slab of rubber you can possibly get in a minimalist running shoe,
but the outsole is also built to handle a lot of miles and can really stand up to long
distance running without the rubberized material degrading as fast as it so often does in many
other thin-sole barefoot-style running shoes. The X8’s outsole is also equipped with traction
features to help keep your feet grippy on slippery surfaces during running and walking. It does provide pretty good traction when
running on icy surfaces and snow, at least with my experience, that’s because the outsole
is constructed with a slip-resistant rubberized tread pattern. As you can tell, the outsole of the Sockwa
X8 is zero drop meaning the sole is completely flat; the outsole is thinner, more flexible,
more soft than most Vibram FiveFinger models. Most importantly, the X8’s outsole isn’t
loaded down with EVA foam, gels, plastic plates, or foot-stabilizing features that drain away
foot strength, but rather, the X8’s outsole is a thin sliver of supremely flexible rubber,
allowing the entire shoe to easily roll up into a ball, and really does a great job at
lining the bottom of your foot and provides a light, zippy feel while being protective
enough to prevent your underfoot from blistering, or tearing when running on any terrain. I also want to mention that the Sockwa X8
doesn’t come with a removable outsole and that’s to keep the shoe as minimalistic
as possible. This is actually what the Sockwa X8 is designed
for was to reflect the barefoot condition in efforts to prompt more appropriate uses
of the foot, especially a forefoot strike during running, so not only will the shoe
help you build up more internal strength in the foot/ankle complex, but also helps get
your forefoot strike running mechanics more lined up so that the net effect is less pounding
with foot on the ground, which makes you well on your way to potentially avoid impact-related
injuries. Last but not least, how does the Sockwa X8
compare to other minimalist running shoes? Along the minimalist running shoe spectrum,
in terms of thinness and ground-feel, the Sockwa X8 falls along the same line as the
Skinners and the Free You Free minimalist running socks, which are IMO, the most barefoot-mimicking,
thinnest forms of minimalist footwear out there and the Sockwa X8 are just as low to
the ground as the Free Your Feet and the Skinners. I’ve done video reviews on the Skinners
and the FYF’s running socks, they’re linked down below in the description box. Actually, the Sockwa X8 provides just a tad
more underfoot protection than the SKinners and the FYF. Furthermore, the Sockwa X8 is definitely thinner,
more lightweight, more warm, provides more ground-feel than most thin Vibram Five Finger
models. Overall, compared to most minimalist running
shoes, the upper coupled with the outsole of the Sockwa X8 gives a second-skin feel,
which is a feel that’s hard to come by in many minimalist running shoes. Ultimately, the Sockwa X8 is a great match
for the barefoot crowd because the shoe excels at delivering a very similar sensory experience
to the barefoot condition, making the X8 one the best alternatives to running barefoot;
the sensory input your get from the X8 is an excellent catalyst in helping you coordinate
a lighter, more responsive forefoot strike during running. Again, the X8 is durable for high mileage
and for any weather condition; whether you go fast or slow, this versatile minimalist
shoe/sock can handle whatever workout you’re doing. I love the simplicity of the X8’s design;
I really appreciate the smooth one-piece upper and how its totally unstructured, same with
the outsole which is going to help deliver more agility, helping improve your balance
control which going to come in handy for prompting more solid footing on uneven terrain, but
most importantly, and I can’t emphasize this enough, if you want a running shoe that
captures large volumes of sensory feedback, you can’t go wrong with the Sockwa X8; it
certainly won’t disappoint you in that department. I hope you’ve enjoyed this review. For more reviews on minimalist running shoes
conducive for forefoot running, hit the subscribe button where you always stay up-to-date on
the latest research regarding the health benefits of barefoot running. Thanks so much for listening and watching,
have fun out there on the roads and trails. Bye for now.

7 Comments

  • Cool review. Do you still run barefoot?.

  • That voice would deter a sex offender

  • Just started watching your videos and I really enjoy them! I've been running in kinvaras and nike free run I want to start using a racing flat as a training shoe have you done that before?

  • Great review. Those things sound awesome!

    I really wish they made them in other foot shapes/widths. Looking at the shape/taper/angle of the toe box area I can tell my big and little toes would end up completely off the outsole destroying the upper. My forefoot is WIDE and don't angle back in at the end at all like most people's do. Couple that with normal narrow heels and any athletic shoes are impossible to find in a proper fit. Guess it's still just my vibrams and me :/

    When will any other athletic shoe manufacturers please finally make shoes for those of us with caveman flippers? πŸ™

  • Hi, how many kms/miles do you think you've done in these?

  • Have you tried the Skinners? I love them, but they've all fallen apart around the ankle of all places. These, and the skinners, seem rather expensive. I've ordered these, but wander if you've compared them? Very similar. Looks like these have more sole than the Skinners, but the sole on the Skinners are still going strong for me.

  • Thanks for the info! πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘£πŸ‘ŠπŸ»

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