Footwear Review: Sockwa G2

by Editor on October 31, 2011

As a barefoot/minimalist runner, I run over 85% of my miles barefoot.  I am very particular about any “shoes” that I wear for a run.  In extreme weather (hot or cold), I will run in huaraches.  For very rugged trails or gravel levees I might wear Vibram KSOs.  The Sockwa G2 offers something in-between.

When the Sockwa G2s arrived from the company for testing, my first thought was that they were basically water shoes.  One of my co-workers that I train with runs in water shoes.  Her shoes and the ones I examined in the local mega-store have fairly thick, inflexible soles.  Water shoes are difficult to fold in half.  The Sockwas can be rolled into a small tube.  There is also a noticeable weight difference.

The first evening I had them, I wore them around the house.  They are very comfortable.  They quite literally feel like you are wearing socks.  I made sure to trim my toenails.  Because of the snug fit, I was concerned that any sharp nails might wear quickly on the neoprene uppers.

Construction:

The G2 has a ultra-thin 1.2 mm TPU sole.  (For comparison, my huaraches are 4 mm.)  The snug neoprene uppers offer some protection from debris that might be kicked up on the road or trail.  The top of the shoe has a breathable spandex-type material.

Fit:

Like the name implies, the Sockwa G2 fits like a sock.  It is snug, but very comfortable.  Due to the ultra-thin sole, the shoe is extremely flexible.  I was concerned that the snugness of the upper material would inhibit toe splay.  However, during my runs my feet did not feel restrained.

Footbed:

The foot bed has a very thin layer of neoprene material.  It is cushy, but not overly padded.

First Test Run:

I took the G2s out for their first trial on a 10-mile morning training run.  My intention was to only wear them for about a mile.

They turned out to be so lightweight and comfortable that they stayed on for the first four miles.

At that point, I felt a slight hot spot developing on the tops of my two smallest toes on my right foot.  I removed them for 2 miles and then I tried them again for another mile.  Another light hot spot developed under the inside ball of my right foot.  So, I figured that was enough for their first trial.

Additional testing:

A couple days following the first run, I took them out for a 4-mile night run.  I wanted to determine the cause of the “hot spot” issue.  I started out with a quick mile (7:45 pace – fast for me).  Next I did 2 miles very easy (12-minute pace).  I closed out the run with another fast mile.  Not once did I sense a hot spot developing anywhere on either foot.  It appears that the initial “hot spot” issue on my toes could have been from some rubbing against the stitching toward the outside of the shoe.  However, there were no issues on this and subsequent runs with the stitching.

In addition to my first two runs, I took them out several more times on runs as well as wearing them for an afternoon at work.  They provided protection from warm/hot asphalt on an 80-degree California afternoon.  You can feel the warmth of the asphalt or concrete through the soles.  The G2s are very comfortable to wear at work if nobody minds you wearing moccasin/sock-like shoes.

The G2s can give a slight measure of protection from chip-seal asphalt.  The chip-seal that these were tested on was pretty horrific and barely tolerable in bare feet.  Since the Sockwas have excellent ground feel, you definitely feel the gravel.  However, the shoes give some relief from the really sharp stuff.

I did receive one blister on the ball of my foot during testing.  However, in all fairness, I must state that the blister developed after I finished running a barefoot half marathon.  I had gone back to run some friends to the finish during the last mile.  The G2s had gotten wet and my feet were already slightly tender.

Pros:

Cons:
Extremely lightweight

Ultra-thin, flexible sole

Comfortable feel

 

Possible blistering

Overall Impression:

The Sockwa G2 is an excellent addition to a barefoot/minimalist runner’s arsenal of shoes.  They allow for excellent ground feel and are extremely flexible – both musts for a barefoot runner.  The G2s offer a thin layer of protection from general abrasions during road running.

If you are a regular road-runner who is looking for minimal protection from the surface and are not satisfied by the weight of other minimalist options, you will likely be pleased with the Sockwa G2.  For those who are not ready or able to make the barefoot leap, this might be just the to get that maximum barefoot-feel without being truly barefoot.

~Barefoot Terry

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Steve madden November 8, 2011 at 11:34 pm

Hi, which shoe should I get if I want to start with” barely ” footwear? I am interested in running with some protection .thanks

Rachelle November 14, 2011 at 4:50 pm

Steve,
Thanks for reading and for your question! Most of the shoes reviewed and listed on this site are excellent choices for ‘barely there’ minimalist shoes. A huarache sandal (like the Luna, Branca or Invisible Shoe) will provide the least amount of coverage for your foot though you will not sacrifice a protective sole. The Sockwa and Zem are barely there/neoprene style – like a protective water sock; the Soft Star are like a leather moc and nice for lifestyle wear, though many people really enjoy running in them; and kigo footwear is another ultra-light shoe that offers protection and a lifestyle design to give versatility.

We hope this helps! You can look at The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Barefoot Running for a listing (and rating) of these and other great options!

Enjoy your run!

Emily March 9, 2012 at 4:13 am

I just got and ran in my sockwa G2s today. Everything about them is great as a barefoot running shoe except the toe box. My toes felt pretty cramped after wearing my soft stars all day as a casual barefoot shoe and being used to running actual barefoot.

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