Sockwa X8, The Barefoot Running Sock

Forget about barefoot shoes, the best way to maximize your biomechanics is with the Sockwa X8, a barefoot sock with an impressively thin, durable outsole with a rubberized grip. Moreover, if you are looking for a better alternative to the Vibram FiveFingers, and need a shoe that works best during the winter, yet breathes well in the summer heat, the Sockwa X8 goes beyond meeting your needs.

Sockwa vs Vibram
Not a fan of the toe shoes? (right). The Sockwa X8 (left) is a better alternative for those who have a hard time adapting to the toe sockets of the Vibram FiveFingers

Running is worthless if you cannot feel the ground, if your foot is restricted and if your arch is superficially supported. Running shoes either add value to your biomechanics, or take it away, and the Sockwa X8 is by far the most barefoot-mimicking minimalist shoe I have ever worn. Because of this, they enable me to make sure I land properly on my forefoot, and avoid heel strike and they keep my arches functioning healthy and strong. Overall, these shoes solve a lot of biomechanical problems because they maximize sensory input at the feet.

Sockwas

Sockwa Review

Sockwa X8, The Barefoot Sock

If you are brand new to forefoot running, I would highly recommend the Sockwa X8. The X8’s outsole does an incredible job at maximizing sensory feedback from the bottom of the feet, making it easier to achieve a forefoot strike. Strong evidence suggests when you can feel the ground, you run with better avoidance responses in your lower leg reflexes, therefore helping you avoid high loads. This is how you avoid running injuries.

The Sockwa X8 has a thinner outsole and better ground-feel than the Vibram KSO (one of Vibram’s thinnest running shoes). Because of this, you will have better neuromuscular control of your biomechanics. These shoes are also light, giving you that barely there feel which helps your legs save energy.

Because of their lightness and flexibility, I love doing speed workouts in the Sockwa X8’s. Not to mention, they satisfy the golden rule of minimalism – no padding under the heel. As you can see in the video above, the zero drop construction of the X8 makes it possible for your heel to completely lower to the ground, a process that helps the arch and Achilles tendon store more elastic strain energy.

Most importantly, don’t assume that just because the outsole is paper-thin, doesn’t mean the shoe will not hold up on the trails or over long distances on the roads. So far, I have logged approximately 504 km in the Sockwa X8 and their tread shows very minimal signs of wear and tear. And, I do ALL of my runs on the road!

Sockwa X8 Review
This is what 500 km of running on hard pavement looks like on the Sockwa X8 – The tread has barely worn-down. The tread pattern is also slip-resistant, so you have no reason NOT to run in the rain.

I wear the X8’s comfortably without socks and I haven’t had any blistering or skin irritations. Now that the warm weather is here, my feet do not sweat despite the shoe having superior insulation for the winter. I also like that shoe fits snug higher up on the foot, this is handy for keeping debris out.

Sockwa Minimalist Shoes

  • The Ariaprene upper of the Sockwa X8 makes the shoe weather-versatile, so you can wear them comfortably throughout the summer and winter.
Sockwa X8 Review
A true forefoot running shoe should do this: rolled up into a ball. You need a shoe without arch support or any other stability that interferes with the natural motions and functions of your foot.

Other notable features of the X8:

  • Zero drop, better than a racing flat
  • 2 mm thin midsole layer
  • Helps you look for problems in your running form
  • Great for cross-training, too
  • Laceless design makes them convenient to wear and stays on perfectly without slipping off
  • Provides the right amout of traction on all surface types
  • Sock/shoe hybrid
  • Breathable upper
  • High ground-feel clarity helps orient your forefoot strike
  • Made of odor-free materials
  • Good protection from stones
  • Great for running/walking on the beach
  • Stretchy upper accomondates to your unique foot structure
  • Abrasion resistant upper
  • Machine washable

Sizing tip: the Sockwa X8 fits snug, like a glove, so make sure you select a full size up from your regular size.

Watch my YouTube video for a more in-depth review of the Sockwa X8:

More From Run Forefoot:

Bretta Riches

Bretta Riches

"I believe the forefoot strike is the engine of endurance running..."

BSc Neurobiology; MSc Biomechanics candidate, ultra minimalist runner & founder of RunForefoot. I was a heel striker, always injured. I was inspired by the great Tirunesh Dibaba to try forefoot running. Now, I'm injury free. This is why I launched Run Forefoot, to advocate the health & performance benefits of forefoot running and to raise awareness on the dangers of heel striking, because the world needs to know.
Bretta Riches

P.S. Don't forget to check out the Run Forefoot Facebook Page, it's a terrific place to ask questions about forefoot running, barefoot running and injury. I'm always happy to help!

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