Field test and review – ArmaSkin
Earlier this year I was getting ready for a trek through the Himalayas, it wasn’t a long trek, only 120km. My preparations included many weekends hitting the trail, but more importantly, reviewing all of the gear I was to take with me. I have been hiking for a number of years now so was pleased that I was able to tick everything off my checklist without further investment.
Two weeks before departure I was getting ready to head to the high country for one last training run. When I picked up my trusty hiking boots I was devastated that a design flaw had caused the sides of the soul to tear a hold through the outer on each boot. No way was I taking these to the Himalayas now. I needed new boots.
I love buying new gear so I really wasn’t that devastated as it provided me with the opportunity to field test something new. So off to my favourite hiking store strip in Melbourne’s CBD. Half an hour later I walked out of the store, the proud owner of my next pair of boots.
The last training hike was a two-day hike into a remote area of the Victorian Alps. Not the ideal situation to be breaking in a pair of boots but I had no other choice. I needed to put them through their paces and become accustomed to my feet. Now before you say this was foolish I do take pride in the fact that my feet never seem to blister so I didn’t have a noteworthy reason to be concerned. To cut a long story short, after 12 or so k’s into the hike I felt the fresh-out-the-box hiking boots beginning to rub on my heels. I had a thick pair of hiking socks on and with my immunity to blisters I dismissed the burning in my heel and soldiered on.
By the end of day two, and safely back at the trail head, I slipped off my boots to find that I didn’t have any blisters. None whatsoever. What I did have now was a massive hole in each heel where the blisters used to be. The naturally protective bubble of skin that appears in the first stages of blister development had been cleanly torn off and all that remained was baby pink skin, approximately five layers deep.
All I could think was, servers yourself right. I hoped they would heal within two weeks. Now I should point out that this was not the boots fault, this was my fault for not following the correct breaking-in procedure.
On returning home my search immediately began for a blister free solution as I did not want a re-occurrence on a 120km hike.
Introducing ArmaSkin. Claiming to provide an anti-blister protection layer for endurance athletes, soldiers, adventurers, hikers and more that stop blisters under even the most extreme conditions. Blah, I have hiked with many people who still suffer from blisters even when wearing socks claiming to do the same.
My initial reaction when I first tried on the ArmaSkin socks, on a short 5km hike, was indifferent. They felt more like a compression sock than a sock which could provide blister protection. As the internal surface has a polymer friction coating my feet actually felt like they were slipping inside my outer sock layer. This would have to produce more blisters. And how could a polymer surface allow my feet to breathe?
By the end of the 5k trial run my indifference immediately vanished, they were remarkably comfortable, even with my mending heels. All of the seams have been sewn on the outside of the sock which provides you with a completely smooth inner surface which hugs your foot like a second-skin eliminating any rubbing that you would receive from any other sock.
Quite surprisingly, the ArmaSkin kept my feet completely dry, forcing the moister to the outer surface of the sock which is then further wicked away by your outer layer (provided you have wicking socks of course). Blisters can form when a number of conditions occur in your shoe. These conditions are heat, moisture and movement that generates damaging skin shear and friction. ArmaSkin seemed to eliminate all of these things. They’re bacteria-static too, so they didn’t even get too smelly.
I guess the real test would be in the Himalayas.
At this point I could digress and spend the next five days writing about how amazing the trek was but I will have to leave that for another time.
What I really want to say here is that If I hadn’t of been in possession of my ArmaSkin on the 120km trek when wearing my brand-spanking-new boots, I definitely would not have endured the pain of skin peeling from my heels. My feet and boots weren’t too smelly either which is quite a feat when you are in them for 6 hours a day for 12 days.
I mentioned that these socks felt like compression socks when I first put them on. Occasionally when hiking my right foot seems to swallow all of the water I am hydrating myself with and swells to the point I can no longer see my ankle. I have no idea what causes it and it doesn’t cause me any pain, it’s just weird and for some reason causes my wife to laugh at me. I am really really happy to report that now that I wear ArmaSkim as a base layer on all of my hikes my swollen ankle is no more.
Buy direct from ArmaSkin for $39 per pair
- ArmaSkin anti-blister second skin socks (inner sock) address all these conditions that cause blisters
- The Si fusion polymer friction coating adheres to the skin and PREVENTS any FRICTION that can occur naturally between socks and skin. Any friction generated in the shoe is absorbed by the outer fabric.
- The Si fusion polymer coating is macro porous and hydrophobic (water hating) therefore REPELS all 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.
- In addition, the Si fusion polymer is bacteria static so the socks can be worn for prolonged periods of time.
- Wash them with your normal clothes but avoid using bleach, fabric softener or sending them to the dry cleaners.
My reviews are based on my own on-trail field tests and I provide an unbiased account of the gear I use. Often, reviewers won’t take gear into the field but search online for existing reviews and collate them to form a conclusion. If you’re a retailer or manufacturer, I’d love to field-test your gear. If you are keen to hear how your gear performs, please get in touch.