We featured a mini-review by a guest contributor back in March—James has been a big fan of his Sockwa shoes and was kind enough to share his thoughts on why he enjoys the Sockwa so much. You can check out his original review here.
Meanwhile, back in January Sockwa was kind enough to send me a pair of Sockwa G2 to test out and review for BirthdayShoes and I have been spending the past few months testing them out. I think I am finally ready to share my thoughts.
The Sockwa line of shoes are a different take on minimalist footwear. They utilize a stretchy plastic sole instead of the rubber soles most shoes have. The sole is very thin. This helps to provide one of the best ground feels of any minimalist shoe I have tried to date. They also feature a stretchy upper that feels more like a sock than a shoe. Unfortunately, the Sockwa does come with some drawbacks.
Want to see how the Sockwa preforms as a minimalist shoe? Follow me after the jump for my full review and photographs of the Sockwa G2!
Back when I ordered Sockwa G2 to test out, I followed the sizing chart on their site and asked for a size 10. The shoes turned out to be too short. Customer service was great. They handled my issue quickly and professionally. I sent those back and exchanged them for a size 11. The size 11 fit me fine in terms of the length. Unfortunately, I found them to be incredibly tight on my wide feet.
The Sockwa G2 fits closer to a sock than a shoe. The elastic, almost spandex like material of the upper stretches to conform to your foot's unique shape. This should be fine for people with narrow feet. I feel like my toes are crammed into the toe box because of I have wider than average feet. I spent several days trying to stretch the fabric and the sole of the shoe in order to relieve the excess pressure on my pinky toe. I found leaving the shoes in a shoe-stretcher for a few days helped some. I will get back to that in a moment.
Take a look around the Sockwa G2 with these photographs:
This is where the Sockwa G2 shines. The sole of the G2 is incredibly thin and flexible. There is less than 2mm of material between you and the ground. Each shoe weighs 2.4 - 3.5 oz. depending on the size. If you care about ground feel, you can't get much better than these shoes. I was able to feel every pebble and crack in the pavement. I have been very impressed with the amount of ground feel the Sockwa G2 provides. I am hard pressed to come up with another minimalist shoe that provides more ground feel.
The sole also seems pretty puncture resistant. I tested the shoes by stepping on some sharp pointy rocks. The sole did not get punctured and looked no worse for the wear. I was not exactly comfortable with that much ground feel during that one particular instance. My foot did seem to be protected, but I could see getting bruises if you don't watch where you walk. I don't think I would like to trail run in these shoes. Over the four month period I have been testing this shoe, the sole has held up very well.
I once saw a video of the Sockwa sole being stretched and pulled in all sorts of directions (You can watch the video on YouTube). I found I was not able to do this with my shoes. They secured the sole to the fabric footbed. The fabric footbed apparently greatly reduces the amount of stretch that you actually get from the sole.
This is where things start to fall apart for me. My feet feel extremely cramped in these shoes. Even after I sized up to a size 11 my toes were craving more room. I could feel my pinky toe being pushed under the 4th toe. My pair of Sockwa is only four inches at the widest part. If you have wide feet, you might want to keep this in mind.
If you have a narrow or average size foot, then you should be okay with the width of these shoes. If you have a wider foot, you might want to avoid the Sockwa G2. I let a few people who have similar size feet as me try them on. They all agreed that they felt cramped in the toes.
I was able to stretch the shoes and relieve some of the issues I had with the width. I was not able to fix the issue completely though. I can only wear them for about 30 minutes before I feel the need to take them off and let my feet flex/stretch.
The upper feels good on the foot. It breathes well and does a good job of regulating your temperature. There is a seam along the inside of the shoe that rubbed me the wrong way that runs along the entire inside of the shoe. I found it to be most irritating around the big toe and heel. I did not notice it so much around the other parts of my foot.
I was able to fix the seam issue by wearing a pair of socks. Some people might object to having to wear socks with a shoe like this and I do find it strange that for a product with sock in the name I feel compelled to wear socks with them for comfort. I hope in future models they can reduce the number of seams in the shoe.
Even though the Sockwa G2 is not wide enough for me, I still expect to use these shoes from time to time. I consider them to be a great emergency shoe. They are so minimal you can roll them up like a pair of socks and bring them anywhere you go.
I brought them with me on a recent trip to San Francisco. They fit easily into my luggage and I will make sure to bring my pair along when I go traveling. The Sockwa G2 provides an excellent buffer between your feet and a dirty hotel room. They also make a great shoe that you can wear as you are going through airport security.
I also think they would be a great beach/aquatic shoe. I did not do any extensive water testing but they fit well enough that I would not worry about them slipping off when submerged in water. The grip is also good in wet conditions—I never found myself slipping and sliding on the driveway when it was wet outside.
I use these shoes most often when I want to take a quick trip outside. They slip on quickly, so I can put them on and be out the door in seconds. When I need to walk to my mail box these are the shoes I reach for. If I did not have such wide feet. I think I would enjoy wearing them for much longer periods of time.
I really want to like the Sockwa G2. I just can't get over how narrow they feel on my feet. I would recommend the Sockwa G2 if width is not an issue for you—James clearly loves his. On the other hand, I would pass on the Sockwa G2 if you tend to buy wide shoes and crave lots of toe space.
The sizing can also be a little weird—they don't seem to go above a size 11 in the G2 (Other models like the G3 have larger sizes). You can go to their website to see their full size chart. Finally, Sockwas are priced reasonably—they range from $35-50 depending on the size and style.
If the Sockwa G2 was about half to 3/4th of an inch wider. I would not have any real issues with these shoes. I think the ground feel is excellent, they are incredibly light and flexible, and you can roll them up and fit them in your pocket. That puts them on the ultra-minimalist side of the minimalist/"barefoot" shoes spectrum. They've held up well over the four months I have been testing them, too.
Sockwa has designed a really good minimalist shoe for narrow feet. One last gripe: the Sockwa branding is very noticeable on the side of the shoe. It makes me feel like a walking billboard. All said, I hope future models come out in wide widths, less noticeable branding, and fewer seams.
- Very Light
- Extremely Flexible
- Zero Drop
- Amazing Ground Feel
- No arch support
- Good Price
- Too Narrow For Wide Feet.
- A Few Uncomfortable Seams.
- Excessive Branding
Do you own a pair of Sockwa? What do you think about them? Sound off in the comments below. We love hearing from our readers!