The Skinners Socks Comfort 2.0 is a versatile, surprisingly tough take on the minimalist outdoor “sock shoe.” It has inspired imitators for good reason: it’s lightweight and suitable for everything from hiking and running to yoga and paddling. However, the odd sizing can make finding a good fit difficult.
Skinners Socks Comfort 2.0
✅ Extremely comfortable
✅ Great grip
✅ Dries out fast
✅ Versatile and multi-use
✅ Machine washable
❌ Not puncture-proof
❌ Little protection from rough terrain
❌ Liner bunches up when putting on/taking off wet
❌ Odd & imprecise sizing
- Weight: 5.6 oz/pair
- Material: StretchKnit™ six-fiber hybrid upper, polymer sole
- Thickness: 3 mm
- Cushioning/Padding: 2 mm insole
The Skinners Socks Comfort 2.0 sock shoe is a versatile and functional piece of minimalist footwear, with enough strength to win converts and quiet skeptics. (I personally went from finding them hopelessly gimmicky to finding excuses to wear them, quickly.) Designed to function as truly amphibious footwear, the Comfort 2.0 provides a great grip while in the water and dries out quickly when out of it. I enjoyed the feeling of letting my toes spread and my ankles stretch naturally as I walked, ran, and waded around in a pair of them.
I’d give them a strong recommendation for yogis, day hikers, paddlers, and people who like to camp near the water. Unless you’re already well-accustomed to “barefoot” hiking, however, I wouldn’t recommend them for long distances with a heavy pack, nor would I recommend them for prolonged use on pavement or rocky terrain, as they’re neither cushioned nor puncture-proof.
Performance Test Results
What We Tested:
How We Tested:
I tested the Skinners Comfort 2.0 Socks in southern Michigan during the early spring. Conditions were mostly sunny and dry, but I did also take them through several creeks and streams and across a variety of terrains. I also spent several weeks wearing them around indoors on hardwood floors and out in the backyard for gardening.
While these are heftier than a normal pair of socks, they’re much closer in weight to socks than to shoes. You can remove the liner, so if you’re in the mood to shave ounces there’s that opportunity, although taking out what little structure and protection these sock shoes have would make the going rougher on anything less than a perfectly groomed trail.
You could lose the liner with no comfort issues if you’re using the Skinners for yoga or water sports, but if you felt the need to do that, you’d be the first ultralight yogi or paddle boarder I’d ever heard of. Really, any tinkering with this footwear is probably unnecessary: it feels like almost nothing when it’s on your feet or in your pack.
Most of the weight comes from the gritty, grippy, polymer outsole. There’s no extra bulk anywhere here, as the Skinners are low ankle or ¼ sock height, unlike some of its competitors which reach a little higher up the leg. The Skinners 2.0 came in tied for the lowest weight of any competitor we compared, at just 5.6 ounces per pair, the same as the Baresocks 2.0.
While most similar sock shoes weigh in at around 6 or 7 ounces, the Aleader XOL is a full 13 ounces. (The PaxLife Barefoot doesn’t have a weight listed, though it appears nearly identical to the Skinners, and is likely in a similar weight class.)
A pair of Skinners Comfort 2.0 socks weighs 5.6 ounces.
At first glance, the Skinners Comfort 2.0, retailing for about $65.00, is on the pricier end of the spectrum among similar products. However, they’re one of only two from our list that boast an average mileage estimate to help gauge that cost relative to durability, the other being the Baresocks 2.0.
While the Baresocks are significantly cheaper at $28.00 per pair, they are also only rated for about 300 miles or 500 kilometers of use, while the Skinners 2.0 are rated for 500 miles or 800 kilometers of use. That’s equal to or better than most running shoes, and significantly less expensive.
From our list of competitors, the PaxLife Barefoot Sock is the cheapest option available at $24.99, although little information is available about their composition or durability. The Aleader XOL Barefoot Minimalist at $39.99, and the GoatGrip Adaptive Footwear at $44.95, is in the middle of the price range.
Only the FYF from Barefoot Company is more expensive than the Skinners, at $80.00 per pair, but they are constructed of 46.5% Dyneema to maximize durability and minimize weight--a price-to-quality tradeoff that many ultralight hikers will be familiar with.
The Comfort 2.0 is one of the more expensive options among similar footwear, retailing at $65.00.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the Skinners Comfort 2.0 are designed to be “barefoot,” minimalist footwear. So, if you’re looking for a high level of protection from the elements, you should probably be looking in a different aisle entirely.
That said, there are still degrees of quality to be assessed here, and within the category of barefoot footwear I think these can hold their own. The polymer sole is pretty sturdy, and the stretchy uppers are tough, too.
Like other footwear in this category, such as the Barefoot FYF, the product site makes clear that they are abrasion-resistant, not puncture-proof. But the Skinners--and my feet--also emerged unscathed from my test, which involved trekking through everything from the soft pine forest to the reedy marsh to the rocky creek.
One feature I appreciated during my test with the Skinners was the rough and pebbly sole material, which I felt made a real difference in my safety by crossing wet boulders in the creek. Likewise, the uppers were durable enough to protect my feet from reeds in the water and underbrush on land.
I would’ve felt less comfortable traversing rockier terrain in the Skinners. With this little padding between you and the ground, you’re going to feel those bumps, and could certainly puncture the upper or sole. But I was otherwise pleased with the modicum of protection these sock shoes provided when compared to just going barefoot.
Like other barefoot footwear, Skinners states that Comfort 2.0 is abrasion-resistant and not puncture-proof.
I really liked the feel of the Skinners Comfort 2.0 from the first moment I put them on. The liner is comfortable, and the uppers feel soft and stretchy despite being made from tough synthetic materials. There is little cushioning, by design, but the overall feel of the upper is comparable to something like a SmartWool sock.
There are so few components overall that there is nothing to poke, jab, or otherwise annoy your feet while you’re in them. That said, I had two major issues with the comfort of these sock shoes. The first was with the sizing. Just like with regular socks, there are not individual pairs of Skinners for each shoe size, but rather a small range.
These ranges are pretty imprecise, in my experience. I wear a US men’s 11 in my regular shoes and a 12 in my trail runners, and I thought I’d be safe (or maybe even a little cramped) in a pair of Skinners size 10-11. But even these were a little big for me, and I had some room to slip around inside them in the middle of the foot.
I appreciated the wide, comfy toe box and the snug ankle band, but overall the sizing felt sloppy: I wasn’t just spreading my toes, I was actively using them to grip the sole to prevent sliding. My other comfort problem was when I took off and put on my Skinners while wet. In these conditions, the removable inner liner had a tendency to bunch and twist, which I found pretty annoying.
I think attaching the liner to the body of the shoe would have been a smarter choice, even though it would eliminate the option of removing the liner to dry separately or shaving a few grams. There’s still plenty to like about the feel of these Skinners. They’re thin, flexible, and breathable, and can roll up and pack down into almost nothing.
Despite the slipping and sliding I was doing, I didn’t notice much in the way of chafing or hot spots, even over a few hours. Like with any minimalist footwear, it can be uncomfortable to walk over rough terrain or pavement in them, but these are equally comfortable in the woods and the creeks.
I’ll be perfectly honest: coming into this test, I was prepared to hate these sock shoes. They seemed conceptually gimmicky and functionally unnecessary. But within a few miles of leaving the trailhead, I was won over. I could walk, run, and scramble in them with ease.
They hit the right notes for “barefoot,” minimalist footwear, feeling like almost nothing, giving my Achilles a good stretch, and allowing my feet to comfortably achieve their natural spread while still providing a modicum of protection from the ground. They were at their most comfortable when I was on grass and the soft forest floor.
I wouldn’t recommend jumping straight from normal hiking shoes into long-distance backpacking in these sock shoes, however. I noticed that my gait changed while wearing them, in a way that made my legs more sore than usual by the time I was done, and I was only carrying one day and night’s pack weight for this test.
Easing in slowly to minimalist footwear like this is key. As far as their use in water, I had accidentally picked a trail where a footbridge over a creek was out, so I got a real chance to test out the amphibious capabilities of the Skinners. Even in moving water, they kept their grip on some submerged boulders I was crossing and stayed tight to my ankle when I stepped deep into the muck.
I did encounter a few downsides to these sock shoes as I was experimenting with their versatility. The first downside is the same as any minimalist footwear: you are really going to feel sharper rocks, exposed roots, and other random debris almost as acutely as you would in bare feet. That comes with the territory, and many minimalist enthusiasts gladly make this compromise.
The other downside is that there are plenty of ticks in my neck of the woods this time of year, and I ended up picking a bunch off of my bare skin that would otherwise have been caught by my shoes and socks in my normal hiking setup. You’re truly exposed to nature and the elements in these Skinners, with all the attendant pros and cons.
As expected from wearing any minimalist footwear, you’re going to feel sharper rocks or other random debris like being barefoot.
These sock shoes are designed to be abrasion-resistant and last a long time, although different uses in different conditions will affect their longevity. If you’re a bigger person using them exclusively for running on pavement, they will wear down faster than a smaller person using them as paddle boarding shoes, but that should come as no surprise.
The materials that make up the Skinners Comfort 2.0, an odor-resistant hybrid Italian fiber upper and a pebbly polymer sole, do feel like they can take a beating. (The upper reminds me of a stretchier version of a gardening glove or mandolin glove.
The exception to this durability is that Skinners are not puncture-proof. They’re thin and lightweight by design, which means that wearing them outdoors in any capacity is going to require the user to step with the intention to avoid sharp objects, be they broken sticks and rocks on land or zebra mussels, sea urchins, or trash in the water.
Because the Comfort 2.0 are designed to be worn by themselves on bare skin, they can’t be returned once they’ve been used. (The company recommends testing them with a thin sock liner on a clean indoor surface first; any dirt, wear, or washing will prevent a refund or exchange.)
This is similar to the policies governing the Baresocks 2.0, Aleader XOL, and Barefoot FYF, all of which disallow refunds with any sign of use, though their return windows vary. From our list, only the GoatGrip Adaptive model allows returns or exchanges even if the footwear has been field-tested.
The Skinners Comfort 2.0 consists of a pebbly polymer sole and a trademarked StretchKnit upper, a six-fiber hybrid. The sole actually wraps up and over the toe box, up the sides of the foot, and all the way over the back of the heel, which provides protection while still allowing the upper to stretch. The upper runs from the back end of the toes up through the low ankle. The removable sole is a thin, perforated grid of synthetic material that adds little bulk or weight to the sock shoe.
These materials dry quickly--more on that below--and the sole itself is waterproof, though the upper is not. The upper is pretty breathable despite its thickness, the downside being that the fibers also trap dirt and silt during your outdoor excursions.
The materials are fortunately also machine-washable, which is a nice touch. Actually, all products we compared here are machine washable, save for the Barefoot Company FYF, about which there is some debate (although most sites suggest hand washing those only).
The FYFs are constructed of a fiber blend that contains 46.5% Dyneema fabric, a material familiar to many lightweight outdoor enthusiasts. That material difference accounts for the washing anomaly, although it also leads to the FYFs running at the high end of both price and quality in this category.
The other sock shoes we compared all have rubber soles that look nearly identical to the Skinners sole, save for the Baresocks 2.0, the sole of which appears nearly identical to the upper (resulting in a look that is much more sock-like than the rest of the field). The Baresocks have an upper made of 100% recycled CoolMax™ yarn.
Meanwhile, the GoatGrip, Aleader, and PaxLife models don’t list specific fibers in their uppers. The PaxLife Barefoot Socks in particular, given their price and a website that’s light on product details but heavy with spelling and UX errors, seem like they might just be a cheap knockoff of the Skinners.
One other difference between the Skinners and similar products is that the Skinners come in eight different colorways in both the men’s and women’s categories, the most of any competitor we compared. If you’ve got strong opinions on the styling of your footwear, there are more options here than anywhere else.
Comfort 2.0 is machine-washable, dries quickly and has a waterproof sole.
Because they’re designed to function as water shoes, among other uses, the Skinners Comfort 2.0 are not waterproof if you submerge them. The sole itself is waterproof, so if you’re just crossing wet grass or stepping into a shallow puddle you might not feel anything, but that’s not the overall goal for this sock shoe or any of its competitors.
What’s more important for footwear like this is how quickly it can drain and dry. If you’re moving between water and land on the same excursion, you obviously don’t want your feet to stay soaking wet, given the potential for chafing, blistering, and pruning that can create.
These passed the test with flying colors. After each full soaking, I gave them, the Skinners dried out within 15-30 minutes of walking on land. I shaved off even more time on some attempts by removing and wringing out the liner before continuing on. Granted, this was on a sunny spring day with plenty of dry ground to walk on, but I was still impressed.
My biggest issue with using these sock shoes on water and on land back-to-back, as I mentioned above, was the liner’s tendency to bunch up or get twisted out of position if I took them off and put them on wet. The previous version of the Skinners didn’t come with this liner and so didn’t have this issue, although it also lacked the light cushioning of the 2.0 as a result.