Gear Review: Darn Tough Vermont Socks and Why Choosing the Right Socks is Essential

Testing the Darn Tough Vermont
Women's Wool No Show Light Cushion Sock.
One of my most painfully learned lessons over past years is that when you're hiking, backpacking, or running, some of the most important decisions you'll make when it comes to gear involve your feet. Having an innovative backpack and clothes that let your body breathe are important, but if something happens to your feet, things aren't going to end well.

On one of my first trips to the Adirondacks in 2006, I ended up with half dollar-sized blisters on my heels from improperly broken-in footwear and the wrong socks. As a result, my partner and I had to forgo a hike up Mt. Colden after a six hour drive and a long hike in. I'll never make that mistake again (and thank goodness for Moleskin). Since that fateful trip, I've been overly conscious of the shoes I buy, but don't always spend enough time considering socks. Friends, all socks are not created equally. When Darn Tough Vermont offered to send complimentary socks for me to test, I couldn't wait to try them out.

I prefer ankle or no-show socks unless I'm wearing heavy duty boots, so I opted to test the Women's Wool No Show Light Cushion Sock. They're thicker than the socks I normally wear for running and CrossFit workouts, but the same thickness as some of my favorite pairs of hiking socks. They provided just the right amount of cushion during track sprints and other running fun, which I appreciated given I only wear minimalist running shoes these days. The socks have an elastic arch support stitched in, but I didn't notice a significant difference between the arch support in the Darn Tough socks and my other athletic socks.

The socks in this review, pictured right,
survived everything I put them through.
One of my biggest complaints about socks is having to deal with uncomfortable seams. Darn Tough found a way to take care of that issue with the socks I tested. The knitting machines they use allow them to knit ultra-light, dense socks with an undetectable toe seam. As a result, they're one of the most comfortable pairs of socks I've ever worn.

The No Show Light Cushion Socks are 53% Merino Wool, 49% Nylon, 5% Lycra® Spandex. The combination of materials makes them soft, not itchy, and I can hardly feel the seam at all, even when I'm running. Though they're no show socks, there's a bit of extra material at the top of the ankle that provides additional protection.

I also love that the socks aren't completely white, given how dirty my socks tend to get when I'm playing outside. I tested the white/fuschia pair, but they're also available in different color combinations, including black. After several wears and washes, the fuschia dye bled into the white part of the sock, most noticeably where the backs of my shoes sit against my heels. This doesn't affect the socks' performance and for me, it's not an issue.

Darn Tough stands behind their socks
with a lifetime guarantee. Love it.

And the folks at Darn Tough Vermont are specialists; they've been making socks, and only socks, right here in the United States for over 30 years. That longevity is rare these days, and a big plus.

The bottom line? Socks aren't just socks. They're an important piece of our gear collections, and the right pair can make even the longest of hiking days or runs easier on your feet. If you're looking for a comfortable pair that will last, Darn Tough Vermont has you covered. I could easily see my future sock drawer full of these Darn Tough socks and nothing else.

You can buy Darn Tough Vermont socks through REI, EMS, and, among other online retailers. Visit the Darn Tough website for a list of local retailers near you.
The pair I tested have an MSRP of $14.95.

If you're already a Darn Tough fan, sound off in the comments! Based on the discussions I've had with fellow hikers, I know you're out there!


Susan DeBruin said…
I just got two pairs of Darn Tough socks -- a knee high boot sock and a shin high sock. I love the knee high ones, but the shin high keep sliding down my foot. Still, they are way more comfortable than any other wool sock I have tried. I'm sold :)
Katie said…
Interesting that the socks slide down...are they maybe too large? Strange! Regardless, glad you're happy with one of the pairs :) And same here, I'm sold!