We Tried Darn Tough Socks, and Now We Want to Wear Them Everyday
Darn Tough says it crafts the world’s most comfortable, durable and best-fitting socks. We put that claim to the test.
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Darn Tough is a family-owned sock business with some bold claims. Namely, that it makes the most comfortable, durable and best-fitting socks in the world. Because I’m continuously trying to find the best gear for long hikes with my dog, Henry, I was eager to put those assertions to the test.
While Darn Tough was officially founded as a business in 2004, three generations behind the brand have been knitting socks in the Green Mountains of Vermont for nearly 40 years. Every pair of Darn Tough socks is produced in a single mill in Northfield, Vermont, which helps ensure quality control over each pair.
The brand is so certain of the quality of its socks that each pair is unconditionally guaranteed for life. That’s right. If Darn Tough socks don’t hold up to the claim that they’re the most durable pair you’ve ever tried, you can ship them back for another. No receipt necessary. Want more heavy-duty socks? Here are our best work socks.
What are Darn Tough socks?
I tried one of Darn Tough’s most popular pairs of socks: The Women’s Hiker Micro Crew Midweight Hiking Sock. And before getting into the nitty-gritty details of them, let me just say that the Hiker Micro Crews are some of the most comfortable hiking socks that my feet have ever experienced. Right out of the package, you can feel the quality construction and thick cushion of the sole.
The Women’s Hiker Boot Micro Crew is designed to hold up for serious hikers without tearing, blowing out or causing blisters. Beyond durability, Darn Tough socks are so popular because, as reviewers note, they’re breathable, comfortable, warm and keep your feet dry. They’re made with Merino wool, so they have that wool warmth, but without the itch. (Side note: Darn Tough socks were also a winner of a Backpacker Magazine Editors’ Choice Gold Award—one of the most prestigious awards in the outdoor industry—for their incredible durability.)
The Women’s Hiker Micro Crew has an underfoot cushion style, where the cushioning is concentrated at the bottom of the sock. If you’re someone who frequently hikes in cold weather, you might want a pair with full cushion support (available in other Darn Tough styles), which has thick cushioning throughout the entire sock for ultimate warmth, rebound and comfort.
For me, hiking in moderately cold winter weather (about 30 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit), the underfoot cushioning did just fine keeping my feet warm. Of course, I had them on with a standard hiking boot (Merrell Women’s Moabs, to be exact), which also helped keep my feet in tip-top shape.
Now, I only took them out on a few hikes, so I can’t speak to how they’ll hold up after years of wear, but I can speak to their comfort, sizing and design. Hikers who have used Darn Tough socks over the years, however, say that they don’t lose their comfort, even after withstanding, mud, rocks, water and other trail conditions. It looks like these deserve a spot next to your women’s work boots and women’s workwear pieces. Plus, that unconditional lifetime guarantee ensures that your socks will be replaced if they don’t hold up.
Darn Tough Socks Product Features
The Women’s Hiker Micro Crew average 7.5 inches from heel to cuff, so they come up about 5 inches above a low hiking boot. (That proved to be the case with my mid-height Moabs.) They also feature a performance fit, which means they fit snuggly so as not to slip, bunch and create blisters on the feet. It’s worth noting that the bottom cushioning in the Hiker Micro Crews wraps up around the toes and extends to the Achilles for full comfort and support.
These socks are made with 59 percent Merino wool, 39 percent nylon and 2 percent Lycra spandex. The Merino wool blend moves moisture, and I wore this pair for a couple of hours out in sleet one evening. Spoiler alert: My feet remained totally dry.
In terms of look and design, I tried the standard design in the taupe color, and they look like a standard gray tube sock with a neon green trim at the top. However, Darn Tough offers several different styles, colors and designs—including seasonal and limited-edition designs, like pairs with snowflakes around the top and others with a tree line design, complete with a tiny moon.
How We Tested Darn Tough Socks
Mary Henn/Family Handyman
I wore my pair of Darn Tough socks all over the place for a few weeks—on rough-terrain hikes, to the dog park on cold, wet days and even to a coffee shop to write this review. The soles have an excellent cushion that kept my feet comfortable for hours of walking.
The socks stretch enough to pull up comfortably over most ankles and calves, but they’re firm enough to resist slipping. They’re also not too thick or too tight. They didn’t make my hiking boots fit too snugly or cut off circulation around my calves. In terms of sizing, I found the socks to run a bit big at first. Darn Tough socks come in three sizes: Small, medium and large. I tried a large pair, meant to fit a women’s shoe size of 10 to 11.5. I typically wear a 9.5 or 10 in women’s shoes. While I think the socks could fit a bit snugger, I appreciate that my feet had room to breathe.
I also noticed that after a handful of washes, the socks did shrink a tiny bit, which actually made them fit better on my feet. However, the soles did start pilling after a few wash and dry cycles. In Darn Tough’s defense, the website does say to machine wash in warm water on a gentle cycle with socks inside-out, and then to tumble dry on low or hang dry. If I would have hung my pair to dry, I probably could have prevented the small balls from forming on the soles.
- Guaranteed for life
- Comfortable stretch and fit
- Reinforced footbed and Achilles cushion
- All-season weight
- Available in multiple styles and designs
- The socks may be large for narrow feet
- Pilling did form after several (ill-advised) wash and dry cycles
Is the Darn Tough Hiking Micro Crew tall enough to wear with a mid-height boot (boots that come just over the ankles)?
Yes, the Micro Crew socks should sit just a few inches above a hiking boot that stops above the ankle. If you’re looking for a longer sock for taller hiking boots, the Hiker Boot Midweight Hiking Sock comes up a few inches higher.
If I wear a shoe size larger than a women’s 11.5, should I order men’s socks?
Absolutely. Darn Tough socks fit universally, and men’s and women’s socks are not designed differently.
Are the tops of Darn Tough socks tight?
If your ankles swell and shrink during a long hike, or if you have a wider calf, you shouldn’t need to worry. I loved the fit of these socks and did not find the tops to be too tight whatsoever. Plus, they’re adequately stretchy.
What Other Reviewers Had to Say
Judy Ferguson, verified purchaser on Amazon, says, “I have several pairs of these. Great all-around hiking sock. Just enough cushion without being bulky, great length for boots, comfy even when wet. I was never a fan of wool blend (too itchy & hot) socks until I tried these. No itches, no sweaty feet, just more comfortable feet during and after long hikes.”
Five-star reviewer, Laura Walczak, says her first pair of Darn Tough socks didn’t start to wear out until after 11 years. “Darn Tough has a lifetime guarantee, but after over 10 years I was more than happy to purchase a few more pairs.”
Rudy Molina took Darn Tough socks on a three-day hike to Zion and was not disappointed. “[They] wicked moisture away from my feet after hiking the narrows which is knee deep water. Kept me from getting blisters from the hikes and also did not smell after three days of use. I will be buying another pair.”
Final Verdict: Are Darn Tough socks worth it?
At $17 to $30 a pair, depending on the style, Darn Tough socks might seem a little on the pricey side. However, considering the overall quality and lifetime guarantee, we think these socks are well worth the price tag. They, quite simply, are some of the most comfortable hiking socks I have ever worn—and I’ll likely be purchasing a few more pairs (for myself and as gifts) after writing this review.
Where to Buy Darn Tough Socks
The Women’s Hiker Micro Crew Hiking Sock retails for $25 at Darn Tough and $18 to $30 on Amazon, depending on the size and color. Some styles are available on Amazon Prime, which means they’ll be to you in time for your next hiking adventure.
Now, if Darn Tough could just make a pair of socks for pups… 😉
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