Most people overlook the importance of footwear and spend even less time focusing on the socks they wear. The reality is that poor choices in footwear and socks can ruin an adventure very quickly. Although satisfied with my Feetures socks for running, biking and hiking I was in the market for a work sock. I was looking for something more rugged then my Feetures and that could hold up to demands that of rope access work. I picked up two pair of Darn Tough Hike/Trek Micro Crew Full Cushion socks to see what they had to offer.
Initial Thoughts- The Darn Tough brand has an interesting guarantee for their products. Not only do they warrant their products against defects but they offer to replace them if you wear them out. Darn Tough is so confident that they make the most durable socks on the market they are willing to stick their necks on the line. You have to respect that. The socks are made in Vermont which they proudly display on their packaging. Would you expect anything else from the hippie epicenter of the East? Anyway the hike/trek socks are made from a blend of merino wool, nylon and lycra. The socks definitely have more of a traditional wool feel to them. That being said they do not feel itchy like some wool products. The socks have a normal amount of elasticity to them, but I would not describe them as being particularly stretchy. The particular pair I have has a full cushion extending across the bottom of the foot. Overall the build quality seems to be legit.
Use- A few weeks back I had some heavy manual labor work that required wearing boots for five days. It was the perfect opportunity to do some quality testing and replicate a week of backpacking. Starting on Monday I put on a fresh pair of socks and then spent the next eight hours working in 100 degree heat, wearing Gore-Tex lined hiking boots. I decided the best way, was to use the socks repeatedly for the next five days. (The things I do for you guys.) Similar to the trail life, I pulled the socks off at night and let them dry out. After five days of heavy use, the socks performance was shinning through. Although I had managed to wear them for five days they did not manage to develop any unmanageable smells. That being said they were not as fresh as day one, but they were not near as smelly as your normal cotton sock. During the course of this week I through a second curve ball in, by wearing brand new boots. I am happily reporting that I suffered no blisters, just some hot spots that never materialized. At the end of the day my feet were sweaty when I removed the socks. My feet did appear wrinkled, but all the skin managed to stay in place. I really was trying to get these socks to fail, but they just did what they were intended to do. All though the material of the sock is not as soft as some, I found them to be comfortable for all day use. The socks do not appear to have much wear on them after washing multiple times. Minor pulling of the wool is seen, but nothing that should cause any alarm.
Final Thoughts- I threw everything I could at the Darn Tough socks and they didn't manage to flinch. By the end of my test week the socks may have stood up on their own, but I was completely satisfied with their performance. The feel of the material, performance of the wool blend, and warranty is hard to beat. I would recommend these socks to someone who is tough on their gear. Or should I say, Darn Tough (oh come on, you knew it was coming). With plenty of styles available there is literally a sock for everyone. You can find out more about Darn Tough's line of products or their story here.
*These socks were purchased for testing at my place of employment.