10 Best Darn Tough Socks Reviewed and Compared
When it comes to socks for adventure seekers, athletes, and those who love exploring the great outdoors, Darn Tough is among the best. Like its name suggests, its socks are made to last and are easily the best darn socks for hiking, running and other activities.
- Light Hiker Micro Crew
- Versatile & Breathable
- Coolmax Vertex No Show
- Super Lightweight
- Micro Crew Cushion Hiking
- Quick Drying & Durable
Not only does Darn Tough socks have a long shelf life, but it also mixes its rugged nature with its high level of comfort. This means consumers are able to enjoy nice, long hikes blister and pain-free.
Darn Tough offers different styles of socks, from everyday crew options to high-performance training or hiking. And the company offers a lifetime guarantee, ensuring that these are the most comfortable and durable socks that won’t have consumers reaching for another pair.
10 Best Darn Tough Socks
Light Hiker Micro Crew
These are among the best of the best when it comes to Darn Tough socks in this category. It is made in part of merino wool, which is super soft and provides just enough insulation without being too warm and sweaty. This makes it ideal for most weather when hiking, biking, running or traveling. They only slightly lack when it comes to warmth, with the Hiker Boot Full Cushion being a better option in the winter.
It also is made in part of lycra spandex gives it some stretch. It has compression paneling to keep the sock in place. It is similar in comfort to the Hiker Micro Crew, only slightly better. However, this can be based on preference, so those who aren’t convinced by this sock should check our third place winner (specifically women who might find it excel when it comes to fit but matches in comfort).
It has a light amount of cushion, which many might assume won’t be enough for long hikes, but trust us, it does a great job in this category when it comes to its padding. The light cushion seems to be just right for being on the feet without being too soft and mushy. It’s the amount of padding although makes it versatile to be worn for many different activities and still perform well.
These socks perform well when it comes to breathability because it is lightweight and its merino wool naturally allows for ample ventilation. This also means it has anti-odor and bacteria properties. It does a really great job at wicking away moisture and keeping things dry, so go ahead and put these on even in milder temperatures. Just expect the bottom of the foot to be a little toasty on warm days.
Style and Fit
This sock has a tighter fit than some of Darn Tough’s other socks, making it a great combination for fit and comfort. It has a micro crew height that is lower than other hiking socks, but higher than low cut options. This makes it perfect for pairing with a hiking boot or sneakers. It has a performance fit, with ribbed support which means no slipping or bunching, and enough cushion to prevent blisters. It’s stylish and available in two-toned color options that are neutral.
3 different colors
True Seamless design
Made from merino wool
Best 3 Alternatives to Darn Tough Socks
Coolmax Vertex No Show Tab Ultra-Light
These are some seriously comfortable socks, and they perform very well for runners. That’s because of its super lightweight, with a barely-there feel that has the company’s “out in on, forget it’s on” feeling. Its ultra-light design is a major reason why these are so comfortable for runners. However, it still has a thin layer of cushioning that feels great in a running shoe. It has a seamless design that won’t irritate, bunch up or cause blisters.
It also is ideal for running or the gym because of how cool the feet stay when working up a sweat and going long distance. It has Coolmax fabric that pulls moisture away from the skin to the surface of the material and then dries fast. This is a superior moisture management system that really works well at keeping the feet dry. It also has breathable mesh paneling in the forefront that adds to keeping things cool.
Style and Fit
These socks have a performance fit that includes sculpted heel pockets and arch support. This sock won’t be sliding around in the shoe. It is super thin and lightweight and has a heel tab for added comfort. It has a no-show height that goes unseen in sneakers. It’s also available in multiple color options that look great.
- Super lightweight
- Very breathable with impressive moisture management
- Can be too thin for some
- No insulation for colder weather runs
Micro Crew Cushion Hiking
Make no mistakes that this sock is comfortable. It outshines some of the other Darn Tough socks because of its mid-level cushion density that is under the foot. This results in a feeling almost like walking on clouds, which will feel like heaven when climbing for hours. This might come as a surprise with it is a lightweight option. It’s the perfect balance of padding on the bottom and thin areas everywhere else. Expect no blisters either, as well as other features that enhance comfort such as a ring-toe construction with seamless design and compression arches and heels.
This is a great option for all seasons, excelling in the warmer weather. It is warm for the fall, but not the best option for the winter because it slightly lacks in warmth. However, it is nice and breathable, its lightweight merino wool fabric provides enough ventilation and moisture-wicking properties that works very well in the mild weather. It’s quick to dry and provides ample insulation when wet, just not once the temps drop.
Style and Fit
As stated, these are lightweight socks that are a great mix of comfort and durability. It has a performance fit with no bunching in hiking boots. It has a micro crew height that is shorter than higher cuts, but still protects the ankle and looks great in hiking boots. This also makes it a good option for running and cycling.
8 different choices
Fine merino wool
Sizing is off
Tab No Show Light Cushion
Comfort is key when going the distance, and this sock doesn’t disappoint. It is made for endurance activities, providing the perfect storm of features to aid in performance. This includes ribbed ankle support and a reinforced heel and toe. It has a light amount of cushioning, but it’s across the footbed, making it comfortable without being too thick. This makes it a very versatile option. It is made of merino wool, nylon, and Lycra spandex, which is comfortable and provides ample stretch.
The merino wool makes it breathable, but these socks also have a mesh upper that adds ventilation throughout the sock. It is naturally antimicrobial, odors from sweat are repelled. But it does a great job wicking away moisture.
Style and Fit
First and foremost, these socks look stylish and sporty. But they fit just as nicely. It is foot hugging, yet flexible, offering support and protection. It has no-show height so it goes unnoticed in sneakers.
- Very versatile pair of socks, performing well for just about any activity
- Extremely breathable
- Great fit and stylish
- Not a lot of padding
- The no-show design makes it not ideal for boots
Hiker Boot Full Cushion
This sock is all about shock absorption, loaded with cushion throughout the sock. This makes it among the most darn comfortable options. Compared to the Micro Crew Cushion Hiking Socks it does more padding. This high-density padding enhanced comfort to help performance when on the trails for long periods of time. It has the company’s fine gauge knitting that goes unnoticed in boots, is warm and cozy and durable.
Made of mostly merino wool, the Hiker Boot Full Cushion socks are still breathable despite all that cushion. It is designed to be worn in all weather, cool in the summer and warm in the winter, although these shine in cooler temps. It does pull moisture away from the foot but isn’t as fast to dry as some of Darn Tough’s other options.
Style and Fit
This is a mid-weight sock that reaches the calf in length. This makes it a great option for hiking boots. It has compression arch support and is seamless. It is great for activities from hiking to skiing.
- Very sturdy and durable
- Performs well, with comfort at the forefront
- Breathable, yet warm even when wet
- Versatile for all weather
- Can be too warm for milder weather
Racer Mini Tab Ultra-Light
These socks are made in part of merino wool, which ups its comfort factor. But make no mistakes that this is an ultra-light sock. It’s the perfect mix of softness without being thick or has too much padding. It is durable, so consumers don’t have to worry about these socks getting holes. They go virtually unnoticed, yet offering the protection needed when wearing bike shoes.
These socks are extremely breathable, scoring two thumbs up in this category. Because of its lightweight nature, these are much more breathable than the Darn Tough hiking options but are similar to the running socks. Again, these are made in part of merino wool which aids to its breathability and moisture-wicking properties.
Style and Fit
These socks are seamless and smooth, with a performance fit that means no slipping even though it has a no-show design. Its heel and toe are reinforced and it has arch support. However, it does have a mini tab that helps to keep the sock in space and enhance comfort in bike shoes. It has a nice stretch and a foot-hugging fit.
- Very lightweight and breathable
- Seamless and comfortable
- Durable and abrasion resistant
- Best for warm weather
Hiker 1/4 Cushion
These socks aren’t bulky but have the right amount of cushion needed when on the feet for extended periods of time. Soft thanks to the merino wool, these socks are described to have a “mid-level” of cushion on the bottom of the feet, which feels pillowy at the start of the adventure and provides ample comfort hours later. These socks have a seamless design that further adds to its comfort factor.
The Hiker 1/4 socks are thicker than running, training and more everyday options, but only slightly falls behind them in the breathability department compared to the more lightweight options. Its merino wool makes it breathable with moisture-wicking capabilities while preening bacteria and odor.
Style and Fit
These socks are extremely durable, defiantly made to last longer compared to the running and training socks. This is important when it comes to hiking because it needs to have the longevity needed for many miles and more than just one adventure. It fit snug around the arches to prevent bunching. It also has a 1/4 sock height that sits right above the ankle, which makes it great for both hiding boots and sneakers.
- Ample cushion needed for extended cushion
- Height makes it versatile for boots and sneakers
- Soft, breathable, and anti-bacterial properties
- Higher ankle not for low cut fans
- Thicker than more lightweight options
Vertex Over the Calf Ultra Light
Compared to other Darn Tough socks, these are comfortable but in a different way. Whereas options like Hiker Boot Full Cushion Sock and Micro Crew Cushion Hiking are for comfortable when it comes to its cushion, these are compression socks, so expect them to function a bit differently. This means hugging the feet and legs to aid in recovery and increase circulation. But this doesn’t mean it isn’t comfortable. In fact, this is a great compression sock option because it is soft, and has the right balance of support and cushion. Plus, it is nice and light which makes it great for running or racing.
Because this sock is lightweight and made in part of merino wool, it performs well when it comes to breathability. And this is important when it comes to compression socks because it can feel tight and suffocating, and there needs to be enough ventilation. It has fast action wicking properties to keep sweat away, plus wards off odor and bacteria.
Style and Fit
Compression socks are made to have a tighter fit than everyday socks. These compression sock shave graduated light compression from 11-16 mmHg, which doesn’t make them super tight but still gives them a secure and legging hugging fit. The length is over the calf, great for pairing with shorts when running.
Stylish and fashionable
Made of merino wool
Can be costly
Vertex Coolmax 1/4 Ultra Light Cushion
These are some seriously comfortable socks—and for various reasons. First up is how lightweight these are. Soft on the skin, yet with a barely there feel, these socks are great for race day, working up a sweat, or outdoor activities in warm weather. In fact, it’s the company’s lightest sock, giving an airy feel. It’s made of nylon, polyester and lycra spandex, along with Coolmax material, keeping things cool and dry which adds to its comfort. It has undetectable seams, which means no hot spots or discomfort.
These are among the most breathable Darn Tough socks. Its fabric is ultra-light and has mesh panels on the front and sides to allow for more airflow. It has Coolmax material that moves moisture away from the skin and has fast drying time. It also is naturally anti-microbial so it stinky socks isn’t a concern.
Style and Fit
These socks have a 1/4 height that sits right above the ankle without being too high. This makes them ideal for low cut hiking boots, as well as running sneakers. This helps to keep the socks at the ankles without sliding or falling down into the shoe. It hugs the arches well to further prevent bunching. They come in various color options with color accents, especially attractive in the women’s version.
- Ultra-lightweight, ideal for racing
- Impressive moisture-wicking features with Coolmax
- Comfortable and stylish
- Height not for everyone
- No padding for added comfort
Lars Nordic Light Cushion
These socks simply look comfortable and feel just as good on. It is made of merino wool, which makes it soft to the touch, and nice and cozy. It is also made of nylon and lycra spandex to give it the stretch needed, and has fine gauge knitting and is seamless, making it feel smooth, comfortable, and makes the consumer forget they even have a sock on. The Lars Nordic has a light amount of cushioning, less thick than the hiking socks, but just enough for wearing in boots.
The merino wool makes these socks very breathable. it is lightweight and pulls moisture away from the skin. This makes it great for wearing in ski boots. It also is cool in the summer and warm in the winter, adding to its versatility.
Style and Fit
This is a sock option for snow boots, with its calf height that makes it versatile. It has a performance fit, which means it hugs nicely around the calf and won’t slip or bunch in the boot. These socks are durable, made to last when exploring the backcountry on skis.
- Lightweight, yet warm enough to wear in a boot
- Moisture-wicking and anti-odor properties
- Secure fit the won’t slip
- Thinner cushion than hiking boot socks
- Best for boots or not sneakers
The Criteria We Used for Our Evaluation
There is no denying Darn Tough makes a high-quality sock. But with so many different styles and various options for each option that is geared for a specific kind of activity, it can be hard to determine which are the best. So we used set criteria to find which are the most worthy buys. These metrics are detailed below.
Each sock option needs to be able to perform and do so well. The sock’s features vary depending on what activity it is suited for. But these features for each should do what it is designed to do.
Socks are made to be comfortable on the feet and in the shoe, whether it’s a hiking or skiing or running or cycling. It should have the right amount of padding and cushioning, but this varies as well.
Because these socks might be worn for activities that work up a sweat, the material needs to be breathable. This may or may not include mesh panels. Merino wool is also a commonly used fabric for the best Darn Tough socks because of its breathability.
Similarly to breathability, the socks need to have some kind of moisture-wicking properties to keep the feet dry when hot and sweaty. How fast is its drying time?
No one wants a sock to start bunching or sliding down when on. This can cause discomfort and distract the athlete. The socks should have a secure and comfortable it. Fit here also refers to the length of the sock such as no-show or over-the-knee, with each having its pros and cons for weather and activity type.
Is this sock a good buy? Is it the best for one particular activity, or is it versatile?
Other Important Factors to Consider
These metrics help to determine which are the best socks sold by the company, but there are other factors consumers should take into consideration.
The best Darn Tough sock for hiking might not be the best for running, or cross-training or cycling, etc. Each specific activity calls for its own needs. For examples, hikers might want full or mid-level density of cushion for extra comfort, whereas runners and cyclist need to look for ultra-lightweight options that won’t weigh them down. In some cases, Darn Tough socks are versatile for multiple activities.
Darn Tough has a few different cushion levels, starting with ultra-light to an extra cushion. The ultra-light option is best for racing for wearing in hot temperatures. But the company also has ultra-light and light options with a cushion of varying density.
It offers mid-level options with a thin layer that is still very comfortable, as well as full and extra cushion options. These of course are packed with padding. The amount of cushion desired is based on personal preference.
There are also various different sock heights including no-show, ankle, crew, and knee-high or over-the-the-knee. The height of the sock depends on preference in some cases, whereas function in others. For example, hiking boots call for ankle or crew cut so that the boot doesn’t irritate the skin.
Ironically enough, all the sock options on this list are made in part of merino wool. While some people associate wool with warmth, merino wool is soft for comfort, durable for longevity, and contains natural odor preventing properties. It breathes well and dries fast. This is why it is a go-to fabric for the company.
The socks also include a blend of other fabrics such as nylon, polyester, and spandex. Spandex is great for the stretch and for allowing the socks to keep their shape.
Q: What size Darn Tough sock should I buy?
A: The company offers a size chart which should be consulted based on shoe size. The socks run true to size. For example, a men’s large is shoe sizes 10 to 12. A women’s medium is shoe sizes 7.5 to 9.5.
Q: How do I wash Darn Tough socks?
A: The company advises to machine wash in warm water. Make sure not to bleach them, and leave them out to dry.
Q: Can I buy a men’s sock if I am a woman?
A: Darn Tough offers women’s specific fits for most of its socks. It’s best for women’s to buy the female version for a better fit. However, those with wider feet might prefer the men’s options.
Q: What are the warmest and thickest Darn Tough socks?
A: The options for hiking, trekking, and mountaineering are the warmer and thicker options with ample cushioning and insulation.
Q: Where does Darn Tough wool come from?
A: The company uses wolfram North America, Europe, and Oceana, and it is ethically sourced.
Q: How long does a pair of Darn Tough last?
A: These socks are made to be extremely durable, so expect them to last a long time.