Comes with a "lifetime" warranty
A single pair is costly
What are Darn Tough Vermont socks?
Darn Tough Vermont is a brand that specializes in—you guessed it—tough socks. Produced in Northfield, Vermont, Darn Tough makes its socks with small-needle, fine-gauge knitting machines, which results in thinner and lighter socks compared to conventional options. This fabrication also makes them more durable, as tighter stitching means stronger construction. Darn Tough uses merino wool—a preferred material of outdoors enthusiasts for its microbial and moisture-wicking properties—and reinforces it with a blend of synthetic fibers, nylon and Lycra, to strengthen the socks' structure and provide some stretch. It sells performance socks in different weights and heights for running, hiking, skiing, hunting, and everyday wear in men’s and women’s sizes XS to XXL. The company says these are guaranteed to “last a lifetime,” and in case your pair doesn’t, it’ll replace them for free under its warranty—no questions asked. (“We don’t need a receipt, we don’t need a reason,” the website reads, though it should be noted Darn Tough won’t replace socks that have been torn up by pets, burned via flame, or provide a single sock that’s gone missing from a pair.) For this quality, you’ll pay between $14 and $35 per pair—pricier, of course, than your run-of-the-mill socks but perhaps worth every penny for the fact that you may never dispose of them.
How we tested Darn Tough Socks
Although we typically only report on our experience wear-testing pieces of clothing at Reviewed, we wanted to see if Darn Tough’s claim of a durable lifetime-guaranteed sock was truthful or just marketing fluff. To do this, we performed an industry-standard abrasion test used for textiles and fabrics.
We put Darn Tough’s Micro Crew Midweight Hiking Socks through an oscillating test—where a piece of cloth is subjected to rubbing and abrasion for a period of time—and took note of how much wear and tear a single sock was able to withstand. Most textile abrasion tests are conducted with an oscillating machine covered with a piece of felt, but sandpaper is used for tougher workwear fabrics, like leather work gloves and shell jackets. Because Darn Tough advertises its socks as being stronger than competitors, we used an orbital sander equipped with 180-grit sandpaper and "sanded" the surface of a hiking sock for one hour. We also put a pair of cotton Goodfellow & Co men's crew socks from Target through the same test to compare results.
Our test shows that the Darn Tough sock experienced very minor surface damage—just some light pilling. The darker marking shown in the photo is where the black fibers from the lower layer of the sock are slightly showing through. The comparison crew sock from Target, meanwhile, suffered heavy damage. The white areas pictured above are where the sock is threadbare and the sander wore completely through. There is also very heavy surface pilling where the material wasn’t worn away entirely.
What I like about Darn Tough socks
After wearing a pair of Darn Tough midweight hiking socks on and off for the past month, I’m sold on these being a super plush, reliable, and comfortable performance sock.
They fit well
Firstly, the fit. Sliding into a pair of Darn Tough socks is a slightly tougher task than putting on a pair of, say, cheap Hanes, but it’s all due to the socks’ slight compression. The brand offers socks in men’s sizes S to XXL, and I opted for an L, which fits men’s shoe sizes 10 to 12. I’m a men's 11.5 in sneakers, and I’m happy to say that these had a terrific fit that didn’t feel too loose or stifling.
They have a tightness about them that holds them in place on the leg that I enjoy—not enough to choke my calves, but enough to remind me that I’m wearing them and to keep them up. Coupled with their medium weight, the socks fit snug and plush. While standing or walking, the reinforced sole feels similar to a thin, soft shoe insole tucked underneath the foot. That extra padding on the bottom of each sock extends from the top of the toe box to the back of the ankle, and it’s lined entirely with a super-soft terry cloth.
They feel great during activities
I’ve taken these out for a total of 10 wears, four of which were on a local 3-mile hike, and not once did I experience any comfort issues. No pinching, no hot spots, no odor, and no moisture—these socks are functionally brilliant. Because they’re made with merino wool instead of cotton, polyester, or any other blend of fabrics, they’re super breathable and naturally microbial. Mind you, my feet have sweat in these Darn Tough socks, but that moisture quickly evaporates due to the airiness of the fabric makeup. I didn’t have issues with my feet feeling overheated.
They're well constructed
As for the construction and stitching: They’re superb. You can stretch and tug on these socks all you want and never worry about putting a finger- or toenail through them. But best part about the socks’ construction—at least, from a design and comfort perspective—is its seamless stitching. The toe and heel of the socks have no exposed seams, which adds to the socks’ comfort. If you’re lazy like me and want to avoid straightening your sock out before putting shoes on, good news: These socks will save you time. You can wear them crooked (or inside out!) and never step on a seam in these bad boys.
What I don’t like about Darn Tough socks
While I don’t find it particularly bothersome, others may: The price. For a pair of socks with a lifetime guarantee attached, I think this is reasonable. However, to stock your sock drawer with Darn Tough products would be very costly, and unfortunately, the company does not offer cheaper prices on its multi-packs of pairs. (A Hiker Micro Crew 3-Pack goes for $72, which is the same price as buying three separate pairs.) Although I find the price of a single pair justified, I can’t imagine myself buying multiple Darn Tough performance socks to replace my entire footwear wardrobe.
Are Darn Tough socks worth it?
If you’re sick of replacing your cheap socks after they’ve started to pill or tear, I wholeheartedly endorse Darn Tough for being a wise investment. Even just purchasing a single pair for your harder-wearing activities, be they hiking or yard work, these smartly designed and functional accessories look as good as new despite multiple wears, while our lab found them to be as rugged as they claim. If you don’t mind shelling out $24 for a pair of socks that’ll last a lifetime—under the company’s warranty—they’ll serve you well.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
Meet the tester
Kevin Cortez is the Style Editor at Reviewed. He's covered the worlds of pop culture, hip-hop, gaming, and streetwear since 2013. His words have been featured in The A.V. Club, Genius, EGM, Ambrosia For Heads, Vulture, Leafly, and Mass Appeal. He’s lived in Florida since birth and is still unsure if he enjoys it. Please bother him on Twitter.
Checking our work.
Our team is here for one purpose: to help you buy the best stuff and love what you own. Our writers, editors, and lab technicians obsess over the products we cover to make sure you're confident and satisfied. Have a different opinion about something we recommend? Email us and we'll compare notes.Shoot us an email