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Darn Tough Review: I Tried Their Most Popular Socks

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post containing affiliate links. We received compensation and courtesy product from Darn Tough Vermont in exchange for our honest review only. All opinions expressed here are our own. Learn more.

Kiev began covering men's style and fitness topics for the Adult Man in 2020 as a writer and photographer. He's a current writer, copywriter and photographer, former personal trainer. Kiev is dedicated to creating, whether that means infusing a brandy-based liqueur or finishing a new series of lino-cut ink prints. He hangs hs=is hat in Chicago, but he's at home while traveling. Read full bio.

Last Updated: Apr 4, 2024
8 min read
darn tough vermont socks review

High-quality socks keep your feet drier and warmer while lasting longer than their nearly-disposable brethren, but they can be pricey. Darn Tough Vermont makes some of the burliest socks around, but are their products worth the price tag?

I snagged a few pairs to find what makes this brand tick and if their socks live up to the hype.

Darn it
The Adult Man Image/Icon Image source: Darn Tough Vermont
Darn Tough Vermont

Bottom line: Darn Tough Vermont makes socks---and they’re darn good at it. Using sustainably-sourced Merino Wool and manufacturing right here in the U.S., they’ve all but perfected protecting your feet.

Ratings: The Adult Man Image/Icon  Design The Adult Man Image/Icon  Quality of Materials The Adult Man Image/Icon  Value for Money The Adult Man Image/Icon  Craftsmanship The Adult Man Image/Icon  Customer Service
  • Darn Tough Vermont is a community-run business, and the manufacturing process begins and ends in their factory in Northfield, Vermont
  • They use RWS (Responsible Wool Standard)-certified Merino Wool sourced mainly from New Zealand, which has natural thermo-regulation and odor-prevention properties
  • Several styles are available to fit different functions, from snowboarding and running to lifestyle socks for the office
  • Their socks are guaranteed for life
  • These socks are an investment, so the price point is significantly higher than the multi-packs you can get at the department store

Back in my backpacking days, I ran into a lot of people living on a budget. 

In every hostel, you’d see people with hand-stitched shirts and chewed-up Vans with dented, decade-old coffee mugs tied onto their torn rucksacks—but there was one thing they would shell out the big bucks for: Merino Wool socks.

I had chewed up Vans and a torn rucksack of my own, but I never understood the allure of Merino Wool socks. They were like gold to veteran backpackers, and I didn’t know why until I stumbled on a pair of my own.

Odor-resistance and sheer durability are some of the biggest reasons why I love Merino Wool socks. They also dry quickly with a wash and are more comfortable to wear for long periods of time.

Darn Tough Vermont offers American-made Merino Wool socks that have gained a reputation among hikers and travelers of living up to their namesake.

But are their socks really tough enough to be worth the price? Check out my review below to find out.

What Is Darn Tough Vermont?

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Darn Tough Vermont has been pumping out high-quality socks from their family-owned factory in Northfield, Vermont for nearly 40 years.

The manufacturing process of their socks starts and ends in their factory, using Merino Wool sourced from New Zealand. Having the entire process under one roof is what Darn Tough Vermont attributes the quality of their socks to, and the decades of experience probably don’t hurt either.

This sock brand offers a full range of socks, ranging from full-cushion hiking socks for maximum mileage to patterned varieties for a pop of color at the office. They even offer a sock quiz on their website to help you find the perfect pair.

Darn Tough Socks

Hikers, snowboarders, and a lot of the other people that rep hard for Darn Tough Vermont all have one thing in common: they put a high value on good gear. Do you?

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Things to Consider Before Buying

Darn Tough Boot Socks on Leather Boot

With upscale basics gaining popularity, it only makes sense for high-quality socks to enter the mainstream. However, the quality and lifetime guarantee of these socks does come at a premium.

At a similar price for one pair as you’d pay for a 10-pack of lower-quality socks from a big box store, Darn Tough Vermont socks are an investment. With the lifetime guarantee, a pair will pay for themselves throughout the course of a few years, but that won’t do much good if you’re not in love with them.

Also, if you have a pet that likes to get into your socks, you should know that pet destruction is not covered by their lifetime warranty.

My Hands-On Review

Strut Crew Lightweight Lifestyle Sock

Darn Tough Socks in drawer

First up for Darn Tough Vermont is the Strut Crew Lightweight Lifestyle Sock

This pair takes your standard dress sock up a notch in terms of comfort and durability. With 61% Merino Wool, 35% Nylon, and 4% Lycra Spandex construction, these socks give you the benefits of Merino Wool while also having enough stretch to keep their shape.

I know that “fun” socks can be controversial, but I’m a fan. I love a little pop of color between the shoe and the pants that peeks out and provides a little “hey, how ya doin’?”

These socks offer a professional look when you get a peek at the blue, but the little roosters provide a little extra flair.

In terms of quality, these socks feel well-made and sturdy. They’re not cushioned, but the reasonably-thick Merino Wool still has a springy feel that makes walking around in dress shoes more bearable.

Man with Darn Tough Socks and Loafers

Darn Tough Vermont’s Lightweight Lifestyle Sock does keep your feet warmer than even thicker cotton dress socks, and although Merino Wool does offer temperature-regulating qualities, I wouldn’t be rushing to wear these into the office on a hot, muggy day.

Overall, this is a solid pair of socks that is comfortable, warm, and comes with Darn Tough Vermont’s lifetime guarantee—making them a solid value. 

Throw these on with some chinos and loafers for a casual look or with a suit for business casual settings. And because of Merino Wool’s odor-fighting qualities, you can even wear these bad boys a few days in a row.

Darn Tough Strut Crew

This pair takes your standard dress sock up a notch in terms of comfort and durability. With 61% Merino Wool, 35% Nylon, and 4% Lycra Spandex construction, these socks give you the benefits of Merino Wool while also having enough stretch to keep their shape.

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Micro Crew Midweight Hiking Sock

Darn Tough Hiking Socks on Table

Although I haven’t been hiking for over a year, I used to hit the trails often, and often not with the most supportive shoes.

Socks play an important role in staying comfortable while hiking, and the Micro Crew Midweight Hiking Sock from Darn Tough Vermont has all the qualities I’m looking for to get me up and down the mountain safely.

One of the most notable aspects of the hiking sock, when compared to their lifestyle socks, is the thickness. This sock features terry loops on the sole of the foot to provide extra cushioning, and they’re also just thicker in general. 

I put a few miles on the sidewalk in these with a new pair of ankle boots and I was impressed with how they performed. They saved the back of my ankle from blisters and while the extra cushioning on the bottom wasn’t a game changer, it was a noticeable improvement over my cotton boot socks.

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These socks have the same composition as the lifestyle socks, just with a bulkier, more supportive build. For hiking and travel purposes, the Merino Wool dries quickly and washes easily, which is invaluable when you hit a tight spot and end up doing laundry in the hostel sink.

I’d happily wear these socks on a hike, and the fact that they’re guaranteed for life provides extra peace of mind while out on the trails. 

Darn Tough Micro Crew Midweight Hiking Sock

These saved the back of my ankle from blisters and the extra cushioning on the bottom was a noticeable improvement over my cotton boot socks.

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Boot Midweight Hiking Sock

Man standing by boots with Darn Tough Socks

Although extremely similar to the Micro Crew Midweight Hiking Sock, the Boot Midweight Hiking Sock has a few key differences that make it a slightly burlier alternative.

First, the Boot Midweight Hiking Sock offers extra length up the calf, which helps provide protection and comfort for taller boot styles. This extra length can also come in handy in the winter, providing more warmth than the shorter socks.

These socks also come in both standard cushion or full cushion options. The standard cushion option features more cushion than the Micro Crew Midweight Hiking Sock, providing cushion both underfoot and on the leg. The full cushion option features terry loops throughout to maximize comfort to protect you from lace bite and provide overall comfort.

Darn Tough Boot Socks on Orange Chair

The Boot Midweight Hiking Sock also features a construction that favors Merino Wool more than the previous socks on our list. The standard cushion sock is made of 64% Merino Wool, and the full cushion alternative features 66% Merino Wool, giving you more of the benefits that come from this hardy material.

If you tend to wear tall boots when hiking, or you’re looking to maximize comfort when you’re hitting the town in your favorite combat or Oxford boots, these socks get the job done and are built to last.

Darn Tough Midweight Hiking Boot Socks

Taller and more padded compared to the Micro-Crew hiking sock. This is a heavy-duty beast of a sock worthy of the Darn Tough name.

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Quarter Ultra-Lightweight Running Sock

Man with Darn Tough Running Socks and running shoes

Just like when hiking, what’s on your feet while running makes a big difference. 

Darn Tough Vermont’s Quarter Ultra-Lightweight Running Socks are thick enough to add a comfortable layer while remaining thin enough not to be bulky in your running shoes. 

The benefits of Merino Wool, like moisture-wicking and temperature regulation, make it perfect for athletic socks. They can keep the sweat off your feet while also preventing you from freezing or overheating. The only drawback of these socks is the price.

With hiking socks and dress socks, I’m much quicker to invest in a pair of socks that will last. Running socks, especially those that don’t offer additional cushion, are a harder sell.

Man with Darn Tough Socks on Stool

However, with the beating that my current lineup of athletic socks takes every week, they are the fastest in my wardrobe to wear out. This makes the Darn Tough running socks a more sustainable option and one that, over a long stretch of time, is a better deal.

Darn Tough Quarter Ultra-Lightweight Running Socks

If you run a lot, you know how quickly a pair of socks wears out. Get more out of a pair with Merino wool.

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What Do Other Reviewers Say?

Darn Tough Hiking Socks on Table 2

Darn Tough Vermont has a cult following of travelers, hikers, remote workers, snowboarders, and pretty much everyone else. Online reviewers love their durability, the lifetime warranty, and their fit. Common praise among hikers was the tight fit across the top of the foot, which prevents bunching and flopping around halfway through a hike.

My Thoughts Overall

What I Like

  • Darn Tough Vermont makes high-quality socks in a family-based operation with high-quality materials and a process that starts and ends in-house.

  • Their hiking socks provide extra cushion and don’t fall down around your calves and ankles like some other hiking socks of a similar thickness.

  • Merino Wool has qualities like odor prevention and temperature regulation that make it an ideal material for socks.

  • A lifetime guarantee means their socks will pay for themselves over time.

What I Don’t Like

  • The runners, while a great value with the lifetime guarantee, didn’t blow me away for their quality at the price point.

Who is Darn Tough Vermont for?

Hikers, snowboarders, and a lot of the other people that rep hard for Darn Tough Vermont all have one thing in common: they put a high value on good gear. 

Extreme sports and outdoor activities are a major part of the Darn Tough market, as having socks that are—well, darn tough—is a crucial part of you being able to make it to your next summit without damp, sore feet.

However, if you’re also tired of replacing worn-out socks and would prefer to stick with one brand that’s American-made, community-based, and that guarantees their products for life, Darn Tough Vermont is a great option.

The Verdict

There’s an old saying: “Don’t skimp on anything that separates you from the ground.” And while the saying was probably more intended for shoes, mattresses, and tires, it can certainly be applied to socks. Especially when we’re talking about Darn Tough Vermont.

Do they live up to their namesake of being “darn tough”? They do, and even as they start to degrade over time, they can be easily replaced because of the company’s lifetime guarantee. 

Both pairs of hiking socks impressed me; and although I haven’t taken them to any alpine destinations, I wouldn’t have a hard time trusting them on a hike, especially if I didn’t want to have too much gear with me.

While still a great value because of the guarantee, the running socks didn’t blow me away in terms of the athletic features you can find on cheaper socks.

And although I don’t spend much time in the office these days, the Strut Lifestyle Socks impressed me. The material is something I can trust to keep me comfortable all day and I love the pop of color. They’re not cheap for dress socks, but the fact that they’re guaranteed for life makes them worth the price.

Darn Tough Socks

Hikers, snowboarders, and a lot of the other people that rep hard for Darn Tough Vermont all have one thing in common: they put a high value on good gear. Do you?

Check Price


Where Can I Buy Darn Tough Vermont Socks?

Darn Tough Vermont doesn’t have dedicated storefronts, but they can be found in a wide range of running and outdoor stores.

Are Darn Tough Vermont Socks Machine Washable?

Yes. The company recommends washing them inside-out in warm water on the gentle cycle, then hang to dry or tumble dry on low.