Gear ReviewsGo Outdoors

Darn Tough Vermont Socks

posted by gumptiongear February 29, 2012 0 comments

More than ever athletes and outdoor enthusiasts alike are realizing that the quality of their socks are just as important as the quality of their shoes. Deciding which pair is best for you, however, can prove to be a daunting task.

As with most gear, finding the “right” pair of socks – the ones that work best for your activity, weather conditions, and your feet – has as much to do with personal preferences as it does performance. Select the “right” pair and your feet will happily take you through your training session or outdoor adventure. However, if your feet aren’t comfortable, then you won’t be comfortable nor will your excursion be as sweet. That being said, having had the opportunity to spend many a mile in both running and hiking specific socks from Darn Tough, your normal sock choosing preference might be about to change.

Great high-performance socks are about fit and function. Both of these characteristics are largely affected by the design of the sock, the type and quality of materials used as well as the methods by which the socks are constructed.  While other sock manufactures may incorporate similar materials or design elements, the uniqueness of Darn Tough lies within their high-density knitting.

Using the latest generation of Italian knitting machines the Darn Tough Team is able to knit socks with more stitches per inch.  The result is an incredibly lightweight sock offering maximum durability and cushioning without the bulk for an exceptionally plush ride.

Think of it this way, it’s time for desert; before you are two plates, plate one offers the light and airy texture of angel foodcake, on the other plate is the dense rich goodness of a chocolate cake.  Darn Tough socks are the chocolate cake.

On Fit and Performance…
To most people, socks aren’t all that exciting, but for runners, socks are precious tools of the trade. From all the mileage and wear and tear in training, runners regularly wreak havoc on their sock supply.

The Darn Tough’s one-quarter mesh ultra light non-cushion socks hug your feet as though they were destined to be together.  Whether you head out to tackle long rocky trails, or simply dance under the street lights with your traditional evening run, Darn Tough socks will treat your feet right.

Exquisitely sculpted heel pockets and tremendous chafe resistance give these socks a soft, smooth and dependable fit that was appreciated time and again.  Mesh vents dump excess heat so your feet don’t get grumpy halfway through your long run.  Moreover, these socks are incredibly durable and have not shown the wear and tear or fuzzing of other wool-based performance socks we’ve tested.

For the mountain explorer, Darn Tough offers a series of hike/trek socks that will keep your feet comfortable and secure mile after dirt crushing mile.

A touch of Lycra forms these Darn Tough socks to your feet, so you don’t have to worry about them retreating into the bunker of your boots.  While the high density terry loop padding in the foot and shin areas refuses to flatten out under pressure.  Like many hiking socks, Darn Tough provides extra cushion on the bottom of the foot with a reinforced heel and toe.  But once again, the difference is the rich dense texture of the socks that provide an almost soothing feel for next to skin comfort.

Quality is Never an Accident…
Steve Jobs once urged the following, “Be a yardstick of quality.  Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.”   In an era of outsourcing and corporate take overs, Darn Tough has been a privately held US based family business for three decades, and three generations.  100% made in Vermont, USA, the family owned Cabot Hosiery Mill employs over 150 people.  With a company motto on the mill wall that reads, “Nobody ever outsourced anything for quality,” you’ll understand that the quality and durability of the Darn Tough products is not an accident.

The Critique…
Our Gumption runner had two critiques, one minor and one less so.  First, while we appreciated the overall fit and feel of the sock, we’d like to see Darn Tough begin introducing right and left foot specific socks to further enhance the performance fit.

Our larger criticism centers on price.  Darn Tough socks are expensive, even relative to other performance socks. But, with every yin there is a counterbalancing yang. For the higher price you get a quality product made right here in the USA with a lifetime dependability guarantee as enduring as the product – the replacement of your socks for any reason.  So perhaps the real question is this; isn’t a product made in the USA with a lifetime guarantee worth a few extra bucks?

Bottom Line…
Today there is no shortage of performance socks on the market.   Yet with dependable performance, soft feel, and an  unconditional lifetime guarantee, the entire line-up of Darn Tough socks are worthy of your consideration.  Again, every athlete has their preference which will in part dictate their end choice in performance socks.  That being said, this is one brand from which our crew member said he will continue to purchase from in the future.
Availability: Visit to find your nearest retailer.

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