My Personal Darn Tough Socks Review: the Best Outdoor Socks, Period.


There are few people who have worn through, torn, worn out, or utterly destroyed the number of hiking socks that I have. A combination of obsessive walking, keeping a low number of socks, and insanely sharp toe nails means I can wreck the sturdiest of socks. At least I could until I ran into Darn Tough Socks.

At this point my entire perspective on socks has changed, and I’m never going back to buying anything other than Darn Tough socks.

Darn Tough socks are the best work socks, best cold weather socks, and best overall hiking socks out there. They are extremely durable, warm, comfortable, and have a lifetime backing from the Vermont-based company.

So why do I believe this? Read on for my full personal review, and a lot of stories about my ability to shred everyone else’s socks.

three pairs darn tough socks
Six months in and these socks show NO signs of wear. For me, that’s beyond amazing.

Darn Tough Socks: The Toughest Socks Around

I destroy socks. Hiking socks, work socks, double stitched socks, no matter how well it’s made I can shred them. On a “pissed at myself for being so lazy because I felt sick” day I’ll still clear 10,000 steps. On most days just going about my business I’ll get close to 20,000.

I don’t even wear step counters during my workouts, and I forget them while going to and fro through the house quite a bit.

I also have toe nails that have caused toe nail clippers to break apart rather than cut the nail (big fail Revlon). They have also sliced open sheets, clothes, my calf enough to draw blood, and surface fabric on a mattress.

No – that’s not exaggeration.

Needless to say…socks don’t last long at all. Ever.

Except I bought Darn Tough socks back in late June/early July and now in mid-December there’s no sign of damage at all. That’s incredible.

So EASILY Darn Tough socks out of Vermont can be called the strongest, most durable socks on the market. They live up to their name and then some.

That’s not to say I won’t find a way to wear them down at some point, but they’re covered by a lifetime warranty so I’m still covered. I’m used to buying 3-4 dozen socks a year out of necessity. It’s an expense.

I’ve ONLY worn these three pairs since buying them and couldn’t be happier. A sample table about why I like them so much via comparison:

Sock Type# of PairsHow Long They LastedTotal Cost
Darn Tough36 months only using three pairs, no sign of wear$75
Extra Wide Athletic Sock3Two weeks until major damage, unusable after three washes$24
Reebok Athletic Socks72A touch over four years. My toe nails can shred any pair of socks, so once I had to wear a pair more than once every 2.5 months, it went downhill fast.$70 (80% off clearance sale)

So here’s the thing. First of all, no disrespect to Reebok. Those were good basic athletic socks. But my toenails can shred anything.

They actually held up much better than normal socks, but even with 12 packs to rotate so there was little wear on tear on any individual pair and little wear and tear in the washer/dryer – they still only lasted four years.

For most people, that’s insane and that many socks would last much longer. But it brings home an important point.

My three pairs of Darn Tough socks have more combined days wore than any pack of half dozen of those socks.

We won’t even go over the disaster that was Extra Wide Athletic socks. Here’s a picture after three days of wear and one wash:

Never did get a refund. Cheap jerks.

The Reebok socks were a once in a lifetime sale because a buddy of mine had the huge employee discount during a clearance sale. The Darn Tough socks will still be a better deal, though.

Because even if one of those pairs wears through (and Darn Tough says they are made to last for life), they will replace them, no questions asked, for free.

A TRUE lifetime warranty.

Meaning when I get up to 7 pairs mainly for variety as opposed to need, I’ll be done sock shopping for the rest of my life.

Suddenly that less than $200 up front looks like a stunningly good deal at that point, and it is.

When it comes to good outdoor equipment paying more up front is almost always worth it – and will almost always save you money in the long run.

So are Darn Tough socks good? Oh hell yes. That’s my answer, anyway.

Darn Tough Socks Are the Best Hiking Socks

I’m convinced that probably any pair of Darn Tough socks would serve as a great pair of hiking socks. That being said, when they make socks specifically made for hiking, why would you try anything else?

These socks have a nice thickness to them. They offer some padding, a nice solid fit, and can keep you plenty warm in cold temperatures with a nice wool mix.

The one environment where these might not be the best option is desert. The wool might be a bit much in that situation, as your feet might be just a bit too warm in that situation.

Then again, these socks are designed to be “thermo-regulated” and I’ve never found them to be uncomfortable…so….yeah.

However, in pretty much any other hiking weather, trail, or season these are amazing hiking socks.

Hiker Micro Crew or Hiker Cushion

Any pair of Darn Tough hiking socks are going to be pretty amazing. Especially if you are undergoing a challenge like a PCT thru hike or hiking the entire Appalachian Trail.

You can’t go wrong with either one of these, to be honest. There are even styles for socks that hug at the ankle as well as those that go up the calf, as well. This gives you options for preference.

I personally like the feel of the Micro Crew hiking socks from Darn Tough Sock Company a little bit more than the cushion ones but this is splitting insane hairs at this point.

I’d be hugely fine with either option. There’s no denying that whatever your preference, hiking socks that are made by this Vermont company are going to be head and shoulders (or maybe ankles and toes) above the competition.

Darn Tough Socks Are the Best Winter Socks

As someone who has lived in a lot of extremely cold climates, including Interior Alaska, I know the importance of having amazing socks. Considering my favorite thick wool socks from the Alaska days stopped producing them 10+ years ago, it’s been a while since I had a great pair of winter socks.

This is yet another reason I am such a ridiculous fan of these awesome outdoor socks. Great for indoors, great for outdoors, and they will keep your feet warm. Whether in a drafty house, or jamming stockinged feet into shoes before tromping through the snow outside.

Darn Tough Socks are incredible winter socks because they are comfortable, they work inside and outside, and keep your feet extremely warm.

That’s good stuff. You want your feet warm, you want them comfortable, and you want them dry. These hit all of those checkmarks. This makes sense since Vermont winters are not known for being mild.

Vermont’s Darn Tough socks are as good as they get so if you want long-lasting comfortable winter socks these are definitely the best choice out there. Worth every penny and then some.

Common Darn Tough Socks FAQ

I’m sure there’s others, but this article and the group here should take care of just about everything you want to know about these amazing socks.

Q: Are Darn Tough socks true to the sizing chart?

A: I’ve found them about right. My feet tend to be extremely (freakishly) wide so the socks were on the shorter side of being on target but for the majority of people these should match up just about right.

Q: Can Darn Tough socks go in the dryer?

A: Yes. Although according to directions they should be turned inside out before going in the washer.

Full Disclosure: I didn’t know this for four months and didn’t do it – and the socks are still fine. But it’s probably best to follow the directions.

Q: Are Darn Tough socks warm?

A: Yes. They are thick wool socks that work very well at wicking moisture away from the feet and keep your feet and toes warm in most winter conditions.

They have a nice thickness to them which also offers a bit of padding for those long hikes. Or your next 12 hour shift at the warehouse.

Q: Are Darn Tough socks really made in the United States?

A: Absolutely! The company was created in Vermont, has been in the state of Vermont for decades, and all manufacturing of these socks still takes place right in the United States, right there in Vermont. This allows for insane levels of quality control, which are crucial for creating socks that are this good.

You can visit their website here.

Q: Is the lifetime warranty for Darn Tough Socks real?

A: Absolutely. The bragging (is it bragging if it appears to be true?) is that these socks will last for life. If they don’t, send back the damaged or worn socks and get a new pair for free. You might have to pay for shipping, but if you’re trading out a pair a decade it’s kind of hard to argue.

Q: What socks last the longest?

A: If anyone comes even close to competing with Darn Tough socks when it comes to being durable and long lasting then please let me know. Because these are, frankly, the most amazing socks I’ve ever owned.

No one destroys socks the way I can. My toenails are almost a freakish mutant superpower. A lame one, sure, but they can slice open sheet, cotton, bed fabric, and even skin. They’re no match for Darn Tough socks.

Enough said.

Final Verdict: Are Darn Tough Socks Worth the Price?

I can say without any hesitation that, yes, these are worth the price. I can hear the protests already, because for years I was the same way. How could a pair of wool hiking socks possibly be worth $25-30 for a single pair (average price as of the original writing of this article).

Fair enough.

Let me ask you this: if you only had to pay $100-120 for socks for the rest of your entire life would that sound like a good deal?

If you shred as many socks as I have in a lifetime, or you’re a thru hiker, or you’re simply young and have many decades of work and recreation ahead of you, the answer is a resounding yes.

There’s no question in my mind that Darn Tough socks are the absolute best option out there. I’ve been blown away by them during 6 months of heavy use and testing. With normal wear and tear I would have put holes in six pairs by now on the low end. But no signs of wear at all in these.

NONE.

If somehow you have read this entire review and haven’t bought multiple pairs (aka a lifetime’s supply) of these socks, then DO IT NOW!

I don’t give false positive reviews. If I hate a product, I pan it. If it’s mediocre, I won’t review it. Darn Tough socks live up to the hype and more. I wish I had spent the extra money early on to find out what they were all about.

Some of My Favorite Darn Tough Socks:

Outdoor Shane

I've been in love with the great outdoors since I was a toddler. Grew up in many parts of rural America, spent my youth camping and in Scouts, and years adventuring in Alaska. I know, love, breathe, and live the great outdoors.

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