Filed under:News, Product News, Uncategorised, Darn Tough socks, hiking socks, lifetime guarantee, merino wool socks, trekking socks, walking socks
The Gearhead sock drawer is a place of anarchic desolation. Orphan trail running socks rub frayed cuffs with stat- of-the-art, body-mapped Italian hiking exotica and loop-stitch-lined expedition ones fight for space with mesh-rich summer coolers.
And in one dark, hellish corner, lie the walking wounded. Mostly merino wool socks that have succumbed to rubbing and thinning, with one exception. Dripping durable insouciance is a pair of Darn Tough socks randomly gifted to Gearhead five or six years ago over a random harbour-side beer with the Vermont-based sock brand’s Global Vice President of sock technology, or something like that. They’ve been on the go ever since, joined by two purchased pairs of the same, and despite being mostly made from merino, show remarkably precious few signs of wear. All of which is interesting because Darn Tough socks are now available in the UK.
The story of the brand is one of those epic socks to riches ones. A failing fashion sock factory decides to produce, yes, you guessed it, a range of darn tough, super durable socks. They have enough belief in the product to offer an unconditional lifetime guarantee. Basically, they say: If our socks are not the most comfortable, durable and best fitting socks you have ever owned, return them for another pair. No strings, no conditions’. It’s not a subtle message, but the name and the homespun, self-consciously retro logo of a blacksmith wielding a bloody great big hammer pound it home. These socks really are quite durable.
More than merino
What makes them different from other merino socks, with their tendency to wear thin at pressure points? Well, they’re not 100% merino. The two pairs of Darn Tough that Gearhead picked up at the recent ISPO show have a content of around 60% merino wool, 37% Nylon and a small amount of elastane for stretch and fit.
That won’t please merino purists, but the pay-off is that improved durability which is nigh on indestructibility. Our experience is that you don’t quite get the fluffy softness of classic merino wool socks, the knit of the Nylon-reinforced merino wool yarn feels denser and closer and somehow less stretchy, they don’t feel as outright ‘nice’ on first try.
But the pay-off is that the fit is great, they are still very comfortable, they cope with moisture management as well as merino socks and their performance is dependably consistent all-day long. They are also the toughest, most durable wool socks we’ve ever used.
Socks can be a treated as a bit of an afterthought when it comes to kit buying, but a bad pair can ruin your day on the hill in a very direct, uncomfortable way. They may not be sexy, but they’re vital to comfort. And if you’re in the market for a new pair, we’d definitely consider adding Darn Tough to your short list. Be warned though, they may be with you for a long time.
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