Tag Archives: wool

Gear Shakedown: Darn Tough Socks

Ok so I actually LOVE Darn Tough wool socks, so the above might not be the best representative photo. Darn Tough are made in America, and are overall the best constructed wool socks currently on the market. I finished my AT thru hike in these, and they seem to be the socks of choice for thru hikers on the PCT as well. The photos detail how the Darn Toughs wear when, after an unexpected sock failure, I ended up with a single pair of socks for over 300 miles. They got a little thin on the balls of the feet, but otherwise great!

Wool sock on general are my everyday jam – I started rockin Smartwool in the late 90s (probably about when REI started carrying the brand) and haven’t really gone back to cotton ever. Sadly, I think Smartwool’s quality has slipped a bit over the years – I started my AT thru hike with a couple pairs and burned through both pairs within a hundred miles. I still use their thiny thin running sock, tho I don’t expect more than 50 miles without some repairs.

 I also tried out Icebreaker socks, which are better manufactured than Smartwool, but still don’t hold up to the rigors of the trail. That said, I do love the Icebreaker merino tank I’m hiking in this season… I used a customized Patagonia silk weight base layer for the AT. I’m interested in how they compare at 2200 miles.

And don’t get me started on REI store brand… I’ve been through more than a few pairs of them – the thinner socks’ elastic falls out almost immediately and the thicker socks are too thick to breath. Harpo and I do love the REI generic merino sock liners tho – she’s been sporting those on the PCT. the pair pictured below is one of three after 500 miles. Not bad for lightweight liners. They’re not intended for serious hiking, but are great inexpensive (and well made) all around socks. 
So yeah. Darn Tough. Love. And at the end of the day your feet don’t small like death when you take off your shoes, which is about the best you can ask for. Tho I’ma go straight Ray Jardine in Oregon and wear nylon thiny thin socks for better ventilation and quicker drying. I’m a little afraid you’ll be able to small my feet coming. We’ll see how it goes… 👍