What’s in a sock? On the surface they all seem to follow the same format but the devil is in the detail, not to mention the quality and that’s why we like Darn Tough socks and why the walking socks in the range are a firm favourite amongst our customers and our staff.
It’s the old adage – “You get what you pay for” with Darn Tough socks and what you pay for is a quality sock with plenty of technical features, that’s well made and uses quality materials. Put simply Darn Tough’s selling point (the clue is in the name) addresses the inherent problem with merino wool socks – wear. They use a tigher, denser knit to achieve a harder-wearing sock and so they offer a ‘lifetime’ guarantee which they (and we) are happy to honour.
Alongside the great wear properties, Darn Tough offer a range of styles from ultra-light minimal cushion running socks to heavyweight winter mountaineering socks and everything in between. Navigating this vast range takes a little bit of knowhow about the properties of the socks:
sometimes the clue is in the name – if the sock has “trekking” in the name then it’s going to work for longer hikes and multi-day treks and offer a bit of extra cushioning for carrying a backpack over tough terrain.
- No-show socks don’t come above your running or trail shoes and are lightweight and well-suited to warmer weather;
- ¼ socks are low ankle height socks whose cuffs come above the top of you trail shoe and finish around the ankle (we always recommend at least this length sock on the trails as it helps keep debris out of the sock).
- Micro crew socks are higher still and reach above the ankle – they will work for a shoe or low boot and are warmer to wear on cooler days too.
- Boot socks – this length/height is higher again and comes mid way up your calf – it’s the sock to go for if you are wearing a boot and is designed to cushion the ankle and lower leg in the boot too.
- Over the Calf – a high sock that’s suited to cold weather, higher boots and is great for winter use. All of the above are mated to varying weights of Darn Tough sock, as per below:
The ‘weight’ of the sock is a rough term for the thickness/density of the materials used (quite often in the apparel trade expressed as a weight in grams or ounces per area. This equates broadly to the amount of cushion and warmth the sock will give.
Winter socks are thicker and designed with cushioning the foot but also keeping your feet warm whereas socks for running in warm weather need to be thin, breathable and offer a balance between some cushioning of the foot in the shoe and not adding additional insulation.
In terms of the weights Darn Tough commonly use, here are some examples, again, they are pretty logical in conjunction with the length/height of the socks in making the choice for the right sock:
- Ultra-light – cushioning around the heel and toes with minimal weight elsewhere to keep you cooler in summer weather and hotter climes
- Light Cushion – ideal again for summer or running shoes where you need a bit more cushioning but want a cooler sock in lightweight footwear
- Cushion – generally a sock that offers plenty of cushion for the type of sock (e.g. Darn Tough’s boot sock) this is the all-rounder – good cushioning at the heel and toes but lighter all around the rest of the sock to aid breathability– designed to offer comfort in your hiking footwear but can be used on cooler to warm days in relative comfort)
- Full cushion - a similar level of cushioning at the heel and toes to the Cushion sock but, in addition, uses a thicker weave at the top of the sock for extra warmth and protection
- Extra cushion – if it’s a multi-day trek or a winter hike, the extra cushion adds both comfort and warmth. Alongside having the right level of cushioning at important areas around the heel and toes, extra cushion Darn Tough socks are thicker and more cushioned around the whole sock to offer more protection and warmth
So there you have it! Clearer? We hope this helps – basically, the best starting point when selecting a sock is to look at the weight and height first, between this and the naming of the sock (as before, “hiking” in the title of the sock is a great start selecting a hiking sock) you should narrow you’re your search for the right sock. Of course, we love Darn Tough socks as it was the first brand we stocked that truly adding a splash of colour into our sea of walking socks in the store – there’s tons of designs and colours to choose from but we can’t help with this!
All our Darn Tough socks are here in the Darn Tough section on the website. If you get stuck do email or call us!