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Darn Tough Hiker Boot Socks

manufactured by :
Philip Werner

Reviewed by:
On September 17, 2015
Last modified:August 26, 2016


I switched to Darn Tough Hiker Boot Socks because I got sick of replacing hiking socks after they're worn out, after a just a few days of use. Darn Tough socks are much more durable, with higher density knitting and pre-shrunk Merino wool which prevents shrinkage when they're washed.

I switched to Darn Tough Socks this year because they're so durable
I switched to Darn Tough Socks this year because they’re so durable

I switched from wearing Smartwool Liner socks for hiking in trail runners this year to Darn Tough Hiker Boot Socks because I got sick of replacing socks that would wear through after a just a few days of use.

The main source of sock abrasion when I hike is from crossing streams, because small sand particles get into my trail runners when I wade through a river, stream, or brook, and rub against my socks inside my shoes. This chews up thin socks like sandpaper, and I often get holes under the heel or ball of my foot after a day or two of hiking in a thin wool liner sock.

I never stop to take off my shoes for stream crossing and don’t go out of my way to hop rocks to keep my feet dry because my mesh trail runner, La Sportiva Ultra Raptors, drain and dry quickly. I also find it safer to walk across a stream than to engage in the pathological stream crossing acrobatics that hikers put themselves through to avoid getting their feet wet. And on hot days, they’re nothing quite as refreshing for your feet as a walk through a cool stream.

Philip Werner at a river crossing in Scotland
Philip Werner at a river crossing in Scotland

Darn Tough socks are much more durable than sock liners (or any other hiking socks I’ve ever owned), with higher density knitting and pre-shrunk Merino wool which prevents shrinkage when they’re washed.

But I have one gripe with Darn Tough socks: they are quite difficult to get clean. Mud and sand particles get stuck deep in the wool weave of the socks and it is tough to rinse them out fully in a stream at night or in a washing machine at home, where multiple washing cycles can be required. The same goes for drying them, either tied to the outside of my pack or in a clothes dryer. They’re so dense, that I have to dry my socks on my feet by wearing them! It’s an inconvenience, I suppose, but not a showstopper.

Still the durability of these socks is amazing. I’ve never seen socks put up with so much abuse, get so filthy, and clean up so well after a few washes, than Darn Tough Socks.

Disclosure: Philip Werner purchased the Darn Tough sock reviewed here with is own funds, and then he purchased even more. 

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  1. I also switched to Darn Tough socks after going through way too many pairs of Smartwool socks. So far I am having good luck and how can you beat the lifetime guarantee?

  2. Thanks for sharing, I definitely will check if they are for sale somewhere in Belgium.

  3. Good socks – and they come in multiple sizes – so I can finally get socks that fit!

  4. Darn Tough socks are like a gateway drug. You can’t stop after your first pair. I also appreciate that they are so durable without being ultra-thick; I don’t have to buy shoes larger than I normally would to accommodate big socks.

  5. They are my goto socks! Can’t beat them…tough, durable and a lifetime guarantee! Darn tough is darn good is what I always say!

  6. Phil, Do these socks seem to have an weakness in the toe box area, I blow through them at the seems and my sewing skills aren’t getting any better at mending them?

  7. I haven’t tried this brand yet, it’s going right on my wish list.

  8. I’m a huge fan of Darn Tough Socks and have been for years.

  9. I switched to Darn Tough from Smartwool & Injinji about a year & a half ago, haven’t looked back. I still use my Smartwool socks — for sleeping (they are fluffier than Darn Tough, nice for sleeping). Recently was in a hurry on a backpacking trip & forgot to switch out to my Darn Toughs one morning — got a hotspot on one toe during the hike out wearing the Smartwool socks. Won’t make that error again.

    Love all the different weights & lengths of the Darn Tough socks — I wear them for biking, running, hiking & backpacking year round. Have yet to wear out any of them, including the thinnest pairs.

  10. I’m partial to the micro crew cushion (not as high). Plus you can get them with an AT logo! I have two pairs of these. I also have two pairs of DT light cushion dress socks. These are the only 4 pairs I ever wear. I have worn out a couple which were replaced by their guarantee. I had one with a stitching flaw that was replace. But I will still buy new ones from time to time. I feel guilty getting free socks for life.

  11. One other thing, Every time I go to an outfitter or shoe store I notice they always sell Smartwool but never DT. I always suggest that should carry DT socks. I would buy locally if I could, but there are few if any local retailers that have them. Spread the word.

  12. Love your reviews – on the trail you need gear that works – period.
    After wearing through several Smartwool socks in one season – I started looking for something else and several friends recommended Darn Tough socks. Absolutely love the socks. My only wish is that Darn Tough would offer a super warm sock, similar to the Smartwool Mountaineering Extra Heavy crew sock. Also, as far as cleaning goes I have actually used a vacuum cleaner to get some sand out of the heel area before and this seemed to work pretty well.

    • Apparently Darn Tough now offers a Mountaineering sock, good for the brutally cold days climbing the Whites. As for cleaning, I just throw them in a tub/bucket with some detergent and let them soak for the day. Then rinse them out and soak them in plain water for about an hour. Seems to work but I have to agree they aren’t the easiest to clean.

  13. The change from a Smartwool liner to those much thicker Darn Tough socks seems like a drastic change to me, considering there’s a lot of in-between thickness that is sold. I agree, liners are not good alone. But I also don’t think many light- or mid-weight wool socks are the most comfortable. Have you ever tried Smartwool PhD Light and Ultralight socks? I’ve been using these two for over 2 years, and only use midweight REI and Smartwool during cold winter days. I haven’t worn through one pair yet, they’re form fitting and dry extremely quickly in combination with La Sportivas. I also play soccer in them and wear them casually during the winter. From what I consistently read on here, you go through socks and shoes much quicker than I do. Everyone’s feet, mileage, and walking form are different. I think they’re worth a try though for warmer days considering how light they feel and how quickly they dry (15-30 min for me).

  14. Surely their lifetime guarantee doesn’t include normal wear and tear. I did return one pair that had significant worn spots after just one trip for my son. They had me return those via the online retailer. I also have a pair (from a 2-pack) that the elastic top is loose that I’m sure they would replace (though I actually don’t mind that). But would they replace ones for wearing out the ball/heel after a few years??? Don’t see how they’d stay in business. I have a few that are getting there since I wear them every day.

  15. Great socks! Been wearing them on my hikes for sometime.

  16. I started wearing DT about a year ago on day hikes can’t say enough good things about them ! I just can’t believe being a wool sock how comfortable they are no bunching or blisters/hot spots and in hot/ humid weather my feet don’t sweat or stink at all!

  17. Their web page says if you wear them out, they replace them. No restrictions. However, I choose not to get free replacements every time I wear out a pair. Also, they do sell a light cushion hiker. Not sure if that would be thin enough to be consider a liner sock.

  18. Thanks for the write up. I will need to check them out too.

  19. The only socks I wear now, unless I’m in dress shoes. Paired with Lowa Renegade boots, three pairs carried me blister-free 800km across northern Spain on my first Camino de Santiago pilgrimage

  20. I like the Darned Tough socks a lot. So much better than Smart Wool and much denser. Currently going to try, in a limited way, a new sock for me: Thirty48. These seem to be dense, and the sock is made of a so-called bacteria-resistant “synthetic wool” that is supposed to be very resilient. The socks also come designated for the right foot and left due to the curvature being different for each foot. It is hard to beat the properties of natural wool and it will take me awhile to make a comparison, as I am recovering from foot surgery. I have not field tested the Thirty48 hiking socks, so if anybody out there has experience, good or bad, with Thirty48 hiking series socks, please share. Thanks!

  21. I have the same socks. I love them (except when I take them through the desert and get prickly stuff in them) because it is SO hard to get out. Other than that they are indestructible. Thanks for the post

  22. Switched to darn tough for all my sock wear on and off the trail. life time use sold me.

  23. I too am a Darn Tough convert for the very reasons you’ve listed. I even soaked several pair in permethrin last spring for hiking in “tick territory” and they worked great. I especially love that they’re made in VT not to mention a lifetime guarantee!

  24. Friends, who had hiked the Appalachian Trail and John Muir ,recommended these when they were hiking the Camino de Santiago in Spain. I bought a couple of pair and wear them on every hike. The pair I wore across Spain, still wearing today- 2 years later. Planning on taking them to Mt Whitney. Great choice , thank you!

    • What thickness do you recommend for hiking boots? I will be doing a lot day trips hiking around Ireland in May. I am new to hiking in boots and didn’t know which thickness is best. I was thinking a mid all over cushion, but there are so many types of these socks.

  25. I’ve been using Darn Tough for the past couple years and have been very pleased. I found that they also offer work socks that have been great for the office. So much more comfortable and breathable than standard dress socks…which reminds me–I need a couple more pairs.

  26. I saw Darn Tough socks at a feed store when I was passing through Montana. I bought a pair, wore them a couple times and had to order 4 or 5 more pairs. They are the best hiking / work / farm socks I have ever owned.

  27. Any recommendations for thickness of this brand for day hikes in hiking boots? I think more cushion is best, but am new to hiking in boots. There are so many types of these socks.

  28. I let the weather determine thickness / warmth requirement / etc. You’ll more than likely need at least a couple different thicknesses.

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