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The Darn Tough Sock Guarantee

Darn Tough Warranty Form (Click to download PDF)

Hikers swear by Darn Tough’s wool socks because they last forever. Darn Tough even warrantees them for life (click for warranty form), and will send you a replacement pair if you wear them out. For example, I sent in 8 worn-out pairs last year and Darn Tough sent me a gift certificate to buy 8 replacement pairs of equal value in their store. I may never have to pay for new socks ever again! You don’t even need a receipt of proof of purchase for the original pair.

What does worn-out mean when it comes to Darn Tough socks? It’s simple really. They’ll replace socks that you’ve worn holes in. But they’ll also replace ones that have become worn thin from heavy use even though they don’t have holes, which was the case with the 8 worn-out pairs that I sent in to be replaced. I would have been a customer for life even without the warranty because Darn Tough socks are so durable, but this warranty just sweetens the deal.

Before I switched to Darn Tough Socks, I hiked in wool socks made by Smartwool. They never lasted long and I’d blow through more than a dozen pairs a year. I hike in trail runners, so gravel from stream crossings and trail dust would filter past the mesh in my shoes and rapidly wear down my socks, under my heels, and my forefoot. It was a big problem on the last big hike I did with Smartwool socks, 200+ mile coast-to-coast trip across Scotland. I remember scouring the tourist shops in Loch Ness looking for replacement socks, finally finding two pairs embroidered with the monster’s likeness (they were hilarious). They lasted a few days until I could get to a proper outfitter and buy some thick wool hiking socks.

Colorful Nessie Socks
Colorful Nessie Socks

I know I probably emphasize gear durability more than most other backpacking gear reviewers, but I really hate replacing gear that wears out or breaks before its time. It’s not even a matter of money. I enjoy using gear that I treasure for a long time. It’s hard to explain, like using a favorite fountain pen when you write a letter or wearing a watch that you inherited from your Dad. There’s joy in using gear that you’ve had a lot of adventures with already. That’s the feeling I get when wearing Darn Tough Socks. We’ve had a lot of history together.

Disclosure: The author purchased all of his Darn Tough socks with his own funds.

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  1. Heckuva recommendation. I sure like mine. Better than Farm to Feet, SmartWool, or Fitsocks in my opinion.


  2. I wouldn’t consider myself loyal to any piece of backpacking equipment. I enjoy trying different shelters and packs. Darn tough socks are the exception!

    I own two pairs and have hiked hundreds, if not thousands, of miles in them. I’ll wear the same pair hiking for days at a time on backpacking trips. They don’t wear out, they are comfortable, they breath well and I don’t see any reason to invest in another pair.

  3. I have somehow managed to wear holes in a pair of them, but I wear them for everything from backpacking, whitewater kayaking, to bopping around town. I probably wear a pair 5 days a week because they are so darn comfortable! The only thing I don’t do is run in them.

    Darn Tough was super gracious and easy to work with when I did put holes in my pair. Just print and fill out the return page and ship them off. Within about a week and a half I had a new pair waiting at my doorstep. Super quick, painless, and exceptional service to go with a tremendous product. I can’t emphasize enough how much I love these socks and this company. Can’t go wrong.

  4. Durability should be a concern, especially from a money standpoint. As a UL hiker on a budget, I don’t have the time or funds for something I have to continuously replace. I like Darn Tough socks because they do hold up. I’ve used and abused mine and they keep coming back for more. I love it!

  5. I have many pairs of Darn Tough socks (all originals) functioning just fine. I have not ventured into day-to-day wear yet, as you have Philip, but based on my use, I am not surprised you have had the experience you describe. I do have to say that I have had the same experience with Bridgedale socks, as I have two pairs of them and they are older than my Darn Tough socks. As for Smartwool – I have found the inferior quality extends beyond the socks and to any of their clothing (shirts especially).

    • I agree with the Smartwool shirt inferiority. I had one lightweight merino shirt and a pair of boxer briefs from them, and both had holes after a few wears.

  6. I like the Darn Toughs and will continue to buy them. I would say, however, that they aren’t indestructible, especially in an environment where grit can get into your shoes. Within 2 years of purchasing and after hard use, three of my four pairs have holes, both under the ball of the foot and in the toes (none at the heels). Once the fourth pair gets major holes though I’ll just send them all back for exchange. I will say that even with large holes, they are still more comfortable than most socks without holes!

  7. Perfect timing Phillip , I actually just wore a pair out ! After all these years

  8. Are these socks 100% wool or a wool blend with synthetics? I’m guessing the latter which adds considerable to the durability. Regardless, a great warranty.

    • They have nylon and lycra in them which is necessary for durability. SmartWool also has nylon and lycra. I think it’s the way they’re made that makes them more durable. I also hand-knit socks (though not for hiking – don’t want to get my pretty socks all muddy) and if you make socks with yarn that doesn’t have nylon in it you need to add some nylon thread or else the socks fall apart pretty quickly.

      Love my Darn Tough socks the best! Philip, can you speak about why they are so much more durable than SmartWool? And do you still have the Loch Ness Monster socks?

      • “All of our socks are knit on small needle, fine gauge knitting machines. This approach produces durable, high density stitching without bulk. Less bulk means a better fit. The better the sock fits, the longer it will last. We only use fine gauge, high micron 100% merino wool in the knitting of our wool socks—we do not cheapen the wool by adding nylon or polyester to the blend of the wool. We reinforce the outside and inside of the sock with nylon and lycra for added comfort, durability and fit.”


        Nope – those nessie socks are long gone.

  9. I couldn’t agree more. I have had the same experience. Can’t seem to wear them out. Darn Tough socks are simply the best for hiking, backpacking, and daily wear.

  10. Completely agree. Whenever another brand goes on sale, I’ve been trying them. But after my last hike, I realized that I shouldn’t even bother. Darn Tough beats everything.

  11. I love reading a post that almost reads like an ad, but it really isn’t and the writer does just love the product that much. I know that sounds like faintish praise, but it’s not. You just want to tell people how great these socks are because you like them and they do their job. That’s one of the reasons I read your site and others like it–I want to know what gear is good, and if someone who hikes as much as you do uses it because you just want to use it? Can’t get a better recommendation than that.

    Anyway, I’m going to probably go buy a few pairs of these and hope my experience mirrors yours.

  12. I’m glad you admit to wearing them for days at a time, even at home. I too wear mine a few days at a time, in civilization and out on the trail. But I don’t tell anyone who isn’t a hiker because they wouldn’t understand. They don’t seem dirty and they don’t smell, so why not?

  13. Home pedicure helps all socks last longer. Guys, pedicures are not “just for women”. I am talking about trimming and buffing nails, and I add removing flaking callus with a pumice stone. I swear by the book, Fixing Your Feet, by John Vonhof, a trail runner and ultra-marathon-ist and orthopedic technician / EMT. My garden variety Smartwool lightweight hiking socks last a very long time, as in, haven’t had a hole yet in 5 years. Admittedly, I have a number of pairs I rotate, and make a point of changing socks when sweat-filled, and airing feet every 4 hours or so. Even though the Smartwool socks are still going strong, I am tempted to get a pair of these Darn Tough socks to replace some Wigwams that are wearing out.

  14. Been thinking I should send in all mine with holes, significant wear and/or stretched elastic. I just didn’t know at what point they would consider them worn enough to replace. I have one that has a hole on the bottom that doesn’t seem like it was from wear to me but have no idea where else it came from. I suppose they would just send it back if it didn’t qualify? Do they need 1 form per pair?

    • Thought I’d update my experience. I sent in 5 “worn out” pairs. Received 3 new pairs in just under 2 weeks. Used their contact form to ask about the status of the other 2 pairs. Received email quickly that they must have been overlooked and are shipping out 2 more new pairs. Won’t buy anything other than Darn Tough with service like that.

  15. Does anyone else wash their Darn Toughs in warm water in the washing machine with laundry detergent (but then air drying)? I always used to wash my wool socks by hand in Woolite, but so far the DTs are holding up to machine washing.

    • Cold water, regular detergent, drier – here. No special treatment.

    • Front-load washer with normal detergent usually (darks get Woolite) and then air dry unless I forget to separate them out but our dryer is always on low heat, too.

    • That’s reassuring to hear, thanks.

    • The last 4 pairs I bought seem to have shrunk. I didn’t use hot water. I possibly used warm water by mistake. Anyway, all 4 pair are extremely hard to get on! Three pair are knee socks. It was hurting my hand to get them on so I cut one knee sock pair and made it a crew sock. That made it easy to get on. But the original crew sock pair is so cute (it’s got butterflies and flowers), that I don’t want to mess with it
      I wonder if they would exchange them. All my other pairs fit very well and are easy to get on.

  16. I’ve used Smartwool socks in winter time but after a while I develop a rash on my legs so I thought I was one of the few people allergic to wool. I bought DT socks in their Coolmax synthetic blend but had the same problem so I think it’s just a function of long term wear of a heavy tight weave.

    My only issue with Darn Tough socks is the sizing. The Coolmax L fits 10-12 and the XL 12.5-14.5. I wrote them asking to think of making an overlapping 11-13 size. The L are just a bit too tight on my feet and the XL are slightly loose and bunch up.

    I may try a pair of their L wool ones and see if they stretch a bit more and are more comfy for me.

    I’ll probably give the others to my grandson who often takes his shoes off and runs all over the place in his socks, thereby destroying them to the great consternation of his mother.

    • I’ve had the same problem. I’m a fairly new convert to DT socks, so can’t say much yet about longterm durability. I have a couple of pairs of the hike/trek (full cushion, i think) in the large, and they fit fine and feel great. (I’m usually an 11.5 shoe/boot size.) I tried a pair of the Cool Max in a lighter weight, also a large, and they are noticeably—and almost uncomfortably—tighter in the circumference, around both the foot and ankle. The overall length/height is also shorter. And, there’s also no marking built into the sock that identifies them as Cool Max (at least none i can find). I resorted to making some small dots with a silver sharpie on some of the black areas of the sock.

    • That’s odd, I had the same problem with a pair of their CoolMax hiking sock. DT suggested an exchange for the Hunter sock that is wool and not as tight fitting. The Hunter socks have been great and I’ll probably buy more of them for winter. All DT large Merino socks (mainly Hikers) fit well on my 10.5 feet, except they all have a top band that’s too tight on me. Since I love Darn Tough socks anyway, I cut the threads holding down the folded-over top. Probably not the best behavior and might test the limits of their incredible warranty some day, but it’s worth it to me to be able to wear them now.

      • I get fairly good results with the other brands, and I figure Darn Tough has to charge more to factor in the expected returns. So in a way I’m paying for your returns. Except I decline. I’m glad their system is working out for you.

    • I thought I’d try another brand for the heck of it and bought a pair of Drake knee high Large because that is my size in DT’s. Drake’s sizing chart was hard to figure and I wasn’t sure if I should get the medium or the large. I opted for the large. They turned out to be gigantic. So I wear them around the house.

  17. In preparing for my 2018 AT Thru-hike while reading numerous equipment lists posted by previous thru-hikers, i saw hiker after hiker after hiker had worn (and sworn by) Darn Tough sox. So during a sale at local outfitter, I bought four pairs! I have run and hiked in them since….they are indeed comfortable, but I have not been “in them” long enough to speak to their durability. Just curious….anyone notice if they run “small”?

  18. Sorry everyone….just read the entire “thread”. I see that some others have experienced this. My fault….I will write it off to “senior-itis”! Have a good evening, all!

  19. I finally wore out a pair of L/XL Darn Tough socks. I have another pair of matching Large/Extra Large around here somewhere but cannot find it. They processed that unique pair and I can replace them with either L or XL, not the combo I sent. I just have to choose. I think I’ll go XL.

  20. Plus one to everything Phil says. Darn Tough stands behind their product, period. I’ve only ever had one pair replaced, which was a seamless and easy experience. They’ve also gone out of their way to help one hiker I know who had sock problems unrelated to their guarantee (he’s a partial amputee). I’ll always wear and recommend Darn Tough socks.

  21. Best part about the return policy is that they all end up in a big bag in the dumpster and if you know where that dumpster is then you and your friends have socks for life. I have been wearing returned socks since 2016 and finally just threw out my first pair from that batch. They had holes to begin with but I managed to squeeze another 7+ years out of them after other people decided they were no longer serviceable. Just to be clear, I would never return the socks. It’s immoral and I don’t want the Darn Tough return policy to go the way of the LL Bean return policy. (On another note those Beans dumpsters used to be epic too.. Clothing, tents, chairs, sleeping bags, crossbow kits, etc.. Ever seen a metal dumpster where the whole bottom of it was Leathermans? It’s a sight to behold….) Bottom line is that Darn Tough socks are super durable and in my experience, work well long into their holy days.

    • How many pairs of DT socks will it take for me to walk to Vermont from Texas to dumpster dive for my free pair?

    • The return policy is immoral? The public (or gov’t) isn’t forcing it on them. That’s partly how they justify the price premium.

      • I think he’s saying he considers it immoral for him to dumpster dive for free socks and then return them if they wear out. I certainly see his point.

        I haven’t decided when I’m going to start my walk to Vermont for my free pair…

  22. Darn Tough socks are also my go-to socks and they are indeed very robust.
    The only negative point is the useless warranty when you live outside the USA and there is no local distributor.

  23. To quote the great Guy Clark: “Things that work.”

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