Before I get into my unsolicited review of Darn Tough Socks, let me tell you a story about a younger and less experienced version of myself.
When I first got into backpacking and hiking, I went and spent a lot of money at upscale outdoor outfitter. I purchased some leather waterproof ankle height hiking boots because that made sense to unexperienced me. I paired that with a pair of medium thick wool socks to “fill any void” and “provide lots of cushion”.
It went exactly as many of you expected. My boots got wet mid-day on the first day of a 2-day trip. My leather boots seemed to stretch just a bit in all of the wrong places when they got wet (and NEVER dried out). My wool socks suddenly bunched up and caused hot spots. I thought I could “tough it out”. It was ugly. I had fully developed blisters and still had about 8 miles to go. While I WAS near a road crossing, I was the “leader” of the trip and I had wool socks and I was tough! Let’s just say I had blisters on top of blisters when it was over. I promise you it wasn’t pretty at all!
After that HORRIBLE experience that took me weeks to recover from physically, I thought there had to be a better way, so I started researching. I discovered Darn Tough socks on an online forum for people that hike the Appalachian Trail. I figured if they were good enough for someone hiking non-stop for over 2000 miles, they were good enough for my weekend trips.
If you have been into hiking or other outdoor activities, you have probably heard of Darn Tough Socks (https://darntough.com). If not, Darn Tough is a company in Vermont (USA) that specializes in merino wool blend socks. They make socks for EVERYTHING including socks for hiking, running, ski, snowboard, hunting, work, tactical, and everything in between. IF that isn’t enough, they offer a product that is “Unconditionally Guaranteed for Life” (https://darntough.com/pages/our-unconditional-lifetime-guarantee).
After that horrible experience, I used Darn Tough sock exclusively when hiking. I started out wearing them hiking and backpacking. I liked them so much, I bought more to run (THAT didn’t last long) or wear to the gym – or at least with my running shoes. Then I bought a few more pair and now that’s almost all I wear. I will only wear something else when all my Darn Tough socks are dirty. They are that good. They are good, but they aren’t particularly cheap at an average price of around $20 USD a pair. That is a lot of money for a pair of socks.
I have written about it before, but I have put several hundreds of miles in a combination of Darn Tough Socks and Altra Lone Peaks. I don’t take my shoes or socks off at water crossings and I have NEVER had a blister that needed any attention on the trail. I am not guaranteeing this experience for everyone, but it has worked for me for many years.
If it’s not obvious, I love Darn Tough Socks. That company has a lot of my money and I REALLY like their products. I also believe that even though they are expensive, I have more than gotten my money’s worth out of every single pair of Darn Tough Socks I own.
So, OK, you get it. I like their socks. So what? Remember me mentioning “Unconditionally Guaranteed for Life”? Well, I had a pair that I hated wearing. They were crew height like many other pair I owned, but the stretchy property of the sock wasn’t stretchy in the top section of the sock. The result was that the sock would slide down and bunch up in my shoe.
I made this a “wear only at home” pair, but even then, they bugged me. They were constantly sliding down into my shoe or trying to slide off my foot whenever I wore them without shoes. I was wearing that particular pair of socks one day and during a meeting they FINALLY got the best of me.
Luckily, my company does not require our cameras on when we are in a meeting remotely. While paying attention to the meeting, I pulled up www.darntough.com on my other monitor. There was a chat icon in the lower corner of the screen so I clicked on it.
Using the chat feature, I was able to communicate with a customer service representative. I explain to them while the sock wasn’t “worn out” why it had become a pair of socks I didn’t like to wear. Without question, they started a warranty claim and told me that “unconditional” really meant that – except for a few exclusions (pet damage, being burned, or lost). Basically, if you didn’t think the socks no longer meet the Darn Tough standard, the guarantee applies. While I’m not super thrifty, I also don’t like to waste money, either. They quickly sent me an email with the information. I paid to have my clean socks mailed back to them using the warranty information. About a week later, I received an email. They were giving me a code to apply to a new pair of socks of my choice up to $25 USD and it also included free shipping back to me. I placed an order and the socks were shipped the next day.
I debated about using the warranty because I had this pair of socks for many years AND I still had to spend money to have them mailed back. I COULD just throw them away and buy a new pair OR I could spend less than half of the cost of a new pair of socks and use the warranty. I chose the warranty.