Gear Guide: Why Darn Tough are the best socks for hiking

While I’ve adopted a lot of Colorado culture, I can’t give up my East Coast loyalty to Darn Tough Socks. They’ve been my go-to ever since I stumbled upon them at REI when I first started hiking, and over years of trying out other brands, I am still a die-hard Darn Tougher.

I started out with the ¼ Hike Sock before falling for my one true love, the Light Hiker Micro Crew.

As the name implies, it’s a lighter sock, which is something I was in desperate need of. I’ve brought this up an embarrassing amount of times on this blog, but my feet sweat A LOT and my original Darn Toughs were still just a little too thick for hiking around in waterproof boots for hours.

I also really like cushioning, so I was hesitant for any cushion that called itself “micro.” Smartwool socks have always felt too thin for my taste, and I think Darn Tough really nails that happy medium with the Micro Crew.

Obviously, you still give up some cushioning for the lighter fabric, but I didn’t notice any difference in comfort. I wear them with Merrell hiking boots and Brooks Cascadia trail running shoes, which to be fair, are pretty cushy to begin with.

These socks felt stretchier than the regular weight ones, but are just as durable. I wear mine constantly, and several years my original pair has yet to show any signs of wear. This is big for me because I have some sort of freak heel bone that wears holes in many sneakers, and therefore most socks.

If you’re deciding quarter versus crew height, it really depends on personal preference. I The quarter socks covered my ankles and stopped just above my hiking boots, which is perfectly satisfactory for the average person. My husband runs in quarter height Darn Toughs and loves them.

However, I’ve noticed that something about the way I walk and run tends to kick and lot of dirt and rocks up into my shoes, which became problematic with the shorter socks. The crew height socks keep dirt and gravel out but don’t come up so high that they start making my legs hot or make me feel dorky. The crew sock hits almost exactly two inches above my ankle.


What I love the most about these socks is what you’ll find in any pair of Darn Toughs – the material. Wool being stretchy, soft, and uber comfy is a little counter-intuitive, but believe me when I say that these socks are all of those things.

No matter how sweaty you get, you’ll never get itchy in these bad boys. Plus, they are straight up COMFY. I find any excuse I can to wear them and keep them in heavy rotation with the rest of my favorite hiking and running socks, which I admittedly also wear regularly to sit on the couch, eat ice cream, peruse Facebook, etc.

The material also means less smell. It’s no small task for my socks, considering my insoles are putrid and, as I mentioned, my feet sweat a lot. I can spend hours hiking in the during the summer and not clear a room (or have blisters for that matter) thanks to the moisture-wicking merino wool.

In my expert fashion opinion (el oh el), Darn Tough has the greatest range of designs for everyone. I have some sweet knee-high pink and teal ski lift ones, those bright stripey bad boys, and struggle to find the same range of bright-colored designs from other brands. No shade to earth tones, but they just aren’t my thing.

Stance socks are about the same price but are harder to find. They have some SWEET designs, but I can only ever find one or two different ones that I really love and the rest either aren’t available and are kind of “meh.” Rihanna is an ambassador for them though, so if you’re into Queen RiRi perhaps you check them out after all.

Darn Toughs are pricey for socks (the crew height cost $19), but REI often has them on sale (including right now!) and you really don’t need multiple pairs if you’re a beginner. I’ve worn mine more than once without washing them, but they’ve also held up through years of aggressive laundering (I don’t separate colors, rarely air dry anything, and generally do laundry with the expertise of a 12-year-old).

Darn Tough socks can be found at and most outdoor retailers. I even saw them at a horse show vendor once…they’re so awesome, you can find them anywhere!

Note: Darn Tough provided a pair of Micro Crew Hiker socks to me free of charge in exchange for a product review. They did not have any oversight or editing power over this blog and all opinions are my own. This post does contain affiliate links, meaning if you click on them and buy something I get a very small percentage of that sale (at no extra cost to you). This helps offset the costs of running this website, and will maybe mean one day I can afford to upgrade to the paid version of WordPress.

I love Darn Tough and the free socks were an added bonus. As with all things on this blog, I do not recommend any products that I don’t use myself and genuinely love.



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