To claim that a pair of socks could last you a lifetime sounds a lot like wishful thinking. Repeat purchasing socks just seems like a fact of life - they’re fairly cheap, do the job and are retired after a couple of years once the toe or heel gives in. People don’t expect anything more because honestly, how life-changing can a pair of socks ever be?
Enter Vermont sock experts Darn Tough, who are determined to answer that question with a resounding ‘very’.
A family-run business that - like so many companies we love - makes just one thing and does it right, Darn Tough make merino wool socks that go above and beyond in three categories: Comfort, Durability and Fit. And they’re just as well-known for their no-strings-attached lifetime guarantee as their outstanding product. If your sock wears out, send them back for a free new pair - no questions asked.
Exploiting the best attributes of merino wool to make a true performance sock, Darn Toughs are well-known for keeping your feet cool in the heat, warm in the cold, free of blisters, less sweaty and even odourless. As you’d expect, they’re tough to boot - Darn Tough customers often speak of pairs they’ve had for ten years or more, still going strong despite regular use.
All this is probably why Darn Tough socks are military issued in the U.S, and certified by the armed forces for quality. If you’re hiking miles every day with a heavy pack, avoiding swampy, blistered feet is an absolute necessity. As well as thick boot socks, Darn Tough craft more lightweight models for everyday wear and sports, all guaranteed for life.
Why merino wool?
You’d be forgiven for thinking that a wool sock equals hot, prickly and thick - a recipe for sweaty and itchy feet. However, merino wool is another ball game entirely. This natural fibre used to be found almost exclusively in performance sportswear, prized for its lightness, breathability and wicking properties. Now widely available in everyday clothing, merino wool shines brightest in the form of the humble sock.
Even in the heat of summer, merino’s natural temperature regulating properties and lack of itchiness give Darn Tough socks their ‘forget-it’s-there’ lightness. Fast action wicking pulls moisture away from the skin, absorbing as much as 30 percent of its weight without feeling wet. Merino is even naturally antimicrobial, keeping your feet from smelling. Soldiers and hikers testify that Darn Tough socks stay fresh for days and days without washing, a feature that has been described as ‘seriously uncanny’.
Anyone who spends any amount of time wearing clammy cotton socks is likely to love the switch to merino wool. But these socks will be a real game changer for people who:
- Suffer from sweaty feet
- Have constantly smelly shoes
- Live in extremes of cold or heat
- Hike long distances
- Have cold extremities (fingers, toes) and struggle with temperature regulation
Of course, merino wool isn’t the full answer as to why Darn Tough socks can be both comfy and durable. What sets this company apart is their dedication to taking their craft to the next level. Using very very fine merino thread, their state-of-the-art 168-needle knitting machines produce an average of 1441 stitches per square inch, creating a sock that’s denser and stronger. Reinforced with nylon and with Lycra spandex for stretch, these are socks that will go the extra mile.
Another innovation is the True Seamless™ undetectable seam fusion. Whilst most socks will have some kind of thick stitch on top of the toes, sealing the tube of fabric, Darn Tough socks have managed to create a barely-there join that’s completely smooth to feel.
The perfect fit
Choosing the correct size is absolutely crucial not just for a comfortable sock, but one that will last. Too small and they’ll feel tight and wear away at the toe; too big and they’ll bunch up and rub. This is why Darn Tough go to every length to ensure accurate sizing for the long term - they’re pre-shrunk with an initial wash, and even mechanically pre-stretched. Every single sock is fitted over a template to ensure it’s the exact right size.
The secret to making the ultimate sock lies partly in performance materials and high-tech construction. But there’s another, more straightforward part of the recipe - and that’s meticulous, repeated, exhaustive quality control checks. The smallest of defects can become a hole years down the line, so Darn Tough’s dedicated inspection team checks each sock leaving the factory for miniscule mistakes in the knit.
Darn Tough are a family-owned business - going on three generations - that makes every single product from back to front in Northfield, Vermont. This is why they're big fans of the phrase, “nobody ever outsourced anything for quality”. By keeping their entire production line in-house, they have complete control over their product. And with a guarantee like theirs, you can see why they need to be careful.
A guarantee like no other
Here at Buy Me Once, we’re no stranger to a lifetime guarantee. Lifetime guarantees are a great indicator of quality and an assurance that a manufacturer stands by their product - but they’re usually full of caveats. They don’t tend to cover regular wear and tear, only assuring against manufacturing defects, and sometimes they actually refer to the natural lifetime of the product, not the owner!
We’ve never seen a guarantee like Darn Tough’s. When their socks - eventually - do wear out, all you need to do is fill out a form and post them back to one of their many international fulfilment centers. You’ll get another pair sent to you for free in just a few days. How the business can continue to stand by this unconditional promise is a mystery to us, but one thing is for certain - every Darn Tough sock is a lifetime investment.
We’ve seen lots of brands who, having built a reputation for being the best, end up decreasing drastically in quality - a result of outsourcing their manufacturing to keep up with demand. We feel confident that Darn Tough’s buy-for-life socks won’t meet the same fate. Why? Darn Tough have made the ultimate performance sock, yet they still think they can do better. One of their principles is: “We have yet to produce our best sock.”