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How to Find Better Socks that Last Longer

Updated on January 23, 2019
Regi Brittain profile image

A stand-up comedian and freelance writer, Regi Brittain has deeply held beliefs about things some find insignificant, like socks.

I hope you find yourself reading this article because you are fed up with the socks you have been wearing. If you are, I can help. I’ve been into socks, and into their functionality, for more than two decades.

One thing I know, you need the right gear for the job, activity, or pastime, even if it’s borderline weird. This rule, The Right Gear For The Job Rule, applies to socks, too. Let’s explore further.


What Goes into a Good Sock?

If we’re thinking about finding the proper gear for the task or activity at hand, then we need to consider materials. Good socks are made of textiles that remove, or wick, perspiration away from your skin. You may not be used to “wick” as a verb. It’s okay. I used to wear cotton socks skiing, and that is a mistake that can result in cold, damp feet and the misfortune of giving up skiing before you get any good at it.

So, “wicking” is pulling moisture away from skin, and it has nothing to do with candle shopping.

Which Materials Help Socks Wick?

This could be a long list, but I will boil it down to two categories, merino wool and some synthetic textiles. For example, my favorite socks are constructed from a blend that is

  • 56% merino wool
  • 41% nylon
  • 3% Lycra® spandex

Adding nylon to merino wool helps make strong, thin socks that wick, while a little spandex helps them stretch. Though thinner than most sock models, these socks keep my feet warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

As you shop for your favorite socks, look for similar attributes to the ones I dig, especially if you revere an active lifestyle.

Merino sheep gets a nom.
Merino sheep gets a nom. | Source

Does Anyone Make Socks that Last Forever?

The short answer to this question is no, but you can definitely opt for a better, more dependable sock brand than those sold in packs of six. Perhaps, a better question is “What is a good, durable sock brand?”

I am partial because I live in the state where these are produced, but Darn Tough, from Vermont, is a wonderful, dependable sock brand. In fact, its dedicated team makes socks that, in a sense, last forever. For decades now, Darn Tough has sold its socks with an unconditional guarantee.

In short, the guarantee means that you and I can return our Darn Tough socks at any time and for any reason. The company will replace the socks with new ones. You can complete this replacement through any Darn Tough retailer, or you can mail your old pairs back to the factory in Vermont.

What are some reasons folks have returned a pair of Darn Toughs for replacement? Remember that customers can return socks to this maker for any reason, but as a fan of the brand, I have collected a few answers from store clerks and my own experience:

  • Wrong size
  • My dog chewed on one
  • Not the right style for me
  • I left them by the campfire and they got singed
  • Worn out
  • I was cutting into a box of Darn Toughs that had been shipped to me and, well, oops!
  • My cat thought one was his mouse toy

Imagine buying a pair of Darn Toughs, which do cost more than average socks for sure, as purchasing a sock subscription.

Wait! Sock Subscription?

This is exactly how I have framed Darn Tough’s value to many friends and relatives. (Yes! It is weird to have multiple conversations with people in your personal orbit about the best sock brand, but I have done it.) Some of these folks also where Darn Toughs (as the socks are part of Vermonters’ unofficial uniform), so it becomes a very positive conversation very quickly.

So, yes, paying for a pair of Darn Toughs online or in a retail store gains you access to, essentially, one subscription to a pair of socks for life. When that pair of socks wears out, take advantage of the manufacturer’s unconditional guarantee. You don’t have to keep a receipt or anything. The Darn Tough brand, woven into each sock’s toe, is all your socks need for you to participate in the program.

If you want to have two of these subscriptions, pick up two pairs of Darn Tough socks. Three subscriptions? Purchase three pairs.

I figure owning ten pairs of Darn Tough socks, ten of what I call sock subscriptions, means I’ll never have to spend money on socks again. Indeed, I own ten pairs now, so I have stopped paying for them, but I still list my favorite sock brand on my Amazon Wish List because I love them, and I figure having them on my list encourages people I know to get a pair or two for themselves.

Threads on a loom.
Threads on a loom. | Source

How Can Darn Tough Offer Its Guarantee?

You know how people join gyms and then never go? Offering an unconditional guarantee is similar. Not all, and perhaps relatively few, who get a pair of Darn Toughs will ever return them for replacement. In fact, I am certain that someone at the company has a spreadsheet where they track the rate of sock returns, or whatever they typed atop that column, and they factor that percentage into their pricing.

I bump into people at parties or on the street who are wearing these wonder socks, and we start talking, and they have no idea about the guarantee. Why? Because people are simply used to using up socks and buying new ones.

So remember, a pair of Darn Toughs is not a pair of socks, it’s a sock subscription to replace the pair of socks that comes with it as many times as necessary.

Types of Socks Made by Darn Tough

As of 2019, here is every sock collection manufactured by Darn Tough:

  • Men’s Hiker
  • Women’s Hiker
  • Women’s Athletic
  • Men’s Athletic
  • Ski & Ride
  • Peak to Pub
  • Cozy Classics
  • Stripes
  • Work
  • Hunting
  • Cycling
  • Natural Style

Do You Know of Any Sock Brands that Offer the Same Guarantee as Darn Tough's?

I hope what I have shared here about my favorite sock brand helps you. I am interested in learning about other brands with comparable guarantees to add to this article. If you know of any, please leave me a comment. I will research them and update this article to further help people achieve greater comfort and value from money they spend on socks.

Happy socking!

(Yes, I know I misused that word.)


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