Darn Tough Vermont
CoolMax Micro Crew Cushion Sock - Style 1467
Test Series by Jason Boyle
Initial Report – September 19, 2009
Field Report - November 29, 2009
Long Term Report - January 19, 2010
Name: Jason Boyle
Height: 5' 6"/ 1.68 m
Weight: 180 lb/ 82 kg
Email address: c4jc "at" hotmail "dot" com
City, State, Country: Kodiak, Alaska, U. S.
I have been camping and backpacking for about 20 years. My introduction to the outdoors started with the Boy Scouts of America and has continued as an adult. I have hiked all over the Southeastern, Northeastern, and Northwestern United States. I am generally a lightweight hiker, but will carry extras to keep me comfortable. I currently reside on Kodiak Island in Alaska home of some of the worst weather and most beautiful scenery around. I look forward to putting gear through the paces here on the Emerald Isle.
Manufacturer: Darn Tough Vermont
Model: Micro Crew Cushion – under the Hike Trek section
Style: 1467 – Coolmax
Color: Charcoal (received) also available in Light Blue with a slightly different fabric content.
Size Received: Men’s Large foot size 9-11.5 US
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Listed weight: None listed
Measured weight: 2.8 oz/79 g
Fabric Content: 33% Coolmax Polyester, 31% Nylon, 27% Acrylic, 5% Polyester, 4% LYCRA spandex
MSRP: No price listed on the Darn Tough Website
Country of Manufacture: Vermont, USA
The socks at first glance seem like any other socks but upon closer inspection these are not just normal socks. They feel substantial and I can feel the difference between the top and the bottom of the sock. The bottom is much thicker, the “cushioning on the foot bottom” that Darn Tough mentions on their website. All the seams appear to be well made and looking at the socks inside out I didn’t see any loose stitching. The upper part of the sock and the cuff seem to have plenty of elasticity and bounce back after being stretched out.
Care instructions for the socks are fairly simple – Machine wash warm on the gentle cycle with the socks inside out. Do not bleach, tumble dry on low. Do not dry clean.
The socks arrived packaged on a standard hang tag similar to the way they are sold in most stores. I like socks, no probably love socks so I had to try them on as soon as they arrived. I could immediately feel a difference. The bottom of the sock feels nice and thick and the ¾ length ends nicely around the bottom of my calf. The toe seam is comfortable and completely unnoticeable. I am on the smaller size of the size chart so there is a little bit of extra material at the heel of the sock, I don’t think this will be an issue, but I will watch it over the test period. Initial impression is very positive.
The Darn Tough Vermont website is easy to use and provides plenty of useful information especially under the “What makes them Darn Tough?” link which outlines all the knitting features of the socks. They also have an unconditional lifetime guarantee, which I couldn’t find more information on the website, but from the back of the packaging it says “If our socks aren’t the most comfortable and durable socks you’ve ever owned, return them for your money back”. This seems like a solid guarantee.
Field Report – November 29, 2009
I have used the socks while backpacking, hiking, running and cycling over the past two months and they have performed well. I am pleased with their wicking ability and the cushioning of the socks. The elasticity of the cuffs are in good shape and they still look almost new even after almost 150 miles (242 km) of use.
I have used the socks on four day hikes throughout Kodiak and Juneau, Alaska, a kayaking trip out of Juneau, and on an overnight backpacking trip to Termination Point on Kodiak. I also used the socks for running, and while teaching indoor cycling classes. Elevation ranged from sea level to 3500’ (1070 m) on top of Mt. Jumbo in Juneau. Temperatures ranged from around 50 F to 25 F (10 C to -4 C). Winds experienced ranged from slight to blowing in excess of 30 mph (48 kph) which is typical for late fall/winter here in Alaska. Trails here in Alaska are for the most part non existent and what exists is very rough with little to no switchbacks and serious vertical gain. Fall through Spring is the wet season here in Kodiak, and the socks have been used in both rain and snow.
The socks have performed well over the past two months. There are a couple of main characteristics that I look for when testing socks – Fit and Durability. I will begin with fit. As I mentioned in the Initial Report, I am at the lower end of the large size range for the socks and there was some excess fabric that I thought might be a concern. However, after 2 months and lots of miles the excess fabric hasn’t affected me at all. The elasticity in the sock keeps it from bunching up and causing blisters or hot spots. Another aspect to fit is comfort and these socks are comfortable. The padding is ample in the forefoot and heel and still feels the same compared to a new pair of socks. Darn Tough sent two pairs of the socks, so I have kept one unused to gauge against the used pair. Another item of interest that I look for is whether or not the socks trap odor. I have intentionally worn these socks for a week without washing and I can report that they didn’t smell as bad as I thought they would. They actually didn’t smell much at all.
The second characteristic I look for in a sock is durability; especially in the toes, heel and cuff portions of the sock. Thus far the socks have performed exceptionally. There are no obvious flattened or worn sections on the socks. The elastic in the cuff continues to perform well; returning to shape when I take the socks off and keeping the socks in place when worn.
Overall I am pleased with these socks, and will continue to wear them for all my outdoor adventures. This concludes my Field Report.
Long Term Report – January 19, 2010
After 130 (209 km) more miles the socks are still performing great. The only real difference I can tell is a bit of pilling on the bottom of the socks and the “Darn Tough” lettering on each toe area is beginning to fade a bit. Overall comfort and durability has been great. Nothing negative to report here!
I have used the socks on two more day hikes on the trails around Fort Abercrombie here in Kodiak. Elevation gain was minimal with about 500 feet (152 m) of total change. The bulk of my testing this period has been trail and road running and cycling. Temperatures have ranged from 40 F to 20 F (4 C to -7 C) and precipitation has consisted mostly of non stop wind driven rain.
Like I said in my initial report, I love socks. However, only a few make my list of go to socks when I rummage through the sock drawer – these socks have made the list! The fit has been superb. No issues at all, even while cranking out hours on the spin bike, or on 10 mile (16 km) trail runs. The socks have wicked sweat well even in colder temperatures and have dried quickly between runs. I would routinely wear them to run during lunch, throw them in my backpack and pull them out again in the early afternoon to use again to teach spinning.
Durability is my second big concern. I find that I wear out my socks in the ball of the foot area because I tend to run and hike on my toes. I am pleased to say that I have not noticed any difference between the used socks and the pair I kept as a control pair. There is a bit of pilling on the bottom of each socks near the arch but it is minor and appears to be cosmetic.
Overall I am ecstatic with the performance of these socks and will continue to wear them until they fall apart. This concludes my Long Term Report. Thanks to Backpackgeartest.org and Darn Tough Vermont for allowing me to participate in this test.
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