DARN TOUGH VERMONT X-COUNTRY NORDIC BOOT CUSHION SOCKS
BY KATHLEEN WATERS
April 11, 2009
White Lake, Michigan USA
5' 4" (1.63 m)
125 lb (56.70 kg)
I started hiking in 1998 after an eye-opening climb up Hahn's Peak in Colorado. Hooked, I return to Colorado often. I've hiked/snowshoed glaciers, rain forests, mountains and deserts in domestic and exotic locations, including Iceland, Costa Rica, Slovenia and Death Valley.
At home, I plan for 2-3 hikes of 6-8 mi (10-13 km) weekly and one weekend hike monthly. Weekday hikes take place in Pontiac Lake Recreation Area, a mixture of heavily-wooded moderate hills and flat terrain. Weekend hike locations vary.
My hiking style is comfortable, aiming for lightweight. Current pack averages 25 lb (11 kg) including food and water
|Manufacturer: Cabot Hosiery Mills Inc. |
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Model/Style: Nordic Boot Cushion (these socks are also available in an Ultra Light model)
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.darntough.com
Listed Weight: N/A
Measured Weight: 2.8 oz (79 g)
Unisex Sizes Available: Small, Medium, Large and XLarge
Size Tested: Medium
Colors Available: Black, Vapor Blue and Orange (according to website)
Color Tested: Red (according to package back)
Fabric Contents: 67% Merino Wool, 29% Nylon, 4% Lycra® Spandex
Care Instructions: Machine wash in warm water with socks turned inside-out. Do not bleach. Tumble dry on low or hang dry.
Made in the USA.
|Darn Tough Vermont Socks|
Darn Tough Promise - The bigger than lifetime guarantee - "If our All Weather Performance Socks aren't the most comfortable and durable socks you've ever owned, return them for your money back."
Socks cannot be purchased on the Darn Tough website, but they do provide links to retailers on the site.
|Darn Tough Vermont Socks||At first glance, I was struck by the vivid appearance of the Darn Tough Vermont X-Country Nordic Boot Socks (hereafter called "socks" or "Darn Toughs"). Two shades of grey, a lighter grey and a medium charcoal, are accented with bright red color blocks at the heel, arch and toe as well as a generously banded cuff. White letters spell out "Darn Tough" over the toes and a white logo adorns each side of the socks mid-cuff. |
The calf portion of the socks is ribbed while the foot body of the socks is smoothly knitted. The ribbing is noticeable and is designed to "ensure a proper fit" according to the Darn Tough Vermont retail packaging. Brand-new, the socks measure 7.5 in (19 cm) from cuff to heel and 8.5 in (22 cm) from heel to toe in a size medium.
These socks are part of Darn Tough Vermont's "On-Mountain Series" and according to Darn Tough's packaging "designed for Nordic skate and classic ski boots." They have a high density cushioning on the foot bottom which is easily twice as thick as the still thick foot top and is ideal for winter wear, hence the ski boots description. Also the custom shrink-treated merino wool adds to the cold weather practicality for winter sport pursuits.
FIELD CONDITIONS AND USE
For the last three months, I wore the Darn Tough Crew Socks at least two or three days a week casually at home and around town. I even wore them with liners and hiking boots one day to the Outdoor Retailer Show at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, Utah! The terrain there was flat, and as hard as concrete. It was definitely "dry" and temperatures were easily in the mid-60s to low 70s F (15-21 C). Estimated distance traveled that day was about 5 - 7 miles (8-11 km).
|I also wore the socks on various day hikes and overnights, some of which are listed below.|
February 7-8: At night, the trail at the Tennessee Pass was a very pleasant 28 F (-2 C) when we started and a still-pleasant 14 F (-10 C) when we stopped. Clear skies, little or no humidity and no wind at all made it a gorgeous trek. We started at an elevation of 10,500 ft (3200 m) and had a slight, but constant elevation gain to 10,800 ft (3292 m). The trail was hard-packed and meandered through a tall growth pine forest.
The next day, we were on the same trails, but it was sunny and 32 F (0 C). Still, no wind and very little humidity were present.
|Snowshoeing in Colorado|
|Hiking at Ridgway State Park||February 20-21: Ridgway State Park and Reservoir, including the Uncompahgre River trails. Elevation started at 6880 ft (2097 m) and rose to 7000 ft (2134 m). |
Temperatures were from a low of 33 F (0.6 C) at night to 54 F (12 C) in the bright afternoon sunshine. There was, at most, just a light occasional breeze.
Terrain varied from sandy beach shore to medium size rocks to very large rocks at the reservoir's edge, then changed to dry hard-packed dirt to mud to icy snow patches in the offshore higher-treed sections of the trail. The mileage for the entire east side trail was 7.5 mi (12 km).
March 3-5: Hike and camp in the Bureau of Land Management properties in the Royal Gorge area of Colorado (Cooper Mountain range, included). Elevation started at 5400 ft (137 m) and gained about 200 ft (5 m).
Daytime temperatures were a pleasant 50 to 67 F (10 to19 C) and nighttime temperatures hovered from 18 to 34 F (-8 to 1 C) from Tuesday to Thursday respectively. A pretty steady wind of 10 to 15 mph (16 to 24 kph) was present most of Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Wind gusts were plentiful and blew as high as 35 mph (56 kph).
The terrain was very dry. We were (and still are) under "red flag" warnings for forest fires. Vegetation was sparse juniper and pinon pine eking out a barren existence on powdery dirt to granite slabs. Desolate, but very beautiful against the brilliant blue sky!
I'm estimating since I got the Darn Toughs, I've worn them at least a couple dozen times. I've worn them with all sorts of footwear, both with shoes and with boots. I've worn them solo and with liners at night while sleeping.
Generally I wear a women's US size 8 hiking boot, so using the handy sizing chart on the Darn Tough website, I found that put me squarely in the middle of a size "medium". When buying footwear though, I always feel like it's a gamble. One manufacturer's medium is another's large or small. Happily the Darn Tough socks run true to size and fit me perfectly with no undue stretching or bunching up of excess material at the toes.
The Darn Tough socks have such great cushioning in the bottom of the foot. They feel more like a slipper than a sock. I can count on them to add much needed warmth to the bottom of my foot when I am snowshoeing and the thickness of the sock also gave me that much more material between my foot and the rough sharp rocks I encountered on trails such as the reservoir trail at Ridgway State Park. There I needed and got good protection and no sore feet. A darn good performance, I'd say!
Even when my feet got hot such as during my March backpacking trip detailed above - the temps reached almost 70 F (21 C) during the daytime - I didn't experience dampness from sweating. The Wickit Dry Technology of the Darn Tough socks effectively helped pull the moisture away from my foot through the liners. On the occasions where I had snow caking around the socks, such at the Tennessee Pass where I was in deep powder, the Darn Toughs kept my feet dry. I could feel the ice forming around my ankles, but did not get wet.
|With their signature blocks of color on the footbed and around the cuffs, I really like the way the Darn Tough socks look - very distinctive yet not garish. All the Darn Tough socks I own, and I own several models from the ski boot socks to various weight/height trekking socks, (except the new Life•Style models) have the color blocks scheme in various colors. They are very attractive and hold their looks well through numerous washings and wearings. (The new Life•Style socks have fun prints instead of the color blocks.)|| |
|Wearing the Socks|
As for washing and wearing, all my Darn Tough socks still look great! I wash them turned inside-out in cold water with all my other dark wash. I don't put them in the dryer as I use commercial dryers and commercial dryers are brutal. I don't dry any of my outdoor gear in commercial dryers. The socks dry within a couple of hours if the sun is not shining, but I've had them dry in as little as 1/2 hour. Our Colorado dry air plus sunshine just sucks moisture out of anything here.
While the Darn Tough socks shrink up a bit when fresh out of the washer, they immediately stretch out to fit my feet with no extra tugging needed. Based on the condition of my husband's 3.5 year-old Darn Tough socks, I expect mine to be on my feet for years to come.
1.) Great feeling socks with ample cushioning.
2.) Socks stay put on my calves, no slippin' and slidin'.
3.) These socks wear like iron!
1.) Not a DARN thing!
When my husband first tested his Darn Tough Vermont Socks a few years ago, I got really tired, very quickly of hearing him rave about them. I ended up developing a huge case of "sock envy". I even tried to snitch them once, but got caught and he made me give them back before I could even try them on. After that, I think he hid them somewhere.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Now that I have my own Darn Tough Vermont Socks, I know why he is so possessive. I love these socks! They are so comfortable. They cushion my feet, keep my toesies dry and blister-free, and never slide down around my ankles. Definitely worthy of a permanent place in my wardrobe and with the way these socks last, "permanent" may be an accurate term.
As a result of my husband's and my experiences with the Darn Tough Vermont Socks, we have purchased several pairs of the socks for family members. So, we are now a family of happy feet.
Thank you, Darn Tough Vermont, for such great products.
Kathleen (Kathy) Waters
Read more reviews of Darn Tough Vermont gear
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