DARN TOUGH VERMONT MICRO CREW SOCKS
TEST SERIES BY DAVID BRADISH
November 30, 2007
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Southern California USA
6' 2" (1.88 m)
165 lb (74.80 kg)
I started hiking in my teens in Arizona and New Mexico, primarily focusing on winter hiking. Since 1991 I have hiked a lot with my brother-in-law Ray mostly in California's Sierra Nevada range, and the southern mountains. In winter I bring as much gear as necessary to be safe and comfortable. For 3-season hiking I try to follow the principles of ultra light.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Cabot Hosiery Mills Inc
Web site: www.darntough.com
Product: Micro Crew Cushion
Item number: 1466
Year manufactured: 2007
Made in USA
Size reviewed: large
Other sizes available: small, medium and extra large
Color tested: denim also available in black, olive, lava, plum, stone blue, willow heather and purple mart
Weight (measured): 2.6 oz/74 g
Warrantee: "If our All Weather Performance Socks aren't the most comfortable and durable socks you've ever owned, return them for your money back."
The Micro Crew socks are part of Darn Tough Vermont's In-Country series of socks. They are ¾ length hiking and trekking socks made of 67% shrink treated merino wool. The other fibers used are 29% nylon, and 4% Lycra Spandex.
The socks came in the retail packaging and have lots of company info printed on it. Most of it is marketing hype. The rest is related in my own words below, or the specs above.
The 4-3/4"/12 cm high leg is non-cushioned and wide ribbed. It has a color band at the top and a mountain logo on each side.
The manufacturer says that the socks have high density cushioning on the foot bottom. This is very true. These are the most cushioned socks I have owned. In the picture above I have one sock turned inside-out to try to show the difference in the cushioned areas.
The reinforced heel and toe are the densest areas on the sock. The weave is very tight there. The manufacturer claims that the Zero Friction heel reduces blisters. This is something I will watch with great interest. The ball of the foot and areas just above and below the heel are tightly woven also but not as much as the heel itself.
The Micro Crews have elastic support at the arch. It stretches both directions quite a bit.
The manufacturer says the Micro Crew has ring toe construction for a comfortable, invisible seam. While it is barely noticeable from the outside, I can feel it easily on the inside of my socks. There are the words Darn Tough above the toe area on each sock.
I have been a fan of merino wool socks for a long time. And starting three years ago I stopped wearing boots for backpacking wearing low hiking shoes or trail runners instead. These socks seem as nice as or better than any I own and the height is great for my low shoes.
I may have messed up on my sizing though. I am used to my other socks being over sized and loose. Washing them in cold water often leaves me with a big sloppy sock so I ordered these in large instead of extra large. They are pretty tight on me but can work. In the future I will trust Darn Tough Vermont to be true to their sizing.
I do a lot of long distance hikes. I should be able to get well over a hundred miles/160 km of backpacking use with the Micro Crews in the next two months. Please come back then to see how the Micro Crews did. This concludes my initial report.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I wore them on a 22 mile/35 km long dayhike on the PCT. It was pretty hot, probably 80 F/27 C at 7000'/2134 m elevation and higher. I was breaking in a pair of waterproof Solomon trail runners for the next hike.
I have also worn the socks on a 2 day 42 mile/68 km backpacking trip to Mount Whitney and the surrounding area. The temperature was from 36 F/2 C to 75 F/24 C and went from sunny to rain and back to sun. I had over 9000'/3000 m of climbing and was above 9500'/2900 m elevation most of the trip. I wore them with the Solomon trail runners. I had a 19.5 lb/8.85 kg pack at the start of the hike. Here is a picture on the summit.
I wore them on a 28.5 mile/46 km loop dayhike that included climbing Mount Baden Powell. We had a total of 8024'/2446 m of climbing in temperatures that got up to 80 F/27 C
I wore them on a two day trip to San Jacinto State park. This was only an 8 mile total trip as I took one of my daughters. We took the tram up so there was not a lot of climbing involved. I did not have my brother-in-law Ray's weather station but guess that the temperature got up to 80 F/27 C.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
I am liking the Darn Tough socks. They fit a bit snug but not uncomfortably so. Now I am happy that I got the size I did. The socks did not ever fall down even though I put over 20 miles/32 km each day using them. Not even when going down 6200'/1890 m to Whitney portal in 4 1/2 hours. That is some good elastic, but it does not hold so tight that it constricts me.
I really like the way the socks feel around my feet. They hold very well inside my shoes with no bunching or slopping around. Here is a picture of them getting aired out on top of Mount Whitney.
I have been wearing just one pair of the three sent to me for most of my hiking. I only bring another pair on multiday hikes. This is to try to get as much wear information as possible during the test. I do wear the other ones around town during the week. So far the pair I am wearing the most is holding up well. All of them have had some rolling up of loose fibers. It is not pilling but forms long strands that I pull off. I will watch to see how long it does this.
They seem to wick away sweat pretty good. I do not wear liner socks. I have not gotten any blisters wearing them.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I wore them on a three day 78 mile/125 km trip in the John Muir Wilderness. This trip was in snow some of the time but mostly on rock and packed dirt terrain. The temperatures were from below freezing to 70 F/21 C and I wore them with Solomon waterproof trail runners. We had something like 14000'/4300 m of elevation gain and loss on this trip.
I wore the socks on a two day trip up and back on a section of the Pacific Crest Trail from Snow Creek to the Whitewater River. It was 30 miles/48 km total in temperatures up to 79 F/26 C. I wore Solomon ventilated trail runners with them.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The Darn Tough socks have lived up to the name. They are holding up very well. They still have the stranded pilling effect happening. My guess is the pilling occurred because of how long I wear them and the distances involved. But no holes or thin spots have shown up. I still have focused most of my wearing on the one pair. I only wear the others on the two day hikes.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.
On the three day hike in the Sierras I took two pair and rinsed out the socks I wore at the end of the day. They did not dry over night as it dropped below freezing but they dried out as I hiked in the fresh pair. I put them on the back of my pack to soak up some sun.
They still have not sagged one bit. They stay up on my ankles great. The height of these socks is perfect. I never wear boots unless it is hardcore winter conditions or mountaineering. So I do not need a sock that goes way up my leg. After wearing these micro crews I wish that all socks came available in this length.
They have retained their shape too. They are not stretched out and they have not shrunk from washing and drying.
The Darn Tough Vermont Micro Crew has become my favorite socks. I very much thank Cabot Hosiery Mills and backpackgeartest.org for letting me test them.
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