BackpackGearTest
  Home Guest - Not logged in 

Reviews > Clothing > Socks > Darn Tough Vermont Micro Crew Socks > Test Report by Pamela Wyant

Darn Tough Vermont Micro Crew Socks

Initial Report - July 2007
Field Report - October 2007
Long Term Report - November 2007

Darn Tough Vermont Micro Crew

Tester Information:
 
Name:  Pam Wyant
Age:  49
Gender:  Female
Height:  5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)
Weight:  165 lb (77 kg)
Shoe size:  U.S. women's 9 M
E-mail address:  pamwyant(at)yahoo(dot)com
Location:  Western West Virginia, U.S.A.

Backpacking Background: 

Pursuing a long-time interest, I started backpacking four years ago, beginning with day-hiking and single overnights.  Currently I’m mostly a ‘weekend warrior’ and mainly hike and backpack in the hills and valleys of West Virginia, but have section hiked longer parts of the southern portion of the Appalachian Trail (AT) the past two years.  My usual shelter is a hammock but I am currently testing a Tarptent. In general my backpacking style is lightweight and minimalist, and I try to cut as much pack weight as I can without sacrificing warmth, comfort, or safety.


Initial Report - July 2007


Product Information:

Manufacturer:  Cabot Hosiery Mills, Inc.
Year of manufacture:  2007
Model:  Micro Crew Cushion
Size tested:  M (medium)
Color tested:  Black

Advertised weight:  Not available
Actual Weight:  2.3 oz (65 g)
Approximate cuff height:  5 in (13 cm)


  Website:  http://www.darntough.com
MSRP:  Not available
 
Packaging front
Packaging back

Product Description:

According to the website, the Micro Crew Cushion  is one of Darn Tough Vermont's 'In Country Series' socks, formulated to cushion the bottom of the foot.  The hang card style packaging features both information about the socks and the company philosophy.  The Micro Crew Cushion is made of 67% Merino Wool, 29% Nylon, and 4% Lycra Spandex.  The packaging lists them as "*The Premium* ALL WEATHER PERFORMANCE SOCK".   The words "Guaranteed outrageously comfortable, unbelievably durable, pure bliss" and "Still made in the U.S.A." appears on the front of the hang card along with the manufacturer's logo.  The top of the packaging indicates the socks feature "WICKIT DRY" technology.  The back of the card gives information on the technology.  "No other sock can or will make that claim.  This proven technology pulls moisture off our socks, keeping feet dry and comfortable.  WICKIT DRY TECHNOLOGY also gives our socks tremendous strength and durability."

The package also states "We make 'em.  We wear 'em.  You'll love 'em.  Guaranteed." and lists the "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."

The back of the card also has a diagram of the sock with information on the various parts of the sock and the benefits claimed, such as "No slipping. No bunching" from the "Ribbed Ankle Support"; "Deep heel pocket reduces friction. No blisters." from the "Zero Friction Heel".  Care instructions are printed in small type near the bottom of the card; "Machine wash in warm water with socks inside-out.  Do not bleach.  Tumble dry on low or hang dry."  A sizing chart is printed on the left side of the hang card.

Although the sock color I received is listed as "Black", the main body of the sock is really more of a dark charcoal gray with a heathered appearance. The body of the sock has a fine, tight, non-fuzzy weave.  The toe and heel pocket are black and appear to be of an even finer and tighter weave.  The crew top is of rib knit and features a small smooth rectangular section with a red mountain symbol.  At the top of the cuff is a lighter gray band topped with a smaller band of black.  The words "Darn Tough" are written in red across the top of the toes.  The writing is of moderate size and doesn't make me feel like I'm wearing a walking advertisement for the socks when I wear them.

The sock is noticeably thicker on the bottom, evidence of the cushioning, but not bulky.

Preliminary impressions:

Wearing the socksAfter removing the Micro Crew socks from the packaging, my first impression was that the socks seemed a little small compared to my other hiking socks.  When I slid them on my feet, I noted that the heel seemed a little tighter or shorter than my other socks.  They were very comfortable though, snugly fitting my foot.  When I slid my feet into my hiking shoes, I immediately noted that the socks stay put on my foot.  Unlike some other socks I've used, the heel stays firmly in place without bunching up at all.  No puckering, no wrinkling, no excess material - just a nice firm fit.  The toes feel comfortably roomy, and again I noticed no bunching or wrinkling in that area.  The foot of the socks hugs my high arches snugly with just the right amount of compression to feel supportive, and the crew top is snug enough that it doesn't slide down at all.

I took a quick 3-mile (5 km) hike near home to check the socks out and found them very comfortable and supportive.  Overall the socks seem to be of high quality construction and materials, with no loose threads or obvious flaws.  The knit is elastic - it stretches easily to slide over my foot and bounces right back into shape.

I look forward to the next few months trail testing these performance socks.

This concludes my Initial Report.

Field Report - October 2007

Field Conditions:

In late July I wore the Darn Tough Vermont Micro Crew Socks on a 24 mi (39 km) weekend backpacking trip to the Dolly Sods area of the Monongahela National Forest in eastern West Virginia.  Elevations ranged from around 3000 to 4000 ft (900 to 1200 m), and temperatures ranged from 60 to 75 F (16 to 25 C).  A steady rain, mostly moderate but with some heavier bursts, set in the first evening after dinner and continued off and on much of the weekend.  The trails were a combination of rocky, slick areas and muddy, waterlogged areas, with several creek crossings.  My socks were wet most of this trip due to the steady rain.  I wore them with a pair of waterproof (NOT!) trail shoes and eVent shortie gaiters.

In early September I wore them on a 27 mi (43 km) backpacking weekend trip in the Laurel Fork Wilderness in eastern West Virginia.  Elevations were around 3000 to 3500 ft (900 to 1100 m), and temperature in the 50 to 75 F (10 to 25 C) range, with partly cloudy to sunny skies, no precipitation, and moderate humidity.  Trails varied from wide and smooth rail trails, to rough and rocky narrow paths, and occasionally disappeared almost entirely into thick meadows full of waist high grasses, and also included several creek crossings.  My socks were dry to damp with sweat for most of this trip.  I again wore them with the (semi) waterproof trail shoes and eVent shortie gaiters, and with Mary Jane style Crocs while relaxing around camp.

In mid-September I wore the socks several days in Watoga State Park in southeastern West Virginia.  Activities included a 6 mi (10 km) exploratory hike, general around park wear, teaching a canoeing class, and teaching an overnight beginner backpacking class involving about 4 mi (6 km) hiking.  Temperatures were in the 40 to 70 F (4-21 C) range.  Trails ranged from wide dirt forest roads to narrow rocky paths, with a few slick, muddy, steep sections.  I wore them with new waterproof trail shoes with an eVent membrane and the shortie gaiters while hiking and backpacking, with the same shoes for general activities, and with Crocs while canoeing.

Besides the trips listed above, I've also worn the Darn Tough Vermont Micro Crews nearly every weekend for various activities, including Girl Scout camps, car camping with my grandson, a getaway weekend at a family cabin, and day hiking.  I've worn them for several short (3 mi/5km) hikes near home on weekdays.  In all, I estimate about 100 mi (161 km) hiking (not including normal everyday walking to and fro during activities).  I've hiked in the socks rain and shine; traveling several miles at a time while they were alternately dry, damp, and soaking wet.  I've worn them with various shoes, including light athletic shoes, slip-on loafers, moccasins, and Chaco sandals.  I've worn them in temperatures from 40 to 90 F (4-32 C).

On each backpacking trip I've also taken a clean pair in my pack to use when sleeping.  On these trips I wear the pair I start the trip in for all hiking, and the clean pair only once I crawl into my tent for sleeping.

Field Use:

Socks after 2 months wearThese ARE some Darn Tough socks!  So far there is no discernible wear - only a few very small pills.  The socks appear nearly the same as new, as shown in the picture to the right.

Throughout the test so far, the socks have been elastic and supportive.  They NEVER slip down.  They NEVER sag.  They have NEVER bunched up or caused a blister.  I do usually have a small indention from the tightness of the elastic when I pull the socks off at night, in the area of my leg where the top of the sock fits.  This has not been uncomfortable - merely noticeable.

They have been very comfortable to wear.  The snug fit feels almost like a mini foot massage as I am hiking, and especially when I stop for the night. 

One thing I am pleased about is that they seem to dry fairly well in the field.  Usually if my wool socks get wet while I am hiking, they pretty much stay that way the entire trip.  On the trip to Laurel Fork Wilderness I found that when I wore the Darn Tough Micro Crews with my Crocs around camp in the evening they actually were dry by bedtime.  (Weather conditions were dry on that trip, which probably helped.)  I've also notice they will dry somewhat overnight even under damp conditions if I lay them across the top of my shoes.  It's been nice to put on socks that are merely damp the next morning instead of soaking wet like they were when I went to sleep.

I always reserve the spare pair I carry in my pack for sleeping only, and I've found them warm and cozy for that.  Occasionally I have had to pull them off entirely at some point during the night when I became too warm.  This is usually when night time temperatures are above 50 F/10 C.  They are also easy to pull back on when I am half asleep if my feet become cool later in the night.  They slide right on, and it's easy to tell the heel from the top of the foot and get the socks on properly the first time, even in the dark.

The socks wash up easily - I just throw them in the washer on warm wash/cold rinse setting along with other socks or wool base layers.  Since they pill very little and do not seem to shed fibers, washing them with finer wools like my base layers has not concerned me as it has with fuzzier socks I've used in the past.  A simple wash is usually enough to get rid of any residue of stinky foot that might lurk in the socks after a trip.  The socks don't really seem to absorb much odor, although naturally there is some odor after a high mileage backpacking trip.  One exception was the very wet Dolly Sods trip when they were exposed to a lot of water from the failing waterproofness of my shoes, and I did notice a little more funky smell.  This remained slightly noticeable after one wash, so I washed them again with Borateem as well as my normal detergent and they came out smelling fresh and clean.  For lower activity levels such as a weekend camp, there is hardly any odor noticeable even when I've worn the same pair 3 days in a row.

Summary:

Overall, I am very happy with the performance of these socks, and look forward to comfort and warmth over the next couple of months as fall temperatures start to drop.  It would be hard to ask for more in a sock; the Darn Tough Vermont Micro Crews have proven comfortable, warm, durable, and odor resistant so far.

This concludes my Field Report.

Long Term Report - November 2007

Field Conditions:

After four months wear In early October I used the Darn Tough Vermont Micro Crew socks on a 30 mi (48 km) weekend backpacking trip in the Cranberry Backcountry in southeastern West Virginia.  Temperatures ranged from around 50 F to 80 F (10 to 27 C) and the weather was mainly dry with only a few sprinkles of rain one evening.  Trails varied widely from sections of old logging roads that had fairly smooth dirt surfaces, to rocky passages through rhododendron thickets with their accompanying roots across the trail, to a short section of graveled forest service road.  Elevation varied considerably from 2700 to 4000 ft (800 to 1200 m) with some tough climbs.

In late October and early November, I used them on a section hike of the Appalachian Trail in northern Georgia and southern North Carolina.  We had originally planned to divide the trip into a 2-day segment followed by a night at a motel (and showers) and another 4-5 day segment, but due my friend developing severe blisters, and situations at a couple of shelters that made us uncomfortable, we ended up spending 3 nights in hotels and 2 nights on the trail.  Over a 6 day period, I hiked a total of 56.1 mi (90 km) at elevations ranging from 2660 to 5220 ft (810 to 1590 m).  The elevation range doesn't tell the whole story, since there are a lot of ups and downs in between the two extremes.  Suffice it to say we were normally either ascending or descending, often over 700 ft (200 m) within 1-1.5 miles (1.5-2.5 km).  The trail varied from short sections of semi-smooth dirt to the more common rocky sections, with plenty of roots crossing the trail to throw in a little variety, and a few rock scrambles.  Temperatures were in the 40 to 70 F (4 to 21 C) range.  The weather was dry for the most part, but there was some fog and condensation some mornings.

In addition to these backpacking trips, I wore them on an overnight at one of our local Girl Scout camps and have worn them on numerous short day hikes of 2-4 mi (3-6 km) duration in western West Virginia on trails varying from nearly smooth dirt to rock and root filled slopes.  I have also worn them several days a week just for lounging around the house.

Field Use:

On the October trip to Cranberry Backcountry I wore one pair of socks for hiking and a separate pair for sleeping, as I normally do.  On my Appalachian Trail trip I followed the same procedure for the overnight sections, and I was able to wash the socks at a laundromat in between the overnights and after one section I did as a long day hike.  At home and following shorter day hikes, I usually wash the socks after 2-3 days wear.

Conclusions:

As I reported in my Field Report, these ARE some Darn Tough socks.  Even after four months of regular use I can't find any significant sign of wear, as shown in the photo above.  There is some very small pilling, mainly confined to the sole area.  I typically find my socks show wear first in the heel and ball areas, but the Micro Crews appear to be as thick as ever in those areas.

The socks continue to be elastic and supportive.  In fact I haven't had any trouble with them - no sagging, no bunching, no stretching out of shape, no blisters, and no skin irritation.  They've also been as comfortable for sleeping as they have been for walking.

They have been easy to clean - I just throw them in the washer with other dark colored socks, using my regular detergent.  If they have gotten particularly sweaty, I add a little Borateem to the wash, and that takes care of any residual odor.

I do have to say that these socks have spoiled me.  I'm so happy with their performance that I think the rest of the socks in my hiking sock drawer will see very little trail use in the future and the next time I need to purchase new hiking socks I will be looking for Darn Tough Vermont.

This concludes testing of the Darn Tough Vermont Micro Crew socks, and I would like to thank Darn Tough Vermont and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test these fine socks.


Read more reviews of Darn Tough Vermont gear
Read more gear reviews by Pamela Wyant

Reviews > Clothing > Socks > Darn Tough Vermont Micro Crew Socks > Test Report by Pamela Wyant



Product tested and reviewed in each Formal Test Report has been provided free of charge by the manufacturer to BackpackGearTest.org. Upon completion of the Test Series the writer is permitted to keep the product. Owner Reviews are based on product owned by the reviewer personally unless otherwise noted.

If you are an avid backpacker, we are always looking for enthusiastic, quality reviewers. Apply here to be a gear tester.


All material on this site is the exclusive property of BackpackGearTest.org.
BackpackGearTest software copyright David Anderson