Many of us have been on the couch a lot more in the past year than we have in our entire lives, but this spring and summer that’s about to change. Snow has melted, flowers are blooming, and it’s high time we all got out and hit the road. That means it’s time to start thinking about footwear. The base layer of any footwear, however, isn’t shoes…. it’s socks. Socks are your first line of defense against blisters, sweat, abrasion, the cold, and anything else your feet encounter on the road or trail. They keep your feet warm in cool weather and cool in warm weather.
Since 2004, Darn Tough Vermont has knit their bombproof Merino socks at their own mill in Vermont, even in an age where brands are outsourcing left and right. They recently updated their lineup for 2021 with a host of new offerings, so there’s never been a better time to sort out your socks for the season. The newest Darn Tough Vermont socks feature a re-engineered flex window for improved fit and flexibility, in addition to added durability underfoot extended into high-wear zones for lasting performance, including up the heel into the Achilles tendon.
The ultra lightweight, silky Merino wool that Darn Tough Vermont uses is also dramatically superior to cotton or traditional wool. It isn’t itchy, dries faster, and is much more durable. What really makes Merino wool the ultimate performance fiber, however, are its remarkable thermoregulating qualities. Merino not only keeps your feet warm when it’s cold out, it also keeps them cool on hot summer days, making it the fiber of choice for year-round performance.
Add Darn Tough Vermont’s “Unconditional Lifetime Guarantee” into the mix (which guarantees you a new pair if your socks aren’t “the most comfortable, durable, and best fitting socks you have ever owned”) and you have a package that’s tough to beat.
Here are some of the standout socks in Darn Tough Vermont’s 2021 Run Collection. Grab yourself a pair and get after it.
Price (No Cushion): $16
Price (Cushion): $17
The No Show Tab is the ultimate lightweight sock for moving fast on warm days. Darn Tough’s minimalist running sock still provides a hefty amount of protection against blisters and the Merino Wool wicks sweat and lets the skin breath like no other fabric on the market. Both cushioned and non-cushioned versions are available, with an ultra-light feel and next-to-skin comfort in the former, and a terry loop cushion isolated under the foot providing added rebound in the latter.
The Stride offers a shorter take on the usual “crew” height, sticking just over the top of a standard ankle-high boot. With extra durability knit into the heel, footbed, and at the first and fifth metatarsal (i.e. your big toe and your pinkie), this is a sock that hits the perfect union between stout protection and lightweight breathability. Darn Tough’s performance fit means there’s no slipping or bunching up around the ankle here, while the anti-chafe Merino wool means you can take these puppies on five and fifty milers alike.
Price: (No Cushion): $16
Price: (Cushion): $17
The men’s iteration of the No Show Tab sports a silky cuff to combat chafing, with the same ultra-lightweight, moisture-wicking Merino wool. Fine gauge knitting from Darn Tough means that when you slip a pair of these on, not only do you not see them beneath your shoe, soon you’ll forget you’re even wearing them. Just like the women’s version, both non-cushioned and cushioned versions are available. For the minimalist runner, the No Show Tab offers everything you need and nothing you don’t.
Price (No Cushion): $17
Price (Cushion): $18
The men’s Quarter is the ultimate do-it-all performance sock, with a sweet spot ¼ profile that provides warmth and raised protection from dirt and grime all without running too high up the calf. Coupled with breathable flexion zones in the forefoot for the stellar fit and flexibility, added durability in high-wear areas underfoot, and a touch of arch support to keep you in the game for the longest hauls, this is a sock that can take you from zero to 100… and back.
The men’s Pacer sock offers the same “barely above a boot” Micro Crew-height as the women’s Stride, with the addition of a targeted terry loop cushion under the foot for maximum rebound. The Pacer’s redesigned flex and arch support zones keep you comfortable and supported during longer pushes, while the anti-bacterial, odor-blocking Merino wool build means you can sweat in a pair of Pacers for hours and still come home with the same “I-forgot-I-was-wearing-these” comfort.