The New Year has rolled in, and perhaps one of your resolutions was to sort out your footwear for the winter. Out go the ski socks with holes, and in come some new pairs of socks to treat your feet right… Hopefully, anyway. Many ski sock manufacturers have come up with cool patterns, colors, thicknesses, fabric blends, flat seams, and other sock technology to tempt buyers. This can make it hard to decide on the next brand to sheathe your feet.
But what about this scenario? Tear a big hole into one of your favorite ski socks while pulling it on in the dark of some pre-dawn, chilly ski morning, and you’re often stuck with that wound of a mistake. Not so with Darn Tough Vermont’s ski sock offerings.
The premise behind DTV’s ski socks is solid and straightforward, which is not unlike Vermonters in general. Maybe that’s why it’s no surprise that DTV offers a guarantee on their socks the likes of which is not common in an increasingly disposability-oriented world. Their guarantee? Beat ‘em up, try to wear ‘em out, and generally do your worst to DTV socks. If you manage to corrupt the integrity of their socks in any way, Darn Tough will replace them, free of charge. It’s a lifetime guarantee, by the way. No wimpy one-year coverage here.
That means any of the usual concerns associated with socks, such as elastic that loses its stretch, holes that develop under your heel, or toes that push through the end of the sock, are issues no more. Darn Tough Vermont charges more for their socks than some other manufacturers, that’s true. But by offering a no-nonsense guarantee, I’m inclined to say they stand more solidly behind their offerings than is common.
As for the socks themselves, they incorporate a host of feet-pleasing features:
- High density knitting. Just touching the socks, one can feel that the fabric is more dense than usual. This provides low-bulk warmth.
- Merino wool blend. Helps keep the foot odor to a minimum, while providing itch-free comfort and durability.
- Active performance fit. Elastic at the arch keeps the socks from sliding around on the feet, which creates hot spots and blisters. The heel pockets cup your foot securely. Good on both counts.
- Strategically placed thicknesses and elastic. Shin bang isn’t fun. Darn Tough Vermont knows that; they’ve incorporated shin pads into their ski socks. Likewise, the top of the foot doesn’t require a lot of padding, but it’s nice to have a soft cushion beneath the foot. DTV gets it right.
- Low profile toe seams. Darn Tough Vermont calls them undetectable, which is more or less true when one is using their toes to do the feeling. But reaching inside a sock with one’s hand, the seam is able to be detected. However, it’s incredibly low profile. Seriously impressive work.
- And, quite rare in the American consumer textiles industry, Darn Tough Vermont isn’t just a flashy name. The socks are manufactured in Vermont.
As product reviews go, I try to wear stuff out. That in mind, I’ve put in many backcountry ski miles on Darn Tough’s offerings, using both the ultra-light and cushion over the calf socks. I’ve been impressed with the lack of chafing and itching that they provide. They’re as warm as any other ski sock, and they don’t stink following a long day inside a non-breathable ski boot. Their snugness helps to prevent blisters. And thinner socks such as the ultra-lights are ideal for warmer spring and summer ski outings.
After seven months plus (I got them mid-winter last season) of product testing, putting them into frequent rotation with other ski socks, they show little sign of wear. There are no holes developing, or even thin spots in the material. But if there were, it would just be warrantee time.. All of this is good stuff.
Two less-positive things I have noted:
- The socks tend to ‘fuzz’ a bit. It’s most noticeable where different colors meet. It hasn’t continued endlessly, probably due to the tough nature of the tight weave. So, some fuzzing, then it seems to stop.
- And, the ultra-light socks have fallen down my shins on longer days. It takes a few hours, but it happens. Hopefully the next iterations of the ultra-light socks are just a touch longer for us tall folks. It doesn’t happen with the cushion socks, which pull a bit further up my leg. In fact, I wore the cushion ski socks while traversing Ciochetti’s Ribbon. It’s a blow-your-socks off kind of ski line. The cushion socks ended the day right where they began it, high above my calf.
Overall, a pleasing effort from a company that still manufactures in the USA, providing American jobs. Another product for the ever-growing ‘buy American’ crowd. With a cool color palate, soft feel, and unconditional lifetime guarantee, these are some socks worth your consideration.