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  1. #1
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    Default hiking socks: Darn Tough vs Smartwool vs....

    I currently use Smartwool PhD ultralight merino wool hiking socks for my thru hikes. the problem is the durability of the sock is not what I expect for the price point. also, because it is so thin and light, my foot tends to shift inside my shoe a fair amount. on the flipside, they dry quickly. darn tough seem to be a popular alternative. anyone have any in sight or other socks they like to hike in? I use trail shoes, not boots
    thanks
    AC

  2. #2
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    Count me as one who was surprised how much more durable he found Darn Tough to be compared to Smartwool. The latter is fluffier, for sure, though. Yet when it came to decide what socks to send in to Insect Shield for treatment, I went with only Darn Tough.

    Not that SmartWool is bad - they're not - it's just that to me, there's no contest between the two.

    A soccer sock can be used as a sort of "exterior liner" over another sock, like a SmartWool, and save it some wear and tear.

    I've also hiked in Costco's house brand merino wool socks. They're OK. They pill very quickly (probably I should have only ever washed them inside-out), but they haven't worn through.

  3. #3

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    For people who are prone to toe blisters Injinji is another brand to consider.
    Life Member: ATC, ALDHA, Superior Hiking Trail Association

  4. #4

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    I have some smartwool received as gifts.
    Using them to run in, bet I wore them out behind heel in 150 miles.

  5. #5
    Leonidas
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    I have one pair of Smartwool, seven pair of Darn Tough. That should speak for itself, but like everything else, it depends on your feet. I get a blister every time I hike in the Smartwool. Unless it is a deluge and I am moving 3-4 mph with soaked socks, 0 blisters with the Darn Tough.
    AT: 471 mi

    Pinhoti Trail '18-19'

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  6. #6

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    I haven't had a chance to try the Darn Tough socks yet. My experience with Smartwool does mirror others, though. Definitely short lived. Balega (sold in running stores) is far better. Some of my pairs of Balegas have to be close to ten years old at this point.

  7. #7
    Registered User HeartFire's Avatar
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    Point 6 socks, made in Steamboat Springs Co. As good or better than Darn Tough. https://point6.com/

  8. #8
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    Darn Tuff also makes socks for the US military. The military versions seem to use a slightly higher synthetic blend. The regular Darn Tuffs live up to their name but the military versions are even tougher. I haven't looked for a source of the military versions as I buy their seconds at the annual factory sale. I quick search shows this company sells them http://uspatriottactical.com/darn-to...cal-boot-sock/

  9. #9
    Rain Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wvueers View Post
    anyone have any in sight or other socks they like to hike in?
    Definitely Bridgedale. I've been told they're British?
    ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: ... Defile not therefore the land which ye shall inhabit..... Numbers 35

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  10. #10
    Registered User lonehiker's Avatar
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    I've gotten as many as 1,000 miles out of a pair of Darn Tough.
    Lonehiker

  11. #11
    Registered User Just Bill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by map man View Post
    For people who are prone to toe blisters Injinji is another brand to consider.
    Quote Originally Posted by lonehiker View Post
    I've gotten as many as 1,000 miles out of a pair of Darn Tough.
    Quote Originally Posted by JC13 View Post
    I have one pair of Smartwool, seven pair of Darn Tough. That should speak for itself, but like everything else, it depends on your feet. I get a blister every time I hike in the Smartwool. Unless it is a deluge and I am moving 3-4 mph with soaked socks, 0 blisters with the Darn Tough.
    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    I have some smartwool received as gifts.
    Using them to run in, bet I wore them out behind heel in 150 miles.
    I concur with MapMan... for some a liner sock from Injini (sp?) may make all the difference.
    Personally I no longer wear a liner sock except in deep winter ... Altra shoes are a key component... but Darn Tuff's are just as important to that system for me.

    Wigwams, Thor-lo, Fox River, REI, Smartwool... Darn Tuff.
    That's thirty years of high end hiking socks for me... and they were always ONLY hiking socks as they were always expensive.
    Darn Tuff are the only socks that have become daily wear socks and hold up. I have worn a few out, haven't sent them in to be replaced... I got my money's worth.

    A few years back I did a tune up trip on the southern AT and brought two pairs of Darn Tuff to try that out vs. my normal 3 pair system. I didn't like it and picked up a pair of comparable smartwools for the first time in a several years at NOC to round out the three sock system. They were ruined and pulled from the rotation before I even reached hot springs... the darn tuff just started to wear this fall.

    Could some smartwools have a place in different activities? Sure- I could see them doing better in a ski-boot perhaps... or as a sleep sock.


    Darn Tuff have been out a few years now, and their method/material may spread... so I wouldn't discount one of those other new brands mentioned as potentially the next name on my list when it creeps to the 4 decade mark. But if we're talking today and LD hiking specifically; Darn Tuff is it.

    Specifically the hiker cushion... not even all darn tuff's are created equal.
    https://darntough.com/collections/me...nt=30180802247

  12. #12
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Yo! Peeps! They are Darn TOUGH socks.
    https://darntough.com
    Repeating what Just Bill pointed out: Darn Tough makes a zillion different socks. I own several pair in ankle and crew height. The only way I can tell them apart is on my kitchen scale. The AT logo model is heavier and cushier than the Micro Crew Light Cushion. My favorites. I'll get another pair when I'm in the Mast General Store.
    My 40+ year sock evolutionary trail, still in my sock drawer.
    North Cape, Rohner (Swiss made, better than Darn Tough, should have bought more when I had the chance), No Name white wool boot socks, Smart Wool, Filson, REI, Darn Tough.
    We do tend to obsess over our socks. The right socks are heavenly. The rest are rubbish.
    Wayne


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  13. #13

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    I switched from Darned Tough to thin Iniji toes socks when I reached the warmer and wetter portions of my hike. They dried faster, and my toes did better with the weird toe socks after a day of hiking with wet feet. Would recommend both brands.

  14. #14

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    +1 for Darn Tough. I use the "Darn Tough Men's Micro Crew Cushion Hiking Socks" with trail runners and dirty girl gaiters and that combo has worked well for thousands of miles.

  15. #15
    Registered User rmitchell's Avatar
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    My vote is for Darn Tough. Just back from section from Shenandoah to Harpers Ferry. Darn Tough Micro Crew in Merrill Moab, no liner. Zero blisters, no black toe nails.

  16. #16
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    Looks like I need to pick up a pair of Darn Tough!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by wvueers View Post
    I currently use Smartwool PhD ultralight merino wool hiking socks for my thru hikes. the problem is the durability of the sock is not what I expect for the price point. also, because it is so thin and light, my foot tends to shift inside my shoe a fair amount. on the flipside, they dry quickly. darn tough seem to be a popular alternative. anyone have any in sight or other socks they like to hike in? I use trail shoes, not boots
    thanks
    AC
    Wait a minute!

    First, Smartwool makes at least 4 different models of their Ph.D UL socks just that I'm aware. It's not being given which model the OP is being referred. Second, of all the Smartwool sock models available the OP elects an UL model which are a low cush thinner minimalist sock model. Then, the OP is complaining how thin and light they are, how his foot is shifting around inside the shoe, and seeing durability as a problem. How is that a Smartwool caused problem? No price point is shared the OP paid for these socks either. Hey, buy a different Smartwool sock model that has more cush, is thicker, is heavier wt, composed of different material, different % of those materials, and NOT UL based on wanting a thicker longer wearing sock.

    Third, let's aim to compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges rather than making sweeping broad brush generalized Smartwoool to Darn Tough comparisons. If you are going to compare socks compare a like DT model to the Smartwool Ph.D UL based on knowing what model Smartwool PhD UL sock is being referred.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by rmitchell View Post
    My vote is for Darn Tough. Just back from section from Shenandoah to Harpers Ferry. Darn Tough Micro Crew in Merrill Moab, no liner. Zero blisters, no black toe nails.
    Socks typically do not cause blisters, though they can exacerbate them at times. Sounds more like you have your foot gear laced and tied properly to stop foot slide (black toes) and heel lift (blisters), preventing problems.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by cspan View Post
    Count me as one who was surprised how much more durable he found Darn Tough to be compared to Smartwool. The latter is fluffier, for sure, though. Yet when it came to decide what socks to send in to Insect Shield for treatment, I went with only Darn Tough.

    Not that SmartWool is bad - they're not - it's just that to me, there's no contest between the two.

    A soccer sock can be used as a sort of "exterior liner" over another sock, like a SmartWool, and save it some wear and tear.

    I've also hiked in Costco's house brand merino wool socks. They're OK. They pill very quickly (probably I should have only ever washed them inside-out), but they haven't worn through.

    I sleep in the Costco socks.

  20. #20
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Saying that you wear SmartWool or Darn Tough or any other sock is like saying that you have an Osprey pack, Western Mountaineering sleeping bag, TarpTent and drive a Chevy.
    Gear is too personal for one combination of sock and shoe to work for everyone.
    How you go about putting on your socks and shoes is another story.
    Rocketsocks?
    Wayne



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