smartwool vs darn tough

Smartwool vs Darn Tough: Which is better?

When adventure awaits, you want to be as comfortable as possible to make sure you maximize your enjoyment. Whether you are going on a weekend camping trip or a demanding hike, there are certain things you should always take with you. One of those essential items is comfy, durable socks that can handle any moisture and help to keep your feet warm and dry.

If you are on the hunt for a new pair of hiking socks but you are unsure of which brand to purchase, we can help you narrow your search down to two of the best brands around, which are Smartwool and Darn Tough. In this post, we’re going to be looking at Smartwool vs Darn Tough socks to see which of these two popular brands offers you more value for your money by comparing the pros and cons of each. 

Smartwool socks

First up is Smartwool, a brand that has been helping campers and hikers find the perfect socks for their choice of outdoor activity for the past 25 years. When it comes to socks, Smartwool is one of the most well-known brands out there. Smartwool socks are made from premium New Zealand wool. Their socks come in a variety of patterns which is great and they are versatile and durable. 

Smartwool AdvantagesSmartwool Disadvantges
Provides extra warmthShow signs of wear quickly
Soft and comfortable to wearCan only hang dry
Keeps heat retention
Traps odors

Advantages of Smartwool socks

If you want socks that provide extra warmth, Smartwool socks are perfect. They utilize Merino wool, meaning they are soft and comfortable to wear and they don’t get covered in sweat. Merino wool also helps keep heat retention and traps any odor, which is ideal when you’re going camping or hiking. 

Another great thing about Smartwool socks is that their website has a sock finder which helps you find the perfect pair. So if you’re looking for socks for hiking, biking, running, or another outdoor activity, they will help you find a pair of socks based on your preferences such as thickness, warmth, value, and comfort. You can wear Smartwool socks around the house during the winter months and your feet will be guaranteed to stay warm. 

Disadvantages of Smartwool socks

Smartwool socks aren’t as long-lasting as some other brands and will start to show signs of wear around the heel and ankle so you may need to replace these socks more often than another brand. Due to the Smartwool socks being made of Merino wool, it means you can’t put them in the dryer. Instead, you’d need to let them hang dry which is a bit of a disadvantage. 

Darn Tough socks

Next up we have Darn Tough, a family-owned business based in Vermont. Darn Tough is known for its unconditional lifetime guarantee. If you aren’t happy with your pair of socks or you don’t find them to be as comfortable, durable, or well-fitting as you’d like, you can simply return them to Darn Tough and they’ll replace them for you – no questions asked. 

Advantages of Darn Tough socks

Darn Tough socks are durable, moisture-managing, and comfy, which is all you want in a pair of socks. They’re versatile and keep your feet nice and dry whilst you’re being extremely active. A clear advantage of the Darn Tough socks is the unconditional lifetime guarantee which we’ve mentioned. So if you find that your socks have worn out quickly (although unlikely with this brand), all you have to do is get in touch with them and they’ll send out a new pair to you. 

Another great thing about Darn Tough socks is that they don’t wear and they tend to keep their shape and fit no matter how long you wear them for. Darn Tough offers their socks in a range of different thicknesses. Depending on what climate you’re hiking in, whether it is warm or cold, they’d have a sock that can match your need without compromising the quality.

Disadvantages of Darn Tough socks

The Darn Tough socks are relatively expensive if you are just a casual hiker, so if you don’t go hiking regularly then you could probably find another similar pair of socks elsewhere, although Darn Tough socks will likely last you a very long time. Another disadvantage for Darn Tough socks, much like the Smartwool socks, is that you have to hang dry them as they can’t go in the dryer. 

Darn Tough AdvantagesDarn Tough Disadvantages
Unconditional lifetime guaranteeExpensive initially
Durable and moisture-managingCan’t put in the dryer
Keep your feet dry
Don’t show signs of wear easily
Tend to keep their shape
Range of different thicknesses

Tips on choosing the right hiking socks

Sock choice is a personal preference but when it comes to choosing a new pair of hiking socks, you need to consider a few things. The main thing you need to factor in is the climate of where you will be hiking as you don’t want your feet to be too hot or cold. If you are unsure of the thickness you require, midweight is your best option as it’s versatile for many conditions. 

You will also need to consider how long you will be wearing the socks for and the length of the sock you require. Crew length socks are ideal for wearing with hiking boots whereas quarter-length socks are great for hiking with trail runners. 

Smartwool vs Darn Tough

To summarize, both Smartwool and Darn Tough are great brands for hiking socks as this post has mentioned, and we have outlined the advantages and disadvantages of both these well-regarded brands. Choosing a suitable hiking sock can be a challenging decision, and hopefully, it’s proved to be helpful in choosing what your next hiking sock is. However, if you are still unsure, we have briefly summarised the pros and cons of each below. 

That’s all for now folks. I hope you enjoyed this explainer on the difference between Smartwool vs Darn Tough socks. Which side of this great sock war do you fall on? Let us know in the comments!

And don’t forget you can check out the rest of our blog for more tips, tricks, and gear reviews from the trail. Until next time!

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