"My family has been knitting socks for three generations; for the last 30 years, here in the Green mountains of Vermont. We pride ourselves on the quality of our product and our commitment to making it local."
President Darn Tough Vermont
President Darn Tough Vermont
From the same city that my Alma Mater, Norwich University, is from, comes Cabot Hosiery Mills. Over twenty five years ago, third generation sock man Ric Cabot and his family open up a hosiery mill in Northfield Vermont, and began making socks. It is still family owned and operated. Just over a year ago all of their experience and expertise culminated in new line of socks: the Darn Tough Vermont.
While at the 2009 Shot Show I met Chris Moon and Andy Linnevers the representatives of Darn Tough Vermont. They graciously gave me a set of In Country Series Hike/Trek Boot Sock Cushions socks. I liked them immediately. Dense and resilient, they had the feel of a well made sock that could take abuse and still protect the feet. But the proof is in the wearing.
I have worn them as often as possible, at least three times per week for the last two months while hiking, walking, shopping, and bicycling. They have good, high density cushioning on the soles of the feet, and are neither too thick, where it compresses the foot in the shoe, nor so sparse that the cushioning flattens out by the end of the day. The heel and toe are reinforced and it has knit-in-place elastic support around the arch. (You can almost feel that while wearing it. It's like a light support around the instep.) The stitching at the toe is called ring toe construction, and is done for a comfortable invisible seam. Many other socks have that overlapping stitch that will rub you raw. Not the Darn Tough Vermont 1403, their seam is imperceptible. The sock is ribbed above the ankle to insure a proper fit around the ankle and calf that won’t slip or slide down.
They are remarkably durable. They have no shiny wear spots, the cushioning does not seem or feel like it is flattening. The dye is colorfast and has not faded. When turned inside out there are no fuzzies or balls of fiber, and there are no pulled thread either. The elasticity is as new throughout the sock from toe to calf.
This particular sock’s blend is 67% shrink treated Merino wool, 29% Nylon, and 4% Lycra. The wool makes it extremely breathable, and it is not itchy because it is a fine grade of wool. It also dries quickly and is antibacterial! The nylon lends anti-abrasion properties to the sock while the Lycra gives it stretch. The blend wicks moisture up and away from the foot, keeping your feet as dry as possible in the footwear you have on. Darn Tough has another blend called CoolMax which is 100% synthetic.
Sizes available in men’s are medium, 6-8.5; large, 9-11.5; and x-large 12+. Ladies have small, 4-6.5; medium, 7-9.5; and large, 10-12.5. I have a 9.5 to 10 size foot, and the large I received fit perfectly.
Something that everyone should know is how very important it is that a sock is properly fitted to both the foot and shoe it will be in. When purchasing footwear, always try them on with the socks you are going to wear. Avoid any footwear that pinches you, has pressure points, or fits sloppily. No matter how good a sock you have on, ill fitted shoes will never fit or feel right. Worse yet it may damage your feet. Footwear should be snug, but not constricting. There should be no bunching, wrinkles, or folds in your socks. Your toes should have a little breathing room, and your laces should not cut into your foot, or cut off your circulation. Failure to follow this will result in sore, tired, and blistered feet.
In my opinion these socks are a great addition to the serious outdoorsman's wardrobe. While the street price of $39.99 may be a little high for some, it fits well, feels great, works, and actually looks pretty darn good. With a lifetime guarantee you can rest assured that the folks in Northfield stand behind their socks.
"If our All Weather Performance Socks aren't the most comfortable and durable socks you've ever owned, return them for your money back."
And remember, it is made here, in the USA!!!
Albert A Rasch
The Hunt Continues...