Saturday, February 9, 2013

Smartwool Vs. Darn Tough Hiking Socks

I've been using Darn Tough socks for a long time but recently tried out a pair of the ironically named "Smartwool" heavy duty hiking socks. They cost a few bucks less and the online hype / reviews were good so it seemed like a good idea.

Bad idea.

I tried out the Smartwool socks on a 12 mile snowshoeing tour up Labrador 'Mountain' (really, just a big hill) nearly Tully, NY. across Kettlebail Forest and a ways into Heiberg Memorial Forest. After about 6 miles I notified Houston that we had a problem and, indeed, another mile down the trail and I had developed my first blister in 27 years.

These socks are poorly woven, floppy, baggy, do not hold their form, and after a few miles already started to unravel. By contrast, my last pair of Darn Tough have seen over 400 miles and have been through the wash approximately 15 or 20 times, are still tight, dense, thick, and soft.

So, I wore the Smartwool socks for a little over 10 miles and washed them once:

The result is a semi-formless blob of wool that is coming apart.

These things will be okay for people keeping their toes warm in the living room or for those who 'hike' a few miles a day but they're not contenders for serious trekking or backpacking.

Pay the extra $5 and go with a pair of Darn Tough wool socks.