Socks. They are the most boring item in your backpack, save that unfinished copy of War and Peace on your e-reader. They are, at best, a humdrum necessity. HOWEVER, contrary to popular belief your next backpacking adventure wont be all sunny beaches and sandal tans. There will be some inevitable last-minute dashes to catch a train, or maybe some jungle treks through misty rainforests, or maybe just some good ol' fashioned urban exploring (read: getting lost). For these, you will no doubt want shoes and thus invariably require socks. Now, you've likely tossed in a few pairs of cheap, unethical, sweatshop'd socks that will fall apart after a week of contact with your sweaty, odorous feet and called it a day. I should know, I've done the same thing. For my most recent trip, though, I decided to change it up.
I blew through a pair of socks last time I was exploring Paris and since I was about to spend a week in France once again I figured I would step up my sock game. On top of that, I was going to walk The Camino immediately afterward. For those of you that don't know, The Camino is an 800km jaunt from St. Jean Pied de Port in France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. You can read alllllll about it in our Camino section. Understandably, I needed socks that would make the journey in one piece...assuming, of course, that I made the journey in one piece, too.
Enter Darn Tough socks.
I first heard about them while reading about the Pacific Crest Trail on Halfway Anywhere. Since he said they survived the 2600 mile trip, I figured they would suit me just fine. So I ordered a few pairs to give them a whirl. Fortunately, they have vegan socks in addition to their standard merino wool pairs so I had little to complain about on that front.
I wore those 3 pairs of socks day in and day out, washing them by hand after every use and occasionally machine washing them when the opportunity arose. I never felt I HAD to machine wash them as they never held any odours...which is a huge plus when hiking for a month. They also held up to being washed every day, and I never noticed any significant wear and tear. In fact, by the end of the trip they looked like they could handle another 30 days of trekking. Since Darn Tough socks have a lifetime warranty I wasn't surprised.
That's right – if your socks don't survive your adventures you can print out a form, mail the socks back, and get a new pair. You really wont need to buy socks again. Ever. In your whole life. I call that a win.
The downside, of course, is that they are not cheap. They run just under $20 a pair, but for hella tough socks that will last YOUR ENTIRE LIFETIME that seems like a pretty fair price to me. Ok, they are not the most attractive socks, but you can't have everything.
SO. For your next trip, whether you are trekking the jungles of Costa Rica, meandering around the Russian steppe, or just exploring this big, beautiful wold of ours you may want to consider some new socks. They can go the distance. The question is: can you?
UPDATE: I've been wearing the same 3 pairs of Darn Tough socks on ALL my travels since I bought them in 2015, and they are STILL in solid shape – over 2 years later! I just ordered 2 more pairs because they really are awesome.
For the record, I was not paid or compensated in any way for this article. If you want to give them a try, though, feel free to use the links above as I will get a small commission via Amazon at no extra cost to you!