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Darn Tough Hiker Full Cushion Review

Editors' Choice Award
Price:   $24 List | $17.96 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 5 resellers
Pros:  Comfortable, durable, great range of temperature regulation, quick to wick, versatile, quick to dry, no itch
Cons:  Not ideal for hot temperatures
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Darn Tough
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor
Friday

Our Verdict

The Darn Tough Full Cushion sock has wrapped together comfort, performance, and durability into one Editors' Choice award winning package. The merino wool blend features a well woven fine fiber construct that provides breathability, wicking, and great durability. We were also pleasantly surprised to learn that it was the second fastest sock to dry in our tests. Don't be afraid to wear these where your feet might get wet or cold.

The race for Editors' Choice was tight as the Smartwool PhD Crew Sock proved to be a more comfortable and warmer in colder temperatures with its heavier fiber construct, though it fell short in breathability and drying speed. It also didn't feature the awesome lifetime guarantee that comes with all Darn Tough socks - making the Full Cushion a greater value than the Smartwool. This sock is great to wear with either a boot or a sock. Feel free to take it on any big adventure!

For a comparison of all socks tested, check our Best Hiking Sock review.

Need a Cooler Boot Sock?
Darn Tough Hiker Full Cushion
There are some days where you need a full boot sock, but it's over 90F outside. Darn Tough has come up with the Coolmax Boot Sock for just such days. This boot sock still has the full boot cushion you're looking for with engineered Coolmax fabric to help wick away more moisture in those warmer climates. Check these socks out if you still need a full cushion sock during the hottest of days.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Hiking Socks Review

up to 5 products
Score Product Price Material Sock Category Guarentee Policy
84
Darn Tough Hiker Full Cushion $24
Editors' Choice Award
66% merino wool, 32% nylon, 2% lycra spandex Mid-weight Lifetime guarentee
78
Wigwam Hiking Outdoor Pro $14
Best Buy Award
41% polypropylene, 34% acrylic, 23% stretch nylon, 1% stretch polyester, 1% spandex Mid-weight 2 year guarantee
76
Smartwool PhD Outdoor Medium Crew $24
Top Pick Award
67% merino wool, 31% nylon, 2% elastane Mid-weight 2 year satisfaction guarentee
74
Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew $20
40% merino wool, 56% nylon, 4% lycra spandex Light-weight Lifetime guarentee
72
Injinji Outdoor Midweight Crew NuWool $20
64% nuwool, 33% nylon, 3% lycra Mid-weight 60 day guarentee

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Darn Tough Full Cushion sock is our Editors' Choice award winner. Take it anywhere you dare!

Performance Comparison


This Editor's Choice winner balances comfort  breathability  and drying speed. Its tall design is compatible with ski and mountaineering boots. Take it with you on day hikes and long backpacking trips.
This Editor's Choice winner balances comfort, breathability, and drying speed. Its tall design is compatible with ski and mountaineering boots. Take it with you on day hikes and long backpacking trips.

Comfort


This Editors' Choice is streamlined to fit like a lightweight sock - but with mid-weight cushion. The forefoot and heel feature a little more extra to help provide more comfort in areas of high use - but not too much that the fabric can't breathe.

Putting this sock on is like slipping your foot into a soft blanket that breathes. The merino wool blend is soft to the touch, while the integration of spandex and lycra keeps the sock from slipping down while adventuring. We loved the full cushion construct that provides additional comfort all the way around without the bulk. It also features a couple of compression panels - one focused around the arch of the foot, while the other is around the ankle which provides additional comfort on the trail. The sock is also tall enough to accomodate a boot - but not too tall to wear with shoes. The only sock that did better in this metric was the Smartwool PhD Outdoor Medium Crew Sock. Our testers commented that the fit was a little tighter, with more defined compression panelling and cozier materials. As a result, this Editors' Choice scored second highest in the comfort category.

The Darn Tough Full cushion offers great comfort in the form of compression panelling and padding in the forefoot and heel.
The Darn Tough Full cushion offers great comfort in the form of compression panelling and padding in the forefoot and heel.

Warmth


This sock is designed with a 66% merino wool blend and proved to be one of our highest performers during cold (wet and dry) conditions. The fibers did a great job of keep our feet warm, and we noticed the fabric itself absorbed a little less water than other merino wool contenders. We even saw the water wicking right off the fabric before being absorbed - a huge plus when hiking through rainy season.

The tall sock design is great to keep legs protected and warm in cold temperatures. We found that next to the Smartwool PhD sock, this was one of the warmest, with the ability to keep feet warm in the low 20s. However, when the temperatures dipped into the 10s, we found, like all other socks tested (except the PhD), this sock was unable to keep our feet super warm. Overall, it scored second to best in the warmth category - simply because it didn't have a warmth range quite as broad as the Smartwool PhD sock.

Testing each sock for dry warmth in the Alaskan Range. Here we test the Darn Tough Full Cushion and Smartwool PhD head to head to see which kept our feet warmer in just a thin pair down booties on snow. In this particular test  the Smartwool won for its thicker fabric design.
Testing each sock for dry warmth in the Alaskan Range. Here we test the Darn Tough Full Cushion and Smartwool PhD head to head to see which kept our feet warmer in just a thin pair down booties on snow. In this particular test, the Smartwool won for its thicker fabric design.

Drying Speed


In our 'hang to dry tests', this sock excelled! Socks with a synthetic blend like the Wigwam Hiking Outdoor Pro do best in this category as polyester and polypropylene fabrics wick and dry much faster than organic fibers. This award winner proved to follow this trend and was the second fastest to dry. We attribute this primarily to the tight woven fabric construction that does a great job wicking. if you want a sock that dries even faster, check out the Injinji Outdoor Midweight Crew NuWool, drying after just three hours in the sun - where the Darn Tough full cushioned took only three and a half hours. Overall, we would recommend this sock for all types of conditions: wet, dry, warm, and cold - a big reason why it was our Editors' Choice winner.

A quick drying sock is a perfect compadre on multi-day adventures. Light weight socks will typically dry faster. Also look for a sock that doesn't absorb moisture immediately on contact. The Injinji sock followed by the Darn Tough Full Cushion performed best in this test.
A quick drying sock is a perfect compadre on multi-day adventures. Light weight socks will typically dry faster. Also look for a sock that doesn't absorb moisture immediately on contact. The Injinji sock followed by the Darn Tough Full Cushion performed best in this test.

Wicking and Breathability


The fine gauge merino wool allows great breathability while involved in both high and low intensity activities. Take this sock for a walk, hike, or even a run!


Scoring high for its ability to wick and breathe, this sock is great for warm and cold weather conditions. The fitted design helped to wick moisture away from the skin and push it to the outside of the fabric to keep skin dry. What's more is the fabric doesn't absorb as much water as other sock fabrics tested. We also loved the breathability of this sock; of all the thicker socks tested, we found this was the most breathable of the thicker socks; however, in comparison to our lightweight socks like the Injinji and Darn Tough Light Hiker Crew, it wasn't as breathable. As a result, leave this sock at home if you plan on hiking in the desert in the summer - take a lighter option instead.

With a tight knit  we found this sock was still breathable! The forefoot features more cushion  but the top of the sock featured venting panels that allowed heat to escape quickly.
With a tight knit, we found this sock was still breathable! The forefoot features more cushion, but the top of the sock featured venting panels that allowed heat to escape quickly.

Durability


Like the name infers, this sock is truly "Darn Tough". In our testing, we really put it through the ringer. We wore it while trekking through the varying microclimates of the the Peruvian Andes for a month. We also took it splitboarding in the deep cold of the Central Alaska mountain range for week. We put in over 60 miles of hard hiking, running, skinning, and snowboarding and in the end, we saw some pilling around the heel and midfoot. For a hiking sock, this is truly impressive. The only sock that looked newer was our Best Buy winner - the Wigwam Hiking Outdoor Pro. What's more is this sock comes with a lifetime warranty. That means your can wear this sock until it has holes, and send it in for a new pair (if you choose!). Great durability, with a fantastic warranty.

Even after 60 miles of use we didn't see any serious fabric compaction or pilling. We were truly impressed with this Darn Tough sock!
Even after 60 miles of use we didn't see any serious fabric compaction or pilling. We were truly impressed with this Darn Tough sock!

Best Application


As one of our most versatile socks, the Darn Tough Full cushion sock is great for just about everything. Take it with you on wet and wild adventures or while backpacking for multiple days on end. If you're looking for a sock for hiking in hot weather, check out the Darn Tough Light Hiker instead.

Jared hikes  snowboards  and hangs out in the Darn Tough Full Cushion sock. Talk about great comfort and versatility! Take this quick drying sock everywhere from backcountry skiing to day hiking to backpacking.
Jared hikes, snowboards, and hangs out in the Darn Tough Full Cushion sock. Talk about great comfort and versatility! Take this quick drying sock everywhere from backcountry skiing to day hiking to backpacking.

Value


Don't let the high price of this sock scare you. For just $24, you get a sock that truly has it all. In addition, the lifetime guarantee means you can trade in any sock that wears bare. If you're looking for a sock that doesn't cost as much with exceptional value, check out the Wigwam Hiker Pro for just $14.00 (Our Best Buy winner).

Conclusion


The Darn Tough full cushion sock was a favorite among testers for its superior performance and value. We'll be taking this Editors' Choice on many adventures to come!

Other Versions


Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew
Light Hiker Micro Crew Light Cushion
  • Cost - $20
  • Lightweight version
  • Thinner materials

Amber King
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