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Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew Review

Light Hiker Micro Crew Light Cushion
Price:   $20 List | $19.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Breathable, comfortable, well fitted, great compression, thinner materials, warm when wet, soft, no itch
Cons:  Slow to dry, lacks warmth in deep cold
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Darn Tough

Our Verdict

This Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew is a great option for those in search of a stellar lightweight sock. Built with ample compression panelling and a 60% blend of merino wool, this was the best fitting sock tested. The merino wool feels soft against the skin while providing decent insulation when wet. Even though it is high quality, we have our caveats. It doesn't dry very fast, nor does it provide ample warmth in cold dry weather like our Top Pick for Versatility - the Smartwool PhD Outdoor Medium Crew Sock; this is mostly expected with a lightweight design. That said, it fills a niche as a top choice for warm temperatures and does best in those conditions. Wear it from the spring to the fall on all your adventures.

Color Update - December 2016
This sock is now available in two new colors! Keep reading to check out the new looks.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Men's Hiking Socks of 2017


Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Amber King
Senior Review Editor
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Friday
July 22, 2016

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New Colors for 2016


While no longer offered in the grey/tan version that we tested, this sock is now available in two new colorways: Charcoal/Lime and Smoke/Cranberry, seen below left to right.
Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew
Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew
 

Hands-On Review


The Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew is a perfect option for those in search of a high-quality lightweight sock.
The Darn Tough Light Hiker proved to be durable  breathable  and comfortable. We found ourselves reaching for it on day hikes and runs.
The Darn Tough Light Hiker proved to be durable, breathable, and comfortable. We found ourselves reaching for it on day hikes and runs.

Comfort


This is one of the best fitting socks we tested. We loved its compression paneling and thin material that was soft to the touch.


Stacked with merino wool in the heel and sole, this sock was perfect for many long adventures through the mountains. Our feet felt continuously fresh and ready for to take on the next day. Additionally, the material on the top of the sock is light and thin, allowing ample airflow and breathability. This sock didn't score as high as others in this category because of its lightweight design. Even though there was additional cushioning, it wasn't nearly as thick as other contenders like the Darn Tough Full Cushion, our Editors' Choice award winning sock. This is all the more reason it's perfect for warmer days on the trail.

Additional cushioning was found in the heel and forefoot  while the top of the sock was light and thin. The compression panels around the arch and ankle provided additional comfort that was hard to find in any other sock tested.
Additional cushioning was found in the heel and forefoot, while the top of the sock was light and thin. The compression panels around the arch and ankle provided additional comfort that was hard to find in any other sock tested.

Warmth


Given the lightweight design, this sock was the second to last in the warmth category. In our dry tests, our feet stayed warm for about ten minutes before going numb. However, in our wet warmth tests we were happy to learn that it does a great job insulating when wet. As a result, consider carrying this sock on rainy days with temperate temperatures. If you're in the market for something warmer, check out the warm Smartwool PhD instead.

Drying Speed


At first we thought this would be one of the fastest socks to dry, but were disappointed to learn that it actually took the longest! Most of the moisture evaporated well from the top of the sock, but sat pooled in the foot before drying after five hours. If you want a sock that dries faster, check out the Injinji Outdoor Midweight Crew NuWool toe sock instead. It was able to dry in just two and a half hours.

Wicking and Breathability


One of the highest to score in this category! We were happy to see how well moisture wicked from the foot to the shoe and that it breathed pretty well out the top of the fabric. Even though the material is thinner, we found the bottom of our foot felt pretty hot, which meant a little less breathability at the bottom of the sock. As a result, it wasn't our highest scorer for breathability. Check out the Wigwam Hiking Outdoor Pro, our Best Buy award winner, if you want a something that breathes and wicks well.

This Darn Tough Light Hiker is perfect for warm days on the trail. Its thinner design coupled with many breathable panels on the top of the foot keeps it dry and comfortable.
This Darn Tough Light Hiker is perfect for warm days on the trail. Its thinner design coupled with many breathable panels on the top of the foot keeps it dry and comfortable.

Durability


Even though our Darn Tough Full Cushion sock did well in the durability category, this Darn Tough variety showed pilling and signs of wear and tear after just 10 miles of use. Even though wear was quick to notice, the long term wear and tear was pretty impressive! In general the sock held up pretty well with some merino fibers worn, but still very much in tact. If you're in the market for the most durable option around, check out the Wigwam Hiking Outdoor Pro.

After about 20 miles of use  we see some pilling in high use areas - however this was also the extent of it after 60 miles of trail trekking. This Darn Tough sock has lived up to its name!
After about 20 miles of use, we see some pilling in high use areas - however this was also the extent of it after 60 miles of trail trekking. This Darn Tough sock has lived up to its name!

Best Application


Given the lightweight design and decent level of breathability, we would recommend this sock for cool to warm weather for backpacking and hiking. It even does well in wet conditions, but don't expect it to dry out quickly.

This light hiker has a tight fit that is more accommodating for those looking for a durable and cushioned running sock. We wouldn't recommend it for hiking in super wet conditions as you would require it to dry quickly. However, it does maintain its warmth when wet and would be a great option for rainy day hikes. Overall, this lightweight hiker is quite versatile and is best used for warmer weather.

Josh lounges by the lake after a 10 mile run to altitude. This lightweight sock helped to keep his feet fairly dry during high intensity activity.
Josh lounges by the lake after a 10 mile run to altitude. This lightweight sock helped to keep his feet fairly dry during high intensity activity.

Value


For a lifetime guarantee and decent performance, a sticker price of $20 isn't half bad! You can't beat the comfort of this material and the durability is pretty fantastic as well. Even though we thought the value was good - our Best Buy winner - the Wigwam Hiking Outdoor Pro features unbeatable value and fantastic durability for only $14!

Conclusion


This pair of hiking socks is a lightweight merino wool blend, perfect for any three-season trail adventure. Take it with you on rainy day hikes or through warm desert temperatures.
Amber King

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: July 27, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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 (3.5)

50% of 2 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
3 Total Ratings
5 star: 33%  (1)
4 star: 33%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 33%  (1)
1 star: 0%  (0)
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   Jul 27, 2016 - 06:18pm
slabbo · Climber · fort garland, colo
My wife got a pair of these as a gift and they had significant wear after a week.

She literally threw them out.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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   Jul 27, 2016 - 01:36pm
TJ F · Backpacker · California
Best. Socks. Ever.

They don't bunch and take a while to build up some stink too.

I'm a Darn Tough lifer. No reason to try another brand.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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