Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion - Women's Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Darn Tough Micro Crew features a female-specific design with super cute color patterns. It's our Top Pick for Lightweight Cushioning because of its thinner design and great overall performance.
With cozy and plush fabrics, this is one comfortable sock! For a lightweight product, we are surprised by the level of cushioning. The 59% Merino Wool, 39% Nylon, 2% Lycra Spandex blend provides great cushion underfoot with lighter materials on top to ensure great breathability all-around. The elastic materials provide areas of excellent compression around the arch and heel. Also, the above-ankle design is a nice feature that is a "must-have" during warm summer months. While this sock is not compatible with tall hiking or rain boots, our testers love it with a sturdy pair of hiking shoes. Also, this sock has pretty cute colors and a female-specific design (a narrow heel) that ensures the fabric doesn't bunch in any odd places.
While rock climbing long routes in the Black Canyon in Colorado, our main tester wore a pair of thicker socks, testing warmth and overall versatility. By the end of the climb, our chief tester was wishing she had used the Darn Tough Micro Crew socks because of their tighter and more fitted design that is much more compatible with tighter fitting shoes - like a rock shoe.
While we think the Darn Tough is pretty darn comfortable for a lightweight sock, it's not the most comfy option out there simply because it's not loaded down with a ton of cushioning. It provides a superior fit to other socks in this review, but it doesn't have ample cushioning underfoot. Many of our testers prefer a thicker sock when traveling for days on foot, especially in cooler temperatures. That said, we prefer a thinner design for warm summer days.
Wicking and Breathability
Featuring a lightweight construct, the Darn Tough Micro Crew for women crushes it in this category. We are utterly impressed with its wicking ability and breathability. This is why we awarded it a Top Pick. Our testers spent many days wandering around in the desert with this model, serving as protection from trail debris underfoot. In warm weather, it wicks and breathes very well. We attribute this to its fabric construction that uses a lightweight layer of both Merino wool and synthetic fibers to quickly remove sweat and moisture from the surface of the skin to the exterior of the sock. This is primarily because the sock is built with a superior ventilation system that is thinner around the arch and top of the foot, with cushioning located in high use zones. As a result, its a favorite in this category.
Being a lightweight hiker, warmth is not its strong suit. While it does a great job in the Fall, Winter, and Summer, we wouldn't recommend it for the Winter months. The length is too short to be compatible with any outdoor winter boot, and secondly, it simply does not insulate well enough for super cold temperatures. During a cold Fall night, when the temperature was just above freezing, our foot was cold within minutes. We promptly had to switch into a warmer option for the night. During our wet tests, it provided great insulation when wet, but once again, when the mercury drops, it won't keep your feet warm.
This sock is seriously tough! With over roughly 60 miles of testing, we've noted minor pilling in areas of high abrasion, but other than that — nada, zip, zilch! Typically compaction of the fabric in the heel or forefoot indicates durability flaws, but none were noted during testing. As a result, we happily deem this sock highly durable. After three years of testing it consecutively, we still have the same pair of socks with hundreds of miles of wear and tear logged. The result? Still durable, still awesome.
Drying speed is moderate with this sock, performing well for any traditional hike or backpacking trip. In comparison to the rest, it's not the fastest to dry, but it isn't the slowest either. In our dryer tests, it took only 70 minutes to completely dry, making it one of the fastest to dry in our dryer testers. After soaking and wringing it out, it held about 133% of its original dry weight, which is surprisingly low for a high-density wool sock.
While the at-home tests went well, the field tests also proved to be conclusive. When in action, they do dry quickly. However, when line drying, we find this sock takes a little longer to dry than other merino blends. As a result, it doesn't earn the highest points in this category but it still does fairly well.
One might think the sticker price is pretty steep. In comparison to other contenders out there, it's definitely on the expensive end. That said, Darn Tough products do come with a lifetime guarantee, which is a huge selling point, and the reason that our testers buy them on a consistent basis.
The Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion is our favorite lightweight hiker on the market because of its great versatility on all types of trails and terrain. It's comfortable, breathes well, and works perfectly throughout the Fall, Spring, and Summer. A go-to if you prefer a lower cut sock with immaculate quality and a kick-butt warranty.
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