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Darn Tough Coolmax Vertex Tab No Show Ultra-Light Cushion Review

This is a lightweight and durable sock with exceptional value.
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Price:  $17 List | $15.95 at Amazon
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, durable, breathable.
Cons:  Sock is slippery, no additional padding or comfort features.
Manufacturer:   Darn Tough
By Andy Wellman ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 25, 2019
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74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 9
  • Comfort - 25% 6
  • Fit - 25% 8
  • Wicking & Breathability - 25% 9
  • Slip Prevention - 15% 5
  • Durability - 10% 9

Our Verdict

Lightweight, durable, and comfortable, the Darn Tough Vertex Ultra Light Cushion is a perfect option for those who appreciate simplicity. We tested this sock for over 30 miles while trail and road running. After climbing up steep trails and running out the flats, we learned a lot! Constructed with a merino-synthetic blend, it does a great job at managing moisture but lacks any real comfort features. It retains its shape on the trail and doesn't roll down on the run. We really appreciate its super durable construction that makes it fantastically valuable. If you're looking for a lightweight running sock for the summer, this is one of our favorite products.


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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Lightweight, durable, breathable.Great fit, wicks and breathes well, perfectly placed padding, unisex fitSuper plush and comfortable, ergonomic fit, men & women's versions, cute colorsSuper comfortable, fits great, durable, good padding.Deliciously comfortable, well-cushioned, affordable.
Cons Sock is slippery, no additional padding or comfort features.Not as grippy within the shoe as some socks, low cut is a bit of a ‘tweenerMoisture management is sub-par, tight fit.Doesn’t wick moisture very wellBreathability is poor.
Bottom Line This is a lightweight and durable sock with exceptional value.The best overall running sock is comfortable, fits perfectly, and does a great job managing moisture.A super plush and comfortable running sock with a compressive fit.A super comfortable and durable lightweight running sock.Comfortable and affordable for long days pumping out the miles.
Rating Categories Coolmax Vertex Tab No Show U... Thorlos Experia XCCU Feetures Merino 10 Coolmax Vertex Ultra-Light Balega Silver No Show
Comfort (25%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
9
Fit (25%)
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
Wicking & Breathability (25%)
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
5
Slip Prevention (15%)
10
0
5
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
9
Durability (10%)
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
6
Specs Coolmax Vertex Tab... Thorlos Experia XCCU Feetures Merino 10 Coolmax Vertex... Balega Silver No...
Material 54% Nylon, 41% Merino Wool, 5% Lycra Spandex 66% THOR WICK COOL, 20% Nylon ,1% Elastic, 13% Polyester Merino, synthetic 52% Coolmax Polyester, 44% Nylon, 4% Lycra Spandex 75% Drynamix Polyester, 23% Nylon, 2% Elastane
Warranty Unconditional lifetime guarantee 30 day guarantee Lifetime Guarantee Unconditional lifetime guarantee No Information Found
Ankle Cut No Show Low Cut No Show Tab No Show No Show Tab

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Darn Tough Vertex Ultra-light is a super lightweight running sock with no additional padding. It provides astounding breathability and decent comfort for a lightweight sock composed with Merino wool. It's incredibly durable, offering immense value. We reviewed the women's version, but a men's version is available as well.

Performance Comparison


Running is out with the Darn Tough Vertex Ultralight. This sock offers next to no cushioning  is quite durable  with super cute colors.
Running is out with the Darn Tough Vertex Ultralight. This sock offers next to no cushioning, is quite durable, with super cute colors.

Comfort


This is an ultralight cushioned sock that doesn't offer a whole lot in the way of additional comfort features. The materials (54% Nylon, 41% Merino Wool, 5% Lycra Spandex) feel comfortable against the foot and aren't itchy or scratchy. Given its ultralight design, they aren't super plush or cushioned either.

From this profile  you can see there is next to no cushioning found in the impact zones. This is best for those who don't really care for comfort features and appreciate the feel of the trail or road underfoot.
From this profile, you can see there is next to no cushioning found in the impact zones. This is best for those who don't really care for comfort features and appreciate the feel of the trail or road underfoot.

The no show tab has a tiny bit of cushioning to prevent points of rubbing and friction. The heel and forefoot have a more condensed weave for improved durability with no additional padding. If you're seeking an ultralight without any additional cushioning and a women's specific fit, this is a wonderful option. It's also important to mention that the Darn Tough Vertex CoolMax Ultra-Light Cushion is more comfortable to the touch and offers a bit more cushioning underfoot.

A comparative look at the Darn Tough Vertex Coolmax Cushion (left) and the women's Darn Tough Vertex ultralight without cushion (right). We prefer a little more cushioning  but this women's sock promotes breathability. Socks for both men and women are available with both models.
A comparative look at the Darn Tough Vertex Coolmax Cushion (left) and the women's Darn Tough Vertex ultralight without cushion (right). We prefer a little more cushioning, but this women's sock promotes breathability. Socks for both men and women are available with both models.

Fit


We tested the women's version of this sock, and compared to the Darn Tough Vertex Cool Max it is thinner with a more narrow heel cup and overall profile. Like the men's version, it has a responsive elastic around the collar that keeps the sock from falling down while running. Around the arch of the foot, is another beefy elastic that keeps the sock in place. The lycra spandex is sewn throughout the sock, providing great lateral and front to back elasticity, keeping everything in place.


Our main tester gave this sock out to many friends with more narrow feet. They all said that the material didn't bunch or roll on the run, maintaining its shape and providing awesome comfort and fit. Overall, a well-fitted sock that isn't too tight or loose.

A glance at the no show tabs with your shoes on.
A glance at the no show tabs with your shoes on.

Wicking & Breathability


Given it's thinner design, this sock does a great job at wicking and breathing. We wore it while trail running through the Spring season where we encountered mud puddles, wet grass, and more! We also wore it in the desert on really hot days to see how it manages moisture. Given the thinness of the entire sock, it wicks really well and has a decent level of breathability. The fabric weave is a little tighter than the Swiftwick Aspire Zero, which offers better moisture management so moisture does stay in the material a little longer. That said, we didn't notice wet feet during Spring days, and during our hottest runs, our feet were left dry and happy. Overall, this sock wicks and breaths well.

The entire sock provides a means for ventilation. When running we didn't notice wet or clammy feet the entire time.
The entire sock provides a means for ventilation. When running we didn't notice wet or clammy feet the entire time.

Slip Prevention


Alas, this sock doesn't do a whole lot to prevent slippage in the shoe. The tightly woven material is pretty slippery and slips around in looser shoes. The thinner and tightly knit merino wool & nylon don't offer a whole lot of friction. When wearing both the Darn Tough Vertex Coolmax and Darn Tough Vertex - Women's we noticed the normal Vertex (being a little thinner) sliding around more, causing toes to bump on downhills. This could easily be fixed by tightening the shoe, but our tester at the time prefers a looser fit. The Coolmax kept the foot in place better as it has thicker materials. If foot slippage is a concert, the Coolmax is a better choice.

Durability


Backed by Darn Tough's unconditional lifetime guarantee, we feel pretty good that we are buying a sock of value! After putting 30+ miles on this sock, it still looks like it's pretty new out of the box (with the exception of some engrained dirt). In the high compaction zones (the forefoot and heel), there is very little wear and tear and no signs of compaction. Overall, durability is awesome and the lifetime guarantee is even better!

The threads are still perfectly intact after over 30 miles of running on hard trails. We are impressed with the durability of this lightweight sock!
The threads are still perfectly intact after over 30 miles of running on hard trails. We are impressed with the durability of this lightweight sock!

Best Applications


Any application that can use a thin, durable, and breathable running sock! Its uses aren't just confined just to running either. Wear it during the summer while hiking, biking, and more. Since it's not very insulative, it's not a great option for super cold weather. A thicker version would do better for that use.

An afternoon training run is a great example of the many applications of the Darn Tough Vertex Ultralight sock.
An afternoon training run is a great example of the many applications of the Darn Tough Vertex Ultralight sock.

Value


Value is bomber! Even though the ticket price is high at $17, the investment is totally worth it. Given the no questions asked lifetime guarantee, you can return these socks to Darn Tough (even with holes in them after a few years) for a new pair. While we don't recommend doing this as we should all aim to support a company that produces such a high-quality product. Overall, the performance and quality are totally worth the price.

Conclusion


A durable, lightweight running sock that offers great moisture management and performance. While it doesn't do a whole lot to prevent foot slippage, it's a great option for those where this issue doesn't matter as much. Best worn with a tight-fitting shoe in warmer weather, it offers wonderful value and a plethora of applications. We reviewed the women's version of this sock, but there is a men's version as well.


Andy Wellman