The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Darn Tough Coolmax Vertex Ultra-Light Review

A super comfortable and durable lightweight running sock.
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Price:  $17 List | $12.77 at Amazon
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Super comfortable, fits great, durable, good padding.
Cons:  Doesn’t wick moisture very well
Manufacturer:   Darn Tough
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 25, 2019
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77
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 9
  • Comfort - 25% 7
  • Fit - 25% 8
  • Wicking & Breathability - 25% 8
  • Slip Prevention - 15% 7
  • Durability - 10% 9

Our Verdict

The Darn Tough Coolmax Vertex Ultra-light is one of our favorites for its fantastical comfort and overall durability. Sporting a specific fit, it compresses and adds a little bit of padding in all the right places. It doesn't move on the run, nor does it change shape. The combination of Coolmax Polyester, nylon, and Lycra feels dreamy against the skin and stretches for a perfect fit, while the truly no-show toe seam ensures that there are no bumps or creases to rub or itch. If you want a comfortable and lightweight sock, this is a super durable and high-value option. Darn Tough also offers an unconditional lifetime guarantee that backs its products 100% throughout its lifetime.


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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Super comfortable, fits great, durable, good padding.Great fit, wicks and breathes well, perfectly placed padding, unisex fitSuper plush and comfortable, ergonomic fit, men & women's versions, cute colorsGreat wicking and breathability, durable, thin design.Deliciously comfortable, well-cushioned, affordable.
Cons Doesn’t wick moisture very wellNot as grippy within the shoe as some socks, low cut is a bit of a ‘tweenerMoisture management is sub-par, tight fit.Lacks cushioning.Breathability is poor.
Bottom Line A super comfortable and durable lightweight running sock.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.Perfectly suited for the hottest conditions or the sweatiest feet.Comfortable and affordable for long days pumping out the miles.
Rating Categories Coolmax Vertex Ultra-Light Thorlos Experia XCCU Feetures Merino 10 Swiftwick Aspire Zero Balega Silver No Show
Comfort (25%)
10
0
7
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
7
10
0
8
Wicking & Breathability (25%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
10
10
0
5
Slip Prevention (15%)
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
5
10
0
9
Durability (10%)
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
6
Specs Coolmax Vertex... Thorlos Experia XCCU Feetures Merino 10 Swiftwick Aspire... Balega Silver No...
Material 52% Coolmax Polyester, 44% Nylon, 4% Lycra Spandex 66% THOR WICK COOL, 20% Nylon ,1% Elastic, 13% Polyester Merino, synthetic 55% Nylon, 40% Olefin, 5% Spandex 75% Drynamix Polyester, 23% Nylon, 2% Elastane
Warranty Unconditional lifetime guarantee 30 day guarantee Lifetime Guarantee 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 Ultra Light offers a lightweight, yet super durable construction that will have you logging many miles in the years to come.

Performance Comparison


All of the qualities that make a good sock: comfort  perfect fit  wicking ability  adequate padding  and slip resistance; they all become even more important the longer you run. Here we test socks -- and our feet -- during an ultramarathon distance race.
All of the qualities that make a good sock: comfort, perfect fit, wicking ability, adequate padding, and slip resistance; they all become even more important the longer you run. Here we test socks -- and our feet -- during an ultramarathon distance race.

Comfort


This sock offers awesome comfort in its architecture. Indeed, this is a sock that we couldn't stop grabbing out of the drawer, no matter what we intended to do. We found ourselves wearing it around the house just as much as in our running shoes. We love how it stretches in order to easily slide over our foot, but once on simply hugs and supports rather than constricts. There was not a hint of tightness or pinching anywhere, and the no-show seam technology used in the toes will make you forget that there is even a seam there at all.

A look at the light cushioning that runs throughout the bottom of the foot. It is responsive and does well with short sprints and long distances.
A look at the light cushioning that runs throughout the bottom of the foot. It is responsive and does well with short sprints and long distances.

This was an especially awesome feature, as often times the toe seam can rub and start blisters on long distance runs, depending on how it sits on your feet and in the shoes. We never found this sock to be either too hot or too cold when out running, and couldn't even think of anything to complain about simply for the sake of it. It is marketed as being ultra-light in terms of thickness, but it does have consistent cushioning underfoot. As a result, this is best for those who love ultra-lightweight construction with a little bit of support.

The cushioning is located in all the right places  including at the heel and Achilles. Its plushness is what makes it quite comfortable on the trail.
The cushioning is located in all the right places, including at the heel and Achilles. Its plushness is what makes it quite comfortable on the trail.

Fit


Size is true to fit. The sock does a great job at compressing around the arch with a thick band of elastic and around the collar. We appreciate the small tab that offers a little more protection against the Achilles as well, although it is not padded. In general, we appreciate the fit and like that it doesn't bunch or roll while on the run.

A look at the "no show" fit of this Darn Tough sock.
A look at the "no show" fit of this Darn Tough sock.

Wicking & Breathability


This sock does a great job at wicking away moisture and breathing. Given the lightweight design, it has plentiful surface area for venting and evaporating moisture. While running on hotter days, we noticed that the moisture readily moved from the foot to the outside of the fabric. While this sock does not dry quickly, it still provides the performance required for longer adventures on either the road or trail. Overall, a great option for warm to cold temperatures.

Cushioning is lacking on the top of the foot to promote breathability. However  given that the cushioning runs along the bottom of the entire foot  it doesn't breath as well as other contenders. It does wick well though with the looped architecture.
Cushioning is lacking on the top of the foot to promote breathability. However, given that the cushioning runs along the bottom of the entire foot, it doesn't breath as well as other contenders. It does wick well though with the looped architecture.

Slip Prevention


When it comes to slip prevention, this sock is a little below average. It provides less slippage than other lightweight contenders because the material grabs the shoe. When testing this alongside the thinner Darn Tough Vertex No Show Ultra-Light, we noticed our foot slipping to the front of the show a lot less in roomier shoes. Overall, this sock scores a little lower than thicker options but does pretty well for its lightweight construction.

This sock doesn't slip much given the cushioning underfoot  but in a sloppier shoe  there is a bit of lateral movement where the cushioning isn't as concentrated.
This sock doesn't slip much given the cushioning underfoot, but in a sloppier shoe, there is a bit of lateral movement where the cushioning isn't as concentrated.

Durability


We love the durability of this sock. Despite its thinner design, the threads still look like new and haven't been compacted or totally worn after 30+ miles of travel. Not only that but like all Darn Tough socks, it comes with an unconditional lifetime guarantee. This simply adds to the value…especially since the product lives up to its claims in our testing period.

A tiny bit of underfoot compression  but not much else! We are impressed with its durability!
A tiny bit of underfoot compression, but not much else! We are impressed with its durability!

Best Applications


As an ultra-light sock with the perfect amount of cushioning added to the bottom, we think this sock is a great choice for any kind of running. Since it is a no-show, we would probably not use it for very gnarly trail running or mountain running but did run on relatively even trails in it numerous times. It is a great sock for road running or any other athletic endeavor for that matter.

The Perimeter Trail around Ouray is our best local trail  offering unique sections of trail with amazing views; a great place to test running socks and trail running shoes.
The Perimeter Trail around Ouray is our best local trail, offering unique sections of trail with amazing views; a great place to test running socks and trail running shoes.

Value


This sock retails for $17 which is a bit on the expensive side when compared to the rest of the socks in this review. We found this one to be very durable, and since it was one of our absolute favorites, and think it presents a great value. Its unconditional lifetime guarantee also can't be beat…adding value for the long run.

Conclusion


The Darn Tough Coolmax Vertex Tab No Show Ultra-light is comfortable, durable, and lightweight. We are happy to recommend it to our friends and our readers.

Eddy tests this ultralight contender on an early Spring day training run.
Eddy tests this ultralight contender on an early Spring day training run.


Amber King