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Darn Tough Coolmax Vertex Ultra-Light Review

A super comfortable and durable lightweight running sock
Darn Tough Coolmax Vertex Ultra-Light
Photo: Darn Tough
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $17 List | Check Price at Amazon
Pros:  Super comfortable, fits great, durable, good padding
Cons:  Slips easily
Manufacturer:   Darn Tough
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 2, 2020
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77
OVERALL
SCORE


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

Our Verdict

The Darn Tough Coolmax Vertex Ultra-light is a durable sock that has lasted us the longest of any sock, after testing for over two years. 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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Pros Super comfortable, fits great, durable, good paddingProtective medium cushioning, protective length, durable fibers, strong at wicking, quick to drySuper comfortable padding, toe spread, blister prevention, excellent moisture management, protectiveDeliciously comfortable, well-cushioned, affordableLightweight, durable, breathable
Cons Slips easilyMedium cushioning isn't ideal for super hot weatherSome may not love the toe sock design, cooler than merino wool when wetPoor breathabilitySock is slippery, no additional padding or comfort features
Bottom Line A top choice when it comes to balancing comfort and durabilityAn excellent all-around awesome contender that's built for long days on the trail or roadIf you love to spread your toe, this toe-sock is our favorite for its excellent cushioning, comfort, and moisture managementAn all-around performer at a great priceA highly valuable lightweight and durable running sock
Rating Categories Coolmax Vertex Ultra-Light Blister Resister Quarter Trail Midweight Mini-Crew Balega Silver No Show Coolmax Vertex Tab No Show U...
Comfort (25%)
6
9
8
9
5
Fit (25%)
9
8
9
8
8
Wicking & Breathability (25%)
8
8
8
5
9
Slip Prevention (15%)
6
9
8
9
5
Durability (10%)
10
9
9
6
10
Specs Coolmax Vertex... Blister Resister... Trail Midweight... Balega Silver No... Coolmax Vertex Tab...
Material 52% Coolmax Polyester, 44% Nylon, 4% Lycra Spandex 32% Drynamix polyester, 32% polyamide, 30% mohair, 4% microfiber, 2% elastane 39% COOLMAX polyester, 58% Nylon, 3% Lycra 75% Drynamix Polyester, 23% Nylon, 2% Elastane 54% Nylon, 41% Merino Wool, 5% Lycra Spandex
Warranty Unconditional lifetime guarantee One year warranty One year warranty One year warranty Unconditional lifetime guarantee
Ankle Cut No Show Quarter Length Quarter Length No Show Tab No Show

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...
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...
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.
Photo: Amber King

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...
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.
Photo: Amber King

Fit


Size is true to fit. The sock does a great job of 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.


This sock comes in a fit for both women and men, with a fit that is specific to both. The added cushioning in high impact area makes for a higher level of comfort while the elasticized construction stays in place. We tested it while climbing up a steep hill and summiting high mountain ridges. After all these tests, it stays where it should, and hasn't shown any bunching, rolling, or any other issues. Size is true to fit, and exactly how you'd expect it.

A look at the "no show" fit of this Darn Tough sock.
A look at the "no show" fit of this Darn Tough sock.
Photo: Amber King

Wicking & Breathability


This sock is lightweight and does a great job of wicking moisture with excellent breathability. It has a 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.


The vents are placed strategically to ensure even more effective moisture management. The top of the foot has next to no extra padding, same with the area under the arch. This allow for better moisture movement. While our foot stays relatively dry on most days, we did notice it heating up on super hot days. This could be attributed to some additional padding closer to the arch, than most socks. Overall, it goes a good job at wicking and breathability, but it's not the best out there.

Cushioning is lacking on the top of the foot to promote...
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.
Photo: Amber King

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. We noticed this when climbing up hills and descending big mountains while testing in Ouray, Colorado.

This sock doesn't slip much given the cushioning underfoot, but in a...
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.
Photo: Amber King

The build of the fibers on the sock is quite thin. This thinner construction coupled with a tighter weave means more slippage in the shoe. Other socks with a heavier level of cushioning and/or fibers that aren't as fine don't slip nearly as much. If you have shoes that are larger, and your feet move around in them, you might find these socks won't prevent you from slipping.

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 500+ miles of travel. The high concentration of synthetic materials coupled with a tighter weave, the durability technology is quite hard to beat. 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. If you see a super durable sock that also boasts comfort features, this is the one to buy. After two years of testing, it's still going strong and hardly looks used! Even after being blasted with sand, dirt, and other particulates on the trail.


A tiny bit of underfoot compression, but not much else! We are...
A tiny bit of underfoot compression, but not much else! We are impressed with its durability!
Photo: Amber King

Value


This sock is a little expensive upfront but comes with an unbeatable warranty. It's 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 in the long run.

The Perimeter Trail around Ouray is our best local trail, offering...
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.

Conclusion


The Darn Tough Coolmax Vertex Tab No Show Ultra-light is a sock we are happy to recommend to our friends and our readers. It's one of our favorites for its high level of durability. With a lightweight construction, it has cushioning right where you need it. A great choice for shorter trail distances on warm days or road running.

Eddy tests this ultralight contender on an early Spring day training...
Eddy tests this ultralight contender on an early Spring day training run.
Photo: Amber King

Amber King