The Over-The-Calf Padded Light is a merino-wool blend that offers unbeatable wicking power and durability. Boasting a lifetime guarantee, it may be the last ski sock you ever have to buy. Its lightweight construction doesn't offer much in the way of comfort or warmth, but it will keep you dry all day long. If you're planning on being a little more aerobic - cross-country skiing, mountaineering, skinning uphill - this is our top recommendation.
Enjoying a warm and sunny day in the backcountry, we test the Darn Tough socks. The thinner construction provides fantastic wicking and drying ability that will keep your feet dry all day long.
Comfort & Construction
If you're in the market for a sock that is uber comfortable, take a look at the Smartwool PhD Medium, because the Darn Tough simply does not have a whole lot of comfort features. As a pretty bare bones sock, it doesn't support any additional padding except in the shin. The underfoot, ankle, and calf are composed of thinner materials that fit nice and snug against the leg. It's a lightweight sock made up of 60% Merino Wool, 36% Nylon, and 4% Lycra Spandex.
While underfoot padding and additional cozy features don't really exist, we are psyched on its construction. It features areas of compression paneling around the toe box and arch, which provides advanced wicking power to 'sweaty spots' on the foot. The heel cup in the sock is quite small which, again, provides for optimal fit, adding points to its excellent construction. Like all Merino wool blends, the fabric does feel nice and cozy next to the skin.
Offering a really thin construction that provides padding only along the shin, it's perfect for aerobic days. No additional padding except in the shin pictured here.
While the Darn Tough provides warmth in the form of wicking power which ultimately keeps the foot dry throughout the day, it certainly is not a warm sock on its own. Unlike other contenders that feature a thicker construct, like the Wigwam Sirocco or the Burton Weekend Sock, it does not have a whole lotta warmth in its independent construction, though it makes up for it while skiing on the mountain.
While this isn't the warmest sock out there, it certainly will keep your feet dry. While skiing at the Telluride ski resort, we noticed that it wasn't as warm as the Smartwool PhD Medium while riding the lifts, simply because it didn't have even the slightest layer of insulation underfoot.
While its thin construct does wick well to keep dry feet, it simply doesn't insulate much on really really cold days.
However, for skinning uphill, it is a perfect option as it keeps feet dry (even on warm sunny days) with its thin construction. While it provides enough warmth, there are warmer options out there for the coldest days of winter. Overall, this sock insulates when warm and wet, and provides warmth in the form of its wicking ability. Just go for a more insulated pair on the coldest days of the year.
Skinning uphill with friends on a warm day is a perfect place for this Top Pick.
Drying Speed & Wicking Ability
This sock dries quickly and does an amazing job at wicking away moisture. In our drying tests, it dried very quickly, and on the mountain, our feet kept stayed dry, even on the warmest days. This is largely due to its ultra-thin construction and snug fit that hugs the skin.
It's this combination that allows water vapor to easily move across the sock barrier out and away from the skin. Also, the areas of compression offer additional ventilation, with the material being thin enough for moisture to diffuse across its barrier easily. If we were to choose a thin sock with the ability to wick away moisture without compromising the fit of our ski or snowboard boot, this would be it! It's a bare-bones option that does an amazing job at wicking away moisture. This is why this sock earns a Top Pick Award.
The back of the socks provides great ventilation for a dry sock experience.
This lightweight sock fits nice and tight next to the skin. It has a thick elastic back at the top that doesn't slide down while skiing and elastic panels are integrated around the arch and ankle to slide into a tapered area, keeping it in place. It's a lightweight option that doesn't compromise the fit of tightly fitting ski or snowboard boot.
While its fit does feel quite specific, we did notice that the material, when riding, stretched out. One of our testers took it out in Silverton, Colorado and noticed after a few hours of riding, that the fabric at the tips of toes wasn't as tight as it had started. While this didn't create a noticeably uncomfortable situation where the fabric bunched or pinched, it wasn't ideal either. Our snowboarders didn't notice this issue as their boots don't fit as tightly.
Another key thing to note is that this a very tall sock. For our tester with shorter legs and sitting around 5' 6", the sock went almost all the way up and under the knee. This is great news if you're a super tall skier, but for those who are a little shorter, you may find yourself rolling it down.
If you're seeking a sock that'll fit nicely into a ski boot, this is it!
The volume in the calf area is ample. The integrated stretch throughout the fabric will accommodate your legs, whether they are thick or thin. Great for any skier or snowboarder. Overall, the fit is lightweight, precise, but does stretch out a little after a wash. We didn't notice any shrinkage after a wash. The size is true to fit, and a great option for those seeking full coverage from foot to knee.
If you prefer a sock with an even thinner construction, be sure to check out the 'ultra-thin' version of this sock.
Stacked with a lifetime guarantee and no obvious issues (even after three months of hard wear and over 20 days on the slopes) we are happy to give this sock a perfect score! The merino wool blend is constructed so well that the body fabric looks brand new after all this use! Our testers have been using Darn Tough socks for over five years, specifically the women's light version, and it hasn't lost its performance, stretch, or quality after all this time.
The lifetime guarantee is one of the best reasons to purchase this sock. Even after you've trashed and thrashed it for years, Darn Tough will take it back if you manage to put holes in it. They'll send you a new pair without any questions. Standing the test of time with a company that backs up its quality, this truly is one of the most durable products that we've seen on the market.
Looking like new after using it for the last few months, this highly durable option also comes with a no questions asked lifetime guarantee.
If you're in need of a sock that easily fits underneath a tight pair of ski boots without compromising fit this is it. While it doesn't offer much in the way of insulating or comfort features, it does have an amazing wicking ability that will keep your feet dry. It's not a great sock idea if your boots are already cold and you need to put a little more insulation between your boot and your foot.
Wear them anywhere! From Alaska, to Colorado, and beyond It's perfect for backcountry exploring and playing at the resort.
This was a favorite go-to for warmer days, skinning uphill, cross-country skiing, and more. If you're planning on have a more aerobic workout where you might find your feet sweating more than usual, this is a great option.
There are midweight options available with more padding and insulation if this is what you prefer.
With a lifetime guarantee, fantastic durability and performance, and a retail price sitting around $25, you're investing a sock that becomes two once you wear out the first pair and contact Darn Tough. If you're looking for some serious bang for your buck — it's right here.
The Darn Tough Over-The-Calf Padded Light fits so close to the skin that its wicking power is almost magical. Keeping feet dry in conditions that vary from warm to cold, it's our top choice for aerobic days. Whether you're ski mountaineering, touring, cross-country skiing, or spending a sunny day on the resort. This bomber sock will stay with you for many seasons to come, keeping your feet dry without compromising boot fit.