Some folks have feet that just seem to eat socks for breakfast. If you are one of these poor unfortunate souls take heart! I’ve got some seriously durable socks for you to consider.
In my pursuit of the long-lasting products, one of the most surprising niches I’ve discovered was five particular sock brands that actually guarantee they’re socks for life even if you wear them out.
That’s the closest you’ll ever get to getting free socks for life!
These 5 Sock brands are clearly duking it out in a no-holds-barred battle for sock supremacy.
Ha! Who knew sock-making could be such a cut-throat game?
The Toughest Sock Brands
All five of these brands offer lifetime replacements on their socks except for purposeful damage or accidents like a naughty pet who likes to chew.
Here’s an in depth comparison of the top two on this list.
Bonus: Tilley Travel Socks (3 year guarantee)
Update: Redhead Socks from Cabelas used to be on this list. While they are tough, they no longer come with lifetime replacements.
What to Look for in Durable Socks
Four out of the five sock brands on this list use Merino wool in their socks. Merino is soft, exceptionally high wearing, isn’t itchy, and has very favorable thermal-stable properties. It will keep you warm in cold weather and cool in hot weather.
Perhaps the most stunning property of Merino wool is its odor resistance. That’s not just in socks either. Travelers like backpackers, motorcyclists, and air travelers prefer Merino apparel because of its anti-microbial properties. Translation: no stink after literally days of wear.
I know you won’t believe me. I didn’t until I experienced it myself. The difference between Merino wool and cotton is downright astonishing.
Premium wool fibers are longer than average (aka “long-staple fibers.”) As such, they are able to be woven more securely and continuously. Durability doesn’t rely as much on the thickness of the yarn but on how long the natural fibers are within the yarn and how they are plied together.
For example, imagine trying to fashion a rudementary rope by braiding 3-inch blades of grass together. Now imagine doing it using 24-inch blades of grass instead. Not only would the 3-inch blades be harder to work with, but your rope would also be far messier and more fragile.
Long-staple yarns also yield less pilling. Pilling is the result of shorter, less premium, fibers coming loose at one end and balling up while remaining anchored to the yarn on the other end. That’s why it’s hard to remove the pills. Low-quality cashmere also pills for similar reasons.
While some pilling will still happen with premium Merino wool socks, it is far less severe.
Tightly knitted socks with finer premium yarns are stronger, lighter and far more durable than bulkier cheap socks with a loose-knit.
Some Darn Tough Socks have up to 1441 stitches per square inch.That’s because the strength of a fabric depends largely on the quality of the fiber and density of the weave.
Let’s get on with it and take a look at the most durable sock brands:
1. Darn Tough Socks
- Rating: 4.5/5
- Price: $15-30/pair
- Strengths: Athletics, Work, Cold Climates, Unique/colorful designs
- Weakness: Few plain-colored options
These puppies are unconditionally guaranteed for life with no strings attached. If you ever wear out your Darn Tough sock, just send the old pair in for a new pair! Awesome!
Of all the durable socks out there, Darn Tough Socks from Vermont has the most legendary reputation for durability on this list. These are my go-to socks. I’ve been wearing them for a couple of years now without a hitch.
Darn Tough also has the most variety and options. They specialize in creating durable socks for outdoor pursuits like running, hiking, hunting, and skiing.
So, if you’re into wearing a creative variety of patterns and colors Darn Tough is your best bet. In fact, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a plain black or white pair of socks. They are always coming out with special edition designs to add some pizazz to your sock drawer.
For more on Darn Tough Socks, check out my full review.
Best Seller: Hiker Micro Crew Cushion
Hard-core hikers borderline worship this sock as evidenced by over 600 rave reviews on Darn Tough’s website.
The Micro Crew has mid-level cushioning and undetectable seams to keep you comfortable over long hikes.
With 61% Merino, these hikers are great all-season socks; not to warm, not too cold, but ahhh… just right.
2. Feetures Socks
- Rating: 4/5
- Price Range: $13-45/pair
- Strengths: Runners, Hidden/No-show, Therapeutic
- Weakness: Not cold climate/outdoor pursuit socks.
Feetures makes quality merino wool socks that are comparable to Darn Tough but are more focused on athletics. They also offer a no-questions-asked lifetime warranty.
Feetures are made by runners for runners. They don’t do heavy-duty hikers or alpine socks. On the other hand, they do make high-quality therapeutic compression socks and specially cushioned socks for plantar fasciitis.
Feetures are generally more reserved in their color choices. They are more mature and understated than Darn Tough.
Overall, they are a very solid choice especially if you’re looking for a good athletic sock. You can often get Feetures socks on sale a fair bit cheaper than Darn Tough socks too.
Best Seller: High-Performance Cushion No-Show Tab
These cushioned performance running socks are Feetures claim to fame.
Made by runners for runners, the High-Performance range of models brings the best of merino, moisture-wicking, breathability and odor resistance while still offering a soft landing for your feet mile-on-mile.
Available in multiple colors, they are super-durable socks and don’t have any irritating toe seam, feature a Y-heel construction for a clean snug fit and a topside mesh for maximum ventilation.
- Rating: 3/5
- Price Range: $18-40/pair
- Strengths: Outdoor pursuits, cold weather, casual
- Weakness: Highest price, Warrantee claims a more complicated
IceBreaker makes tough socks but they are best known for their high-quality Merino wool apparel. They are well-loved as travel wear because of Merino wools remarkable odor resistance.
IceBreaker makes about 50 varieties of socks for the men’s and women’s lines but color choices are limited. They have the highest price point on this list but when they go on sale you can get some great buys.
My main complaint is that to get your replacement socks you have to provide a proof of purchase and return it to the store you bought it from. That’s super impractical especially if you bought them online from a retailer three years ago!
Yes, they’re durable socks, but it’s too bad they make it so hard to return them.
Best Seller: Women’s Run+ Ultra Light Micro
IceBreaker’s best-selling Run+ Ultra Light is a good all-round athletic sock with plenty of top-side ventilation, 61% Merino and ultra-light cushioning.
- Rating: 3/5
- Price Range: $10-15/pair
- Strengths: Low prices, large kids line
- Weaknesses: Long-staple cotton instead of Merino wool
Bombas uses premium long and extra-long-staple cotton fibers to make tough socks and apparel. While-long staple cotton is a premium fibre, it’s not as tough as Merino and doesn’t have the same thermal and anti-microbial benefits.
This trade-off means they can offer a much more affordable sock than Feetures and Darn Tough can.
Bombas focuses mainly on casual and athletic socks. Darn Tough and Bombas are the only lifetime warranty sock brands that also offer kid’s sizes. Yup, kids are definitely hard on socks. It might be nice to have free replacements for those little rascals.
Best Seller: Bombas Original Ankle Socks
Bombas originals are constructed from premium extra-long staple cotton and feature honeycomb arch support, a seamless toe, blister protection zone, and stay-up technology.
They are a great value if you are willing to live without the benefits that Merino wool brings to the table.
Bonus: Tilley Travel Socks
As a final suggestion for durable socks, I’d have a look at Tilley’s socks.
I’m a big fan of Tilley hats and travel clothes. They make some seriously durable stuff and most of their stuff up with full lifetime warranties. For example, their travel clothes are even warranted against wear and tear!
While Tilley doesn’t have a huge lineup of socks, they do have a 3-year “all holes barred” guarantee. Definitely worth taking a look at.