Darn Tough Hiker Full Cushion Review
Cons: Not ideal for hot temperatures
Manufacturer: Darn Tough
Compare to Similar Products
Darn Tough Hiker Full Cushion
$28.00 at REI
Check Price at REI
$23.00 at REI
$31.95 at Amazon
$16.01 at Amazon
|Pros||Durable, comfortable, wide temperature regulation, versatile, fitted||Comfortable, plush, high wool content, built for freezing temps||Highly breathable, comfortable, well-fitted, no itch, excellent wicking power, quick to dry, great cushion||Great value, nice cushioning, soft on the skin, good thermoregulation, unique ventilation stitching||Quick to dry, accommodates a liner, comfortable cushioning|
|Cons||Not ideal for hot temperatures||Slow to dry, too warm for summer hiking||Slippery fabric, shorter length, not super warm||Less wool content, deforms when wet, lacks stand alone warmth||Loose fit, lacks compression paneling, loses wicking capabilities in cold weather|
|Bottom Line||An all-time favorite meant for long days on the trail in cooler seasons||This is a plush mountaineering sock built to keep your feet warm and dry in the coldest conditions||This lightweight sock is comfortable, breathable and will keep your feet happy in the heat whether you're under the desert sun or tromping through the tropics||These Merino blend hikers come in a value pack with 3 pairs, giving you more mileage for your money than pricier options||A synthetic full-length sock with decent durability and a drying speed that excels in wet weather|
|Rating Categories||Darn Tough Hiker Fu...||Smartwool Classic M...||Darn Tough Light Hi...||Danish Endurance Un...||Wigwam Hiking Outdo...|
|Wicking and Breathability (25%)|
|Drying Speed (10%)|
|Specs||Darn Tough Hiker Fu...||Smartwool Classic M...||Darn Tough Light Hi...||Danish Endurance Un...||Wigwam Hiking Outdo...|
|Material||66% Merino wool, 32% nylon, 2% Lycra spandex||74% Merino wool, 17% recycled nylon, 8% nylon, 1% elastane||54% nylon, 43% Merino wool, 3% Lycra spandex||30% Merino wool, 36% nylon, 33% acrylic, 1% elastane||40% Olefin, 36% X2O acrylic, 20% stretch nylon, 4% spandex|
|Tested Length||High calf||Upper calf||Lower calf||Mid-calf||Lower calf|
|Time to Dry||180 min||200 min||100 min||140 min||160 min|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Darn Tough Hiker Full Cushion is our favorite hiking sock. This full-length Merino-blend hiker is best for adventuring during the fall, spring, and winter months in cold to warm temperatures. Its performance can be pushed to all types of weather conditions, from cold and wet to sunny and dry. Be sure to check out the different sizing options for both men and women.
This sock is comfortable and meant for all-day wear. It is constructed of 66% Merino wool, 32% nylon, and 2% lycra spandex to provide excellent cushioning underfoot with a streamlined fit.
Putting this sock on is like slipping your foot into a soft, breathable blanket. The Merino wool blend is soft to the touch, while the spandex and lycra keep it from slipping down while adventuring. The compression paneling concentrated around the arch of the foot and the ankle provides additional support while keeping the sock snug on the trail. We love the length that easily accommodates a hiking boot — it's a perfect sock for everything from day hikes to long thru-trails. Overall, the Hiker Full Cushion is super cozy, though there are plusher options out there if that's what you're looking for.
Wicking and Breathability
Featuring a fine gauge Merino wool blend, this sock wicks and breathes quite well. Our testers took it running, backpacking, and hiking, where it excelled in warm to cool weather conditions. The Full Cushion also kept our feet surprisingly dry after a long, hot day of farm work in boots. The fitted design wicks moisture away from the skin and pushes it to the outside of the fabric, keeping the skin dry. We also noticed that water beads on the fabric (not immediately absorbing), illustrating the excellent wicking capabilities. This makes this sock an ideal three-season option, best for fall, spring, and winter, especially where moisture is present.
Even though it is thick, this is the most breathable of all the thicker socks we tested. It is ideal for running on cold winter mornings, keeping feet dry even with high-intensity activity. That said, there is a limit to what it can do. Given its high boot height, it's not recommended for wear on super hot days.
Boasting excellent insulation, the Full Cushion is warm and does well in most weather conditions. The blend of materials does a great job of insulating feet when wet and dry. We appreciate a tall sock that provides additional warmth on cold days. In our testing, we observed that this contender kept our feet warm in temperatures in the low 20s (Fahrenheit) while hiking and standing around.
When splitboarding in Alaska, we could wear this sock all day. We would hike and ski, make dinner, then go to bed. Even though changing your socks in these cold temperatures is recommended, we didn't need to. The material insulated well and kept our feet warm all night, even when the temps dipped below freezing.
Like the name infers, this sock is true to being "Darn Tough ."Like all other socks from this company, it scores high in this category. The high-density Merino wool construction provides durability that should last you years. In our testing, we put it through the wringer. We wore it while trekking through varying microclimates of the high Peruvian Andes for a month. We took it splitboarding in the Central Alaska mountain range for a week. We also went backpacking through the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.
Over the last few years, we've logged upwards of 200 miles in this sock, including hard hiking, running, and snowboarding. In the end, we only noticed some pilling around the heel and midfoot. For a hiking sock, this is truly impressive. What's more, is that the Full Cushion comes with a lifetime warranty — like all Darn Tough products. This means that if you get a hole in the material, you can send your socks back for a brand new pair. You read that right. That said, if it's served you well and you like Darn Tough, do them a solid and just buy another pair to support a company that makes exceptional products.
We are impressed with how well this sock did in our updated drying test. It absorbed only 114% of its weight in water, the least of any other sock in our review. When drying on the line, it dried nearly as fast as some of the lightweight and medium-weight contenders. In the field, we noticed that the fabric does a pretty good job of drying out through the sock's length. However, due to more cushioning, the sole of the sock can get swampy if not properly ventilated with the right footwear. Aside from that, we'd say that the Full Cushion offers a great rate of drying, standing up to the test for wet climates and weather.
While the Full Cushion is suitable for cold wintry applications, it has one advantage over other cold weather socks — it's composed of a higher percentage of synthetic fabrics. Synthetic fabrics dry more quickly than wool, and we see that with the drying rate of this sock.
Should You Buy the Darn Tough Hiker Full Cushion?
This is a great sock to have in your drawer. It will provide plenty of warmth for cold weather pursuits, and it's best in class for wicking and breathability. It also has enough cushion to stand up to the longest of days on the trail. It's hard to find an ill-suited adventure for this champion. On top of all that, it has a lifetime guarantee that we have claimed and verified. Whether you're looking for a sock that will keep your foot comfortable over miles and days backpacking, warm and sweat free while you tackle the slopes, or simply comfortable on your next hike, this sock can't come more highly recommended.
What Other Hiking Socks Should You Consider?
The Darn Tough Hiker Full Cushion sock is our favorite sock overall, and it does a superb job of tackling almost any condition. However, if you're packing your axe to tackle a winter peak, you might want to grab our top choice for cold weather, the Smartwool Classic Mountaineer Maximum Cushion. And, while The Darn Tough Full Cushion would be good to have on cold desert nights, long hot days on sandy trails may be more comfortable with our favorite lightweight hiking sock, the Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew. Better yet, pack all three, and you'll literally be prepared for any occasion.
— Amber King and Jon Oleson
Ad-free. Influence-free. Powered by Testing.
GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.Learn More