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Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew Review

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
darn tough light hiker micro crew hiking socks review
Credit: Darn Tough
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $23 List | $23.00 at REI
Pros:  Highly breathable, comfortable, well-fitted, no itch, excellent wicking power, quick to dry, great cushion
Cons:  Slippery fabric, shorter length, not super warm
Manufacturer:   Darn Tough
By Amber King and Jon Oleson  ⋅  Oct 20, 2022
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74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 14
  • Comfort - 25% 9.0
  • Wicking and Breathability - 25% 9.0
  • Warmth - 20% 3.0
  • Durability - 20% 7.0
  • Drying Speed - 10% 9.0

Our Verdict

The Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew is one of the best-selling socks on the market, and for good reason. It offers a super breathable and thin construction throughout and durable cushioning to keep your feet comfortable over many miles. It has a higher proportion of nylon to Merino wool which provides awesome wicking power to keep your feet dry throughout the day. The only drawback we found is that, being a crew cut, this sock doesn't work well with higher-top hiking boots. Aside from that, this is our favorite lightweight model, ideal for hot weather and long thru-hikes.

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Price $23 List
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Highly breathable, comfortable, well-fitted, no itch, excellent wicking power, quick to dry, great cushionDurable, comfortable, wide temperature regulation, versatile, fittedLightweight, breathable, superior cushionHigh wool count, durable, compression fittingGreat value, nice cushioning, soft on the skin, good thermoregulation, unique ventilation stitching
Cons Slippery fabric, shorter length, not super warmNot ideal for hot temperaturesCushion on instep may cause rubbing on the top of footNot super breathable, toe stitch can be felt when wearingLess wool content, deforms when wet, lacks stand alone warmth
Bottom Line 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 tropicsAn all-time favorite meant for long days on the trail in cooler seasonsA lightweight, breathable hiking sock with a midweight cushion and some interesting design featuresThese are a great cold weather hiking sock that will endure the miles and still offer warmth in your sleeping bag each nightThese Merino blend hikers come in a value pack with 3 pairs, giving you more mileage for your money than pricier options
Rating Categories Darn Tough Light Hi... Darn Tough Hiker Fu... Farm to Feet Damasc... REI Co-op Merino Wo... Danish Endurance Un...
Comfort (25%)
9.0
8.0
6.0
7.0
7.0
Wicking and Breathability (25%)
9.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
9.0
Warmth (20%)
3.0
8.0
6.0
9.0
5.0
Durability (20%)
7.0
10.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
Drying Speed (10%)
9.0
4.0
9.0
3.0
7.0
Specs Darn Tough Light Hi... Darn Tough Hiker Fu... Farm to Feet Damasc... REI Co-op Merino Wo... Danish Endurance Un...
Material 54% nylon, 43% Merino wool, 3% Lycra spandex 66% Merino wool, 32% nylon, 2% Lycra spandex 52% Merino wool, 44% nylon, 4% Lycra spandex 79% RWS Merino wool, 20% nylon, 1% Lycra spandex 30% Merino wool, 36% nylon, 33% acrylic, 1% elastane
Sock Thickness Lightweight Midweight Lightweight Heavyweight Midweight
Tested Length Lower calf High calf Mid-calf Mid-calf Mid-calf
Time to Dry 100 min 180 min 120 min 200 min 140 min

Our Analysis and Test Results

The newest version of this sock saw some changes to make it more breathable. The lightweight nylon-dominant blend offers superior breathability due to thinner fabric and a breathable panel that spans nearly the entire instep. Underfoot cushioning extends to the Achilles, and the sleek, durable design should have no problem lasting through many adventures. Overall, we're impressed with the updates to this sock — it's a lot lighter and more breathable than previous versions.

Performance Comparison


darn tough light hiker micro crew hiking socks review - the darn tough lite hiker is rarin' and ready to go with you on your...
The Darn Tough Lite Hiker is rarin' and ready to go with you on your next warm weather adventure.
Credit: Jon Oleson

Comfort


For a lightweight sock, the Light Hiker is pretty darn comfortable and well-fitted. It's excellent for long adventures in the mountains, deserts, and everywhere in between. It offers cushioning throughout the length of the foot and covers the Achilles. These features will keep your feet comfy while thru-hiking, day hiking, or running. And the tough construction will keep your lower shins safe while bushwhacking.


These socks helped our feet feel fresh and ready for adventures, even the day after running or hiking over rocky or technical terrain. The material on the top of the Light Hiker is light and thin, allowing ample airflow and breathability. Both our male and female testers felt the fit was true to size — the seamless construction makes for an excellent fit and level of comfort. The 54% nylon, 43% Merino wool, and 3% Lycra spandex blend keep the sock from stretching out — it maintains its shape even when wet.

darn tough light hiker micro crew hiking socks review - the darn tough light hiker provides plenty of cushioning to...
The Darn Tough Light Hiker provides plenty of cushioning to comfortably carry heavy loads over miles.
Credit: Jon Oleson

Wicking and Breathability


This sock is very breathable with excellent wicking capabilities. We recommend it for cool to warm weather or high-intensity activities like trail running or backpacking. The nylon-Merino blend grabs moisture and transfers it away from the foot. The thinner fabric provides ventilation all around, and the cushioning doesn't absorb much moisture. If it does, it'll dry quickly.


We wore this sock while running in the springtime and hiking over snow-covered trails. Our shoes weren't completely waterproof, so we noticed our feet getting damp. After leaving the snowbanks, within 20 minutes, our socks had dried out. Impressive. We also tested this sock while cross-country skiing in low-cut boots, and it offered the same performance. We then tested this sock in the desert during a backpacking trip. While temperatures got up to 90°F, our feet stayed nice and dry. We never got a blister or felt like our feet were too hot. This is a huge improvement on the previous iteration of this sock which used to hold moisture underfoot. The Light Hiker will tackle a wide range of temperatures and conditions. If you're going to be standing around in cold temperatures, however, you'll want a warmer sock.

darn tough light hiker micro crew hiking socks review - the darn tough light hiker makes an excellent trail running sock due...
The Darn Tough Light Hiker makes an excellent trail running sock due to its ample cushioning and superior breathability.
Credit: Jon Oleson

Warmth


This hiking sock offers sufficient warmth on the trail through the fall, summer, and spring. It will keep your feet happy during the hottest days or cooler nights during the shoulder seasons. However, given the shorter length and lightweight design, it isn't suitable for the colder months if you plan on winter camping or standing around. That said, it will perform if you stay in motion. For example, we tested it while cross-country skiing in a storm, and it kept our feet nice and dry and, thus, warm.


We also took the Light Hiker on a backpacking trip in the mountains where temperatures dipped below 30°F at night. We wore only these socks and other appropriate layers for the experience. While the rest of our body felt sufficiently warm, our feet were cold. To reiterate, this isn't our first choice for sitting or sleeping in cold conditions due to its thin nature. However, if you'll be running or moving quickly in cold weather, this is one we'd choose. Just also bring your thick, cozy socks to wear in camp afterward.

darn tough light hiker micro crew hiking socks review - amber feeling a bit cold this morning with temps in the 30s. these...
Amber feeling a bit cold this morning with temps in the 30s. These socks aren't the best for warmth.
Credit: Amber King

Durability


The Light Hiker is burly and tenacious and also backed by the Darn Tough Guarantee. After a month of hard testing and roughly 50 trail miles, this sock has held up well. While there was pilling on the sock after a few washes, we haven't noticed any other durability issues. The previous iteration we owned for over five years, and it keeps performing as well. Time will tell with this newer version, but we imagine it'll perform similarly, especially with the integration of more nylon which will most likely increase its durability.


This is one of the best lightweight wool-blend options when it comes to durability. If you happen to get a hole in the sock, Darn Tough will send you a new pair without question for the entire life of the sock. While it's lightweight, the Light Hiker is also durable and well constructed.

darn tough light hiker micro crew hiking socks review - after miles and days on the trail and all of our durability tests...
After miles and days on the trail and all of our durability tests, the Darn Tough Light Hiker has held up to any warm weather challenge we've thrown its way. Even if we did somehow wear a hole in these bomber socks, we rest comfortably knowing that they're backed by an amazing lifetime guarantee.
Credit: Jon Oleson

Drying Speed


Thanks to its lightweight construct, the Light Hiker will dry out on the trail. The tightly packed wool fibers offer sufficient breathability and drying speed — especially on the move. In our dryer tests, it proved to be the best of class and hardly held moisture. Once again, this is why this lightweight contender wins one of our prestigious awards.


The newest design of this sock is incredible at wicking, breathing, and drying out. We found ourselves hiking and cross-country skiing in the snow in several scenarios this past spring, and while the sock did get wet, it typically dried within 20 minutes of reaching drier conditions.

darn tough light hiker micro crew hiking socks review - the light hiker micro crew is snug, durable, and breathes well due...
The Light Hiker Micro Crew is snug, durable, and breathes well due to the stitch design on the instep.
Credit: Jon Oleson

Should you buy the Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew?


The Light Hiker Micro Crew is a light and highly breathable Merino wool sock that'll keep your feet dry on the trail. Its thin and durable construction makes it usable in all seasons, but its level of warmth is limited to only active sports in the winter. On the plus side, it was the quickest to dry in our testing. If you're seeking a sock that'll keep your feet dry and cool in the summer, will hold up for miles, and comes with an unbeatable guarantee, this one is well worth the investment.

darn tough light hiker micro crew hiking socks review - this sock is our favorite for running, hiking, and backpacking. it's...
This sock is our favorite for running, hiking, and backpacking. It's suitable for warm to hot weather and can be worn in a low hiking boot or shoe. Enjoy its excellent performance throughout the year. Just know it's designed for those that like to stay on the move.
Credit: Amber King

What Other Hiking Socks Should You Consider?


The one drawback of this outstanding sock is that the cut is too low to comfortably wear with boots. If you're looking for a boot-capable light sock with good cushioning that will go the miles and stand up to wear, take a look at the high-value Danish Endurance Unisex Merino 3-Pack. A runner-up in our testing, the Farm to Feet Damascus Lightweight Crew, would also be a decent choice for a light, breathable sock with excellent cushion. However, we wouldn't pair the Farm to Feet socks with tight boots. One of our testers found that the unique cushioning on the top can rub and cause blistering. If you want to stick with the Darn Tough family, our favorite sock from them (albeit a bit thicker) is the Darn Tough Hiker Full Cushion.

darn tough light hiker micro crew hiking socks review - darn tough has gone the extra mile to craft a lightweight sock that...
Darn Tough has gone the extra mile to craft a lightweight sock that will outperform any other and keep your feet happy over the miles and days.
Credit: Jon Oleson

Amber King and Jon Oleson
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