A Darn Tough Menagerie: The Folktale Behind Our Animal Socks
The best stories don’t come from books, movies, or tv shows. If you ask us, the most epic tales are passed down from one generation to the next, often shared around a campfire or in the glow of a night light before bedtime.
In fact, oral storytelling is one of our oldest and most uniquely human traditions — one that has lasted through the ages. Every region and culture has them. These stories change little by little over time, with each telling, smoothing into their most essential shapes like river stones. We have memorialized one of our favorite Northfield, Vermont, folktales the only way we know how: we turned it into a series of fun socks.
Animals and Socks: A Fluffy Match
Darn Tough socks have long stood out because of their sturdy construction, 100 percent merino wool, plush cushioning, and odor-resistant properties. It’s long overdue that we shine a light on the weird and wondrous designs that are just as unique as the tech itself.
Many of our sock designs defy norms and expectations. You may ask yourself: Is that really a paddling cow? Do lemurs have good enough core strength for unicycling? And how on Earth did all these animal socks come to be? Well, have a seat, get comfortable, and let your most trusted sock team spin you a yarn to remember.
The Traveling Hedgehog
Once upon a time, long ago, all the animals of the world were visited by a nomadic hedgehog who had a knack for good storytelling. It was his mission to go around telling all the creatures of the world about a magical place he had visited on his travels. A place where the mountains are green, the streams and rivers run clear and sparkling, wildflowers and ferns grow with wild abandon, and sweet sap flows from the trees. A place called Vermont.
The hedgehog had wandered by one day and deemed it the most special place on Earth. The only thing that could have made it better was to be there with friends. And hence, his journey began to convince other animals to join him in the brave little state. And what was, according to the hedgehog, the best part of all? The Jackalope of infinite knowledge lived in the hills of Vermont, and she would help all the animals find their hearts’ deepest desire.
Cow, Bear, and Moose Paddle Out
The hedgehog crossed the Big Lake to tell Cow, Moose, and Bear about the sights he had seen. The animals were shocked and inspired to visit this mythical land. But by the time they had talked amongst themselves and agreed to go, the hedgehog was gone. They hadn’t even had a chance to ask him for directions.
Nonetheless, they decided to set out across the Big Lake. Cow hopped on a paddleboard, while moose and bear paddled the canoe. They had started off on their long and difficult journey determined to reach Vermont.
Penguin and Polar Bear Slide By
Next, the hedgehog found himself deep in snowy highlands. He trudged through the deep snow, carrying his sleeping bag all the way, until he found Penguin and Polar Bear.
The two cold-weather animals were dumbstruck when they heard the news. Vermont sounded magical, and they couldn’t wait to see it firsthand. But by the time they had packed their bags, the hedgehog was gone—even his footprints were covered in snow. He didn’t even stay long enough to point them in the right direction.
Nonetheless, Penguin and Polar Bear had their hearts set. They headed off down the mountain: Penguin in the gondola and Polar Bear whooshing by on skis.
All the snow gradually disappeared as the hedgehog reached a lower elevation. There, lying in a nice grassy valley, he found Pig. When he reached his pink friend, he wasted no time in explaining the Green Mountain State to him. Pig was astounded. He threw his head back, but before he could oink out his enthusiasm, the hedgehog was gone. He didn’t even stay long enough to give the GPS coordinates.
Nonetheless, Pig was determined. He rigged up a hot air balloon and took off for the open skies. One way or another, he was going to reach Vermont. How could he miss it from above?
Alien, Bear, and Camel Go for a Stroll
On marched the hedgehog for miles and miles, until finally he to the edge of a dark, dense forest. He slowed down to take the thin path through the woods until he came to a campfire, around which he found Alien, Bear, and Camel.
The creatures were bewildered to see a new face, and even more awestruck once they heard the news. They were immediately on board, ready to leave their dark forest in search of the Green Mountains. By the time they put the fire out, the hedgehog was nowhere to be seen…. But he had left a note! Leaning in together over the note, the three creatures read: GO NORTH. And so, north they went.
The Animals Reach Vermont
Who knows how much time passed between the hedgehog’s unexpected visit and when the animals all reached Vermont. They all had their fair share of adventures along the way. One evening, long into their journeys, they reached a hilly land with sparkling streams and sappy trees. They knew they had finally made it. Vermont!
Right away the animals noticed each other, and a moment later they saw the great Jackalope resting in a meadow of wildflowers beneath a starry sky. They raced over to greet her.
“How’d you get here so fast?” said Penguin.
“I’ve always been here,” said Jackalope. Each of the animals was stunned into silence. The Jackalope was real, they had reached the verdant place where sap flowed from the trees, and they were about to find their hearts’ true desires.
Each of the animals approached Jackalope and asked what they most needed in this earthly realm. After much deliberation, she spoke softly, giving the same answer to each creature:
“All you need is a good pair of socks.”
And there you have it: That’s the story of how our animal socks came to be. Spread the story as far and wide as you wish. Now it’s yours as much as it is ours.
- Hedgehog – Women’s Critter Club in Chestnut
- Cow – Men’s Animal Haus in Midnight
- Bear and Moose – Men’s Willoughby
- Penguin – Kids’ Skipper
- Polar Bear – Women’s Due North
- Pig – Women's Animal Haus in Morel
- Alien, Bear, Camel – Men’s ABC
- Jackalope – Women's Fable