The premise for this test was ridiculous.
It was formulated accidentally a few years ago when Darn Tough first started knitting casual no shows – or Hiddens, as we call them. Unlike our Running sock no shows, or even Hiking sock no shows, the Lifestyle versions are true no shows that are not intended to be seen in common everyday sneakers or shoes.
You know, the kind of sock you expect to be jammed up in the arch of your foot by the time you’ve walked out to your car.
When we started knitting these a few years ago (first available in 2018) the pressure was on, and you can take that statement literally. The original styles used a sewn elastic binding over the top of the foot, and it worked. Almost too well (hence our little pressure pun).
Even those with a real middle-of-the road foot measurement would experience a small divot on top of their feet – the kind that itches a little afterward. By no means the end of the world, and for some it was quite bearable, maybe even the expectation for no slip no show socks.
That binding is gone now, but it did work. The “accidental” forming of the no slip test came after those socks were used to mow a lawn sometime during the Summer of 2018. Sitting on a deck admiring what no longer needed to be done, shoes were kicked off, and we realized the no shows hadn’t budged. There’s more to it, and we’ll get to that in a minute.
Updates to Our No Show Socks
Before we get too far into the test, we should mention updates we've made since that original test.
The elastic binding was replaced with a seamless knit you barely feel. The “vamp” of the sock was lowered, so it’s even more (or is it less?) of a no show.
Men’s styles have a single “hidden” height, while Women’s have a “hidden” and even lower “invisible” for flats and related footwear. A silicone-free gripper was added in the heel cup as well. That had been talked about for years, and we pulled the trigger.
For this test, it was a Men’s No Show Hidden, in Space Gray (space dye yarn is an entirely different subject) in a size Large. The feet used were attached to a man who wears a size 10 in practically everything. For no real reason, they were washed and dried with a load of laundry prior.
New Socks, Same Test... Plus.
The initial idea was to simply wear the updated no show socks while mowing the same lawn, but as that time approached it seemed kind of ridiculous – like proving you can play football with a basketball. You can, but why?
Also, these socks would surely fail this time around. They had to. The lawn is terrible. The entire yard rests on a hill with a 15-30 degree pitch. Great in the winter for sledding (pow surfing, if your xxxtreme) but just awful if you want to mow it.
Still, we’re not there yet. First, we figured we’d give them the ol’ Darn Tough try – wearing the same sock for multiple days.
Anyone not familiar with wearing our Merino Wool socks, with what we consider the world’s best comfort, durability and fit, should know before reading that we 100 percent see socks as something that can be worn multiple days in a row.
The Merino part will take care of the possible stink, but our selection of materials and knitting techniques keep socks from becoming droopers. Multiple days are a standard, but even then, we had some doubts, as the universe fails to believe there can be no show socks that don’t slip down. Off we went.
The Week Wear Test
Monday-Saturday was the plan. The week was mellow with typical work schedule. Office job with more-often-than-not orbits of the Mill – the flight of a social butterfly.
The first couple days the footwear was a pair of Vans. The beefier type vs. the canvas-like boat shoe.
First thing we noticed was feeling the heel of the sock when it entered the shoe – feeling it on your foot. The sensation subsided quickly, but it just seemed like you knew where the sock was on your heel, with the impression that feeling would increase once it started to slip. Which it didn’t.
By the end of the day, the sock held position from 7 a.m. to about 7 p.m., and didn’t even dip when the shoes were kicked off that night.
This was the story for two days. Same socks, same shoes, same behavior. No issues.
Day 3 the element of Crocs were introduced. Typical style, new enough that the little bumps on the footbed are still there. There was a belief those would surely bring the sock down. They did not.
A walk to a coffee shop – maybe a half mile away – was also predicted as a fail point, and the socks did not.
Worth noting that the Crocs were never put into 4x4/action mode, but this author does not engage in random acts of aggressive movement. It’s fair to note, the heel straps were not used though. Not avoided, just not used.
Halfway through the week, still not washed (or dried) and not a single issue. We can honestly say we were not being gentle. Not going to claim we were going out of our way either; we were letting life unfold.
On the fourth day we faced another curious challenge. This day was a work from someone else’s home day. Hardwood floors, rugs, couches, a lot of sitting on a foot, which is terrible for your back, but sometimes irresistible.
Nothing. Not a single issue. Socks stayed put, were never adjusted … nearly positive about that. Might have touched them once while explaining to the homeowner why we were choosing to wear the socks in a situation they are rarely worn. Honestly cannot remember that small detail.
The Lawn Mowing Test
Back to the sneaks on Friday, and Saturday morning started in Crocs, before pulling the mower out of the garage.
Now we’re at the lawn, and we’re going to say, this ultimately was wildly anti-climactic. Prior to a week’s wear, the lawnmowing was seen as the ultimate test. The angle of the yard is too steep to mow up and down. It can be done, but … like the football with a basketball … why?
The effort is a 2 mile walk with push mower. Self-propelled is too bulky and heavy. The form used is a study of physics and balance. The person is best suited to walk a parallel line, behind (obviously) but just below the mower.
Cleats are used to avoid constant slipping, and the pressure inside the cleats on downhill foot will result in blowout after about 3-4 seasons. It was that kind of movement, off balance pressure, that was hypothesized as the point of failure.
Until we put the cleats on.
Having worn the sock for a week through relatively casual activities, enough of a relationship had formed that as the cleats were slipped on, we immediately knew it would not be a problem. The snug fit, the tight lacing … you could feel the socks were not going to be a problem, and they weren’t.
A couple hours later, the 2018 scene was repeated – admiration was shared.
The No Show Socks That Never Slipped
Washed and back in the drawer to enter the rotation, these socks have since made a few behind-the-scenes appearances. For what it’s worth, each of those have been two-day stints. They have not slipped.
We’re sure there’s a test where they will, but at some point if someone is telling us they dipped while crushing The Long Trail, we might point out that we knit socks that are kind of best for that.
But hey, knock yourself out, we’d love to hear it.