Why are some socks expensive? Are expensive socks worth it? These are legit questions with prices going up, whether it’s looking for a used car or just grocery shopping at the supermarket. So if a multi-pack of cotton socks costs the same as a single pair of Darn Tough Vermont Merino Wool socks, why not just go the less expensive route?
Our answer will sound familiar: you get what you pay for. We’ll let the folks that wear our socks tell the tale:
“I can't afford to buy cheap socks anymore,” explains Darn Tough customer Beth B. “It's actually cheaper to spend $25-$30 per pair of Darn Tough socks than it is to spend that much for 6 pairs, and have them wear out in 3 months.”
Ultimately, the value of a higher price tag is up to you determine. We’re just here to help you put your best foot forward. From our legendary durability, to taking care of the employees we call our family, to designs and comfort that suits all needs, we’re going to break down why we charge what we do for our socks. And take a look at if all socks in this price range are worth it.
Why Are Darn Tough Socks Priced the Way They Are?
Darn Tough was founded on a simple mission: to make the world’s best socks, right here in Vermont. It’s a constantly evolving standard that we hold ourselves accountable to with our Unconditional Lifetime Guarantee. You could say we’re in the “premium socks” market, but we like to say we’re in the “best darn socks ever” market. Here’s how that plays out.
Using a natural fiber like Merino Wool can increase prices compared to a sock made of cotton or synthetic materials. We choose Merino Wool for its unrivaled performance, comfort, and durability.
To meet our quality standards, we only use the best Merino Wool, sourced from Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) suppliers as often as possible. This dedication to the best inputs possible applies to all the materials we use. Higher quality materials ensure proper treatment of the animals, people, and the land— and it’s the critical first step in producing the highest-caliber results.
Quality at Every Step of the Process
Making socks that last a lifetime is our thing. To get there, we employ a team that is dedicated to ensuring our quality standard at every step of the sock production process. From assessing raw materials, to durability testing, and quality checks along the way, this is how we hold ourselves accountable for socks you can count on for years, not months.
We’re not making cheap socks, we’re making high quality socks. It helps that it all happens right here in Vermont, USA.
Still Made in Vermont, USA
Our socks have been made in the USA since the early days at Northfield, over 40 years ago. Darn Tough started in 2004, at a time when outsourcing manufacturing looked like the only way to stay competitive. Instead, we stayed rooted in Vermont — remaining true to the people who built the business, keeping ownership of the process, and making a product we can all stand by.
Keeping jobs in the US, and turning out the only sock that’s Unconditionally Guaranteed for Life? That’s worth the extra investment, we think.
Unconditionally Guaranteed for Life
If you’re still wondering “why buy socks that are so expensive?,” doing the math on different types of socks reveals that that paying less now isn’t the end of the story. A six pack of cheap socks will only last so long. Then you’ve got to buy another set, and another.
Compare that to a pair of Darn Tough socks that are Unconditionally Guaranteed for Life. If they wear out, we’ll replace them. No questions asked. Our socks may cost more upfront, but we’re pretty sure the numbers will add up in the long run.
Are Darn Tough socks worth it? We start by using the highest quality materials. The rest of the value comes from putting it all together. From higher-density knitting, to a seamless toe, and performance fit, we’re taking the best that Merino Wool can offer and create a sock built for uncompromising comfort, durability, and fit.
Ankle socks and socks with less cushioning use less material. Makes sense that the cost of our socks varies accordingly, right?
But are running socks worth it? Are hiking socks worth it? Ask folks who’ve just caught their breath after a marathon, or maybe their daily laps, or anyone taking a break on a thru hike. Our construction is dictated by the most demanding conditions, so you can get out there with confidence.
Even though all our socks are Guaranteed for Life and ridiculously comfortable, we think that if they feel good, they should look good too. No need tally this up in your cost-benefit-analysis — it’s a simple as believing that socks should be fun. Enter rocket ship outhouses, intricate floral socks, and a dancing panda.
We’ve supported the Vermont Foodbank’s efforts to end hunger here in our home state and beyond since 2017. In 2022 we launched the Knit to Give series of socks, whose proceeds go directly to the VTFB.
Our giving goes beyond fighting food insecurity. Through volunteer hours and donations, we support schools and youth services, marginalized communities, trail conservation, all-abilities outdoors access, and more. Do we need to put a price on that?
Does Cost Always Equal Quality?
We’ve just spent a good amount of your scrolling time explaining why our socks cost what they do. And if you get what you pay for when you buy Darn Tough, then the question isn’t so much “are expensive socks worth it?” It’d be more accurate to ask, are all premium socks worth it?
We get the phenomenon of seeing a higher price and immediately thinking that it must be higher quality. But if you dig deeper, some of these “luxury socks” or intensely-branded socks show their true colors after months of wear. Beneath the hype, there’s just hype.
It’s worth checking to see if the price is backed up by performance, durability, and comfort. An Unconditional Lifetime Guarantee doesn’t hurt, but now we’re just repeating ourselves.
So When Should You Buy More Expensive Socks?
We can’t, and wouldn’t, tell you when to drop in and invest in a premium pair of socks. There could be a specific activity, like a big hike coming up, or making good on that promise to not have cold feet again this ski season.
But what about every day wear? If you’re done buying, and then tossing, pair after pair of socks, we think that’s reason enough. There’s a lot to be said for buying less stuff and having it last longer — better for the planet, better for people, and probably better for your wallet, too.
Again, the folks that wear Darn Tough tell it best:
“These socks can't be beat in comfort, and then you add the lifetime warranty! Definitely worth the investment,” says Frank G.
“I was initially reluctant to spend more than $20 for a pair of work socks, but these appear to be worth it. The style is sharp, they are super comfortable, they stay up on the calf through the day, and knowing there's a lifetime warranty, I don't worry if there is ever a hole, which seems unlikely anyway. These socks are not cheap, but I think I got what I paid for — in a good way,” says Mitchell W.
“Darn Tough excels in both durability and comfort, surpassing other sock brands I've tried. The high-quality materials and craftsmanship are apparent, ensuring longevity. While they may come with a slightly higher price tag, the value they offer makes them a worthwhile investment,” says Chani C.
What Every Sock Should Be, Regardless of Price
Here’s our bottom line for what any pair of socks should deliver. It’s our checklist of what to keep in mind for what you put on your feet, whatever the cost:
- Quality sustainable materials that are durable, high performance, and comfortable
- Correct fit that stays put comfortably without bunching or slouching
- Designed for the intended activity — be it hiking, running, or couch potato munching
- Made in the USA, with care and integrity
Checked the boxes and ready to jump in? We’ve got different types of socks for all activities, in all sorts of levels of cushioning, in all sorts of colors, patterns, and solids. Head on over to our Sock Finder to get started and find your perfect pair.