To Cushion or Not Too Cushioned: A Sock Cushioning Debate

Two runners, one wearing cushioned socks and one wearing socks with no cushion

We like to think of ourselves as one big sock-wearing family. But like any family, we have our disagreements. Right now, there are a couple internal beefs here at Darn Tough. First, is pineapple on pizza acceptable? And most pressing: are you #TeamCushion or #TeamNoCushion?

In this post we’ll break down what sock cushion is, why it’s helpful, the types of cushioning options we offer, and give some examples of different activities where you’d maybe want to go with Cushion or No Cushion. Meanwhile, the pizza question will require further testing.

Cushion We Be Pushin'

Socks with cushion provide added protection for high impact areas, a bit of shock absorption, and extra warmth and comfort. The cushion comes from knit terry loops, which are created by pulling the thread and making a loop between every stitch.

Sock flipped inside out to show Terry loops

At Darn Tough, we offer three different cushioning levels: No Cushion, Cushion, and Full Cushion.

Examples of darn tough no cushion socks, cushion socks, and full cushion socks

  • No Cushion socks are thinner and have exactly that—no cushion.
  • Cushion socks have padding along the bottom of the foot and in high wear areas, like the heels and toes.
  • Full Cushion socks have cushioning throughout the entire sock, including the ankle, over the top of the foot, and up into the leg.

Reasons to be #TeamCushion

Woman wearing the nomad full cushion socks for hiking

Boasting more softness and comfort, Cushion and Full Cushion socks are thicker and wick moisture, helping to prevent blisters. They also give a plush buffer to hiking boots, work boots, and snowboard boots. You can find Cushion and Full Cushion socks in most of our line, including Hiking, Running, Athletic, Lifestyle, Work, Ski and Snowboard, and Hunting socks.

Here’s a list of activities where you may want Cushion and Full Cushion socks:

  • Long days in work boots
  • Going on a day hike
  • Backpacking the Long Trail
  • As an indoor replacement to slippers
  • When you have to wear uncomfortable shoes
  • For a little more rebound on a run
  • Shredding pow (or ice) on a snowboard

Reasons to be #TeamNoCushion

Woman pulling on loafers over no cushion socks from darn tough

No Cushion socks give you a standard feel for everyday activities and the lowest profile for things like training and running. You can find a good selection of No Cushion socks in our Athletic, Running, Lifestyle, and Ski socks.

Here’s a list of activities where you might want No Cushion socks:

  • Going on a spandexed (or non-spandexed) bike ride
  • Getting your sweat on at the gym
  • A spirited game of croquet
  • Looking cool at a brewery
  • Normal life back in the office
  • Ordering a fancy coffee drink
  • Playing 9-18 holes of frolf
  • Ripping on some skis

Your Cushion Adventure Awaits

Choosing between Cushion and No Cushion can be hard, but fortunately it doesn’t have to be. With plenty of cushion options in the line for whatever activity you’re into—with some socks coming in multiple cushion options—there’s a cushion level for you. From hiking and skiing to running and daily life, feel free to choose your own cushion adventure.

<Two runners, one wearing padded socks and one wearing socks with no cushion

What we discovered from our extensive research and internal polling is personal preference rules everything around us. Some people are diehard Cushion fans, others stick with No Cushion, while a good chunk choose to play both fields depending on the day, activity, or how their feet are feeling.

So, whether you’re #TeamCushion, #TeamNoCushion, or #TeamSometimesCushion, there’s no wrong answer. Oh weird, we might have just answered our pizza question, too.


More Stuff