Staff Picks: Socks That Will Last the Next 20 Years

Darn Tough Employee Kate at the Mill holding up her favorite sock, the Run Quarter

We’ve been knitting Darn Tough Merino Wool socks for 20 years. That’s two decades of knitting the world’s best socks here in Vermont. Now, as exciting as that is, what’s even more impressive is knowing that some of those socks from that first batch we knit 20 years ago are still being worn today.

Which got us thinking… of the socks we’re knitting right now, which ones have the best chance to outlive the next 20 years? We asked our resident sock experts in Northfield to see what they think.

Marcos B.

Marcos holding up the Men's Spur, his pick for longest-lasting socks

Marcos' Pick: Men's Spur Boot

Position: Product Developer 

In Vermont we measure character by your sock choice and how many Phish shows you’ve been to. By those metrics, Marcos (70 lifetime shows) isn’t just ‘wading in the velvet sea’ of charisma – he’s its captain. And his pick for which sock he thinks will last the next 20 years just confirms it.

The Men’s Spur Boot sock – like his favorite band – is one that Marcos’ thinks will stick around for a while. Citing its timeless design and ‘do-it-all’ yarn construction, “The Spur Boot,” he says, “provides optimal leg coverage when I’m running the chainsaw, or just running around town.”

When he’s not in Northfield designing the world’s best socks, you can find Marcos shredding at Smuggs with his family or kicking back in their pop-up camper van. And even though we’re pretty sure he’s never really heard of cluster flies, we can’t exactly say we have either.

Linda W.

Linda at her work station in Northfield, holding up the Run No Show socks

Linda's Pick: Run No Show

Position: Packaging/Finishing 

Linda’s happy-go-lucky attitude is one she’s cultivated after 16 years living in Vermont. But that doesn’t mean she strays far from her roots. Originally from Connecticut, Linda, with a gargantuan smile on her face, talks proudly of her Cherokee Indian heritage. “I don’t know much about it, but I embrace it and it makes me feel whole.”

If her likeness for screaming wolf t-shirts or Native American décor isn’t enough to appease her ancestors, Linda’s sock choice is one she knows they’d approve of. “The Women’s No Show Run sock,” she says, “is one I wear for all-day comfort. I probably have 400 pairs at home.”

Now, while that might be an exaggeration, this sock’s long-lasting durability isn’t – nor is its potential to last the next 20 years. Whether she’s at the supermarket, at work, or lounging at home watching The Big Bang Theory with her Pitbull ‘Capone’ nestled snuggly in her lap, she’s always wearing her favorite sock.

Brandon C.

Brandon on the Mill floor holding the 1466 Hiker sock

Brandon's Pick: Hiker Micro Crew (1466) 

Position: Technician 

Brandon is a straight-up baller. Despite not declaring for the NBA Draft this year, he says his skills on the court translate well to his job as a knitting tech. A problem solver with a love for tinkering, Brandon’s affinity for fixing cars led him to become one of Darn Tough’s youngest certified machine technicians.

When asked which sock he believes will last the next 20 years, he wasted no time responding, “Easy… our Hiker Mirco Crew.” One of our most durable socks, Brandon believes this style – with its rib knit leg, touch of cushion, and Micro Crew height – is likely to outlast four decades of abuse in the paint, not just two.

“I could just as easily jump to catch an alley-oop in these as I could wear them to replace the motor in my 2001 Chevy,” which he did. Not only does Brandon have the mind of a hunter, but his persistence and gratitude make him a top contender for winning MVT this year – that is, Most Valuable Technician.

Danny H.

Danny showing the Mountaineering sock, sure to last another 20 years

Danny's Pick: Mountaineering Micro Crew

Position: Production Specialist

For anyone suffering from social anxiety, Danny has the solution: “Sing karaoke.” An ARMY veteran from Epping, NH, Danny might know what it takes to defend our country. But defending himself against the pressure of public speaking? That’s something he had to learn from scratch.

“For me, it’s not so much about singing as it about finding confidence in self-expression.” Boy, do we love that. By way of karaoke, Danny learned to find comfort in uncomfortable situations, “kind of like our socks do for people every day,” he says.

The sock he envisions lasting the next 20 years, Danny assured us, is none other than our Mountaineering Micro Crew. Insanely warm and comfortable, the combination of Nylon and Spandex, he explains, “is superb and a surefire mixture that’s guaranteed to stand the test of time.”

And for those wondering, yes, his go-to karaoke song is (like the rest of ours) ‘I Want It That Way’ by the Backstreet Boys.

Kris M.

Kris in the finishing area holding up the Steely Micro Crew

Kris's Pick: Steely Micro Crew

Position: Manager 2nd Shift 

Kris is the true definition of a family man. Having moved to Vermont to take care of his ailing grandmother, Kris now heads up second shift at Nantanna – where family rules. His job title might be Manager, but ask Kris, and he’ll tell you he aspires to be more of a mentor.

Growing up in a blue-collar household where tiling was the family business, he was encouraged from a young age to wear sturdy, steel-toed boots – hence his pick for which sock he thinks will last the next 20 years. “Our Steely Micro Crew,” he says, “is tough on the outside but soft where it counts.”

A brand-new height for the Steely, Kris spoke to this sock’s secret sauce like a true marketing professional… “It’s like sleeping bags for your toes. It’s the best sock for construction workers and one that will likely last for decades.”

With our last question, we asked Kris what advice he’d give to his younger self: “Don’t be competitive, be collaborative. Tap into the love the bounds us,” Kris expounds, “and always prioritize heart count over head count.”

Kate C.

Darn Tough Employee Kate at the Mill holding up her favorite sock, the Run Quarter

Kate's Pick: Run Quarter

Position: Product Development Manager

If there’s one thing our Product team knows better than anyone… it’s socks. So, when Kate says she admires our Ultra-Lightweight Run socks for their superior blend of materials, updated tech, and ventilated mesh panels, we know her word is good for it.

As she trains for an upcoming run-cation (as in run vacation) to the Valais Region of Switzerland, Kate tells us she’ll have her trusty Run sock in heavy rotation as she takes on the mountainous countryside. “It’s a versatile sock that’s simple yet elegantly designed, and one that will surely last for years to come.”

A mother of two, Kate enjoys spending time with her family, taking trips, and speed-puzzling – i.e. solving jigsaw puzzles for time. With her team of four, highly competitive ladies, speed-puzzling lets Kate’s creativity run wild in a friendly way that avoids injury, “which for parents my age is the key to longevity.”