The Twisted Yarn Story: Doubling Down for the Softest Socks

Feet wearing our softest socks, the twisted yarn ranger socks, with some crocs for extra comfort

We like to say we make the most comfortable socks out there. A lot goes into earning that claim, from the fit to the materials, and we’re always pushing to outdo that benchmark. If you’re not familiar with Darn Tough’s Twisted Yarn socks, like the Men’s and Women’s Nomad Midweight Hiking Sock, they’re blazing the trail as our softest socks yet.

We know it can be a hard to explain this level of plushness without trying the Twisted Yarn on yourself. And we don’t expect you to take our word for it on the softness factor. Here’s what folks are saying about the Nomad:

“Slipping these socks on is an amazing feeling. They are soft and comfortable, and the cushioning makes it feel like you're walking on air. Best feeling ever”. – Karen G.

There's Fine. Then There's Superfine.

How’d we up the cush in an already-cozy situation? You’d think it’d be a “One small step for a sock company, one giant leap for sock wearers” sort of mission. But honestly, we didn’t need to go to the moon for this one.

Turns out the ingredients to create the silkiest, most supple socks your feet will never want to take off were right here at the Mill. We chatted with Jenny Knapp, Darn Tough Design Manager, to sort out hows and whys behind launching our most comfy pair yet.

Closeup of feet wearing pink and purple twisted yarn socks, made of soft merino wool

The rich softness and comfortable function of socks like the Nomad start with Merino Wool, the key to making the rest of our lineup so comfortable.

By definition Merino Wool is some pretty fine stuff, and its where Darn Tough takes Twisted Yarn in a new direction. And gets a wee technical. See, Merino Wool is measured in microns: a millionth of a meter in width. For reference, a human hair is 60 microns. The “superfine” Merino Wool yarn that goes into all of our socks (except specific Hunt and Mountaineering socks) is only 17.2 microns— as supple as it gets.

“So we start with a strand of our luxurious superfine merino yarn,” says Jenny, explaining the magic of bringing it all together. “Then, we up the ante by twisting two single strands together— creating a buttery softness like no other.

It Takes Two to Make a Thing Go Right

Two pairs of feet both wearing darn tough twisted yarn socks

Whether you call it compound yarn, two-fold yarn, or two-ply yarn, Jenny says that the actual recipe is pretty straightforward. An electronic machine called a Winder spins two uniquely colored yarn strands together. The process of “Twisting” produces the nuanced color effect that offers, we think, a pretty fly heathered look.

Closeup look at the knit of one of our twisted yarn socks, showing how the socks have a heather color

And if it looks good, and feels good, you’re probably going to wear it a lot. So does having comfort on lock also include keeping your feet toasty and standing up to the sort of wear a never-gonna-take-it-off sock inspires?

Yes, that’s in the plan: “That lofty jumble of double superfine yarns traps air for remarkable warmth, especially when paired with terry loops,” says Jenny. “And the two yarns build on one another, providing greater bounce, strength, and durability.”

A Twist in Time

Just too many puns. Like “Don’t Get it Twisted.” That’s a good one, right? But we’ll try not to go there.

Suffice to say, Twisted Yarn has been around for a while, from the spindle and spinning bowl of the Iron Age (1,000­–586 BCE), to the invention of the Spinning Jenny around 1764. That’s why Jenny (the Darn Tough Jenny) wanted to understand the history of where this process came from, before looking forward to innovation.

“‘Twisted’ yarn is a classic spinning technique deeply rooted in the craft of knitting industry,” says Jenny. “Our design team studied archives, aiming to elevate a vintage aesthetic by using the superior performance of Merino Wool in the finest of microns from our collection. In the end, Twisted Yarn became the focal point for a ‘less is more’ philosophy of durable, timeless design.”

When Making It Better Is Just the Start

Was the product of that quest worth it? We think so, and if you get the chance to put on a pair, we think you’ll be hooked on the ultra-cush feel and distinct look of our Twisted Yarn socks. And there are plenty of options to get into it— from boot and micro crew height hiking socks to daily driver lifestyle socks, Twisted Yarn is making a welcome move into our lineup.

Woman drawing with chock wearing darn tough soft socks

For a designer like Jenny, bringing Twisted Yarn to life is why she does what she does every day.

“Every season we strive to reach the unreachable and make our best sock,” says Jenny. “I feel fulfilled as a designer by discovering, creating, and delivering solutions that positively impact our customers. And this time around, I’d say we’ve unlocked the full potential of Merino with the lofty softness of our Twisted Yarn.”