The All American Sock

Darn Tough accomplishes the American Dream, one sock at a time

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Price: $23

Sizes: Small to XXL

Materials: 60 percent merino wool, 36 percent nylon, 4 percent Lycra spandex.

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In 1978, Marc Cabot bought a hosiery mill in Northfield, Vermont, to make socks. And for many years, he supplied big name retailers, the kind you see at shopping malls across America, with socks knitted at the mill.

Operations were going just fine for several decades until big business shipped sock manufacturing overseas, which skewed the competition and left the Cabot Hoisery Mill in a rough spot. By then, Marc’s son, Ric, had taken over operations. Facing debt and near bankruptcy, Ric shifted gears. His new plan: Make even better socks for a niche market and guarantee them for life. As he told IndustryWeek.com in March 2015, “We had to make the best sock in the world.”

Enter Darn Tough Socks, headquartered at the last remaining sock mill in New England and making durable socks for the outdoor world since the company rebranded in 2004.

Skiers should look for the seamless Vertical sock. Darn Tough applies more knit stitches per square inch for durability and cushioning, without adding weight or bulk. The ski socks fit snugly around the foot with form-fitting toe boxes, heel pockets, and elastic in the arch. The calf is slim-fitting with a ribbed knit, but it’s not circulation-cutting tight, so you won’t find compression marks on your skin at the end of the day. The Vertical socks are also made with merino wool to keep your tootsies warm and smelling semi-fresh. Natural antimicrobial properties and decent stretch mean you can wear these socks for multiple days without washing, an essential when you’re on the road.

Wearing a Darn Tough sock means supporting an American dream. The socks are hung on shelves in outdoor shops across the country and they’re developing a cult-like following with people who swear by a hearty sock. (Never fear foot slippage in a ski boot again.) We’ll take the blue star-spangled and red-striped pair.

Skiing Hot: Darn Tough socks are guaranteed for life, as in return your pair with holes to the factory and they’ll send you a new pair.

Skiing Not: They may be the “best in the world,” but at the end of the day, they’re still socks. Nothing fancy here.