I walk and hike a lot, and was happy to receive three different brands of “durable” socks for Christmas. After 3 months of daily usage, walking ~4 miles a day, plus numerous washer/dryer cycles, here’s how they’ve held up:
Bombas: $36.48 for 4 pairs ($9.12/pair). Made in China, no visible wear or holes. As you can see in the photo below, they’ve shrunk quite a bit, and were already on the small side for a “large” sock. I get their “Men’s Performance Running Calf Socks”. Comfort-wise, they don’t make my feet sweat, but
are(used to be – see update below) way too tight around the calf. (Even before the first washing, they were far too tight.) I tried stretching them out and that helped a little, but not enough. I do like that they have no toe-seam, and are individually tailored for your left and right feet. They also have toddler versions, and are my daughter’s absolute favorite sock to wear.
Darn Tough: $17.95 for 3 pairs ($5.98/pair). Made in Vermont, USA. These have also held up great, with no visible wear or holes. They’re not at all restrictive and fit my feet well. The major problem with these? They’re not very breathable and make my feet sweat.
Weatherproof: $7 for 4 pairs ($1.75/pair) – on sale at Costco. Will usually cost more at other outlets, like Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods. Made in China. They fit nicely, are breathable, and are not too tight. My wife likes to wear them as well. These are surprisingly the most comfortable of the three, but they’re not holding up well: the wording on the bottom of the soles is wearing off, and holes are starting to form on the bottom after only 3 months. I can feel the cold tile floor when I walk around the house, and will need to toss these soon.
Bottom line: I still haven’t found a good durable sock that is both breathable and not too tight. Until I find something better (any suggestions?),
I’ll keep buying the Weatherproof socks from Costco or Amazon, as they are the best combination of comfort and value for the money.
Update: 10 months after I wrote this, I’ve thrown away almost all the Weatherproof socks. They wore out way too fast. The Bombas and Darn Tough socks still haven’t worn out, and the Bombas have stretched enough that they’re comfortable. I’ll be buying Bombas from now on as they’re tough and breathable. Just wish they weren’t quite as expensive.
I’ve also found something the Darn Tough socks are best at: winter snowstorms. If you deal with a lot of snowy weather, you can’t beat Darn Tough as a boot sock for keeping your feet warm.
Update: 2.5 years after I wrote this, I only buy Bombas now. Bombas have gotten even better – their new large socks now fit comfortably, and are properly sized. (not nearly as ridiculous looking as the photo above) Almost every one of my original pairs are still going strong after 2+ years – and the one that developed a hole in one toe was quickly replaced under their guarantee. Finally, they’re so easy to put on! Just the right amount of stretch. No snagging on the calluses of my feet. No other sock does that.