November 05, 2018
Did you know that there is a Sock Capital of the World? Me neither. But I guess if we can have a Toilet Paper Capital of the World (Hi, Green Bay!) then I suppose a sock capital is also warranted.
However, two different All-American cities vie for this most prestigious title. Some die-hards will attempt to persuade you that Fort Payne, Alabama takes the cake. Other sock aficionados will tut-tut and shake their heads. No silly. It’s Northfield, Vermont!
As a New Hampshirite, I’m almost always going to side with Vermont. It also just so happens that Northfield is the home of Darn Tough, maker of those Premium All-Weather Performance Socks that so many people are sporting these days. As a hiker, skier and mountain biker, I can attest to the fact these are indeed the toughest darndest bits of wool ever to encapsulate my busy feet.
It may seem strange to rave about a pair of socks -- I mean, they’re socks for goodness sake! -- but this isn’t just your run-of-the-mill hosiery that we’re talking about here. With versatility, durability and ethical sourcing, these American-made garments are sort of an unconquerable staple garment for messy sock drawers everywhere.
What makes them so great?
My Favorite Darn Tough Sock Specs:
Merino Wool: 47% Nylon: 46% Lycra Spandex: 7%
Merino Wool is known for a number of benefits, including its antimicrobial properties, breathability, comfort, and moisture wicking. The nylon helps increase the durability and thus the life-span of your socks, and Lycra provides some elasticity.
What is Merino wool?
Merino wool comes from -- surprise! -- Merino sheep. This breed’s lineage can be traced back thousands of years and the general consensus is that they produce the finest wool in the world. Darn Tough assures us that they only partner with humane producers who never engage in “mulesing,” a harmful shearing method practiced by some. From sheep-to-feet, Darn Tough is committed to an ethical process all around, and that’s something that I can get on board with.
Also, Merino sheep are super adorbs. (see photo above)
The benefits of Merino Wool
Fine fibers. Merino wool fibers are very fine, which is why this material is so soft and cozy. Picture that scratchy annoying sensation of Grandma’s wool sweaters, and then picture the exact opposite of that.
Durable. Merino sheep have evolved to withstand all kinds of weather and climates, so it’s no surprise that the wool they produce retains these same qualities. Imagine putting that on your feet!
Moisture-wicking. My feet get cold super easily, especially if they get the slightest bit wet (I know, I’m a big baby.) This is why I’m sort of a die-hard Darn Tough kinda person. Merino wool is superior when it comes to thermoregulation.
Sustainable and humane. The process of acquiring this type of wool is deemed one of the most eco-friendly options. Generally, producers manually shear their sheep only once or twice a year using humane methods that leave those fluffy cuties happy and healthy.
Breathability. If you’re like me and you hate doing laundry (but really, who actually likes it?) then you’ll be pleased that the breathable, antimicrobial properties of Darn Tough socks will combat that delicious gym-bag smell that so often plagues other socks after use. Mmmm.
Darn Tough’s Lifetime Warranty
Lifetime warranty? Yeah right!
Turns out, though, that the mythical lifetime warranty of Darn Tough is not a myth at all. I haven’t had to exchange any of mine yet -- because they’re sooo durable -- but when I do, you bet your behind that I will definitely be taking them up on that. “FOR LIFE,” their website reads, “Unconditionally Guaranteed.” Internet anecdotes galore confirm that the legend is true. Once you wear out your precious garments, they’ll replace them with a new pair of socks that is raring to go. Your feet will then be ready to conquer mountains, shred the gnar or tear up the dance floor. Take your pick.
Just remember that you have to send back both of your socks when you want your replacement. If you lose one, that’s on you, buddy. (What a bummer for those of us who are notorious for walking around wearing unmatching socks on our feet…)
Vermont Made, Family-Owned.
I would wear them in a boat, and with a goat, and in the rain, and on a train (Thanks, Dr. Seuss.) With New England’s infamously oscillating weather patterns, varied terrain and drastic seasonal temperature changes, it’s no wonder why Northfield, Vermont is competing to become the revered Sock Capital of the World. Whether you’re in a car or in a tree or in a house or with a mouse, these socks have been tried-and-tested in all sorts of harrowing conditions for performance and flexibility, because that’s where they’re made and what they’re made for.
In case you couldn’t tell, I’m a pretty big fan of Darn Tough’s small-needle-knit approach to wonder-sock creation. And don’t be mistaken: you don’t have to be an outdoor enthusiast to benefit from these. Couch potatoes, weekend warriors and flatlanders alike can enjoy these lovely stockings without guilt or shame. Hiking boots not required.
In fact, one of my favorite lighter-weight pairs has been stuffed many a-time into town shoes and city boots. They even have yetis on them. I’m always down to rep the abominable snowman on my feet.
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November 25, 2018
I don’t see where to buy them! I’m in CA. My son and family are in Hopkinton. I’d like these as gifts . . . Ty and Alison and Autumn would come in and choose their own. Unless the cost is too much for me.
September 25, 2020
A few months ago, we started hearing the phrase “social distancing” for the first time. Then, we put on our first masks to venture into the suddenly hostile grocery store, feeling like bank robbers and wondering if this is what Walking Dead characters feel like when they have to make supply runs in the Zombie-induced apocalypse.
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March 05, 2020
January 24, 2020
Before St. Valentine even existed, the Romans celebrated a mid-february fertility festival that involved the sacrifice of a goat to encourage successful marriages and agriculture. Luckily, it’s 2020, and these days, cards, flowers, and chocolates are totally acceptable substitutes for animal sacrifice.
Read some of Quinn's favorite ideas for a thoughtful valentines gift.