In the olden days, socks were either itchy or made from heavy wool or cotton that sagged and bagged, didn’t insulate and sucked at moisture management with nothing to be done about it.

A sock is just a sock, right? WRONG. Merino wool is a game changer in the sock industry. 

Leading the wool revolution are two undisputed giants of Merino Magic: Smartwool and Darn Tough. Both Darn Tough and Smartwool specialize in using Merino wool to make insulating, soft, comfortable and versatile socks at great prices.  No matter whose #team you’re on, everybody wins!

Let’s learn more about the Colossus of Crews, the Titans of Tights: Smartwool and Darn Tough.

About Smartwool

For over 20 years Smartwool has been pushing the boundaries of Merino to create smarter, more capable products from head to toe. Smartwool's Merino sheep are bred and nourished in the Southern Hemisphere to grow wool fibers that are an ideal length, thickness, color and strength for their socks (and other apparel and accessories).

Why grow wool in the Southern Hemisphere? Because the Merino sheep face some of the most demanding and varying conditions on the planet. From hot summers to harsh winters, Smartwool's wool will keep you comfortable no matter what.   

Each pair of Smartwool socks is carefully crafted using the finest Merino wool to keep your feet dry and regulate your body temperature. Smartwool offers anywhere from ultralight to heavy cushioning, as well as different sock technologies tailored for a slew of different activities to keep your feet happy.

If for any reason you're not satisfied with your Smartwool socks, you can return them within two years of purchase and Smartwool will make it right.    

Check out some of our favorite socks from Smartwool!

Men's PhD Run Light Elite Micro Socks (and Women) - $17.95

Smartwool's best-fitting, most advanced run socks yet, Smartwool packed years of testing, prototypes and running smarts into these socks. Featuring Light Elite cushioning in the ball and heel of the foot for ultimate shock absorption with minimal in-shoe volume, men's specific mesh ventilation zones, and a virtually seamless toe.  

Women's Margarita Socks - $20.95 

A SmartWool® favorite, the Margarita takes on a south of the border flavor in its authentic festive colors. The non-cushioned crew sock can be worn year-round.

Women's Hike Ultra Light Mini Socks (and Men) - $13.95 

The SmartWool Women's Hiking Ultra Light Mini Crew Socks are the ideal warm-weather hiking sock, designed for moderate day hikes or aggressive walking. The arch brace holds the sock in place and adds additional support. The mesh ventilation zone keeps your feet cool and the flat-knit toe seam keeps you comfortable throughout the day.

Shop Smartwool

About Darn Tough

Darn Tough socks are also made for a wide range of activities. Darn Tough is a family owned business that has been knitting socks in Vermont for close to 40 years. Their mission is simple: to create the world's best socks and stand behind them unconditionally. Darn Tough sock makers love and breathe in stitches per inch, seamless toes and cross stretch.      

"The willingness to never give up, to never be satisfied, to go for that next peak, is what we're all about."

Darn Tough's yarns come from America and around the globe. The custom count, shrink treated Merino wool enhanced the comfort and durability of each sock that leaves their mill. If their socks are not the most comfortable, durable and best fitting socks you have ever owned, you can return them for another pair.

Darn Tough. Made in Vermont. Guaranteed for life.

Check out some of our favorite socks from Darn Tough!

Men's Warlock Light Crew - $20.00

Bold, Funky. Something is afoot. The Warlock Crew delivers legendary Darn Toughness with sophisticated styling. Versatile to the core these socks go way beyond the expectations of an "everyday sock". Fine gauge Merino wool keeps them cool in the summer and warm in the winter. True Seamless construction makes them irresistibly comfortable. Plus they're anti-microbial and breathable so you can wear them more than once while you're traveling and no one will be the wiser.

Women's Swirl Print Shorty Socks - $17.00

“Funky, unique, Darn Tough”. Sound like someone you know? Paisley pop art collides with bold stripes in a super funky sock that loads up on comfort, durability, and fit.

Men's Hiker Micro Crew Cushion Sock (and Women) - $21.00 

From day-hikes to Denali this is a "go-to" sock for hikers seeking comfort and performance. Cushioning along the bottom of the foot provide the perfect amount of support while a smooth, performance fit assures there's no slipping, no bunching, and no blisters. Fine gauge knitting makes this Merino Wool sock a true workhorse that's supremely comfortable, breathable and fast drying. Cool in the summer, warm in the winter and naturally antimicrobial so it repels bacteria and odor, which comes in handy when you need to get an extra day (or two) out of your socks.

Shop Darn Tough

Smartwool vs. Darn Tough

Whether you're a hiker, a runner, a cyclist, a traveler, a hunter, a skier, or just an average Joe looking for some quality everyday socks, Smartwool AND Darn Tough have your feet covered.

So, what's so different about these brands?   

Smartwool socks are versatile and easily adapted to multiple activities, even if you’re wearing an activity-specific sock. They have a lower profile thickness and density, which results in a very secure in-shoe fit. The arch-hugging design of Smartwool socks prevents the material buildup that often leads to hotspots and blisters.   

Darn Tough socks have a uniform and high-quality construction that you can see, so take a minute and turn your Darn Tough socks inside out! Darn Tough socks are very absorbent, thereby keeping your feet dry. For a great fit through the arch, check out Darn Tough hiking socks, which are designed to wrap securely around your foot and calf. Darn Tough socks are super durable due to their thicker and denser design AND come with a lifetime warranty.

Take our quiz to find out which brand suits you!