4 Steps to Wash Your Darn Tough Socks

Who likes smelly feet? #Nobody! Seriously, unless you have some sort of weird fetish, smelly feet are gross. And that’s why I wash my socks after every HIIT workout and hike. Well, at least I did… until I got myself a pair of Darn Tough socks

After learning I didn’t have to wash my Darn Toughs after every use, I knew these were the perfect socks to take with me on my 6-month Appalachian Trail hiking journey. It’s all thanks to the secret “ingredient” the manufacturers use (merino wool, if you are curious). 

If you own a pair (or a few) of these magical babies for your feet, you may wonder how to wash Darn Tough socks and how often. If you don’t yet own a pair… you need to get yourself some!

In this article, I’ve got all the details for how you can ensure your socks last a long time, while keeping your feet thermoregulated and well-supported.  I’ll also provide suggestions for some of my favorite Darn Tough footwear.

What Makes Darn Tough Socks Special?

Darn Tough socks are special because they are made of merino wool, which offer various benefits to your feet. Merino wool is thermoregulating, odor-resistant because it prevents bacteria buildup, and moisture-wicking to keep your feet dry. Darn Tough socks also feature a seamless toe, cushioning to make the socks more durable and help with shock absorption, and a lifetime warranty.    

Merino wool is a natural wool fiber that’s responsibly sourced from (primarily) New Zealand merino sheep. And if you are worried that these merino wool socks are itchy like the other pairs you own, you are in for a nice surprise! Merino wool is silky smooth because the fiber is longer, and these merino wool socks are thin, making them perfect for running, hiking, or rucking

Plus, the wool has thermoregulating qualities because of the natural crimp that provides insulation pockets, meaning your feet stay warm and toasty when its cold out and your feet are cool when it’s hot

Darn Tough’s socks are also odor-resistant (which is why you don’t need to wear-wash-wear) because the chemical structure of the wool stops sweat and bacteria from accumulating, which makes other socks stinky after a tough workout. 

Other cool features Darn Tough socks offer are the cushioning that adds softness and aids in comfortability, seamless toes so you won’t feel irritated, various sock height options with a snug fit, and the guarantee that these are the longest-lasting socks ever, and if not, the company will exchange them – no questions asked. 

Our Top Picks for Darn Tough Socks 

If you haven’t yet bought a pair of Darn Tough socks, or desperately need another pair because they are so awesome and well, darn tough, then here are our 3 best picks:  

1. Darn Tough Bear Town Micro Crew Lightweight with Cushion Sock (Women’s) 

The Darn Tough Bear Town Micro Crew Lightweight with Cushion Sock for women is made of merino wool, Lycra, and recycled nylon, providing all the benefits that Darn Tough socks do. The socks are a micro crew height, so when wearing standard hiking boots, the socks will just peak out.   

These socks are available in 3 sizes (small, medium, and large) and 5 color options: lime, purple, aqua, burgundy, and oatmeal. 

2. Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew Light Cushion Socks (Men’s) 

Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew Light Cushion Socks for men comes in 5 sizes (from small to xx-large) and 4 color options: denim, black, forest, and taupe. The socks have a performance zone to alleviate foot fatigue while ensuring all-day comfort. Enjoy comfortable bliss with the seamless toes, while mesh panels help with breathability.    

3. Darn Tough Men’s ¼ Lightweight Sock  

Darn Tough Men’s ¼ Lightweight Sock is a ¼ height sock, so it sits just above the ankle. It’s ideal for runners, walkers, and even hikers who prefer shorter, low-cut socks. The socks have a reinforced knit along the length of the foot, increasing the sock’s durability, and a performance fit so the socks don’t slip, which helps prevent blisters while providing comfort. 

These socks come in charcoal and team DTV (red and gray) color options.   

Quick Steps on How to Wash Your Darn Tough Socks 

Like you, I was worried about stinky stocks, and couldn’t imagine not washing my socks after a long hike. But merino wool has anti-stink and antibacterial properties because the wool fiber absorbs and traps sweat odor, preventing it from building up. And the wool fibers can absorb a lot of moisture, which is also why your feet are kept dry.     

You can wear your Darn Tough socks for 2-3 days before washing, or longer. I know some hikers who wear their Darn Toughs for a month before washing them. How often you wash the socks depends on your activity level, the ambient temperature, and how comfy you feel re-wearing the socks. 

Now that you know you don’t need to wash your Darn Tough socks every night after your workout, you may want to know “how to wash darn tough socks.”

Here are the 4 easy steps for washing your Darn Tough merino wool socks in a washing machine or by hand: 

Step #1. Turn Inside Out 

The first step before you wash your Darn Tough socks, including the brand’s compression and synthetic socks, is to turn them inside out

If the socks have any cushioning, turning them inside out ensures any sweat, dirt, and grime trapped in these areas get removed.  

Step #2. Wash  

To protect your Darn Tough merino wool socks and keep them in the best shape possible, don’t wash the socks with your other laundry items. 

You can choose to wash your socks in the washing machine or by hand. 

Washing Darn Tough socks in the washing machine: 

  1. Wash the socks in cold or warm water. While the socks are preshrunk, washing them in hot water will weaken the fabric fibers and the colors will fade. 
  2. Use the wool or knit cycle setting on the machine; otherwise, opt for the gentle or delicate cycle
  3. Place the socks in a mesh laundry bag to prevent them from rubbing against anything abrasive that could damage the wool fibers. Plus, the laundry bags ensure your socks stay together – after all, Darn Tough’s warranty doesn’t cover missing socks. 
  4. Use a neutral pH detergent because an alkaline or acid pH weakens the socks’ fibers. Don’t use bleach or fabric softener. 

Washing Darn Tough socks by hand (at home or on a trail): 

  1. In a watertight bag, add cold water
  2. Place your pair of Darn Tough socks inside. 
  3. Let the socks soak for about 10 minutes
  4. Add a small amount of biodegradable soap
  5. Gently shake the bag. 
  6. Let 15 minutes pass, and shake the bag again. 
  7. Pour out the soapy water. (Ensure you do so a minimum of 200 yards from the nearest water, pond, or water source.)
  8. Add fresh cold water to the bag and shake to rinse the soap out of the socks. 
  9. Pour out the water, refill, shake, and repeat until your Darn Tough socks are soap-free. 

Step #3. Dry 

At home, you can choose to line dry your Darn Tough socks or place them in the tumble dryer

When drying your socks in the drying machine, use a low setting as heat will damage your socks. 

When on the hiking trail, get rid of excess moisture by placing a sock between your palms and gently pressing. Do the same with the other sock. 

Then place the pair of socks on a tent line or rock to further dry. 

You can also attach the socks to the outside of your backpack so they can dry as you hike. 

Step #4. Store  

Don’t roll your Darn Tough socks when they are dry and ready to be put away. Rolling socks stretches the wool fibers, causing the item to be misshapen or lose its secure and snug fit. 

So rather fold your socks in half or store them flat.

Final Thoughts on How to Wash Darn Tough Socks 

These instructions on how to wash Darn Tough socks help you look after your socks so they can look after your feet when you exercise. And the fact that I don’t have to wash these socks every day makes the environmentalist in me feel better… as I’m saving water.

And if I’m being honest, I’ve held these socks up to my nose for a whiff after a couple of brutal and sweat-drenching workouts – just to check – and there’s no stinky smell. It’s quite amazing.   

Still not sure Darn Tough socks are the right socks for you? Then check out our Bombas vs Darn Tough sock comparison so you can make an informed decision.

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