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Hands-on Gear Review
Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion - Women's Review
Cons: Not super warm
Bottom line: This Top Pick for Warm Weather is a great option for women looking for a lightweight hiking sock best for three seasons.
The Darn Tough Micro Crew for women is built to last while you crush it on the trail. This lightweight merino-wool blend sock boasts a balance of comfort and breathability making it a Top Pick for Warm Weather. Our testers loved wearing it during day hikes and trail runs and it wasn't left home for mountain bike days either. Best for the Fall, Spring, and Summer, we did leave it home on super cold days and decided to opt for warmer options like the Smartwool Hike Medium Crew, our Editors' Choice winner for women. If you're in the market for an ankle-length hiking sock that does best in warm weather, this Top Pick is our top recommendation for women.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Hiking Socks of 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Darn Tough Micro Crew features a female-specific design with super cute color patterns. It's our Top Pick for Warm Weather because of its lightweight design and fantastic breathability.
If you like the sounds of the Darn Tough Micro Crew for Women but you prefer a male-fit, be sure to look at the Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew, designed with men in mind.
Featuring cozy and plush fabrics, we are happy to report that this contender is cozy and comfortable. For a lightweight sock, this is a high rating. The 59% Merino Wool, 39% Nylon, 2% Lycra Spandex blend provides good cushion underfoot with lighter materials on top to ensure great breathability all-around. The elastic materials provide areas of excellent compression around the arch and heel. In addition, the above-ankle design is a nice feature that is a "must-have" during warm summer months. While this sock is not compatible with hiking boots, our testers loved it with a sturdy pair of hiking shoes. Also, this sock has pretty cute colors and a female-specific design that ensures fabric doesn't bunch in any odd places.
While rock climbing in the Black Canyon in Colorado, our main tester wore a pair of thicker Smartwool Hike Mediums, testing warmth and overall versatility. By the end of the climb, our chief tester was wishing she had used the Darn Tough Micro Crew socks because of their tighter and more fitted design that is much more compatible with tighter fitting shoes - like a rock shoe.
While we think the Darn Tough is pretty darn comfortable for a lightweight sock, it's not the most comfy option out there. While it provides a superior fit to other socks in this review, it doesn't have ample cushioning underfoot like the Smartwool Hike Medium Crew, our Editors' Choice winner for women. Many of our testers preferred a thicker sock when traveling for days on foot, especially in cooler temperatures. That said, they also preferred a thinner design when it was warmer outside. So, if you want a lightweight hiker for warm weather, the Darn Tough Micro Crew is our favorite for women.
Other options that did well in this comfort category include the People's Merino Wool Hiking sock with a unisex fit and a super cozy interior fabric that hugs the feet. We liked the plush and softer fabric offered in the People's sock in comparison to the Darn Tough that has a more compacted fabric design. Or if you want the ultimate in comfort, the SmartWool PhD Outdoor Medium Crew Sock features the softest and coziest materials tested that fit both men and women.
Being a lightweight hiker, warmth is not its strong suit. While it did a great job through the fall, winter, and summer, we wouldn't recommend it for winter months. The length is too short to be compatible with any outdoor winter boot, and secondly, it's simply not that warm when it's cold outside. During a cold Fall night, when the temperature was just above freezing, our feet were cold within minutes. We promptly had to switch to the Smartwool Hike Medium Crew for the night because it is a warmer sock option. During our wet tests, it provided great insulation when wet, but once again, when the mercury dropped, our feet were not warm anymore. As a result, this sock earns a six out of ten in this category.
If you're looking for a sock that does better in cold weather, be sure to look at the Smartwool Hike Medium Crew, a thicker, more robust hiking sock that offers more warmth and cushion. This is a fitted specifically for women. Or you can take a look at the Smartwool PhD Outdoor Medium Hiking Sock, a unisex sock that kept our feet warm during the coldest of nights.
If you're interested in a sock that regulates through a wide-range of temperatures but isn't the warmest, be sure take a gander at the Darn Tough Hiker Full Cushion, our Editors' Choice award winner. While it fits a male foot best, it still provides a decent fit for most women (it has lots of compression paneling) and regulates well through most seasons.
Wicking and Breathability
Featuring a lightweight construct, the Darn Tough Micro Crew for women crushes it in this category. Scoring a nine out of ten, we were utterly impressed with the wicking ability and breathability of this sock. This is why we awarded it our Top Pick for Warm Weather. Our testers spent many days wandering around in the desert with this model, serving as protection from trail debris underfoot. In warm weather, we learned that it wicks and breathes better than any other in this review. We attribute this to its fabric construction that uses both merino wool and synthetic fibers to quickly remove sweat and moisture from the surface of the skin to the exterior of the sock.
If you want a sock that breathes and wicks just as well as the Darn Tough Micro Crew for women, but you want a male-specific fit, check out the Darn Tough Light Hiker. In our tests, we learned these socks performed similarly in this category. We took each trail running, and our testers preferred it just for that. We loved taking it day hiking and biking for its thinner construct.
If you're in the market for a unique five-finger construction sock that breathes as well, don't forget to look at the Injinji Outdoor Midweight Crew NuWool. It has a thinner design that is also conducive to warmer days, and it allows you to spread your toes more than any other pair in this review.
Over roughly 60 miles of testing we've noted minor pilling in areas of high abrasion, but other than that, nada, zip, zilch. No other signs of wear and tear. Typically compaction of the fabric in the heel or forefoot indicates durability flaws, but none were noted in this review. As a result, we award this sock with a high score of nine out of ten.
Of all the other products tested, others on the same level also were manufactured by Darn Tough, so be sure to check out these highly durable competitors. The only product that scored a perfect ten in this review for durability is the Wigwam Hiking Outdoor Pro, a sock constructed from highly durable synthetic fibers that showed no wear and tear after 60 miles! Overall, the Darn Tough Micro Crew model is a fantastically durable option, but if you want something even more durable, look at the Wigwam Outdoor Pro.
Darn Tough products are backed by a lifetime guarantee. If you put a hole or ruin in the sock in your lifetime, the company will send you a pair of brand new socks without question.
While this is not the fastest sock to dry, it sure isn't the slowest either. In our dryer tests, it took 130 minutes to completely dry, being one of the slowest socks to dry. We attribute this to absorbing more water at the beginning of our tests then most socks tested, and the higher concentration of merino wool found in comparison to others that have a similar design. The only sock that dried slower is the Darn Tough Full Cushion, our Editors' Choice award winner. On the trail, we noticed that drying speed was as expected. When dunking our feet in rivers, the water beaded right off, but if saturated, it took a little longer to dry then other contenders - roughly 5 hours in the straight sunshine.
If you're in the market for a merino-sock blend (with a similar style) that dries a little faster, we'd recommend the Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew, which dried ten minutes faster (it has a bit less merino wool). The Danish Unisex Merino Wool is a merino-wool blend option that is the second fastest to dry in our tests (100 minutes). But if you want a sock that dries the fastest of them all, check out the synthetic Wigwam Hiker Pro, drying in only 90 minutes!.
It's no surprise that this sock performs well for all sorts of outdoor endeavors. It's great for either high-intensity activities like trail running or warm weather days. Working best in fall, spring, and summer, this lightweight hiking sock is designed to keep your feet protected over miles and miles of distance.
With a list price of $21, one might think the sticker price is pretty steep. In comparison to other contenders out there, it's definitely on the expensive end. That said, Darn Tough products come with a lifetime guarantee, which is a huge selling point. They are high quality and perform well. As a result, the value is good.
But if you're pinching pennies and are in need of "cheap" options that offer a decent level of performance, check out the People's Merino Wool Hiking Socks, a 67% merino wool blend ankle sock, only $9 per sock. Or if you prefer an ankle-length option, the Danish Unisex Merino Wool Sock are going for only $10 (and sometimes cheaper).
This lightweight hiker features a merino-wool blend that is comfortable and breathes well, with colors that are adored by both male and female testers. It also has a narrow fit that many of our female testers love, in addition to a lifetime guarantee. Take this Top Pick for Warm Weather on any adventure in the fall, spring, or summer, but choose a warmer option for colder days.
— Amber King
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