Darn Tough No Show Tab Ultra-Lightweight Running Socks review: low cut but high performance

Comfortable and hard-wearing, Darn Tough No Show Tab Ultra-Lightweight Running Socks might be invisible but their benefits are obvious on the trail

Darn Tough No Show Tab ultra-lightweight running socks
(Image: © Darn Tough)

Advnture Verdict

A robust, comfortable and high-forming sock for trail runners who don’t mind showing plenty of leg.


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    High performing

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    Supremely comfortable

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    Lifetime guarantee

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    No lower leg protection

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    Better in warmer months

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    Not foot specific

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Darn Tough No Show Tab ultra-lightweight running socks: first impressions

Darn Tough No Show Tab Ultra-Lightweight Running Socks are very nice to put on, and look the part too, so it seems a shame to hide them. But unless you’re wearing extremely low profile trail running shoes, you won’t really see them, because they sit so low. 

However, like an iceberg, there’s lots going on beneath the surface here. The design and fine-gauge knitted material cradles the foot really well, regardless of the lack of left/right specificity, and the seams are entirely undetectable. 

As Darn Tough proudly proclaim at every opportunity, their socks are still made in Vermont, and they are constructed with lots of attention to detail and extremely well quality controlled. 

Available in cushioned (for extra bounce) and non-cushioned (superlight, with more trail feel) versions, these near-as-damn-it half-merino socks offer performance and comfort in equal measure. 

The wool brings various things to the party, all of which are very useful in a sports sock, including temperature regulation (providing warmth when you need it, but keeping you cool when things get hot – regardless of whether they’re wet or dry), antimicrobial properties (which keep the pong away), moisture-wicking and quick-drying capabilities. And for its part, the nylon supplies the robustness and durability – something that Darn Tough are confident enough about to offer a lifetime guarantee


• RRP (twin pack): $16 (US) / £17 (UK)
• Gender specificity: Unisex
• Materials: Merino Wool (48%), Nylon (48%), Lycra Spandex 4%
• Length: Ankle (no show)
Weight (men’s large, per pair): 40g / 1.4oz
• Sizes: Men’s M–XXL Women’s S–L
• Colors: Men’s Eclipse / Black / Fatigue / White / Burgundy Women’s Ash / Black / White / Baltic / Gray
• Compatibility: Best suited to trail and mixed-terrain running in warmer conditions

Darn Tough No Show Tab Ultra-Lightweight Running Socks: on the trails

Once pulled on, these socks stay very firmly in place, with each element doing what it is supposed to do. The merino mix material really performs well, allowing feet to breath comfortably, but providing just the right amount of thermal coverage.

Because they sit so low, these socks don’t shield you from trail hazards such as stinging plants, brambles and ticks (so you may still want to read trail running injuries and how to avoid them), but there is a small padded lip on the top of the heel, which supports and protects the Achilles tendon. 

On fairly open trails, where prickles aren’t a problem, they really feel sensational, and are some of the best trail running socks you can buy. The merino also means they don’t gather hard-to-shift odor even after repeated long runs.

We have run several hundred kilometers in these socks now, and have laundered them dozens of times, and they are showing no signs of deterioration thus far – which is credit to the robust build and the mix of fabrics. 

Pat Kinsella

Author of Caving, Canyoning, Coasteering…, a recently released book about all kinds of outdoor adventures around Britain, Pat has spent 20 years pursuing stories involving boots, bikes, boats, beers and bruises. En route he’s canoed Canada’s Yukon River, climbed Mont Blanc and Kilimanjaro, skied and mountain biked through the Norwegian Alps, run an ultra across the roof of Mauritius, and set short-lived records for trail-running Australia’s highest peaks and New Zealand’s Great Walks. He’s authored walking guides to Devon and Dorset, and once wrote a whole book about Toilets for Lonely Planet. Follow Pat’s escapades on Strava here and Instagram here.