Darn Tough Quarter Midweight Hiking Sock with Cushion review: versatile, high-performing and super comfortable

The toughest darn socks on the trails this summer

One foot standing on a rock wearing a Darn Darn Tough Quarter Midweight Hiking Sock with Cushion
(Image: © Pat Kinsella)

Advnture Verdict

Darn Tough make damn good socks, and the cushioned version of the Quarter Midweight Hiking Sock is no exception. These versatile, high-performing and super comfortable socks are perfect for wearing with hiking shoes for spring, summer and fall escapades, ranging from day walks through to multiday hikes (or other adventures). It’s genuinely hard to fault these socks, but we do wish Darn Tough would use some recycled material – then they’d be perfect.

Pros

  • +

    Excellent material mix for comfort and performance

  • +

    Extremely comfortable

  • +

    Supportive

  • +

    Natural odor control

  • +

    Tough and long lasting (guaranteed)

  • +

    Cushioned

Cons

  • -

    No recycled content

  • -

    No left/right specificity

You can trust Advnture Our expert reviewers spend days testing and comparing gear so you know how it will perform out in the real world. Find out more about how we test and compare products.

Meet the reviewer

best fleece jackets: Artilect Halfmoon Bio Pullover
Pat Kinsella

Pat has hiked all over the world, his adventures taking him to Mont Blanc, the roof of Western Europe; the Norwegian Alps; the highest peaks in Australia; and New Zealand’s Great Walks – among others. He’s an experienced tester of hiking socks and gives each pair a thorough thrashing before reviewing.

Darn Tough Quarter Midweight Hiking Sock with Cushion: first impressions

Specifications

• List price: $22 (US) / £24 (UK)
 Style and height: Quarter height
• Weight (per pair): 67g / 2.4oz
• Sizes: Men’s: Small / Medium / Large / XL; Women’s: Small / Medium / Large
• Materials: Merino Wool (59%), Nylon (38%) and Lycra Spandex (3%)
• Colors: Men’s: Onyx Black / Chestnut / Dark teal / Taupe; Women’s: Sage / Berry / Dusk Denim
• Best for: Summer hiking, trekking, day walking, backpacking

The starting point for any successful walking escapade is solid footwear, and that obviously doesn’t just begin and end with choosing a good pair of hiking boots. The socks you decide to pair with your boots will make a massive difference to how comfortable you are out on the trails, and therefore to your enjoyment of the entire experience.

We have tested several pairs of Darn Tough products in the past, including the Hiker Boot Midweight socks, and found them to be among the very best hiking socks on the market. For summer treks, however, I have been looking for a slightly shorter sock to go with a decent pair of hiking shoes, and Darn Tough’s cushioned version of their Quarter Midweight Hiking Sock looked just the ticket.

The reviewer wearing the Darn Tough Quarter Midweight Hiking Sock with Cushion while standing on some wooden decking

These high-performing socks even look good on decking (Image credit: Pat Kinsella)

There’s never an excuse for skimping on the quality of your walking socks – it’s a massive example of false economy that will cost you dearly in other ways. While 20 bucks or more might seem like a premium price to pay for socks, it’s an investment well worth making if you value your time on the trails. If you’re forking out for gear, however, you need to be confident that it will perform when duty calls.

Darn Tough guarantee they will replace or refund any sock purchases that do not live up to their promises, either because they fail and fray, or because they’re not as comfortable or functional as sold. As generous and confident-sounding as that is, no one really wants to go through the hassle of returning products, so to save you the trouble I have been out testing DT’s Quarter Midweight Hiking Sock to find out if they walk the walk as well as they talk the talk.

Darn Tough Quarter Midweight Hiking Sock with Cushion: design and materials

Perfect for pairing with walking shoes (or hiking sandals if that’s your vibe) these socks are Quarter length. This means they measure 14cm from heel to cuff, comfortably covering your ankle, with about 8cm of sock showing above an average hiking shoe (sometimes referred to as a low boot).

Darn Tough produce one thing – socks for active pursuits – and therefore can concentrate completely on making them very good. The material mix in these socks is a clever cocktail of merino wool, nylon and Lycra Spandex, each of which brings their own valuable properties to the party. The merino is comfortable next to your skin, breathes well, wicks moisture away, offers excellent thermal properties (even in changeable conditions) and contains bacteria-bashing enzymes that stop socks smelling. The nylon adds strength, so the socks don’t develop holes or fall apart, and the Lycra Spandex helps preserve the garment’s shape, ensuring it supplies support to the parts of your feet that need it most, as it’s designed to.

The reviewer wearing the Darn Tough Quarter Midweight Hiking Sock with Cushion while crossing a river on stepping stones.

The Darn Tough Quarter Midweight Hiking Sock with Cushion is perfectly suited to a vast range outdoor escapades (Image credit: Pat Kinsella)

The cushioning comes into play around your ankle, Achilles and underfoot (all common problem areas) where soft terry loops provide targeted protection.

Like all Darn Tough’s socks, these are made (not just designed) in Vermont, and they’re unconditionally guaranteed for life. My only real criticism – and it’s quite a big one – doesn’t relate to the performance of the socks, but to the sourcing of the materials, because there doesn’t appear to be any recycled content used at all.

On the trails

I have been wearing the Quarter Midweight Hiking Sock while walking and hiking around technical coastal and countryside trails in Southwest England, during several urban ambles and on some challenging hill hikes in a massive mixture of weather conditions.

As you might expect from a majority merino-made sock, the comfort levels are exceptionally good. This isn’t just down to the materials, though – the strategically placed seams and use of cushioning makes a really noticeable difference, and the performance fit means the socks don’t move or slip around within your shoe. This is a massive positive, especially in damp conditions and when you start ramping up the mileage, preventing blisters and horrible hotspots from developing.

The reviewer wearing the Darn Tough Quarter Midweight Hiking Sock with Cushion in an active running pose

The shorter length of the Darn Tough Quarter Midweight Hiking Sock with Cushion is ideal for hiking shoes – or even sandals (Image credit: Pat Kinsella)

For testing purposes, I have used the same pair for multiple consecutive days, and not only do they keep performing (even after getting drenched), they stubbornly refuse to start stinking (which is quite something). Together with the hardiness of the product (it’s early days, but I can certainly detect no signs of wear and tear yet), this is a major bonus of these socks, making them ideal for multiday adventures, whether you’re backpacking, fastpacking, thru-hiking or even bikepacking.

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.