You’re spending over $100 on your boots, so don’t skimp out on the socks! Socks should match your boots in terms of quality and durability. Why churn through budget socks every couple of months?
I’ll be comparing the three pairs of socks in this review to the classic USOA socks that are found on shelves in every Clothing & Sales store around the country.
Our Control Sock: Appalachian Hosiery USOA Boot Sock
This is the classic Army boot sock that countless soldiers have relied on since as early as 1993. In general, cotton isn’t the best material for socks, but the silver-plated nylon fibers woven into these socks are anti-microbial, an invaluable part of boot socks that anyone who’s rucked for more than a day can attest.
These socks are great right out of the packaging but tend to have a lower life expectancy. While they’re nothing particularly special, they are a solid product at a good value that can act as the standard that we can measure other boot socks against.
So the question is, can we do better than the standard issue?
Review: Under Armour Heatgear Socks
I wore Under Armour socks for a good chunk of my military service. In hot and/or wet environments, nylon is better at keeping feet dry and cool than cotton. While they aren’t as comfortable as cotton/wool primary socks, they do a great job of preventing hotspots and blisters.
The UA Heatgear socks extend much further up the calf than most other socks. This provides additional protection for your calf (although it looks weird when not paired with pants). These socks performed the best when running, rucking, or any other high-intensity activity in boots, especially in the intense Texas or Arizona summers.
While not necessarily superior to the USOA sock in terms of performance, these nylon-primary socks are a great investment if you’re stationed in the desert or hot environments. Their price point is a bit steep, at around three times the cost of the USOA socks, but the nylon construction means they will be more durable.
Review: Darn Tough Vermont Boot Socks
Merino wool boot socks? Yes, please! I’ve owned other merino socks before, and each has lasted me for quite some time. Wool is naturally anti-microbial, feels great on the feet, and is easily the best choice for super humid environments (even hot ones).
Yes, animal fibers like wool are much better at maintaining warmth while wet than plant fibers and most synthetics, making them superior for cold environments – but they are excellent for wicking moisture away – an invaluable property in hot environments.
Finally, these socks get bonus points for feeling cozy while remaining effective, keeping your feet comfortable at a stable temperature without sacrificing sock functionality. Without a doubt, the Darn Tough Vermont socks are worth the money.
Review: Goldtoe Powersox
Goldtoe Powersox is another mostly-cotton sock similar to the standard issue socks. Other than the name brand, I find a hard time justifying these over the USOA socks. There’s nothing wrong with them, but nothing stands out about them either. This may have been a side effect of them being the last pair that I tried, especially after the Under Armour and Darn Tough Vermont socks that cost almost five times as much.
They’re a green cotton/nylon blend and slightly less expensive than the USOA socks. However, there is no mention of any anti-microbial properties, which is a must-have for any serious tactical use. If you’re looking for a budget option, these are most certainly worth a try, but if you’re looking to invest in some higher quality socks, primary wool or synthetic socks will be a noticeable upgrade over cotton.
It’s a tie! The Under Armour Heatgear and the Darn Tough Vermont socks were clearly a step above the other two brands (as they’d better be because they’re a lot more expensive). It’s not that there’s anything wrong with good old USOA or Goldtoe, but those two just feel like basic socks compared to the others.
Wear the Under Armour socks for desert and summer activities, and wear Darn Tough Vermont socks for more moderate climates and winter. Combined with the right boot, it’s really hard to go wrong with either of them!
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.