Darn Tough makes high quality outdoor oriented socks made out of high-quality wool that is backed with strong environmental certifications. They recognize their environmental impacts and have worked to source materials that have been produced ethically and sustainably. One thing to keep in mind is that a decent percentage of this product is made of nylon which is a very unsustainable material. It would be nice to see if there are able to utilize recycled nylon in their future products. In conclusion, if you are willing to pay the price ($23) Darn Tough presents a great option for anyone looking for a high quality, sustainably sourced sock.
High quality, well sourced materials, great warranty
High price, info hard find
61% Merino Wool, 36% Nylon, 3% Lycra® Spandex
This is a type of wool that comes from the Merino sheep and is commonly used in clothing as its thinner and softer than other wool. Wool is largely seen as a sustainable fabric because it is biodegradable, renewable, and recyclable, but it is important to keep in mind other factors such as animal welfare and proper land management.
This is a synthetic material made from crude oil. Nylon is a common material found in many textiles and is often blended with other fabrics due to its durability and water-wicking ability. The production of this material is environmentally exhausting as it uses fossil fuels, emits nitrous oxide (a powerful greenhouse gas), and creates microplastics.
This is another synthetic material made from crude oil. It is commonly used in products that require some elasticity such as socks. Most spandex is un-usable after it is worn out and is hard to recycle creating lots of waste.
Darn Tough claims that 100% of the wool they source today is RWS (responsible wool standards) certified. RWS certified wool makes up less than 1% of total wool production and is primarily sourced from areas such as South Africa, New Zealand, Uruguay, etc. This is a strict, but voluntary standard that ensures that the farms are practicing good animal welfare, social welfare, and land management. Additionally, RWS certified wool is traceable throughout the entire supply chain so that consumers don’t have to worry about uncertified wools being used in their products.
All of the processed yarn that Darn Tough uses for their products meets or exceeds Okeo-Tex Standard 100 as well as requirements set by CA prop 65. The Standard 100 shows that the materials used have been tested for a variety of harmful substances and that the product is harmless to human health. They also follow regulations set by Prop 65, which lists chemicals that are known to cause cancer or harm reproductive health, and utilize certified 3rd party testing in order to guarantee that the final product strictly adheres to chemical safety standards.
Many of the larger suppliers to Darn Tough are bluesign-certified which reviews each step in the supply chain to make sure that all materials, chemicals, and processes are approved to guarantee consumer, worker, and environmental safety. Smaller farms that supply Darn Tough often cannot afford the cost of this certification, so they are in the process of creating a list of restricted substances based on the criteria of bluesign and the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals list.
Darn Tough is a family owned, Vermont based outdoor apparel company specializing in socks for over 3 generations. They receive all the materials from their suppliers and their socks are knit at their wool mill in Northfield, Vermont. Darn Tough has gained a reputation for making a high quality product that is covered by a lifetime warranty.
In recent years, Darn Tough has made significant efforts to manage their environmental impact by proactively working with suppliers that have reputable certifications and testing. They are aware of the environmental problems surrounding the clothing industry and have made significant strides to address it. In addition to this, they have taken into account their social responsibility and have outlined steps they are taking such as company wide bias training, regular diversity audits, etc. in order to be more active at combatting social and racial injustice.