Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ Sign up for Outside+ today.
Gear 360 gives consumers the best available product information all in one place, through independent editorial and reader reviews, and verified consumer ratings. Brands pay a fee to be included in the Gear 360 program but have no influence over the reviews or scores we publish. We may earn a commission on purchases made through our site.
SKI Gear 360 Review
Darn Tough RFL Over-the-Calf Ultra-Lightweight Ski Sock, MSRP: $25 [BUY NOW-WOMEN’S] [BUY NOW-MEN’S]
Finding the right ski sock is the ultimate Goldilocks challenge. Depending on many factors—not the least of which are how your boots fit, how much cushion you prefer, and if your feet run hot or cold—skiers can be pretty picky about the brand, thickness, and seam placement of their ski sock of choice. For those who swear by a lightweight ski sock, Darn Tough’s RLF Over-the-Calf Ultralight Socks are heaven-sent.
First, the technology. Like all Darn Tough ski socks, the RFL Over-the-Calf is seamless thanks to the brand’s seam-fusion process that renders often-pesky seams completely undetectable, which is so important, especially around the toe box on tight-fitting boots. That, combined with a foot-hugging fit and compression support around the arch, made these socks incredibly easy to slide into my boot.
Made from 100-percent Merino wool, these socks kept my feet warmer than expected during average to slightly-colder-than-average ski days with temps peaking in the mid-20s. And of course Merino also provides naturally antimicrobial advantages, resisting odor and bacteria—great for multi-day ski travel when packing light is a necessity. I do want to point out that these socks have no cushion, so if you’re looking for a lightweight option with a little bit of meat on it, you’d be well served to check out Darn Tough’s Outer Limits Over-the-Calf Lightweight Sock, which offers underfoot cushioning.
One concern with ultralight ski socks in general is their durability. I’ve had pairs that started to break down after a handful of wears, thinning out at the arch and heel and rendering them useless. Granted, I haven’t worn these for an entire season yet, but after six ski days, the RFL Ultralight feels the exact same as the first day I pulled them on. Darn Tough uses fine-gauge knitting, packing in more stitches per knit, to create a stronger, thus longer-lasting, fabric. I’ll update this review at the end of the season, but for now, these check the durability box. (Darn Tough offers a best-in-the-industry unconditional lifetime guarantee on all of their socks, so if durability is concern, you can replace them, no questions asked.)
At $25 a pair, the RFL Over-the-Calf Socks fall within a couple dollars of similar offerings from other big ski-sock brands including Smartwool and Icebreaker. If I had a critique, it’s that it would be nice to see these offered in more fun patterns and colors. My test pair is black, though gray (men’s) and teal (women’s) are also available.
Overall, these are the socks that I reach for most often, and I recommend them to skiers looking for a super-lightweight sock to fit seamlessly (no pun intended) inside tight-fitting, performance ski boots.