Once you try wearing merino wool for your socks full time, it’s hard to go back to cotton. And once you go down this path, you realize there are quite a few companies which can provide you with socks. Steve and I are big fans of Darn Tough for most of our sock needs, but Outlier makes ‘Megafine’ socks in both traditional crew length and low (no-show style) (no longer sold, replaced with low lows, which I can only assume are lower). I’ve owned two pairs of each for quite some time, so let’s talk about them.
The Crew Socks
These socks fit somewhere between athletic socks and dress socks. They are too nice looking to be your standard white athletic socks, and too thick to be seen as dress socks. So they walk that line, which can make them a bit hard to wear — especially if your socks tend to show.
However, I have found that these are easily the best socks I own, and have ever tried. They are soft, almost luxuriously so, and they utilize compression, nylon, and venting in all the right areas. This means they are more comfortable than any other pair of socks I own, fit better, feel better, and generally perform better.
They are thick, but only slightly so when you wear them. In that regard they are mostly thick in how they look and fit in a shoe, not in the warmth they provide. I own both black and natural tan, and much prefer the natural tan (I’ve never been a black sock fan).
Outlier’s marketing states: “Designed for comfort, durability and style, we think they’re the nicest socks we’ve ever worn.” I completely agree with them, with a big caveat.
As you might have noticed, I don’t travel with these socks, because the color options and overall look don’t lend themselves to blending in well in business settings. Additionally they are $25 per pair, and while not overly expensive for merino wool socks, I tend to be able to find Darn Tough dress socks on sale for much lower prices. If money were no object, I’d wear these socks, but if value is important these are a harder sell.
There is one final thing to note, other than some pilling on the heel of the socks, these basically look brand new — they are holding up and lasting much better than my Darn Tough socks. Time will tell if this trend keeps up, but if it does, that might be enough of a value proposition to switch.
In short: if you don’t need a dressy looking sock, then there’s no better option for crew socks than these. Your feet will love them.
The Low Socks
These are your standard no-show socks which are meant to completely hide themselves in your shoe. They are constructed in a very similar manner to the crew socks, just without the part which runs up your leg. They are also decidedly not as good as the crew variant.
I have not tried the new ‘low lows’ Outlier is making, but the issue is that the lows themselves do not stay put. Pull your foot out of a shoe, they come off. Have your heel slip up in the shoe, the socks come off.
These are insanely comfortable, but they also fail at one of the more crucial tasks a sock has: staying on your foot. And because of that, they are a constant battle. In addition, they also have gotten quite fuzzy over the two years of use, but amazingly have held their shape and have no holes in them.
Over the same time span I have tossed 3 pairs of Darn Tough low socks, as they have had holes worn in them. So while they simply do not stay on my feet, they are extremely well made and comfortable as a sock. Overall, I won’t be buying these again, but I do wish they had some mid-low socks or something which would stay on my foot better.
Outlier Socks Overall
I really like the crew variant of the Megafine socks, and if they continue to hold up as well as they are (and as well as the lows) I can see myself moving over to them. The main issue is that they are extremely basic looking, with no patterns and very few color options. What is amazing about these socks to me is that they are not only very comfortable, but also very durable. When you put them on, you won’t think they will hold up, they are too soft feeling. But they do.
Personally, the lows are not good enough for me to want to buy again, but I think that will depend more on your foot than anything else. The crew socks though are most excellent. I think Darn Tough offers better designs, colors, availability, and value — but if you want the best sock out there, then you’ll want a pair of Outlier Megafine socks.