• Beau Steward

I'm No Longer A Hanes Man

For decades, I wore Hanes socks. They were comfortable, consistent, and durable. I mostly stuck with their crew socks, but eventually decided to start wearing ankle socks when I started wearing shorts more. I had no reason to change, at least until recently.

For some reason, Hanes decided to mess with their formula. I guess the reason is obvious: make a cheaper product for increased profits. But the result is their socks are substantially less durable. And the change is pretty sharp, too. I went from having socks that would last years to having socks that were struggling to survive the first week.

A bit over a year ago, I bought a couple of packs of Hanes socks, as I do now and then, to replenish my supply of socks as they stretch out, develop holes, etc. Generally, it took quite a while for these problems to come up. I could actually tell the generational gaps between purchases based on how loose they had become for the socks I still had years later. This last time around, though, I bought more than normal because I'd let my supply of socks go lower than normal since I was also using ankle socks. I replaced my entire crew sock supply.

Within a week, in just one use, a sock developed a hole.

Eh, just bad luck, probably. Keep on going, maybe the rest are fine.

A month later, I had removed 3 socks from my supply. 6 months later, half the socks I purchased were gone. I had to get this under control, so I started researching other brands to check out.

The problem I was running into is that "high quality" socks are expensive. As an example, Bombas socks have a per sock price comparable to a 6 pack of Hanes socks. That is to say, they're 5-8 times as expensive, depending on what you buy. I was looking for socks to buy a decent amount of so this meant I was probably spending well over $100 to replace my Hanes stock.

But then I discovered Dickies socks. They make durable clothing designed to be worn by the working class, like mechanics, electricians, etc. Surely, their socks follow that same design requirement, right? The price is comparable to Hanes socks so I was a bit worried the quality would also be comparable. But I ordered them.

8 months later, I have not removed a single Dickies sock from my supply.

Sure, they're durable, but what about the other parts of the formula that sold me on Hanes decades in the past? I would say they're definitely consistent, and surprisingly comfortable, but with a caveat. They have stronger elastic, and so far it's holding up well, but they tend to be a little tight on me on the upper part. I tend to push them down, these days, especially as we get into shorts weather, so that helps alleviate some of that.

So, in terms of socks, I'm no longer a Hanes man. I plan to buy some Dickies ankle socks because I like the crew socks. They're comparable in price to Hanes, and you get so much better socks. I'm actually somewhat saddened to see the quality of Hanes fall like this, and it likely means I will be avoiding their other products.

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