Silver Fox Army Socks, by Thomas Christianson

I recently bought six pair of Silver Fox brand U.S. Army Men’s Cushion Sole Socks. In terms of comfort and durability, they leave a lot to be desired. In fact, I am so badly disappointed by the performance of the Silver Fox socks that I do not recommend them for field use.

If you are desperate, Silver Fox socks are better than no socks at all. But if you have any way of getting Darn Tough Wool Socks, Smart Wool Socks, or another quality brand, then they would probably be a better investment.

The Backstory

For everyday tasks during the summer, I typically wear humble cotton socks. They are inexpensive, comfortable, inexpensive, washable, inexpensive, easily replaceable, and inexpensive.

During winter, I typically wear wool socks. Under cold and damp conditions, they keep my feet warmer, drier, and more comfortable than other types of socks.

One drawback to wool socks is that they can be somewhat pricey. I can typically buy a half dozen pairs of cotton socks for less than what one good pair of wool socks cost.

The Opportunity

Recently, I was at a “Bin Sale” at a local thrift store. At a Bin Sale, most items are sold by the pound rather than individually. If I remember right, clothing at this particular Bin Sale was being sold for $1.49 a pound.

I ran across a rack of dozens of pairs of identical socks. These socks were labeled under the name, “Silver Fox”. The wording on the back of the label described them as “Style #600. Size 13-15. Description: U.S. Army Men Cushion Sole. 20% nylon, 30% cotton, 50% wool”. Since a pair of these socks in their packaging weighs just under four ounces, I could purchase them for about 37 cents a pair.

This left me in a bit of a quandary. This could be a great opportunity if they were decent socks. But there were certain risks involved. I normally wear size 11. It was possible that the socks would be much too large, and sag around my legs, making my ankles look like they belonged to an elephant. It was possible that they would be made of a low quality wool, which would irritate my skin. And it was possible that they would be poorly made, and would fall apart under heavy use.

Ultimately I decided that I could afford the risk of testing out six pair.

First Impressions

When I got home, I did a quick search of “Sliver Fox Socks” on duckduckgo to see what I could learn about my new acquisitions. I found out that somebody was selling similar socks on eBay for $18.90 or best offer plus $5.95 shipping. I was not able to find out much else.

Further examination of the packaging of the socks revealed the number “RN 116532″. More searching on duckduckgo revealed that “RN stands for Registered Identification Number. It is a number issued by the FTC to U.S. businesses that manufacture, import, distribute, or sell products covered by the Textile, Wool, and Fur Acts. Businesses can use this number on product labels instead of the company name.”

Entering this number in the FTC database revealed that the socks were packaged for sale by Just Inventory Solutions of Albany, New York. A visit to the website revealed that Just Inventory Solutions specializes in the disposition of excess inventory assets.

Evidently, some company found itself with a large overstock of army socks and a desperate need of cash. Just Inventory Solutions took the socks off of their hands in exchange for some cash and repackaged the socks. It appears that someone else, in turn, ended up with a large overstock of “Silver Fox” labeled army socks from Just Inventory Solutions. They, in turn, donated the socks to a thrift store for a tax write-off.

The Proof of the Pudding

After this initial research, the moment of truth arrived. It was time to actually put the socks on. I was very pleased at first. The socks fit fairly well right out of the package, and were reasonably comfortable. However, after wearing the first test pair just seven times, they developed a hole in one of the heels. I kept the one intact sock, and threw the perforated sock away.


I wore the second pair of test socks eight times without developing any holes. I did notice that over time they became significantly less comfortable than higher-quality wool socks. I also noticed that the heel of the sock tended to ride rather high on the heel of my foot.

The third test pair of Silver Fox socks did not even match each other. One of the socks had a cushion sole, and its mate did not. It felt strange to walk wearing this pair of socks: it was as if one of my legs was longer than the other. I ultimately rematched the cushion sole sock in this set with the surviving sock of the set that had developed a hole.

About this time, my wife found me another pair of Darn Tough brand Wool Socks at a thrift store. They only cost a dollar, and they were infinitely better than the Silver Fox socks that I was testing. They were more comfortable, more durable, and come with a lifetime guarantee. I was growing increasingly disenchanted with the Silver Fox socks.

Then my wife found me a couple of more pair of Silver Fox socks at another thrift store. They cost a dollar a pair. These two pair were theoretically my size. When I tried to put them on, they were much too small. They fit my wife okay, so she is currently using them.

The Test of Sorrow

Then one day at about 5:45 am, my phone rang. A grief-choked voice informed me that my mother had passed away quietly in her sleep. I promised that my wife and I would come immediately, and we began pulling on some clothes.

I began to reach for the pair of Silver Fox socks that I was planning to test that day, and then withdrew my hand. I picked out a pair of Darn Tough Wool Socks instead. I decided the day would be difficult enough without the added discomfort of a second-rate pair of socks. That is what ultimately convinced me not to recommend these socks. In a crisis situation, I would rather be wearing something else.

Even times of sorrow can have moments of laughter. We went to my Mom’s house and waited with the care giver while the Hospice nurse and then the funeral director came. The funeral director was embarrassed to admit that he had accidentally gone to the wrong house. He had knocked on the wrong door, but fortunately no one had answered. Then his partner pointed him toward the right house.

I eventually commiserated with the funeral director by telling him about one of my most embarrassing ministry mistakes. One time, I went to have pre-surgery prayer with a dear, saintly lady in our church. Another member of the congregation had passed away recently, and I had been working on that person’s funeral just before I left for the hospital. At the hospital, I chatted with the lady and her husband, and then bowed my head to pray for her upcoming surgery. When I opened my eyes after prayer, I found the lady looking at me intently with a whimsical expression on her face. She asked, “Do you know what you just prayed for?”

I replied, “That the surgery would go well?”

“No,” she answered. “You prayed that the funeral would go well.”

Fortunately, this lady was wonderfully gracious, had a great sense of humor, and the surgery did go well. The funeral for the church member who had passed away also went well.

Losing my Mother has been even more painful than I anticipated. She is a follower of Jesus Christ, and is now rejoicing in His presence. But I miss her a lot.

Coping with sorrow makes it harder to cope with bad socks. If the wheels come off, and society collapses, we will all have enough to cope with without worrying about bad socks.

Socks Versus Footwraps

Until fairly recently, many armies in the world chose to equip their soldiers with footwraps rather than socks for under-boot wear. For example, footwraps remained in use in the Russian Army for wear under heavy boots until 2013.

The major advantages of footwraps are that they are less expensive than similar-weight socks, they are easier to make, they dry more quickly than socks, and they can be re-wrapped in different positions to allow the fabric to wear more evenly.

The principle drawback of footwraps is that if they are inexpertly or carelessly put on, they can cause blisters or chafing more quickly than socks.


I found Silver Fox U.S. Army Men’s Cushion Sole socks to be woefully and pitifully inadequate. I do not recommend them or similar socks for field or even home use. There are better alternatives available at reasonable prices if you shop carefully.


I did not receive any financial or other inducements to mention any vendor, product, or service in this article.