Socks that Don’t Suck
When most of us hear the word technology, we think silicon, batteries and things with glowing apples on them. We don’t think socks–the tubular hosiery, less the infusion of nylon 70 years ago, seem relatively innovation proof. Not so, says Ministry of Supply. The same folks who are trying to reinvent the dress shirt are bringing to bear the latest in material technology and design to the lowly sock.
Here is some of the juice that makes the ATLAS sock so special:
- Construction of 40% recycled polyester infused with carbonized coffee, 40% cotton, and 20% elastane. The blend is designed to be highly breathable and wicking. The coffee is an odor retardant, important for a sock with such a high synthetic composition.
- The sock underwent strain analysis to find out where our feet flex so the sock’s design moves with, not against our foot’s natural flexion points, thereby avoiding bunching and sagging.
- MoS conducted “pressure mapping,” which helped them “visualize how you apply pressure and where you need extra support in your socks.” Areas are reinforced according to those pressure points.
- Thermal mapping allowed MoS to see where hot spots most frequently occur and provide additional ventilation accordingly.
MoS told CNET that one of their biggest challenges was finding a facility that could handle the 3D knitting process necessary to manufacture the sock per their design. MoS reports that they “landed on one of the most advanced textile mills on the planet, who works with brands like Patagonia.”
The sock, like their shirt, is a Kickstarter project. They have already raised almost $70K of their $30K goal. A $28 pledge will buy you two pair of socks (loafer and full length version are available). Not cheap, but not ridiculous either. And if the socks live up to their claims, it could be a very worthwhile investment.
One thing MoS did not stress is the durability of the sock, which is a big question mark for us. Great fitting socks are, well, great. But if you tear a hole in them in your first few wears, they’re kinda useless. The resistance to bunching might help avoid strain that leads to holes, but we’re not sure.
We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again, but if designers and engineers exerted a fraction of the creative energy normally reserved for electronics to everyday items like socks, our everyday would be a lot smarter than it currently is. We applaud MoS for thinking outside the LCD box.