A NORTH CAROLINA MICROSOCKERY
Why follow the peloton when you can lead the breakaway?
Cyclists are used to turning pedals uphill. Gnarly rock gardens aren’t obstacles, they’re features. High heat or cold rain? The only consideration is how to layer. Road closed? Cyclists see an invitation.
So when cyclist Shane Cooper founded DeFeet, he started by questioning convention.
What if we made cycling socks inside out?
In 1992, cycling socks were single use, white, and had little to no stretch, knit with a soft destructible outer layer and an inner lining of nylon.
The Aireator was reverse engineered for durability, performance, and comfort, switching the nylon to the outside for durability and strength, and keeping the softer fibers against the foot.
What if we used fiber made in the US?
We could import cheaper fibers that break or pill, or don’t feel as good against our skin. Instead, we maintain a restrictive localized supply chain for sourcing the highest quality fibers, selected for durability and comfort.
Our traceable Merino wool is grown in Oregon and processed in the Carolinas, and our recycled fiber, Repreve®, is manufactured here in North Carolina from locally recycled plastic bottles.
What if our customers designed their own socks?
It started when Greg LeMond asked for a technical cycling sock with his team logo. Other pro cyclists took note and requested custom Aireators, putting our socks to the test in the demanding conditions of training and competition.
Since that first custom order, we’ve created custom socks for teams, events, independent bike shops, brands, and even bridal parties. Cheap custom socks are a dime a dozen, but customizing a DeFeet sock results in a functional long-lasting medium for sport and promotion.
What if we kept it local?
Small towns in America were devastated when companies took their manufacturing overseas. We stayed home, knitting in small batches in our western North Carolina microsockery, keeping the local heritage of hosiery mills and manufacturing alive. We closely regulate where we source our materials and how far they travel.
We make socks for feet around the world, but we keep our footprint small and create less waste. Sock returns and material waste are recycled back into fiber by local NC partner, Material Return. Sock seconds are sold at events and donated to local shelters.
What if we turned our passion into a business?
The danger in turning play into work is losing play. We’re in no such danger. After hours and on weekends, we personally field-test our products on bumpy gravel roads that meander beside mountain streams, through wooded singletrack and loam, and climb steep roads along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Our business is socks that last.
As fast fashion pushes apparel towards disposable quality and one-size-fits-none construction, we carefully engineer our socks for the long game. DeFeet socks are backed with our 5-year guarantee.
"I have been buying DeFeet socks since the late 90's, thanks to a certain G. LeMond and another J. Museeuw - my idols. I have two pairs of socks from that time that I still use today. The heels and toes are still in perfect condition. The cuffs are starting to show a few signs of wear now, but considering that I have been wearing them regularly, both on and off the bike, for more than 20 years I'd be surprised if there wasn't!
I wanted to tell you that you have an amazing product and congratulate you (and your team) on a job well done in producing them. I will be a customer of yours for life."
- Deane Penland