Backwards is Our Way Forward
In 1992 DeFeet knitted the Aireator sock backwards from conventional cycling sock construction. At that time, cycling socks were single use, white, and had little to no stretch, knitted with a soft destructible outer layer and an inner lining of nylon. With dyslexia as his super power, founder Shane Cooper was used to doing things backwards, working his way around a concept from the inside out. His father gave him a new electronic sock machine and challenged him to pay for it in three months. Shane purchased $300 of Coolmax fiber, and set out to reverse engineer a better sock: using nylon on the outside of a sock for durability and strength, the softer fibers against the foot for comfort, and a revolutionary Coolmax mesh weave on the instep to pull moisture away from the skin. The conception of the Aireator gave birth to DeFeet.
Making Our Sock Your Own
Professional cyclists paid attention. In 1994, cyclist Greg LeMond requested a black sock with a 5” cuff to resist the dirt and mud of the Spring Classics. DeFeet customized the sock with his logo knitted into the cuff. DeFeet then made a white version of the sock for Team Gan, and customized each sock with the rider’s name woven into the sole. DeFeet custom socks became a hot commodity. Cycling companies all wanted custom socks with their logo on the cuff, and the DeFeet Aireator became the industry gold standard of socks.
Natural & Recycled, Made in the USA
From the beginning, DeFeet was determined to maintain ethical and sustainable production in the USA. When the majority of the knitting business moved production overseas, Shane Cooper turned his back on outsourcing and doubled down on maintaining a local supply chain. Our merino wool comes from happy sheep in the Rocky Mountains, is washed and carded in South Carolina, spun in North America, and knitted in our microsockery in North Carolina. Our Eco-blend comes from eastern North Carolina, where Repreve yarn is manufactured from recycled plastic bottles.
Fibers and the Future
DeFeet started with innovative construction and custom socks, and progressed to innovative fiber with our proprietary wool and recycled poly blend. 2022 will mark 30 years for DeFeet. As we move towards that anniversary, we look back and reflect on how far we’ve come. We look ahead and ask ourselves, what else can we do backwards to move forwards?