Sock weather. I always have a hard time admitting that it’s here. I guess I just like my feet to feel free is the reason. But then suddenly it is here and I need something to keep my feet from going numb. Would that I could have bare ankles all winter…
In the spirit of staying warm and cozy—and as ever pushing my agenda that socks make some of the very best holiday presents out there—here’s a list of thoughtful companies making superior socks. It’s worth noting that almost all of the companies on this list have been up to creative and inspiring ways to keep manufacturing in the US—in many cases reviving hosiery mills in places like North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Louisiana—while also thinking about their larger supply chain and using sustainable materials sourced from thoughtful places. Socks can be a hopeful thing, too.
While I haven’t worn socks from all of these places myself, these are all companies that I have on my radar for the next time I need to revamp my sock collection (or buy Christmas presents).
American Trench: These guys have a big collection of classic socks knit in a family-owned mill in Pennsylvania. Their women’s sock options are slightly more limited than their options for men, but I love the look of the Shiprock Stripe in Merino and Cashmere and the Boot Socks in Wool and Silk. Made in the USA.
B.Ella Socks: These socks are made in New Jersey from imported fibers and they’re primarily sold wholesale through other retailers. Lots of folks swear by their cashmere blend socks (those beautiful snowflake socks pictured were a Christmas present last year). (Full disclosure: I have found that their socks are very beautiful but that they tend to slip a little bit and they do require a bit of special care to keep their shape.) Made in the USA.
Conscious Socks: GOTS- and Fairtrade-certified cotton socks made in India and sold to support specific charities working on causes ranging from poverty to the environment to disease and education. Imported. (Ed note: Updated this post on Nov. 29, 2016 to include this company.)
Darn Tough: These socks are made in a family-owned mill in the Green Mountains of Vermont. They specialize in performance socks—shop sections include activities like hiking, trekking, running, skiing, and biking—for myself, I’d probably choose from among the Solid Basic Crew Light socks to stock my drawer. Learn more about their mill right here. Made in the USA.
Maggie’s Organics: Classic (and tie-dyed, but of course) socks made from Fair Trade Organic cotton purchased direct from farmers in Nicaragua and Merino wool from farmers in Argentina. All of their socks are knit in mills in North Carolina. You can read more about their sustainability measures right here. For folks looking to stock a whole sock drawer, it’s especially nice that these folks sell their socks in packs of 3 or 6. Their Organic Cotton Crews look just right to me. (Also: Baby socks!) Made in the USA.
Mitscoots: This Texas-based company now makes a range of products, but they started out with socks made from American-sourced cotton in North Carolina mills. They also have a social component: For every pair of socks purchased, they donate a pair to folks in need. Even better, they work with placement agencies to employ the transitioning homeless. You can read more about their mission here. While some of the styles are a little more bold or sporty than I’d typically opt for, there’s a big range. I’d choose the Brown Women’s Socks or their wintry Snowflake Socks. (Also: More baby socks!) Made in the USA.
This Night: These socks are made in Pennsylvania from US-grown ring-spun cotton. Owner Kate Williamson sent me a pair to try last spring and they’re really wonderful. Thick but not too thick, stretchy, but not too stretchy. For folks who love graphic socks, this is a good place to head. As for me, I like the simple stripes the best. Made in the USA.
PACT Apparel: PACT sells all kinds of organic cotton basics, socks included. I’d navigate to the Women’s Cotton Crew Socks myself—but as a small-footed person I’m curious about their one-size-fits-all model. (We’ve also loved their cotton baby socks.) You can read more about the company and their commitment to GOTS-certified organic cotton, here. Imported.
Zkano: These socks are made in Alabama from certified Organic combed cotton and low-impact dyes. Knit in a GOTS-certified facility. I really love the look of their thin-striped Olive socks (especially the Olive Crew Socks Striped Red) and the slouchy Rose socks (especially the Rose Slouch Socks in Oatmeal). Made in the USA.
As always, if you have favorites to add to the list, please do!
If you need more minimalist wardrobe reading, head right this way.
(PS. Maybe you don’t need socks at all! And truth be told, these guys sound like they have all the socks they need, but if you’d like to donate other cold-weather items to the courageous folks spending cold days and nights outside protecting sacred lands and water supplies in North Dakota, head here.)