Smartwool socks are common amongst adventure-seekers and throughout the outdoors community. The slogan, “go far. feel good” alludes to the socks high durability and moisture-wicking properties. The long-lasting nature of the socks add to the sustainability of the product and make it so that people don’t need to buy new ones every year. There is also a wide variety of specialized socks created for hiking, running, biking, skiing, walking, etc. that allow people to find the perfect sock for whatever type of adventure they’re planning. Their mission is “to bring comfort, confidence, and community to a life lived outside.” The socks were first created in 1994 with the goal of keeping skiers feet warmer for longer. They were the first outdoor company to make performance Merino wool ski socks, which revolutionized the merino wool industry.
Overall, Smartwool is relatively transparent about their environmental impact. Their website contains detailed information on their suppliers and materials, as well as include a product transparency report which details the environmental impact and future goals for the sustainability of their company. In my own opinion, Smartwool is a great option if you need to buy a new pair of socks. However, the nylon aspect significantly adds to its environmental impact. Nonetheless, it is near impossible to find a durable sock that isn’t created with nylon.
Smartwool socks are made in the USA with imported yarn that is made up of 69% Merino Wool, 30% Nylon, 1% Elastane. Smartwool uses ZQ accredited wool which is the world’s leading ethical wool. It ensures a high level of animal welfare as well as environmental, social, and economic sustainability. Merino Wool is also considered to be a sustainable material due to its ability to biodegrade and recycle. Nylon, on the other hand, is incredibly harmful to the environment, as the production of it releases large amounts of nitrous oxide, a harmful greenhouse gas. Nylon is used in most socks for its lightweight, durable, and water resistant quality.
Socks are created by large machines that knit together the merino wool, nylon, and elastane. The end of the socks are then sewn/seamed together to close the toe. The socks are washed in order to remove any excess oil, dirt, or grease from the manufacturing process and are then dried through a special merino mood drier. Lastly, the socks are packaged and sent out for distribution.
Smartwool prides itself on being USA Made. The socks are first designed in Denver, CO at Smartwools office and then sent to Chattanooga, TN where the construction and design of the socks are perfected. Socks are then produced in mills in Tennessee and North Carolina. Smartwool is also aware of their impact and is striving to partner with the right people and certifications, reassess their supply chain, and make clothes from recycled and natural materials.