Minus33 is manufacturing its Mountain Heritage Hiking Socks in its home state of New Hampshire. The merino wool outdoor specialty brand has over 100 years of roots in Ashland, VT.
The company’s Mountain Heritage sock is a homecoming for the brand, which just bought back the historic Scribner mill building of its parent company, L.W. Packard, the textile business that remained one of the largest employers in the region from the late 1800s until free trade agreements disrupted textile business models in the U.S. around the turn of the last century.
“The socks we were importing just weren’t up to our standards. It was a quality issue, and there was a definite communication issue with the sock manufacturers overseas,” said Vice President of L.W. Packard and Lead Sock Designer Lawson Glidden. “So we decided to make our own. This has been a textile company for over 100 years, and we knew we had the expertise to pull that off.”
Mountain Heritage Hiking Socks offer a high merino wool content with a custom-fit removing chafing when worn. The socks have just enough nylon and spandex to stay in place without cutting into the foot while retaining a warm air pocket that keeps feet insulated.
“We strive to have more merino wool content than our competitors, but there is a limit to the amount of merino you can put into a sock before you start to sacrifice durability and longevity,” said Glidden. “It’s a balancing act of having enough merino wool to wick away sweat and having the nylon and elastic to keep the sock in place and keep it functioning for a long, long time. I wasn’t aiming to make a fashion statement with the Mountain Heritage. It’s a utility sock. It’s a sock that has a purpose, and that purpose is to keep your feet warm and comfortable and blister-free during any outdoor endeavor.”
Available in various heights, weights and colors, Mountain Heritage socks benefit from a prototyping stage that Glidden believes to be over 1000 iterations. They are available in lightweight and micro weight merino in six different heights, three different cushion levels and five colors.
“Outside my office there’s a giant yellow bucket. It’s just filled to the brim with socks all the time because that’s how often I’m prototyping. You can try to work on ten things at a time, but generally, it’s better to focus on one or two,” said Glidden. “It comes down to materials and fit. Once you get past that, there’s not much to it. We made a sock that’s very comfortable and works. It’s a safety product. You want to be in the woods and not get blisters, not freeze your feet.”
Minus33 backs its socks with a 30-day satisfaction guarantee and a two-year warranty with registration.
L.W. Packard engineers created Minus33 to keep doing business in an outsourced market. The socks are a first step toward bringing manufacturing back to the U.S. Inclusive sizing ranges up to 6XL in select styles and down to kids and toddlers.
For more product information, go here.
Photo courtesy Minus33