The sock industry has been pulling the wool over your eyes.
The sock industry hasn’t changed in years.
When we started exploring the sock industry for problems, we just saw socks everywhere. Colored socks, patterns, you name it.
People sold socks at kiosks. Packaging had claims. Many of which had no truth.
Another thing that we saw again and again, were terms and GIMMICKS, like 'copper-infused'.
For most companies advertising became increasingly sophisticated. It seems like they have become really good at ramping up profits.
Well, if it’s lucrative why change?
This is something that simply has just always been done that way. It will probably stay the same until someone comes along with a different approach.
Recently, we’ve seen a drastic change across many industries due to COVID-19. These are forced changes. And many of these changes will make the world a better place. Socks support the feet.
Try a day-hike without socks. If we wear a shoe there’s contact. Contact takes place between the foot and the shoe, and the foot, and the sock. We put a lot of pressure on our legs and feet while standing, walking and running.
Our socks can be tailored to fit a need. Yet, for some reason, people have issues with their socks like the fit, height, warmth etc. A major problem lies in the durability of a sock. A sock loses its structure after repeated washings. This is something manufacturers have to take into consideration.
Supply chains move products from the production of raw materials, to factories and then to warehouses for storage. The whole process seems, almost as vast as the Milky Way Galaxy. .
Since, COVID-19 surfaced, our supply chains have been disrupted. Things cost more from cargo to raw materials, to production and so on. Many companies will have changed their approaches to stay afloat.
When it comes to making a sock companies haven’t changed their approach in one area…
The structure and function of a sock.
For the last 50 years the sock industry has maintained the same fabric and weave. And technology has afforded us the opportunity to change things.
The fashion industry can reduce its environmental footprint by making less clothing...one way to do this is to have consumers drive change. We can resist fashionable, trendy items and buy fewer items of clothing.
Items should be more durable. And allow the consumer to make things more simple.
The push for change
Unfortunately, some things won’t change unless there is massive pressure. One of the approaches that we take at Care Remote is to ask ourselves, ‘how can we do better’?
Our education system is warped in my eyes. I remember my daughter was starting school. I had already grounded her education in the outdoors. We lived in rural Nevada and this was just a magnificent place.
I enrolled her in a Waldorf school. The Waldorf education system focused on learning by doing. There were rules to protect the kinds like no screens, shirts with cartoon characters, calculators.
There was a rhythm…
The kids would meet outside the school in the morning, no matter what the conditions were.
It was social. The children could play and thrive because the system was designed to meet them right where they were. It was efficient, and natural at the same time.
This allowed them to feel what the weather was like, to prepare for what was ahead of them and to work together as a unit.
My daughter excelled in school. The school's approach was very similar to our approach at home.
Our education system should put the student in control. It should be a place where a student’s talents are developed. And it should prepare the student for life in career, relationships and in the community.
Like our education system, the sock industry has been standing in one place for a long time.
For the last 50 years brands have not changed. The cotton sock that you buy at the local shop has a whorl-like pattern.
Dimensional stability is a problem in sock manufacturing. The structure of a sock is not a regular tubular structure. It has different kinds of yarn with zone knitting zones in the heel and toes.
Socks undergo wear and tear which leads to the breakdown of the sock.
After repeated washings, fabrics begin to break down
There is really no structure to it. What happens is that people have to return to buy more.
But, why have things been the same all of these years?
What has changed is the packaging. Brands have evolved their packaging and communication for advertising purposes.
A business receives money in exchange for a product or service. There hasn’t been any economic pressure to change. Companies change when they need to. If they do not they’ll fail. What happened to Sears, JCPenney, Atari?
These companies failed because they failed to evolve their business models. Blockbuster Video was a good example of this. Technology began to change and Blockbuster couldn’t see the terrain. Other companies like Netflix, appeared on the scene like a hawk ready for dinner. Opportunity presents itself after you have done the work.
You are more able to see what makes sense and what doesn’t.
Preconceived Ideas and Notions About Socks
'Why should I change anything, if it works?' Many people have an ingrained mindset, and I am guilty of this also. Technology drives civilization and things are changing all of the time becoming-faster, cheaper and more efficient.
Another preconceived idea is the idea that wool socks have to be bulky. They do not have to be bulky to be warm. A well designed wool with the right composition can do wonders.
Some call it trials and tribulations. Others call it evolutionary leaps.
Things are changing and new ways of making products are being introduced to the market.
Think in terms of the path forward…
Because, companies that take the approach of solving a problem - can be transformative.
Imagine wearing a product that makes you feel proud. Something that you can look at and say, ‘I really like these socks’.
The Future, The Promise Land and Advanced Textiles
Can a sock do more than just cover your foot?
Of course, it can. A good sock can change your life.
I see a sock as a garment. A garment that becomes a part of your lifestyle. It can fit like a second skin. A second skin that provides all of the functionality of skin.
Temperature regulation, bacterial defense, adaptability in terms of allowing you to use it for more than one activity.
Fabrics can be designed for a variety of applications or uses. Performance fabrics are very popular nowadays. Mainly, they are used for active wear, sports wear, seasonal activities, mountains, urban wear, protective wear, workwear, military - you name it.
I think the area of smart fabrics and advanced textiles are a growing market. These fabrics go far beyond what they were originally designed for.
Socks can be designed to interface with the anatomy of the human body. Our feet and legs are dynamic. They move, change directions, change temperature and so forth.
‘Hot spots’ on the foot can be taken into account.
For instance, Is there friction over the heel? Can the sock be designed to support the blood flow to the feet?
New advances in textiles have opened up new opportunities around the clothing that we wear. And it makes a difference.
Other, therapeutic ways forward may involve sensors. These sensors can detect early stage foot ulcers and other early warning signs.
Our socks have been used by people with polyneuropathy - a very painful nervous system disorder that can feel like pins and needles or a shooting pain through the limb.
The sock becomes a superheroes shield protecting the feet and legs from this shooting pain.
The socks industry has not had to change. There hasn’t been any pressure from the consumer. If a business is making a profit and there aren’t many options out there why change.
There have been advances in this industry and they are coming fast.
Now, you do have choices and socks are becoming more personalized.
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