After moving to Cambridge, I have a new found appreciation for SmartWool socks after buying my first pair at CitySports as a freshman. Not only do they keep my feet dry in my snow boots and sneakers, but they also keep me warm. Not to mention the added bonus that you don’t need to wash them after every wear and that they are super durable and incredible quality.
Not surprisingly SmartWool socks were created by two skiers in 1994 in Colorado. What made their product unique was the use of Merino Wool, which comes from Merino Sheep.
Merino is a specific breed of sheep that tend to live in high altitudes, causing their wool to have particularly appealing qualities when used in socks and other wearable products. According to SmartWool’s website, Merino wool is more breathable, better able to wick away moisture than other yarns, has natural temperature regulating capabilities, it is resilient, order resistant, soft, fast drying, and contains natural sun protectant. In short, because of Merino, SmartWool socks are awesome.
It is believed that Merino sheep originated in Spain and became more popular after they were sent to Australia and cross-bred with other types of sheep. Interestingly, merino wool has not only been used for socks, or for its wicking abilities. Merino wool in part became famous in the early 20th century after famous French designers, Coco Chanel, Dior, Yves Saint Laurent used Merino in some of their designs.
Coco Chanel Dress, 1924, Merino Wool
In 2004, Timberland acquired SmartWool, and in 2011, VF, the parent company of NorthFace, acquired Timberland, and therefore SmartWool for $2.2 Billion.