Footwear Insight

January / February 2019

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22 • Footwear Insight ~ January / February 2019 From Hike to Run and Beyond: Top Trends in the Sock Market Socks, whether they're built for downhill ski runs, tough trail hikes or just a scenic walk, are continuing to refine themselves through technology and style. Regardless of activity, customers are demanding socks that are comfortable, form-fitting, durable and versatile. Advances in knitting techniques and new fibers are turning socks into superheroes for the feet — and for the environment. Here's a look at what's new for 2019. HOSIERY HIKE AND RUN PERFORMERS Technical fabrications and innovative design have performance hike and run socks taking it to the next level. Here, brands discuss new products and trends on the rise. Balega's UltraLight No Show, MSRP $13, is a performance athletic sock that features Drynamix performance yarn, a triple "Y heel" construction that expands like a fan to cup the heel for a precise fit, extended cushion- ing in the heel and toe areas for durability and comfort without added bulk and three levels of elastication. "For a number of seasons we have moved toward a combination of natural and synthetic fibers and lighter weight construction," says Tanya Pictor, Balega's VP–marketing. "It is all about comfort and performance at the same time. We are pushing the boundaries by making the socks so comfortable that you hardly know you are wearing them and creating innovative solutions for some of the issues athletes struggle with." Drymax's Extra Protection Hyper Thin Running Sock, MSRP $23, features a thin flat-knit dual-layer foot-hugging design with strategic ventilation on the top of the foot and around the arch and PTEE in the forefoot and heel to eliminate friction. "Drymax is choosing to focus on technical advances in synthetic fibers, fiber durability, blister protection, antimicrobials and advanced proprietary knitting techniques," says Bob MacGillivray, Drymax EVP. "Drymax makes socks for the feet; the eyes are of secondary concern." The Feetures! Elite Light Cushion No Show Tab, MSRP $15.99, features tar- geted compression with an anatomical fit. It has arch support for comfort and support. "Customization is prevalent in the market in the form of sublimation printing and 360 printing and it will continue to gain momen- tum," says Joe Gaither, VP-marketing. "The next big thing will be incorporating smart textiles into socks, whether it's in the form of a topical treatment or inherent in the yarns." Fox River's Basecamp, NFZ, MSRP $18, is a lightweight hiker. The Merino blend sock is treated to protect against ticks, mos- quitoes and other insects. It features Wick Dry Technology, a combination of strategic padding and mesh panels for comfort and a proprietary fit system. "Fox River has made significant invest- ments in technology to dramatically reduce the lead times and improve the ability to directly link the shop floor to the design group to reduce the layers to product development and design," says Bruce Barrows, VP for ESSENTIAL PERFORMERS

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