The Most Influential Gear of All Time: Smartwool Merino Socks

1994

Smartwool socks     Photo: cursedthing/Flickr

Clothing manufacturers learned quickly that wool was the best fiber to keep skiers’ feet comfortable on the slopes, but it shrank and was itchy. Smartwool was able to discover a process to make wool fiber soft and easy to care for while also identifying the properties of wool, like staple fiber, that, when modified, further reduced itch. Smartwool introduced merino to the market in its socks. Since then, they’ve sold more than 70 million pairs. Now, merino is not only used for socks, but for clothing from base layer to outerwear by a number of apparel companies around the world.

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