environmental impact

We’re seriously committed to minimizing our environmental impact and we’d like to be transparent about what we currently do, where we’re falling short and why it might be a little more complex than most commonly advertised.

One very specific obstacle is that there are currently no truly sustainable alternatives that match the compression and longevity of elasthane in performance socks.

While that is likely to change (we’re testing - read about the various approaches below), we chose to focus on challenging both the production process as well as the overall life (span) of our products, areas where our choices directly impact our footprint.

beginning of life

Can we source more locally? And how do we minimize the impact at every stage of our production?

Sustainability often focuses exclusively on a product’s end of life, but some of the most important decisions are taken right back at the beginning: Where do the resources come from? And how are they being processed and shipped?

LOCALLY SOURCED YARN & MINIMAL TRANSPORTATION

Our yarn is produced in Italy, close to where our production is located, which minimizes the transportation footprint and also ensures EU environmental standards are met throughout production. By the time you read this this will also apply to our second production facility in Portugal.

↳ DOPE DYED USING LESS WATER & CHEMICALS

Our yarn is colored using a DOPE DYE process, which infuses the color pigments directly into the polymer melt during the spinning process. Compared to conventional dyeing this manages to use around 55% less energy, 80% less water, 77% less chemicals and produce around 20% less greenhouse emissions.

↳ KNITTED WITH 100% RENEWABLE ENERGY

Our socks are knitted using entirely renewable energy, 25% of which is created directly through our production’s own solar plant, with the remaining 75% being purchased from external renewable providers. Additionally, our production applies advanced water recycling and waste management systems.

↳ THE BEST OF EUROPEAN MANUFACTURING

This relates more to worker’s rights, wages and conditions (and to the manufacturing quality of the product), but looking at sustainability holistically, it is of no lesser importance. Plus, we’re able to know and meet with each of our partners personally (from management to individual machinists) and we can be present at every step.

We’d love to have better answers to a variety of questions but the truth is, it’s incredibly complex.

Every solution comes with a list of positives and negatives (see below) of which many have yet to prove themselves in terms of delivering the required performance and longevity.

Looking ahead

We’re aware that what we currently do isn’t nearly enough. Our goal is to find a better answer to your sock’s afterlife.

To give you a bit of insight on what we’re experimenting with and why it’s not all that simple, we gathered some information below. If you’re a manufacturer of sustainable yarn and would like to work with us, feel free to reach out. We’d be happy to include your product in our test cycles.

Biodegradeable?

Biodegradable is great, but what if the chemicals that are needed to make materials degradable are released back into the soil? And how much energy was needed to create it in the first place? We're testing biodegradeable options but it is yet to be verified whether they can compete with the life span of our current product.

Biobased?

Biobased materials which replace fossil fuels with natural processes (such as algae) have a much smaller CO2 footprint but what’s mostly being created is still plastic that will last half an eternity and doesn’t solve the issue of waste recycling. However, we're also testing and considering biobased options for our future products as they do represent a powerful element of systemic change.

Recycled?

There are two sides to recycling: using recycled materials – which we're most actively experimenting with – and recycling our used products – which might be the biggest challenge. Given the fact that synthetic elasthane still outperforms any sustainable alternative (we know of), creating a 100% recycled distance running sock is still a thing of the future, albeit hopefully near. However, with our ECONYL® yarn in the new RACE DAY SOCK we are already utilizing one of the best sustainable yarn options available. It offers the same quality and performance as virgin fibers, but with outstanding environmental benefits as it is regenerated from nylon waste. We should soon be able to announce a high performance solution that uses almost entirely recycled resources (upward of 70%) as well as a special edition made from 100% excess fiber stock. The big step we're aiming for is a system of taking back old socks and disassembling the raw material for new use.

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