Socks may not be as exciting as the latest skis, the newest backpacks or the latest waterproof breathable shells, but they’re at the core of your comfort and enjoyment on any outdoor activity, from hiking and biking to skiing and snowboarding.
We recently sat down with Margaret Chesebro, director of sales at Wigwam Mills, to talk socks. Turns out, Margaret is in the 4th generation of the family that founded Wigwam, so Wigwam socks don’t just have great tech, they’ve got serious history.
A little history
“My great grandfather Herbert Chesebro founded wigwam, coming from another hosiery business,” Margaret said. “He started out making socks for lumberjacks.”
Her grandfather then took over and had the claim to fame of bringing nylon into performance socks, earning him a place in the Sporting Goods hall of fame, she said.
Margaret’s dad, Bob Jr., is the current CEO and developer of Wigwam’s Ultimax and INGenius designs. Her brother works in Operations.
“Family permeates throughout the company,” she said. “We’ve been making socks for over 100 years, we know what goes into making a good sock.”
But enough about history, let’s talk socks, and what Wigwam is doing to keep your feet happy.
Working directly with yarn manufacturers, Wigwam is able to select the best materials, and avoid flash-in-the-pan trendy materials.
“2-3 years ago the buzz was bamboo because it was supposed to be green, but we chose not to use it because it was such a toxic process to turn the wood into fiber,” Margaret said.
Instead Wigwam has designed a combination of fibers in specific patterns that move moisture from the bottom of the foot (inside the shoe where it won’t evaporate) to the top of the sock (where it can dry quickly). They do that with a combination of hydrophilic and hydrophobic yarns for a push-pull system, she said.
While a lot of people think Merino wool means its from New Zealand, Margaret said Merino is actually a grade and Wigwam sources “Super Merino” mostly from U.S. Ranchers (about 90%).
Super Merino wool has a diameter of 18-18.5 microns, while typical Merino is around 22, she said. Wigwam also twists nylon around Merino fibers in high wear areas for reinforcement and durability.
In the “push-pull” system for moving moisture, Wigwam takes advantage of wool’s absorbing properties to pull, while synthetics wick.
“Merino will hold 30 percent of its weight in moisture before it feels damp,” Margaret said.
All that adds up to socks that keep your feet dryer, more comfortable, and blister free whether you’re running, hiking, biking, skiing – or whatever your adventure.
Check out our full selection of Wigwam Socks at Tahoe Mountain Sports and keep your feet happy!