About this project
Thank you Kickstarter! We successfully reached our goal thanks to nearly 2,500 backers.
Our sock is now for sale on our website here.
Two years ago we were looking for a pair of socks that were warm enough for a hike on the coldest days of winter, but comfortable enough to wear to work. We also wanted socks with a timeless look that were made in America. The wool socks that grandma got us for Christmas were great, but we felt like there had to be something better out there.
The answer is the American Bison. Their inner coat is made up of a short, soft fiber that is warmer than wool and softer than cashmere. Blended with a combination of US Merino wool, spandex, and nylon we have created a classic and comfortable sock that will keep your feet warm and dry all winter long.
Join us on the journey and help us create The Ultimate American Sock.
Our rewards are simple and straightforward and we have one goal: To get you wearing the most comfortable, unique, and American sock ever - supporting multiple American industries along the way.
We reached our goal within the first 36 hours! And this means all our Early Backer socks were snapped up within hours. Due to popular demand we've added several new reward levels that will still allow you to give the gift of The Ultimate American Sock this holiday season.
Our Christmas Gift Packs include a recycled paper notebook with a vintage Bison print, a tuft of raw bison down, and a gift card with a picture and details about the sock(s) you are gifting them. The Christmas Pack will ship in time for Christmas. The socks will ship by March.
Please note, in order to make the Christmas Packs affordable and to get them to backers before the holiday, we are restricting these to ship within the USA (all other levels can ship internationally).
STRETCH GOAL REACHED: We have now reached the volume necessary to add both Navy Blue and Brick Red as a color options. To be eligible for the new colors, you must back at least 3 pairs of socks. You can choose from 1 pair of each color, 3 of the same color, or any other combination of at least 3 pairs. After the project is complete you will be able to choose your colors. For more details see our update.
Last year we set out to explore what it takes to make something in America. And what we learned was that many of the products made in this country are not necessarily made of US materials. Fueled by this realization, we set our sights on creating an everyday wearable item that was not only made in the US, but made of the most authentic American ingredients we could find.
Our search led us to an animal unique to our country: The American Bison (scientific name Bison bison. Also commonly referred to as the American Buffalo).
Not only are Bison unique to North America, but at roughly 2,000 pounds they are the largest land mammal to roam the continent. They are often considered the most majestic and fiercest animal in the country’s national parks and preserves. Yet despite their importance to the landscape and people, American Bison were nearly hunted to extinction by 1890, at which time there were fewer than 800 left surviving. Luckily, the story did not end there. Protected by legislation, conservationists, and breeding programs of privatized ranchers – the Bison population is now near 500,000 and they are no longer an endangered or threatened species.
Bison are not just a uniquely American story, their inner-coat is a soft and insulating fiber with many properties more advanced than the world’s best wool. This “down” coat is one of the reasons Bison have been able to survive in extreme climates of both hot and cold for millennia.
Compared to wool, bison down is warmer, better for moisture control, more durable and easier to care for. The major challenges of using bison down are it’s short staple (length of fiber) and exorbitant cost - some of the reasons why you don’t see it used more often.
Despite the challenges, we have spent the last year developing the yarn and have now created a sock that is technically sound, commercially viable, and fully made in America. We have put together a supply chain of ranchers out west, yarn spinners in the east, and a sock knitter in the Midwest to deliver a high quality sock that is responsibly made and durable.
When bought in small volume, one pound of Bison down can cost as much as $300 because each animal only produces approximately 4-6 ounces of usable fiber per year. The short length of the fiber also presents a major challenge for spinning sock yarns. It wasn’t until we blended it with American merino wool (which has a long staple) that we were able to create a yarn stable enough to knit into socks.
The two major factors in creating a good sock yarn are Staple Length and Micron Count.
Once our yarns have been spun they are carefully knit into a sock that we engineered with one of the top sock knitters in the United States. With a flat toe seam, reinforced heel, and padding for support, the Ultimate American Sock is built for comfort and durability.
The final composition of the Ultimate American Sock is the result of thoughtful research and planning and results in a sock that is warm, technical, and incredibly durable.
The final product comes packaged in a box made in Wisconsin. The story of the sock and its journey through America is an integral part of the package's design.
This box is too cool to get rid of, so we are hoping you will find another use for it. But if you do decide to throw it away, be sure to toss it in your compost - this box is certified biodegradable and compostable.
The Ultimate American Sock comes in two sizes. The fit and sizes are unisex. Reference the below chart for what size you would wear.
These socks are incredibly easy to care for. Due to their antimicrobial properties, feel free to wear them a few times before washing. But when they do need to be cleaned, simply machine wash warm, inside out. Then tumble dry with low heat. No need to bleach, iron or dry clean the Ultimate American Sock!
My name is Brian and we are United By Blue. We’re based in Philadelphia and have been making and selling responsible, durable goods for nearly five years now. Using natural and sustainable fibers we make everything from shirts and bags to socks. And for every product that we sell, we remove one pound of trash from our nation’s oceans and waterways through company organized and hosted cleanups (116 cleanups and 203,510 lbs of trash and counting).
United By Blue is a certified B Corporation. B Corps are certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.
We’ve engineered a brand new product with a supply chain we put together through months of research. As a new product, we are uncertain of the demand for it. In order to make The Ultimate American Sock commercially viable we need to buy hundreds of pounds of Bison fiber, but this will cost us upwards of $15,000 - a big risk unless we have a reason for all the Bison fiber.
This is why we have turned to you and Kickstarter. With your support we can help redefine American made.
Risks and challenges
We have a team in place and have experience developing products and taking them to market at United By Blue. One of our main risks associated with the Ultimate American Sock is the availability of Bison down. Through our current suppliers we have access to upwards of 7,000 lbs of fiber at the time this project closes. This is more than enough for even the best-case results of this project (50,000+ pairs of socks) - but since there is a limited supply, this is a risk we must disclose.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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