Smartwool, a manufacturer of Merino wool apparel for active living, announces the release of its first circular sock — the Second Cut™ Hike Sock. This sock delivers the same iconic comfort and performance the brand’s Original Classic Hike Sock, but is made with repurposed yarn from Smartwool’s Second Cut™ sock takeback program that launched in 2021. The Second Cut™ sock highlights Smartwool’s shift toward a circular business model, which involves collecting and repurposing materials for deconstruction and reuse.
Smartwool, best known for being a pioneer in making performance Merino wool socks, is one of the first brands to commit to a focus on sock circularity. After several years of experimentation and thousands of consumer donations, Smartwool is re-spinning old socks into new yarn. The repurposed yarn is blended with responsibly sourced Merino wool and designed with an elasticized arch and seamless toe for comfort. Smartwool teamed up with North Carolina-based circularity manufacturing facility, Material Return to develop and refine this process.
“Smartwool’s partnership with Material Return has ultimately led to a closed-loop model that goes beyond recycling,” says John Ramsey, Director of Product Development at Smartwool. “We were able to accomplish this through new and innovative technology, team collaboration, and consumer participation. Investing in this process has enabled Smartwool to take leaps forward toward our goal of shifting towards a more circular business model.”
Only 14% of textiles are recycled according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and socks are one of the most discarded pieces of apparel. In April 2021, Smartwool launched its Second Cut™ sock take-back program to drive change in eliminating waste from the apparel industry and make it easy for consumers to be part of the solution.
Through the Second Cut™ program, consumers can recycle any sock brand, color, size, and material, but only material from donated Smartwool® socks was used to create the Second Cut™ sock. The first product featuring consumer donations was Smartwool’s Second Cut™ K9 Camp Cushion dog beds, where donated socks were repurposed into bed filling.
Since the Second Cut™ program launch, Smartwool has collected more than 725,000 socks and diverted more than 54,200 pounds of socks from landfills. To participate in the take-back program, consumers can add a pre-paid, mail-in bag to their cart at checkout to send in used socks for recycling.
The Smartwool® Second Cut™ Hike Sock is available for purchase at https://www.smartwool.com/shop/hike-classic-edition-full-cushion-2nd-cut-crew-socks-sw002246. To learn more about Smartwool’s Second Cut™ program, the brand’s sustainability journey and its use of regenerative materials, please visit https://www.smartwool.com/second-cut.html.
Based in Denver, Colorado, Smartwool® is a sock and apparel brand whose products are designed to get the most out of the inherent benefits of Merino wool and to bring comfort, confidence, and community to a life lived outside. For information on the full range of Smartwool® products or to find a dealer near you, please visit www.Smartwool.com. Smartwool, a division of VF Outdoor, LLC, is a brand of VF Corporation.
About Industrial Commons
The Industrial Commons is a community-based economic driver, rebuilding a diverse working class based on locally rooted wealth. Material Return, a cooperative enterprise of The Industrial Commons, is a U.S. leader in implementing customized textile circular systems for manufacturers and brands.