Just a little more than a year old, the Goodhew sock company has its feet firmly planted in the outdoor industry. In July, we reported on Goodhew’s just-in-time manufacturing strategy, which allows retailers to make small, frequent orders. (Click here to read the SNEWS® story “Goodhew seeking to simplify the sock business.”) The company has also set itself apart from the competition by focusing on a tight line of lifestyle socks, rather than making the usual wide range of sport-specific models.
Having tested men’s and women’s Goodhew socks for three months, the SNEWS team has definitely carved out a spot for them at the front of our sock drawers.
Like most of Goodhew’s lifestyle socks, the lightweight men’s Milan is the ideal thickness for dress shoes, travel shoes or sneakers. Actually, it’s thinner than many of the lifestyle socks from other brands that we’ve tested. Despite this, the sock has proven to be durable after plenty of wear and many washings. The toe area and heel -- which tend to wear out first -- remain solid, and the only sign of wear is a bit of pilling across the top of the forefoot area. Considering what happens with our standard dress socks, the Milan has held up well.
Made with 66-percent merino wool, the Milan feels very soft against the skin. The lightweight wool was also perfect for cool and slightly warm fall weather. Our male tester, whose feet tend to be hot, reported that the sock never made his feet feel overly warm and did not make them sweaty, which tends to happen with his thicker casual socks made with wool.
The Milan is also 29-percent stretch nylon and 5-percent spandex to help the sock keep its shape and to prevent it from slipping down the leg. For the most part, the materials did the job. The Milan socks have not gotten baggy, and they slipped down only occasionally, though our tester wasn’t forced to pull them up constantly throughout the day. One major plus was that the elastic ribbing at the top of the sock kept them secure without strangling the calf. Also, elastic ribbing at the arch prevented the front portion of the sock from sliding about, but it was loose enough that it didn’t squeeze the foot too tightly.
Our only criticism was that the toe area might be a bit narrow for wider feet. Our male tester with low-volume feet noted that the toe seam just barely stretched across the entire width of his toe area, so the socks might not fit wider feet as well. Nevertheless, the size large/extra large Milan did offer plenty of stretch throughout the rest of the sock to fit a higher-volume foot.
Our female tester said her Winding Floral socks were a perfect fit for her feet, and she enjoyed wearing them with sneakers. It actually proved to be more durable than the Milan and showed less pilling. Plus, our tester said the Winding Floral did not wear in the toe area as quickly as her other casual socks. It’s made with 39-percent merino wool, and the remaining blend of materials (35-percent nylon, 21-percent bamboo and 5-percent Spandex) made them more resilient than a sock with a higher concentration of merino.
She added that the socks were soft, extremely comfortable, and provided just the right amount of warmth without feeling hot. The nylon and spandex kept the socks securely in place, with our tester noting, “They stay snug even after I wear them for hours. Plus, they don’t bag at the heel the way a lot of my other socks do.”
The elastic ribbing at the top of the Winding Floral was a bit tighter than the ribbing on the Milan, but our female tester had no complaints about the sock being tight, and noted that they never slipped down.
As far as aesthetics go, she liked the scrollwork stitching and star-shaped flowers of orange, green and blue, which dot the khaki-colored sock. While Goodhew does not have the breadth of designs that some competitors offer, its offerings are attractive and should please a wide range of customers. Women can also choose from socks with cable-knit patterns, a marigold floral pattern, as well as striped designs and Argyle patterns. The men’s socks are primarily solid colors, with a few striped models also available.
When we first saw that another sock company was entering the market, we figured any newcomer would face an uphill battle. But Goodhew was smart to address the need for more lifestyle products, and they have offered quality goods to back up their business strategy. We’re definitely putting more Goodhew socks on our holiday wishlist.
SNEWS® Rating: 4.5 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)
Suggested Retail: $15.99 Milan; $14.99 Winding Floral
For more information: www.goodhew.us.com