Smartwool Heathered Rib Socks Review

6 May

smartwool heathered rib

Product Description:

In 1994 two New England-based ski instructors named Peter and Patty Duke saw an opportunity to harness merino wool to make a new generation of performance outdoor-products.  They set up shop in Steamboat Springs, Colorado and named their new company Duke Designs, Inc.

Then to market their first lines of socks, the Dukes created the ‘Smartwool’ ingredient brand to teach customers that the soft, durable, naturally-wicking, and odor-resistant merino wool in these socks was fundamentally different from the scratchy wool they were used to.

In 2002 Smartwool socks and apparel had become so well-known that Duke Designs, Inc. officially changed its name to Smartwool Corporation.  Then in 2005, the Timberland Company (based in Stratham, New Hampshire) acquired Smartwool, but kept their new subsidiary independent with its Steamboat Springs headquarters and existing management.

The socks themselves are made of 71% Merino wool, 27% Nylon, and 2% Elastane (the same thing as Spandex).  They also have a little extra padding around the heel and toe (what makes them different from the Smartwool classic rib).

American Alternative Review:

Smartwool and Timberland are both still headquartered in the US.  Smartwool also manufactures all of its Performance socks and some of its Lifestyle socks in its two US factories in Tennessee and North Carolina, and the heathered rib socks are one of the types of lifestyle socks that are made in the US.  Check out the video below to see one of their factories in action:

zque_logoSmartwool imports all of its yarns though.  But, the largest portion of that yarn (the wool), doen’t come from just a random commodity source.  Starting in 2010, Smartwool signed a contract to use only Zque wool.  That means all of the wool in Smartwool products is certified and documented by the New Zealand Merino Company (based in Christchurch, New Zealand) to the highest standards with regards to “environmental integrity, animal welfare, social responsibility, economic sustainability, traceability.”

The wool itself used to all come from New Zealand shepherds, but as demand for Zque certified wool has grown, NZMC has expanded to Uruguay and other parts of South America.  So even though the raw materials Smartwool uses don’t come from US sources, at least they come from ethical sources.

4.5 stars

You can check them out in multiple colors and sizes here.


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