FutureStitch has entered into a multi-year licensing and manufacturing partnership with Toms for a new collection of socks to be sold exclusively by the Los Angeles-headquartered footwear and lifestyle firm.
The line, which will debut sometime in March, features socks for men, women and children made to complement the Toms assortment. According to Taylor Shupe, co-founder and CEO of the Orange County-based knitwear manufacturer, the two companies share a commitment to social and environmental responsibility that will inform the design and development of the range of circular-knitted socks. Shupe said the collaboration will showcase the vertical manufacturer’s unique technical skills, which he believes disrupt the “archaic knitwear industry.”
Shupe told Sourcing Journal Friday that the footwear brand—famous for its Argentinian Alpargatas-inspired slip-ons—reached out to the sock manufacturer last year to inquire about creating a new product line.
Toms, which has made a multitude of social responsibility pledges to charity partners across the globe since it began to move away from its One For One pledge in 2019, said the new line of socks will enable investments in those localized groups looking to create change in their communities.
“While Toms is an incredible company that has done so much social entrepreneurship validation, we weren’t overly in love with the One for One program,” Shupe admitted. Though Toms has undoubtedly provided benefits to underserved communities across the globe where shoes are sparse, Shupe was wary of contributing to environmental waste or undermining local industries in third-world countries. When Toms CEO Magnus Wedhammar approached FutureStitch and detailed the brand’s new approach to charitable giving, which involves donating one-third of all profits to social causes, Shupe’s team became “super interested and even inspired.”
When it comes to styling for the new line, “The most important part of this collection is the no-show sock,” Shupe said. The FutureStitch development team set out to create a design “that would open wide enough to be invisible in an Alpargata, Toms’ signature silhouette, but also not slip down on the heel.” The line will be produced at FutureStitch’s vertical factory in China’s Zhejiang province, which was awarded LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification in November.
“We used 3D knitting to create a sock that won’t quit and doesn’t require any cut-and-sew—an inferior process in sock manufacturing that creates a lot of waste,” Shupe said. “This one product took us over a dozen iterations, tons of research and development, and consumer testing.”
“Our partnership enables us to leverage the power of FutureStitch’s product design capabilities and highest level of advanced manufacturing to build highly customized products to complement our unique shoe collection,” Wedhammar said in a statement.
The Toms sock line will launch with 20 styles priced from $9.95-$14.95, and will be available at Toms.com as well as the its brick-and-mortar locations, select department stores, and a number of boutiques.