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Feetures sock brand unveils cycling line

Published January 25, 2021

A version of this article ran in the January issue of BRAIN.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (BRAIN) — After catering to runners for nearly 20 years, it was inevitable that sock manufacturer Feetures would enter the cycling sphere. After all, a lot of Feetures consumers enjoy both sports, with many asking for cycling-specific line.

"We have always believed our running socks were great for cycling, but we didn't target the market and design socks specifically for cycling because we were focused on our goal of being the No. 1 performance running sock brand," Joe Gaither, Feetures vice president of marketing, told BRAIN in December.

Its men's and women's cycling lines — with three cuff heights and two cushion thicknesses — are priced at $15.99 and $17.99, with two-pack ($34.19), three-pack ($48.59) and six-pack ($91.75) purchasing options.

Gaither said the main performance characteristics — anatomic design, targeted compression to reduce blister formation, seamless construction, and moisture-wicking — are the same for both cycling and running. In addition to heights, the cycling lines are slightly thinner with brighter colors and reflective cuffs.

"The first thing anyone notices when they slide on a pair of Feetures is the targeted compression," he said. "It actually hugs your arch, so the sock fits like second-skin."

Feedback from cyclists has been positive, Gaither said, prompting Feetures to reach out to bicycle retailers, with distribution being dealer-direct and also through Feetures' website. "Right now, we are only in a handful of cycling shops, but we hope to expand this dramatically. ... We already have a relationship with some shops throughout the country, and we are developing a plan to target more bike retailers currently."

Gaither said marketing the cycling line has centered on its running consumers "because we know a lot of runners cross over and ride as well, but we also have been running ads online, working with our PR agency to secure editorial for the collection, and will eventually work with retailers to get out on the grassroots level and start showing up at events and group rides."

While Gaither didn't disclose the margins provided to retailers, he said the company "aggressively" supports retailers. "We have developed a playbook for success with retailers and are looking to translate this to the cycling market."

The socks are designed for all cycling disciplines, but the cushion level choices (ultra light and light cushion) might work better with different shoe designs, Gaither said.

Family-owned and entering its 20th year in 2021, Feetures utilizes three manufacturing facilities, one of which is in North Carolina. In January, CEO and founder Hugh Gaither, Joe's father, announced leadership team changes.

Steve Hallinan, national sales manager for specialty retailers footwear, was promoted to key accounts manager; national sales manager for run specialty Dan Gardner will be promoted to national sales manager for all specialty accounts, including run and footwear specialty retailers.

Hugh Gaither's other son, John, will become the chief operations officer, handling responsibility for all operations, including distribution, supply chain, production planning, product development, and innovation. In his previous role, he was VP of product development. Joe Gaither will be promoted to executive vice president, where he will oversee all e-commerce, marketing, and customer service. 

Topics associated with this article: From the Magazine

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