Why we don't make sublimated socks

Why we don't make sublimated socks

If you've ever noticed that some socks out there have incredible graphics and colours, it's very likely because they're sublimated. Since we don't make sublimated socks, we thought we'd explain why.

First though, what's sublimation? 

Well, basically, it's the function of heat pressing graphics directly onto products. In the case of socks, the factory will print graphics using a certain type of ink, place that graphic on top of a synthetic product, and heat press it directly onto the surface. For socks, the yarn has to be very close to 100% polyester. It can be mostly polyester, with a small amount of spandex. Either way, it has to be 100% synthetic (no cotton). 

Here's a math formula below that I made 

Polyester = 100% plastic. 

100% plastic = Sublimated socks. 

That's right folks, if you're buying sublimated socks, you're wearing something on your feet that will sit in landfills for hundreds of years without breaking down. And so... this is why we don't make them. One of our values as a company is to make our products responsibly, and we couldn't make these types of socks and feel good about it. 

We are NOT saying we're perfect! Nope nope nope. That's not what this is about. Our socks are 85% OEKOTEX Made in Green® certified, yes, but we still have to use some polyamide (form of Polyester), as well as elastane. Unfortunately, there's no way getting around using some of this material in socks to keep them stretchy. 

What does this mean for us when it comes to design? It means that we have to achieve the look we want by painstakingly moving small squares around on a computer screen. It means we have colour limitations and have to use negative space to sometimes get the outcome we're after. It means we take hours and hours (like, a lot of hours) on design vs buying a royalty free graphic from places like Shutterstock, iStock, etc. 

It's important to say that we're telling you to not buy these types of socks. We're simply educating you as many customers don't realize they've got a 100% plastic sleeve on them for the whole day.

Anymore downsides? Yes, unfortunately, there are. If you're wearing a synthetic sock that touts "moisture wicking," it's because chemicals are used to treat the material to make them so. In many cases, these are forever chemicals. You'll also notice a lot of the time, that these socks pale in comparison to the natural wicking properties of cotton or merino wool. 

Considering the environmental impact, we don't really need anymore reasons, but there a couple more things to consider. Sublimated socks show the whites of the sock (under the graphic) when stretched. This can make the graphics dull and less vibrant in the calf area. They also fade after some wash/dry cycles. 

Anyway, we're truly not trying to preach. We're just trying to educate as we do get asked from time to time why we don't do them. Also, sometimes with our custom socks program, customers are comparing different graphic capabilities and we have to explain our process vs sublimation. 

We hope this has been informative! No one person is going to make the world a much greener place, but collectively, our day to day decisions can. 

Thanks for reading. 

Adam 

June 15, 2024 — Adam Thompson
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