Last updated November 25, 2023
Are any clothes really not made in China anymore?
If you’re like me, you once owned socks for years at a time. But since the 1990s, you noticed that your socks would start getting holes in them, coming apart at the seams, unraveling, or otherwise becoming destined for the trash.
Most consumers just shrug this off; just go to the local Walmart and buy another pair of $5 “disposable” socks. But what’s the real cost? There’s plenty. Landfills start to fill up with this junk. Low-paid workers in factory sweatshops just keep producing more. And with every pair of socks you throw away, you wonder if there are any companies left that still take pride in their craftsmanship.
Practically every brand you know off the top of your head: Dickies, Saucony, Hanes, Adidas, Fruit of the Loom, Gold Toe, Under Armour, Champion, and even Happy Socks have at least some of their manufacturing in China. They’re all pretty coy about it–either listing their country as “Imported” or listing out all the countries they manufacture in and hiding China next to last in the list. But you know what will happen when their executives want to increase profits.
Happily, there are options. I scoured the Web and Amazon to find socks not just from companies that didn’t outsource to China, but who more importantly made a commitment to keep their manufacturing to their local communities. More often than not you’ll find that these companies’ products are of immensely higher quality, so that even if you pay a moderately higher price now, you’ll have a product that lasts for years and that you know helped stem the tide against all loss of manufacturing and skill.
Best Socks made in the USA
1. Darn Tough – Best Merino Wool Socks Made in the USA
While once-great Merino wool brands like Smartwool and Icebreaker have outsourced their manufacturing to China and other parts of Asia, Darn Tough continues to unabashedly proclaim on their Web site that their products are all made in Northfield, Vermont.
Their products routinely receive some of the highest reviews on Amazon, with some socks receiving 4.8 star averages over thousands of reviews. They fit well, they are moisture wicking, they feel soft, they’re breathable, and they have an unconditional lifetime guarantee.
2. FITS Socks – Another great choice for Merino Wool Socks
FITS socks, like Darn Tough, are a great alternative to sellouts like Smartwool.
They have many different socks with a blend that combines the warmth and durability of Merino Wool with the comfort and wicking of Nylon, Polyester, and Lycra.
If you’re a hiker, these are must-have socks. You can wear them all day comfortably. The socks provide comfortable cushioning and wick moisture away like magic.
3. Boldfoot Socks – Best Cotton Socks Made in the USA
Boldfoot socks are made in North Carolina. Their cotton socks are made with American grown Supima cotton, their athletic and dress socks are manufactured in Pennsylvania using a comfortable blend.
They come up with three months of “sock insurance” where they’ll replace them with a brand new pair if anything goes wrong. Reviewer rave about how soft and comfortable they are. 5% of all profits of Boldfoot socks go to organizations that assist Military Vets.
Fox River socks are also made in the US, in Osage, Iowa where they still operate a hosery mill that employs over 200 people. They’ve been around since 1900 and are committed to remaining American-made.
They make lightweight, medium weight, and heavier socks using different combinations of materials, including acrylic, cotton, nylon, spandex, polyester, and Merino wool. Reviews rave about their fit and comfort. According to their Web site, they do manufacture “most” of their own products, but their handwear is knitted in China, so shop accordingly. They do offer a lifetime warranty on their products.
I literally laughed out loud when I saw these. Anyone who grew up in the 70’s remembers wearing striped tube socks, but they seemed to die away in the 80’s. But leave it to a small family-run company in the US to bring them back in all their glory. Skatersocks was founded in 2003 in California and in 2012 moved to Florida.
Their Web site provides great information about sizing. Most people will probably opt for the 19″ for that “knee high” look we all loved with our short running shorts. Their Web site calls it “the world’s most comfortable cotton sock”, and proudly states that these are grown, spun, and tubed in the USA 100%.
No, this isn’t the newest Marvel Universe crossover movie. It’s an American brand that specializes in padded socks that protect your feet against blisters, pressure, and discomfort whether you’re playing sports, working, or just living. Their running, tennis and hiking socks have garnered especially rave reviews given how intense those activities can be on the feet.
Thorlos is based in North Carolina and still manufactures most of their socks there, but you will need to check the product listing very carefully, as certain products are being sent to China. Rather than point fingers at them, reward them by buying the products they still make in the USA.
7. Wigwam Farms
Since 1905 Wigwam has been knitting socks in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Similar to some of the other manufacturers above, they have a variety of different blends for different uses.
They source wool almost exclusively from American yarn spinners who buy from American wool growers. They produce an impressive array of trail socks and crew socks, all made in the USA. They also have a lifetime warranty.
If you’re in the market for plan old cotton crew socks and don’t want to deal with your Hanes or Froot of the Looms disintegrating on you, Burlington socks have been made in the USA for over 75 years and as with all good crew socks come in black and white, as well as multiple lengths: crew cut, quarter top, and no show.
I’m a bit intrigued at how they maintain such a competitive price point while keeping their manufacturing in the US. Reviewers love how they’re soft, substantial, and sturdy.
Best Socks made in the EU
You’ve got to hand it to the Danish Endurance brand–they’re a family business based out of Denmark, and yet they’ve build a little sock empire, and do a nice job of marketing on Amazon. They were founded in 2015 by a marathon runner who couldn’t find the perfect pair of compression socks and decided to develop some himself. According to their Web site, all of their socks are produced in Europe (other products are manufactured in Asia). I like their transparency–they invite you to contact them on their Web site if you have any questions about any specific product.
10. Rainbow Socks
If you think it’s rude to give socks as a present for Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Christmas, or someone’s birthday, you’ve never seen these socks. These socks were the brainchild of a small startup company in Poland who created colorful socks and cleverly arranged them to look like a sushi platter, a pizza, and even a burger with fries and a beer. In an industry that’s completely commoditized, I love to see this kind of creativity and entrepreneurship, and I’m especially glad to see it coming out of Eastern and Central Europe.
11. Farm to Feet
On the bottom of every post I have a sentence that reads “Do you know of other products not made in China worthy of mention here? Let us know in the comments!”
I was pleased to see a comment from Elle that mentioned just three words: Farm to Feet (thanks Elle!) Farm to Feet looks like the real deal. Its Web site talks about how they have a simple goal of creating the world’s best wool socks with US materials (including merino wool, Spandex, and nylons), US manufacturing, US workers, and (very relevant to what’s been in the news lately) a supply chain that is completely within the U.S. You can buy them directly on their site, or on their Amazon store, where you can see a number of merino wool socks with an impressive number of positive reviews.
Farm to Feet was started by Nester Hosiery, one of the top US manufacturers of merino wool socks. Give them a try!
Do you know of other socks not made in China worthy of mention here? Let us know in the comments!