Minus33 restores domestic manufacturing with New Hampshire-made Mountain Heritage hiking socks
Specialty wool brand leverages superior quality control and prototyping capability
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ASHLAND, NH – Minus33 is making outdoor gear in New Hampshire again, starting with its Mountain Heritage hiking socks, and that’s just the beginning. The merino wool outdoor specialty brand has over 100 years of roots in Ashland, and they’re aiming to get the mill cranking again.
The Mountain Heritage sock is a homecoming for Minus33, which just bought back the historic Scribner mill building of its parent company, L.W. Packard, the textile business that remained one of the largest employers in the region from the late 1800s until free trade agreements disrupted textile business models throughout North America around the turn of the last century.
“The socks we were importing just weren’t up to our standards. It really was a quality issue, and there was a definite communication issue with the sock manufacturers overseas,” said Vice President of L.W. Packard and Lead Sock Designer Lawson Glidden. “So we decided to make our own. This has been a textile company for over 100 years, and we knew we had the expertise to pull that off.”
Mountain Heritage hiking socks are designed to have incredibly high merino wool content and a perfect fit – blisters and chafing are caused by a sock that slides around. Mountain Heritage socks use just enough nylon and spandex to stay in place without cutting into the leg, while still retaining that air pocket that keeps you insulated and warm.
“We strive to have more merino wool content than our competitors, but there is a limit to the amount of merino you can put into a sock before you start to sacrifice durability and longevity,” said Glidden. “It’s a balancing act of having enough merino wool to wick away sweat and having the nylon and elastic to keep the sock in place and keep it functioning for a long, long time. I wasn’t aiming to make a fashion statement with the Mountain Heritage. It’s a utility sock. It’s a sock that has a purpose and that purpose is to keep your feet warm and comfortable and blister free during any outdoor endeavor.”
Available in a deep selection of heights, weights and colors, Mountain Heritage socks benefit from a prototyping stage that Glidden recons to be over 1000 iterations. They are available in lightweight and micro weight merino in six different heights, three different cushion levels and five colorways. From a no-show liner sock to a full-cushion, full-length cold-weather sock, there is literally something for everyone in the Mountain Heritage line.
“Outside my office there’s a giant, yellow 80-gallon bucket. It’s just filled to the brim with socks all the time, because that’s how often I’m prototyping. You can try to work on 10 things at a time, but generally it’s better to just focus on one or two,” said Glidden. “It really comes down to materials and fit. Once you get past that, there’s not much to it. We made a sock that’s very comfortable and works. It’s really a safety product. You want to be in the woods and not get blisters, not freeze your feet.”
MRSP for Mountain Heritage socks ranges from $17.99 to $21.99. Minus33 backs its socks with a 30-day satisfaction guarantee and a 2-year warranty with registration.
Minus33 was created by L.W. Packard engineers to keep doing business in an outsourced market, but these socks are a huge first step toward bringing that manufacturing back home. Minus33 is proud to offer highly technical merino at a price that everyone can afford. Inclusive sizing ranges up to 6XL in select styles and down to kids and toddlers.
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Minus33 offers the finest quality merino wool basics at a price that everyone can afford. Carrying forward over 100 years of expertise, Minus33 was created by the wool experts of the former L.W. Packard Co., in 2002, as a response to the changing global trade and manufacturing landscape. In 2020, the brand was able to bring wool production back to Ashland, New Hampshire, with its Mountain Heritage line of socks, extending a local tradition dating back to 1840, when the Briggs brothers of Leeds, England, built a woolen mill on the Squam River, manufacturing wool products, hosiery, gloves, sporting equipment and paper. In 1916, Luther W. Packard of Berwick, Maine, purchased the mill and named it L.W. Packard. For more history on the L.W. Packard Mill and Minus33, read Our Story.