If I am going to spend day and night working on a company, I want it to remind me of my family and what is most important to me.
– Kory Stevens | Founder of Taft
One may think creating a brand around no-show socks will have a limited run in today’s market. For some that may be true, but for the no-show sock company, Taft, that is far from a concern. The brand is only a couple of years old but is already making a big name within the blogosphere. You can’t really SEE them on the feet of every guy or #menswear enthusiast, but if you happen to see myself or any of your favorite style bloggers walking around with the appearance of not having socks on, chances are Taft is the reason. As another addition to our five questions with series, we spoke to the owner of Taft, Kory Stevens about his favorite pair of shoes, his reason for creating no-show socks and how he manages to stay warm during the winter.
Where did the name Taft come from and why start with just creating no show sock versus full calf length options?
Kory Stevens: Taft is my baby boy’s middle name. If I am going to spend day and night working on a company, I want it to remind me of my family and what is most important to me. J. Taft just had his first birthday last week! The Taft company started right before he was born and it seemed appropriate to name it after him. We started the brand with no-show socks because we saw the need and knew we could make a splash quickly, rather than just joining the ranks of small, traditional sock companies. It seems like there are a lot of sock companies all over the world, and we wanted to go to market with a different approach. We differentiated our approach, we made the best no-show socks ever made, and now we have laid the foundation to expand to other products because of the successful entry we have had.
Loafers or wingtip? Why?
Kory Stevens: Wingtips. For me, everything should have a little bit of texture, subtle pattern, or something that gives it a little finishing touch. For instance, our Basics Pack, coming out in a couple months, isn’t just plain black, green, navy, and grey. We feature is a really beautiful texture that most people wouldn’t think to do. That’s the difference. If you look closely at a pair of wingtips, the leatherwork and designs are really amazing and beautiful. After designing our products for the past year, I can appreciate the artwork a lot.
How do you stay warm during the winter with no show socks, and did you ever consider creating seasonal fabric options (wool, flannel) for the cool seasons?
Kory Stevens: Taft is headquartered in Utah, so we get our fair share of snow and winter weather. I wear our socks year-round…even in the winter. If I’m not at church wearing full length socks, then I am wearing Tafts. I don’t do anything special to stay warm wearing no-shows…I have found that ankles aren’t super sensitive to cold weather. I have never heard someone say, “Brrrr, my ankles are cold.” haha Cover up your ears, your neck, and chest….no need to worry about your ankles too much. Just wear Taft Customers are going to be very pleased with the new line of socks we are releasing early 2015. The new socks breathe better. The basics packs are very light and comfortable…perfect for Spring and Summer.
Without spilling any insider details, how did you manage to create a no-show sock that doesn’t slip off?
Kory Stevens: We prototyped for months and months before coming up with our product. Most quality no-show sock brands feature “Anti-Slip Silicone” or whatever they coin the phrase, but just having a dab of silicone doesn’t do the trick. I grew up wearing plenty of no-shows with silicone in the heel, but that doesn’t mean that they stay up. It’s all about the cut of the sock, the depth of the heel, the size of the silicone welt, and the specific size, shape, and consistency of the silicone. If people think no-shows are a simple, easy product then they must be buying the low quality ones. We are paying attention to what everyone else is overlooking.
What are five things you must have?
Kory Stevens: My five must-haves…..
- Worn-in pair of selvedge denim
- Pair of all white, canvas Jack Purcell
- White V-neck plain t-shirt
- Baseball cap
- My podcasts
Illustrations by Matthew Miller | @Sunflowerman