As a Feetures fan, you know we are committed to engineering the world’s greatest performance socks. But did you know that we are a family-owned company? Feetures was started by Hugh Gaither and his two sons, John and Joe. For almost two decades, they have worked tirelessly to create a technically advanced sock that helps you perform your best. We recently sat down with the trio to learn more about what motivated and inspired them to create America’s #1 running sock.
How did Feetures get its start?
Hugh: I spent 27 years in a family hosiery/sock manufacturing company and when that company came to an end, I knew I wanted to do something on my own.
I was just visiting some malls and I was noticing that the products that were sports socks in 2000 were the same ones that were there in the early 80s. The idea of a seamless toe and a snug fit using fibers that conformed to the foot seemed logical as running and athletic shoes advanced.
Where is the company based?
John: Hickory, North Carolina. We also have an office in Charlotte, North Carolina for sales, marketing and product development.
How did the company get the name Feetures?
John: Joe has always had great creative instincts. He’s the one who came up with the name Feetures.
Hugh: I came home with my business plan, and I wanted to come up with a name that conveyed the features and benefits of the product. And without looking up from the homework he was working on Joe said, “Feetures, F-E-E-T-U-R-E-S.”
What is it like working as a family?
Joe: It’s a privilege to be able to work with my dad and brother. Of course, when you’re building something that you’re passionate about sometimes that leads to heated discussions or as my dad likes to call them, “spirited conversations.”
John: All three Gaithers are strategically spread out throughout the office. Two in one work station would probably be…combustible.
Hugh: We’ve realized that being respectful of each other’s opinions, working to achieve a consensus on important decisions and strategies have been important and ultimately critical for our success.
Why do you think Feetures has been successful?
John: From the beginning there’s been a focus on taking care of the customer. That focus, that attention to detail, is so important to our brand. The commitment that we have to making sure that they have a good experience; it speaks to our mission of developing products to help people achieve their personal best. That’s what makes what we do worthwhile.
We’re completely focused on socks—that’s all we do. So, I think that gives us an advantage because we wake up every day trying to figure out ways to make socks better.
Hugh: Feetures is a product that people appreciate what it does for them. You can see it in the design, but when you put it on it’s something you can feel. This is a product that’s at the highest level of quality. We have also been very fortunate to have developed an amazing team at Feetures and they make all the difference! We learned very early that a person’s attitude and personality were so important, and I feel like today that we have an entire team of Feetures Ambassadors!
What are your goals for the company?
Hugh: We believe in a healthy active lifestyle; we want to make products that help people perform their best. The goal is not some number it’s certainly not a number of dollars, it’s not a number of retailers, it’s not even a number of consumers. It’s becoming the most recognized sock brand in the world.
We also want to make a positive difference in our company, with our employees, the communities we operate in and beyond that in the world, and to that end we are always for looking for ways to give back. An example is the 28,000 pairs of socks we donated with our retail partner, Fleet Feet to hospital staff and health care workers in the midst of the Coronavirus Pandemic.