So you’ve decided to have custom socks created—whether you want to give them away to prospects and customers, recognize employees, or just throw a gigantic sock party (hey, we've all been there). Congratulations! You've made the right decision: custom socks make great corporate swag and the perfect gift.
The next step is choosing the right vendor to create the socks of your dreams. There are lots of companies out there that will promise great results, so it’s easy to do a Google search and quickly find yourself overwhelmed. But if you keep your needs in mind and ask the right questions, finding the right vendor won’t be a challenge. Here's a step-by-step guide for finding the right custom sock company.
Determine your requirements and make sure the vendor meets your needs
When it comes to custom swag, everyone has their own requirements. Ask your vendors if they can at least meet your most basic needs—if they can’t, move on to someone else.
Chances are that if you’re looking for custom socks, you need them in the (very) near future. And, of course, you never know when the inspiration for a new pair of custom socks might strike. The standard turnaround time for some companies can be between 3 to 8 weeks and, even in the US. You’ll want to make sure your vendor offers fast turnaround time—Tribe Socks, for example, offers a 5 day lead time in the US, so you can get custom socks in your hands (and on your feet) fast. Plus Tribe custom socks are sustainable swag!
Quantity neededHow many socks do you need? If you’re like most of our customers, you probably don’t have an exact number in mind—you might just want to get a few socks to start out with and ramp up production after you’re satisfied with the quality of the socks. For maximum flexibility, go with a custom sock vendor that doesn’t have a minimum quantity requirement.
Ahh, the money question. Obviously, cost is an important consideration when it comes to custom socks, so it’s best to first determine what your budget is and then ask vendors what their prices are. Custom socks typically cost anywhere between $5 and $16 per pair, and the more you order, the less the per-unit cost. But not all socks are knit equally. When evaluating cost, make sure to get physical samples to see the quality for yourself. Low needle count socks can be very inexpensive, but feel cheap and won’t last after a few wears.
Look for a high-quality vendor
When it comes to the quality of a custom sock vendor, you need to look at more than just the quality of their socks. Asking plenty of questions will help you ascertain whether a vendor is worth partnering with.
How are the socks made?
Any company can put Photoshopped images of their custom socks online, but digging deep into the sock creation process will help you determine if the socks will look as good IRL as they do on your computer screen. Ask vendors what kind of personalization technology they use—direct-to-garment (DTG) or dye sublimation? DTG is a premium method of digitally printing vibrant artwork directly onto the yarn, and it’s far superior to dye sublimation, which only prints artwork onto the surface of a garment rather than embedding it into the fibers. Look for DTG if you want socks that’ll retain their artwork even after they’ve been stretched and worn many times.
Custom knit socks are also another option out there. Some vendors, including Tribe Socks, offer great quality knit socks, but because the socks are machine-knit they are very design restrictive. With DTG printed socks you get the best of both worlds: high quality custom socks with full-color designs and no restrictions.
Make sure you also ask vendors what kinds of yarns they make socks out of, since this will help determine the durability and comfort of the socks. At Tribe Socks, we use dense yet soft yarns and assemble our socks on 200-needle Italian Lonati machines. Lesser yarns can yield socks that are scratchy or don’t retain their shape well after numerous washes.
How much work is required on your end?
You’ve got a lot going on, which means you probably don’t want to invest a ton of your own time in getting custom socks made. To ensure this isn’t a time-consuming endeavor, ask every vendor you’re considering what the sock creation process involves from your end, from start to finish.
For instance, what assets do you have to provide the sock company? It’s one thing if you only have to provide your preferred color scheme and the logo or image you want on the socks; it’s another thing to create the entire design yourself. To save yourself time and energy and get the best design possible, go with a company like Tribe Socks that has in-house designers and will take on the hard work of creating a custom, visually compelling design. With Tribe, all you have to do is send a few basic details and whatever image or logo you want on the socks, and our designers take care of the rest.
Find the right long-term partner
Though you might just have a single custom sock project in mind right now, it’s worth finding a vendor that you can work with on future projects as well. The following tips can help you identify the right custom sock company for your needs, now and in the future.
Request samples and references
Asking for sock samples and reading a few case studies is a great way to see firsthand what kind of socks you can expect. If a sock company isn’t willing to provide you with samples of their goods or a few customer references, run away—this is the sign of a vendor that won’t stand behind its products and doesn’t care about producing high-quality items.
Dig deeper for details on the socks
Beyond the materials and processes used, consider other aspects that’ll determine if a vendor’s custom socks are right for you. For instance, how is the toe linked to the main body of the sock? We only use hand-linked toe enclosure since it creates a seamless experience. Are the socks truly one-size-fits-all? You don’t want to end up having to order different sizes for different people. And when it comes to the design process, how many rounds of feedback can you go through? All of these will determine the final quality of the product.
At Tribe Socks, we have a high bar for quality and strive to make custom socks that we know you’ll love. Learn more at custom.tribesocks.com.