Bob Yoe talks about socks like a mechanic talks about a fine car. The Birmingham, Alabama-based owner of FITS Technologies gets excited when explaining the intricacies of design—the importance of high-quality yarns or a tight-fitting heel, the 1,400 or so knitting steps that go into a pair—throwing around terms like “performance,” “blood flow,” and “elasticity.” For Yoe, whose great grandfather Braxton Bragg Comer built Avondale Mills, in Birmingham, one of the largest textile operations in the world at the time, a good sock is nothing less than a finely tuned machine.
In 2010, after decades working in the upper echelons of the global textile industry, Yoe and his business partner Mitchell Beckler, a well-reputed knitter, launched FITS with one goal: to make the greatest socks in the world. Part of the quality lies in the material, Merino wool, a moisture wicking, anti-microbial fiber that truly breathes. Along with a meticulous design, FITS also offers a wider spread of sizes than typically found in performance socks, from small (men’s 3.5-5.5) to extra-extra large (men’s 13-15.5). They are finely-tuned to hug your feet so that there is not a modicum of excess fabric.
“I wanted to do it the best it had ever been done,” Yoe says. “Southerners have a dignity about trying to do things right and trying to be honorable and deliver–I wanted to do something like that.”
It would seem he has succeeded: Yoe’s socks are a revelation. FITS, manufactured in Chattanooga, Tennessee, offer all sorts of specialty socks for men and women on their website–running, hiking, skiing, tactical, lifestyle–for around $17 to $26. They have also just begun shipments of a new over-the-calf compression sock. One customer, Yoe notes proudly, hiked the entire Appalachian Trail blister-free on a single pair. “I can tell you,” he says, “one pair of our socks is more complex than all the technology that went into making that big mill.”