special socks to kill nasty niffs raise $200,000

Wake up and smell my coffee bean-based socks…


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Picture Credit: Ministry of Supply
Picture Credit: Ministry of Supply
Boston based startup Ministry of Supply (MOS) has crowd sourced $204,000 to commercialize coffee-fiber infused socks that keep feet smelling fresh, in a novel use for spent beans.

MOS says the moisture wicking apparel – which took it eight months to develop in the lab – is the Brita Filter of the sock world, as carbonized coffee fibers therein absorb sweat and odor.

“Odor control is difficult in socks. As such, we turned to nature to find an effective way to create a fresher sock, leading us to coffee,”​ said the team, former students at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

So are these espresso socks a viable alternative to several sock changes a day for odorous feet, or (as per one skit in UK sci-fi drama Red Dwarf​), a toffee hammer and a can of deodorant?

Coffee particles attract ‘stink molecules’

MOS says it takes 16 coffee beans to make a pair of Atlas socks; they use carbonized coffee reclaimed from coffee roasters and shops, which is then processed to remove coffee oils.

How do the socks work? The team says that carbonized coffee particles are extruded into recycled polyester fibers (40%) used for their wicking qualities, while blended cotton (40%) is also used to absorb water, and elastane (20%) to maintain sock shape.

The carbonized particles then attract aromatic compounds, largely made of carbon, which MOS dubs “stink molecules”​, and absorbs their odor.

The MOS team estimates that the relative odor control for Atlas Socks – based on tests examining ASTM D5742 Butane absorption activity, is three times more effective than standard cotton rivals.

Alas...Sock washing still on cards

The sad news – for the sock slackers among us – is that we will still have to wash them, but the good news is that foot odors are released when you launder them, reading them for action again.

MOS initially aimed to raise $30,000 to place a minimum order quantity with a manufacturer, but far surpassed this target by raising the $204,601 from 3,150 backers, each who have been promised Atlas’s cutting-edge socks in various quantities.

However, MOS is not the first firm active in this space, and the September 2011 issue of Indian trade magazine Apparel Views ​describes a similar fabric, S.Cafe, made by Taiwan firm Singtex Industries.

“With the slogan ‘Drink It, Wear It’​, the new material called S.Cafe fabric has not only attracted coffee zealots, but has also drawn the attention of international companies such as Timberland and North Face,”​ the magazine said.

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