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SALT LAKE CITY — People who long to be free from socks but still protect their shoes from odor may find a comfortable alternative with a local man's new invention.
NotSocks creator Kenny Sanders has always been a fan of wearing shoes without socks, but said shoes can be ruined in a matter of months because people sweat while they wear them without a layer to absorb it. He tried tricks like applying baby powder and odor spray to shoes, but the results could sometimes lead to embarrassing situations.
“I just brainstormed for a long time what I could possibly do to avoid wearing socks but save my shoes, and one day it just popped in my head — 'What if there was a sock wrapped around a foot bed that goes inside of your shoes?'” he said.
The result of Sanders' creative efforts is the NotSock, a sock that is designed to go around a shoe insert instead of a foot. The fabric of the NotSock contains the odor-eating absorbers charcoal and bamboo, which allows sockless fans to use the product four or five times before they need to wash it.
The company launched on Feb. 25 and the the product is available for purchase online. Sanders is working with retailers to get NotSocks on shelves around the country after the end of the soft launch online promotional pricing.
It took three years to make NotSocks a reality. Sanders had never sewn before starting the project, so he purchased a sewing machine and learned by trial and error at his Utah home. His first version of the NotSock was made of cotton, but he wasn't satisfied with the results.
“After I started wearing the fabric around the sock, I realized that after a day my feet would still kind of smell and I wondered if there was a way that I can somehow integrate an odor-eating fabric inside of the cotton,” he said.
That question led him to discover the ability of charcoal and bamboo to counteract odors. He decided to use both ingredients to make it possible to wear the NotSocks for long periods of time and still keep feet fresh.
Sanders said the NotSock is much-needed because the sockless look is currently in style, but no one has provided an easy answer.
“It’s pretty crazy,” he said. “If you look in GQ magazine or J.Crew, most of the male models and businessmen are all sockless right now because it’s kind of the trend, but if you look up articles every single article talks about how there isn’t a sockless solution."
A former professional athlete, Sanders said he always wanted to become an entrepreneur and is grateful the product is finally available for others to use. In the first few days after the launch, NotSocks received orders from around the world, he said.
"It’s hopefully going to change the game on the way people wear socks from now on,” he said.