An Italian Brand That Makes Shoes Out of Socks Is Now Selling Them in the U.S.

Typically, people wear footwear with socks. But footwear made from socks? Not as typical.

In 2018, Italy-based design and manufacturing company Trerè Innovation — which specializes in sustainable technical apparel and footwear — launched the brand UYN, which is an acronym for “Unleash Your Nature” and pronounced “win.” Among its many products, UYN has ventured into creating footwear out of socks without seams.

After introducing UYN to 27 countries, the brand has made its U.S. debut.

UYN makes footwear in men’s and women’s sizing for several categories, such as Biking, Active, Urban Outdoor and several others, with prices ranging from $149 to $319.

“Creating socks has been in the DNA of our company for over 60 years. In recent years, the global market has seen a reduction in the demand for technical stockings, and this has prompted us to devise a new method of harnessing our expertise,” said EJ Riordan, CEO of TRE U.S., a subsidiary of Trerè Innovation. “After a long process of research and development, we have the technology and expertise to transform the sock into a shoe with all the features we wanted: extraordinary lightness and breathability, absolute comfort, no pressure points, and best in class stability for a wide range of activities.”

In addition to using socks without seams, UYN footwear is made from natural materials, including paper cotton, merino and yak wool, as well as bio-based materials such as odor-minimizing Natex made from castor oil seeds and Ecolypt, a natural fiber collected from eucalyptus trees that offers both strength and elasticity.

UYN’s target consumer, Riordan explained, isn’t a particular demographic. Instead, the common denominator is a love of the outdoors.

“Our consumers range from young and active to older generations that love to enjoy the outdoors,” Riordan said. “Our true target consumers are those looking for comfort and style, who want their feet not to sweat or smell and to be able to wear natural materials, even without socks.”

The footwear is available online now via UYNsports.com and at select retailers.

UYN Nature Tune shoes
The UYN Nature Tune shoes.
CREDIT: Courtesy of UYN

In terms of its brick-and-mortar footprint, UYN has 10 stores in Italy and one store in Germany. Abroad, the brand plans to open two stores in the U.K. and 20 throughout Europe. Stateside, UYN is scheduled to open its first store in Boston the fall, which is also where its U.S. headquarters will be located.

“We chose the Boston area for our U.S. HQ because of the industry infrastructure that the city offers and, historically, it was the leading place for shoe production,” Riordan said. “This will be our first U.S. store and it will be a benchmark for our retail expansion. Boston is innovative, with a focus on being green. We believe our brand will be well perceived by Bostonians and tourists, alike. The mayor’s office has been very helpful in our efforts to find the right store location.”

Riordan also shared further insights on UYN’s retail strategy for the U.S.

“Our retail strategy is omnichannel, partnering with retailers that will tell our story and explain our brand to the consumer, speaking about the technical features and our green production. Our strategy is to open one owned retail store in key U.S. cities starting in Boston and then expanding throughout the U.S. The retail space will allow the customer to experience the UYN offering at 360 degrees. Our online presence will increase in the next few months with a dedicated U.S. page on our website, UYNsports.com, with the availability of the U.S. made product.”

With greenwashing so prevalent in the industry today, Riordan said UYN has a plan to educate consumers on its materials and process.

“In addition to the traditional channels of communication — media, official website, social networks — we have designed a special communications and display concept that accompanies the shoes in our shops. Our concept is called ‘Bio-Lab,’ an area where the consumer can see and touch the natural ingredients that go into our shoes and also our exclusive production method. All of the proprietary materials and processes are clearly explained on our website to ensure transparency with our consumers.”

The team leading UYN in the U.S. consists of Riordan; head of sales John Phaneuf a 25-year industry veteran who has worked with Adidas Terrex, Helly Hansen and Lacrosse Footwear; Sherry Davis, who will handle tactical sales; and executive manager Elia Redini.

“Our strategy here is to plan for long term activity and growth in the U.S. market with a focus on digital marketing, experiential events and relevant partnerships,” Riordan said. “Every person on our team spends time in Italy getting to know our culture and our commitment to the best in class technology and sustainability. This includes our interns who will join us in Italy before joining the team in the U.S. Understanding our culture is very important to understanding our mission.”

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