NEW YORK — Gold Toe is aiming to get the max from its athletic sock business.For spring, the firm is adding women’s sport socks to its Gold Toe Max collection, which launched for men last spring. Prior to the launch, the company conducted extensive research in sport-specific stores to analyze the sport-sock buying habits of women.“We looked at department stores to see what the missing niche was,” said Trish McHale, director of marketing at Gold Toe. “A lot of sport companies do [unisex] socks for men and women, and women don’t want gender-common socks. We have also learned that the consumer prefers to buy by benefit over sock price.”The Max line uses trademark fibers such as Outlast and CoolMax to enhance the performance during a high-impact workout. Outlast styles, for instance, absorb excess body heat, then releases the energy after the workout to give the wearer climate control. Styles in the Bounce and Quick Step groups, meanwhile, are constructed with M3 Polyester, a moisture-management fiber to keep the feet cool and dry.The new line will hit department stores in January and will retail for $5 per pair, or three for $12. A Gold Toe spokesman said that Max’s new women’s line has first-year retail sales projections between $5 million and $6 million. Sources estimate Gold Toe Brands’ current women’s hosiery business is in the $50 million range.The company will support the launch with new point-of-sale images, which feature competitive swimmers as they are diving into the pool to swim lengths while wearing the socks.Meanwhile, Gold Toe also is developing new collateral images featuring models with concealed faces in everyday situations involving socks. These include a woman wearing a single sock while reprimanding her dog who is chewing on the other, and a single-socked woman with her head inside a tumble dryer looking for the other sock.“We wanted to take the playfulness of socks and take some ordinary everyday moments,” McHale said.

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