DeFeet, based in Hildebran, N.C., will incorporate Unifi’s Repreve, Sorbtek and XS Dynamic Tunable Cross-Section technology into a variety of its products. The fibers will be integrated first into the Levitator Lite model and then all of the company’s non-wool products starting in 2017, as it celebrates 25 years in business.
“This is part of what we do,” said DeFeet founder Shane Cooper. “We never stop experimenting, learning and improving. We show up every day and just go for it. That’s what keeps us young — 25 years young.”
Unifi is headquartered in Greensboro, N.C., with its environmentally friendly, performance yarn production in various facilities around the state. Unifi recently opened its Repreve Bottle Processing Center in Reidsville, N.C., the result of a $28 million investment.
Unifi said the center will help the company achieve its goal of vertical integration for its Repreve recycled product line, adding flexibility, expanding production capabilities and supporting volume growth.
Repreve is a brand of fibers made from recycled materials, including plastic water bottles, and Sorbtek is Unifi’s moisture-management yarn. Repreve with Sorbtek creates a performance yarn that combines cooling and moisture-wicking properties with recycled benefits. The moisture-management and comfort properties are enhanced with the addition of Unifi’s XS Dynamic Tunable Cross-Section technology.
“Our athletes have given the new fiber a unanimous thumbs up,” Cooper added. “But the important thing for DeFeet — the game changer — is the fact this is a recycled yarn. Our lab tests are showing the best wicking performance we have ever seen and it’s from a product recycled right here in North Carolina.”
DeFeet has been testing the new fibers extensively in 2016. In July, socks with the new fibers were worn to victory in seven stages of the Tour de France.
“As sustainability becomes a more widespread focus, we appreciate seeing partners like DeFeet using Repreve in combination with other Unifi performance technologies to increase various attributes that enhance athletic pursuits,” said Jay Hertwig, vice president of global brand sales, marketing and product development for Unifi. “With the addition of Unifi’s Sorbtek and XS Dynamic Tunable Cross-Section technology, we are able to create products that are both environmentally friendly and deliver performance benefits that consumers in the outdoor market request.”