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These Unmatched Socks Are Designed To Stop Sock Waste

When your socks don’t match, losing or ruining one doesn’t mean throwing out its perfectly good partner.

On average, you probably lose at least one sock a month–and over 1,000 in a lifetime. Each time a single sock is sucked into the void, the matching sock eventually ends up in the trash. The same thing happens when one sock gets a hole; both socks are thrown out.

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A Copenhagen-based company has a simple solution: Stop making socks in pairs. A pack of their Solo Socks comes with seven unique socks, each designed to go with the rest without actually matching.

“The main reason we decided to go with an uneven number is just to really underline the fact that we don’t have pairs,” says Alex Morabbi, the 22-year old CEO and cofounder of Uru Design. “When we originally got the idea, we did it with an even number, and people were always very confused because none of the socks were matching, and they thought it was a mistake.”

Selling the socks in sets of seven forces people to notice that each sock is different. When someone does inevitably lose one of the socks, they’ll have an even number again. (If someone likes the design and really wants matched socks, Morabbi points out that they can just buy two packs.)

Morabbi started thinking about the problem of socks at a young age. “I come from quite a large family with a lot of kids, and that meant I had to do my laundry by myself pretty early,” he says. “One of the first things you notice is that there’s always the problem of finding your missing socks.”

The new socks are meant to make doing laundry easier, while also solving the sustainability challenge of wasted socks. The socks are also made of organic cotton, and manufactured in a factory near the field where the cotton is grown in Turkey, to make the supply chain as short as possible.

Even the packaging is more sustainable than usual: The socks come in a box that expands to become a drawer divider, so you don’t have to throw it out.

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The startup currently has a unisex line of socks, and is crowdfunding a new children’s line. Womens’ socks are coming soon.

About the author

Adele Peters is a staff writer at Fast Company who focuses on solutions to some of the world's largest problems, from climate change to homelessness. Previously, she worked with GOOD, BioLite, and the Sustainable Products and Solutions program at UC Berkeley.

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