It comes as no surprise to us that DeFeet has won Business North Carolina's 'Small Business of the Year" award. Having just spent several weeks in Brevard, North Carolina testing bikes for the Bible of Bike Tests (look for it on newsstands in January) we definitely got the impression that North Carolina appreciates its cycling.
With many manufacturing jobs lost in recent years, towns like Brevard have embraced cycling as a backbone of the local economy. DeFeet, however, is a rare commodity, combining both manufacturing jobs and cycling.
“DeFeet has always been proud to manufacture in North Carolina. Made in USA is not a cliche term. It’s what we do and it’s important to us," said founder and president Shane Cooper.
Believe it or not, DeFeet is one of the last holdouts of a large contingent of hosiery manufacturers in North Carolina, a state that once laid claim to knitting more socks than anywhere else in the world.
Based in Hildebran, NC, DeFeet has been producing cycling socks since 1993, and since then has branched out into gloves, warmers, and other gear.
“This award represents so much to me and our team," said Cooper "DeFeet is now a 20 year old company that very nearly didn’t survive because of the catastrophic events we faced."
Cooper was of course referring to the fire that completely destroyed the DeFeet factory in 2001—a fire that brought out 11 fire departments from 3 different counties.
Bouncing back admirably, DeFeet continues to prove that U.S.-based manufacturing is still possible—and profitable.